By Xiao Ya
In the morning, my son drove off and I went for a walk in the park. Before I walked for a while, I heard someone yelling behind me: “Old Wang.” “Yes.” I replied whilst looking back. They are Brother Sun and his wife, Sister Li. I said: “Hi, it’s a nice day for a walk.” They replied in unison: “Yes.” Sister Li said: “Old Wang, a moment ago I saw your son drive off. Where did he go?” I replied: “Ah, he and his wife will go traveling with their friends. I exhorted them not to travel because tomorrow is the Sunday worship. Now, the Lord’s coming is near, how can we not go to theand observe the Lord’s Day? Our pastors have stressed repeatedly that when the Lord returns, He must come to the church and receive us. Only if we don’t leave the church will we not be abandoned by the Lord. If we don’t go to church on the Lord’s Day but the Lord comes to rapture us, what should we do? Then we’ll be abandoned by the Lord, won’t we? May the Lord preserve them to come back tomorrow and attend the Lord’s Day meeting on time.”
With that, we sat on the bench in the pavilion and continued chatting. Brother Sun said: “Hey, Old Wang, during meetings, our pastors said: ‘When the Lord comes again, He will certainly come to the church and receive us; as long as we don’t leave the church, we can be taken to the kingdom of heaven by the Lord.’ But I always feel anxiety in my heart. Let’s chat about it.”
Sister Li said bluntly: “Frankly speaking, in the beginning, the brothers and sisters in the church actively attended gatherings and brimmed with confidence; and I thought what the pastors said was right and believed that when the Lord returned, our congregation would be able to be raptured. But now, the love and faith of many brothers and sisters get colder and colder, and fewer and fewer people attend meetings. On the surface, some brothers and sisters come to attend meetings. But in fact, they come to sell and buy or they drift off and fall asleep instead of concentrating on listening to sermons. Can the Lord praise a church in this kind of condition? If we stay here, can we truly welcome the Lord’s return? It’s hard to say.”
I hesitated a bit and said: “Sister Li, I think what you said is reasonable. But the pastors and religious elders have stressed repeatedly that we must wait for the Lord’s return in the church. And they also preached: ‘The church is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all’ (See Eph 1:22-23). The church is the Lord’s body, and is also the place where we go to worship God. If the Lord doesn’t come to the church and receive us, then where can He go?”
Sister Li continued saying: “I don’t see through this thing but Jehovah God says: ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isa 55:8–9). We are only created beings, so we can’t fathom the Lord’s will at all. Is the Lord’s coming truly as simple as we think? Will He directly come to our church and take us to the kingdom of heaven? I think it’s quite unlikely. About this question where the Lord will appear, we can’t reach a verdict but must pray a lot and seek His will.”
Brother Sun pondered and said: “About this question where the Lord will appear when He returns, we can’t truly see through it. But through seriously searching the scriptures recently, I have known that, in the Age of Law, God worked in the temple, which was full of Jehovah’s glory. Anyone couldn’t enter it without permission, including the King of Israel. The King Uzziah was cursed and then died of leprosy because he turned a deaf ear to the priests’ dissuasion and crossed over into the temple. Even the priests must sanctify themselves for three months before entering the temple. However, when thecame to work, what had the temple become?”
I said: “A den of thieves.”
Brother Sun said: “Yes. We know that, in the latter days of the Age of Law, the Jewish leaders didn’t keep God’s word. They abided by men’s traditions but rejected God’s commandments and departed completely from the way of God. The temple was controlled by them and became a den of thieves where oxen, sheep and doves were sold. Because God is the holy One and He does not reside in a filthy temple, when the Lord Jesus came to work, He didn’t enter the temple but directly preached and worked in the towns and villages outside of it. Let’s look at our church now: The pastors and religious elders have not God in their hearts, have no hearts that fear God and are pursuing status and power. Those brothers and sisters who have power and authority and often donate are welcomed by them with smiling faces, while those who don’t have status are ignored by them. They profess to love the Lord, love their neighbors as themselves and love each other, but in essence, they are all engaged with their own affairs, and they lay their own turfs and lord it over a district for the sake of protecting their status and livelihood. They are always preaching about some knowledge of theand theological theories to show off, hold themselves aloft and testify to themselves, but don’t exalt or testify the Lord at all; the brothers and sisters can’t receive any sustenance or enjoy any work of the Holy Spirit. I feel that our church is just the same as the temple in the latter days of the Age of Law. God is holy; He appears to the holy land, and hides Himself from the impure land. When the Lord Jesus returns, how can He come to such a church to receive us? Would both of you say so?”
I nodded and felt what Brother Sun had said accorded with the facts and that it could hold water. I thought: Could it be that, when the Lord returns, He won’t come to the church to receive us? Then what should we do? I asked in a hurry: “If the Lord doesn’t come to the church to receive us, how can we welcome Him?”
Brother Sun pondered and said: “On the subject of welcoming the Lord, I remember in the Bible the Lord says: ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Mat 25:6). Therefore, we should, like the clever virgin, focus on hearing God’s voice and actively look for the church with the work of the Holy Spirit. Because wherever the Lord appears, there must be the work of the Holy Spirit. Only in this way can we welcome the Lord’s return and attend the wedding supper of the Lamb. Isn’t that right?”
Sister Li and I pondered and nodded. I continued asking Brother Sun: “Now is the late period of the last days. The days of the Lord are right before us. Then how should we look for the church with the work of the Holy Spirit?”
Brother Sun replied: “I remember the Book of Revelation prophesied ‘And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things said he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens; … Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write on him my new name. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Rev 3:7, 12, 13). From these prophecies, we can see that the Philadelphia Church is the one of the overcomers and a raptured one. Only such a church can gain the work of the Holy Spirit. What’s more, we should focus on looking for the utterances of the Holy Spirit and seek which church is testifying the words of God. It is likely that such a church will be captured by the Lord when He returns.”
I constantly nodded and said: “Thank the Lord! Such fellowship is enlightening.”
At this time, Sister Li said: “Hey, hearing your fellowship, I think of The Church of Almighty God that has been most seriously condemned and persecuted by the CCP over these years among all house churches. Although the CCP has been overwhelmingly hunting the believers in Almighty God, not only have they not been defeated but they have also been spreading thewith unbounded confidence and bearing many witnesses of the overcomers. Now, Almighty God’s kingdom gospel has been spread to all nations and places by The Church of Almighty God and the word expressed by Almighty God has also been uploaded onto big websites overseas, for people who truly from all nations and all lands to seek and investigate. The Scriptures say, What comes from God shall increase, what comes from man shall decrease. You say, can The Church of Almighty God be where the Lord Jesus comes back to work?”
Brother Sun and I looked at each other and said in unison: “Thank the Lord! It can probably be that.”
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