By Liu Zhi
“Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Matthew 7:17-18).
I’d like to share something with you today. When we hear someone preaching that the Lord has returned, how should we discern that thethey spread is the gospel of the Lord’s return? And how should we be a wise Christian, not following in the Jews’ footsteps or being deceived by the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees?
Thesays, “You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Why by their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:16-20).
From these words of the, we see that the Lord Jesus showed us the path of discernment, that is, to recognize them by their fruits. Comparing these words with my many years of faith, I always read the Bible, prayed, preached and sacrificed for the Lord, and then thought that I had faith in and knowledge of God because of my having so many good behaviors; however, when I encountered something unfavorable, I could still lose my , and even blame and misunderstand Him, thus keeping my distance from God, and becoming estranged from Him in my heart unwittingly. In particular, during recent years, many brothers and sisters, just like me, don’t feel the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and can’t receive enlightenment or have new light when reading the Bible. Much less can we practice and experience the Lord’s words in our life, and even we often commit sins and live helplessly in sin. When the quiet of night came, I always thought to myself: We all truly . However, the days of the Lord is coming soon, why do we live in this kind of state and not feel the work of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of God?
Recently I read the following passage in a book: “If it is the work of the Holy Spirit, man becomes ever more normal, and his humanity becomes ever more normal. Man has an increasing knowledge of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan, and of the essence of man, and he has an ever greater longing for the truth. That is to say, the life of man grows and grows, and the corrupt disposition of man becomes capable of more and more changes—all of which is the meaning of God becoming the life of man. If a way is incapable of revealing those things that are the essence of man, is incapable of changing the disposition of man, and, moreover, is incapable of bringing him before God or giving him a true understanding of God, and even causes his humanity to become ever more lowly and his sense ever more abnormal, then this way must not be the true way, and it may be the work of an evil spirit, or the old way. In short, it cannot be the present work of the Holy Spirit” (“Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God”). Pondering this passage, I couldn’t help thinking that after the Lord Jesus resurrected and ascended to heaven, His disciples and apostles began to preach the gospel of redemption everywhere in the name of the Lord, but the Roman government and Judaism’s highest leaders opposed them so strongly. They not only fabricated all sorts of rumors about the Lord but arrested the Lord’s disciples without restraint. We thought based on our conceptions and imaginations that under the Roman government and the Jewish religion’s grave resistance against the Lord Jesus, the gospel of the Lord would have been hindered. However, what comes from God shall eventually thrive, and any hostile forces can’t block the carrying out of the Lord’s will. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the disciples not only listened to God’s words resolutely without fear of the violence, but dedicated themselves to spreading the Lord’s gospel even if they suffered all hardships. We have seen the fact: They did it. With the guidance of God, they accomplished their missions—spreading the gospel of the Lord.
Nowadays, there is a severe famine in the whole religious world. Various sects and denominations have all lost the work of the Holy Spirit. But I saw a group of people on Facebook eagerly spreading God’s gospel of the last days with a strong feeling of excitement. Although I haven’t listened to the way they preach, I can be certain of one thing: They have the Holy Spirit’s work. Why do I say this? There is one reason: When facing the slander, judgment and condemnation of the religious community’s highest leaders, they just communicate the truth with these religious people without repaying evil with evil. Even if being resisted too much, this group of people don’t make a fuss with them, and still spread God’s gospel as usual without being influenced by some people. A co-worker having come into contact with them told me, “These people all pursue an understanding of God and of themselves in God’s words. I have debated with them many times. They always fellowshiped the truth andwith me patiently. I really have gained great rewards through contacting with them. They have the Holy Spirit’s work and love, and when preaching the gospel to us, no matter how many difficulties they meet, they will help us out of love, without fearing the derision and slander from anyone. I really admire that about them. Although there are so many denominations in today’s religious world, I think only these people have the work of the Holy Spirit.” Hearing what my co-worker said, I got a favorable impression of this church. I remembered that the Lord Jesus taught us to recognize others by their fruits. A good tree can bring forth good fruits, yet a corrupt tree can’t do that. Since they have good living out, just as a good tree can bring forth good fruits, the way that they preach is worthy of our seeking and investigating.
The pastors and elders always tell us that now is the last days, and false Christs will appear to deceive people. They just ask us to guard blindly and not to seek or investigate it when someone preach the coming of the Lord. I think such practice is wrong. Because the Lord said: “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). The Lord told us to hold an attitude of seeking and investigating toward some people preaching the new work of God. If we guard against them blindly, won’t we be betraying the Lord’s teachings? Therefore, when we hear someone preaching the return of the Lord, we only need to seek and investigate according to the Lord’s words and see whether the fruits they bring forth are good or evil. In this way, we will know whether or not what they preach is the true way. If we do not have the principle of discernment, we will be like the Israelites, following whatever others said, unable to stand firm in our position, and then we will easily resist and reject God.
Therefore, on the subject of the Lord’s coming, to be a wise Christian and to learn to discern various kinds of people by their fruits is so important for us.