By Xiaocao, United States
As the saying goes, “The wise man doesn’t listen to rumors.” The unfounded rumors are unworthy of our attention. However, when the rumors reach us, how should we treat them? Especially when investigating the true way, how should we Christians seek the truth in the face of rumors?
From a fortuitous opportunity I heard the of God’s kingdom. After several meetings with the brothers and sisters, I knew the truths of the origin of mankind, the root of mankind’s degeneration, the inside truth of God’s three stages of work, the mystery and significance of the incarnation, and other respects. I also got some understanding of God’s work to save man. The more I listened to their fellowships, the more I had enjoyment in my heart. Later in a meeting, Brother Deng fellowshiped, “The has returned and long ago been incarnated in China and carried out a new work, and His work of the last days has spread from the East to the West.” After hearing this, I felt so excited: God has already carried out His work on earth! I never thought that I’d be so lucky to welcome the Lord. Thanks be to the Lord! No wonder their fellowships make so much sense—they have followed God’s new work. Because every meeting I could gain a lot and I felt joy when I was with the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God, I became increasingly fond of attending meetings. One time, at the end of a meeting, Sister Li led us to pray to God. When I heard her say in her , “Thank God for choosing this sister from the vast sea of humanity…,” a feeling of warmth flowed into my heart, and I couldn’t help shedding tears. We didn’t know each other, but they treated me like family and they spoke honestly, which enabled me to feel the warmth of a family. Only God can lead man to live out love. Thanks be to God! Thinking of this, I felt extremely grateful to God for His love: He had chosen me from the vast sea of humanity and allowed me to be fortunate enough to come before Him.
About one month later, I called my daughter and told her this good news, hoping she could believe in Almighty God together with me. Against my expectation, on hearing my words, she searched The Church of Almighty God online. The moment she saw the negative information, she told me, “Mom, you’ve picked the wrong church, so just back out. You’ll know what I mean if you look through the information on the internet.” Hearing that, I was astonished and couldn’t believe it. I thought: The brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God are all decent and graceful. At meetings, they fellowshiped about God’s word, and their fellowships were illuminating. So I told her my thoughts. Then my daughter said on the phone, “Just look at it on the internet for yourself!” After she finished her words, she sent me a website. I clicked on the link and the words of slandering and attacking Almighty God said by the religious world and the CCP government came into my sight. Especially when I saw “May 28 Shandong Zhaoyuan Case,” I felt somewhat at a loss and thought: “What is going on here? Is my faith wrong? But the brothers and sisters are kind to me, and the church has so many wonderful dance and song videos. Aren’t these the effect of the Holy Spirit’s work? But the information on the internet seems reasonable, and it may be right. Alas, if I take the wrong path, I will lose God’s salvation.” The more I thought, the more anxious I was, fearing I took the wrong path because I couldn’t distinguish the true way from false ways. And then I decided not to go to The Church of Almighty God to attend meetings anymore.
The next day was Sunday, and my next-door neighbor asked me to go to church with her. When I thought of the bad rumors on the internet, I still felt doubt. In order to know the difference between the preaching of The Church of Almighty God and this church, I went there with her. But all that the pastor preached about was biblical theory and theological knowledge, which couldn’t resolve our practical difficulties at all. The more I listened to the sermon, the more I felt bored, and I couldn’t gain any enjoyment. Especially when hearing the pastor say at the end, “When the Lord Jesus returns…,” I felt quite bewildered, I thought: “The brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God witnessed that God had already appeared on earth in the flesh and worked for many years and expressed lots of words in the last days. Those words have authority and power and sound like God’s voice. The Lord is very likely to have come. Why are they still waiting for the Lord’s return? Aren’t they too backward?” During the meeting, a worker walked to the believers one by one with a bag to collect money on two different occasions. I disliked that action very much: Giving offerings should be voluntary, but their behavior seems like forcing us to do it. After the meeting, I felt that I couldn’t gain anything from going to church, so I didn’t go there any longer.
However, affected by the rumors, I didn’t have the courage to go to The Church of Almighty God to investigate the true way. When the sisters invited me to attend meetings, I declined them under the pretext of taking care of a relative’s child. However, after refusing them, I didn’t feel happy. In that half month, from time to time, I thought of the scenes of having meetings with them and their sincere faces. When such thoughts came I felt a little sad. I couldn’t help wondering to myself: Is the negative information on the internet true? If Almighty God really is the returned Lord Jesus, will I not miss the opportunity to welcome the Lord? Just when I was at a loss, Sister Li sent me a message to invite me to take a walk in the park. Having been worrying about this matter in these days, I thought I could use this opportunity to ask for her opinion.
After arriving at the park, I told her my confusion. She fellowshiped with me about her experience and how she shook off the rumors after she accepted God’s work of the last days. She also told me that to investigate the true way, we should learn to listen to God’s voice because God is the truth, the way and the life. I felt her fellowship made sense, but after arriving home, I recalled the rumors again and still felt a little afraid. Two days later, the sisters came again and invited me to attend meetings. Though I had refused them many times, they still helped and sustained me patiently. Their sincerity moved me very much and I agreed to attend meetings.
In the meeting, based on my confusion, the sisters communicated with me about the truth concerning how to distinguish the true way from false ways. God’s words say, “Distinguishing between the true way and the false way requires several aspects of basic knowledge, the most fundamental of which is to tell whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit. For the substance of man’s belief in God is the belief in the Spirit of God, and even his belief in God incarnate is because this flesh is the embodiment of the Spirit of God, which means that such belief is still the belief in the Spirit. There are differences between the Spirit and the flesh, but because this flesh comes from the Spirit, and is the Word become flesh, thus what man believes in is still the inherent substance of God. And so, in distinguishing whether or not it is the true way, above all you must look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, after which you must look at whether or not there is the truth in this way. This truth is the life disposition of normal humanity, which is to say, that which was required of man when God created him in the beginning, namely, all of normal humanity (including human sense, insight, wisdom, and the basic knowledge of being man). That is, you need to look at whether or not this way takes man into a life of normal humanity, whether or not the truth that is spoken of is required according to the reality of normal humanity, whether or not this truth is practical and real, and whether or not it is most timely. If there is truth, then it is able to take man into normal and real experiences; man, furthermore, becomes ever more normal, man’s human sense becomes ever more complete, man’s life in the flesh and the spiritual life become ever more orderly, and man’s emotions become ever more normal. This is the second principle. There is one other principle, which is whether or not man has an increasing knowledge of God, whether or not experiencing such work and truth can inspire a love of God in him, and bring him ever closer to God. In this can be measured whether or not it is the true way. … 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.”
A sister fellowshiped with me, “We can see from God’s words that the key to distinguishing between the true way and the false way is to tell whether there is the work of the Holy Spirit. As to whether there is the work of the Holy Spirit, it depends on whether we can gain the provision of life and keep gaining a new understanding of God. If these effects cannot be achieved, if we cannot make progress in our life and our practical problems cannot be resolved, there is no work of the Holy Spirit. The true way comes from the work personally done by God. Since it is the work of God Himself, there will be the expression of the truth and the work of the Holy Spirit. Nowadays, Almighty God has expressed all the truths for mankind to know God and to find salvation, disclosing each and every mystery of His management plan, like the purpose of God’s six-thousand-year management plan, the principle of God’s work, the truth of the , the significance of God’s names, and so on. All these are mysteries that man can’t fathom. In Almighty God’s words, mankind’s corrupt substance and roots are both thoroughly revealed. In the judgment of God’s words, we have true knowledge of our own corruption and ugliness, like our arrogance, conceit, selfishness and baseness. Meanwhile, we have true knowledge of God’s righteous disposition, and feel reverence for God, and our life disposition has been transformed in some ways, which gradually delivers us from the fallen cycle of sin and confession. This fully proves that Almighty God’s work is the true way. Almighty God’s word is the truth, the way, and the life, full of authority and power. It can purify mankind and save them.”
The sister’s fellowship enabled me to suddenly see the light. It turns out the principle of distinguishing the true way and the false way is so simple. It’s right! After reading God’s words, listening to some hymns and watching some dance videos produced by The Church of Almighty God, I have gained some knowledge of God’s work; besides, I especially feel released and joyful. It turns out that it is manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s work.