Today I read a short story which provoked me into much thinking:
There was a godly pastor in a village who had devoted all his life to the Lord. He had abided by the Lord’s way strictly and served the Lord in the church year after year. One day, his village and the nearby villages were hit by the heaviest rain in a century. The downfall of the continuous rain had flooded several villages, but instead of abating, it became heavier and heavier. At that time, the pastor was preaching to people in the church. Seeing the flood was about to inundate the church, the congregation began to flee for their lives, but the pastor remained calm, and he went to kneel before the cross and prayed to God to rescue him.
Just then, a lifesaver handled a lifeboat to the church and called him in a loud voice, “Pastor! Come on! Get into here, or you will be drowned!” He looked at him and said, “No! I shall keep watch over my church! I deeply believe that God will come to rescue me!” The lifesaver could do nothing but leave.
Soon, the floodwater rising up to the level of his head, he struggled to stand on a table and went on praying. At that time, a policeman handled a lifeboat to the church and called him loudly, “Pastor! Come on! Come! Get into here quickly, or you will be drowned!” But he said calmly, “No! I shall keep watch over my church! I deeply believe that God will come to rescue me!” So the policeman could do nothing but leave too.
After a little while, the flood almost submerging the church, the pastor had no choice but to cling to the cross on the top of the church, and he kept praying to God to rescue him. Then, a helicopter was approaching him. The crew dropped a rope ladder and called him aloud, “Pastor! Quick! Quick! Climb up, or you will be drowned!” He replied firmly, “No! I shall keep watch over my church! I deeply believe that God will come to rescue me!” As a result, he disappeared in the ever-rising floodwater.
After the pastor died, he met God and complained, “Oh Lord! I fully trusted in You and prayed to You to rescue me, but why didn’t You rescue me?” God answered, “I sent two lifeboats and one helicopter to rescue you, but you rejected them all!”
After hearing this story, you may feel sorry for the pastor, for God tried to rescue him, but he was so stubborn as to miss one chance after another to be rescued. If he had seized one of the chances, he wouldn’t have ended up dead. From this story, we can see that although the pastor had believed in God for many years, he didn’t have the slightest knowledge of God. His thought was too absurd. He delimited God within his notions and imaginations and insisted that God Himself come to rescue him. So, when God tried to rescue him through the rescue workers handling the lifeboats and flying the helicopter, he refused. This resulted in his death.
When you feel pity for the pastor, do you think that maybe someone around us is or even we ourselves are playing the role of the pastor? In the last days, many pious Christians have been eagerly expecting the to return, hoping to receive what He promised and enjoy the blessings He will bestow upon man. However, when the Lord, who has come as He promised, sends messengers to preach God’s kingdom , how many of us are the “wise virgins” and can hear the calls of the Lord through them? And how many, like the pastor in the story, insist on waiting in the desolate church while holding fast to such notions and imaginations as, “The Lord will certainly give revelation to us when He comes again!” “The Lord Jesus will not abandon us!” “We will certainly be raptured to the kingdom of heaven as long as we keep the name and the way of the Lord.” “God will personally appear to us and allow us to see Him when He comes”? Let’s think it over: Can these seemingly reasonable notions and imaginations really lead us to God’s salvation?
God said, “Even more believe that whatever the new work of God, it must be substantiated by prophecies, and that in each stage of such work, all those who follow Him with a true heart must also be shown revelations, else that work could not be that of God. … Man neither studies the new work of God with care nor accepts it with humility; rather, man adopts an attitude of contempt, waiting for the revelations and guidance of God. Is this not the behavior of a man who rebels against and opposes God? How can such men gain the approval of God?” (“How Can Man Who Has Defined God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?”).
Let’s recall those who followed the Lord Jesus at the time when He did His work—Nathanael, Peter, the Samaritan woman, and Matthew, and many others. Did they follow the Lord Jesus after they received God’s revelation? No, they followed Him and obtained His salvation because they heard the words from His mouth. We can also look back to the fact of how we each returned to the Lord. Did we come to believe in the Lord after we received His revelation? Absolutely not! So, in the face of God’s work of the last days, if we insist that we won’t accept it unless we receive God’s revelation or see God make a personal appearance, how could we possibly meet the returned Lord? When telling the parable of the ten virgins, the Lord Jesus said, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). This shows that the Lord will send some brothers and sisters who first receive His gospel of the last days to preach it to His believers in religion for them to obtain His salvation of the last days. All those who can actively seek and investigate His gospel of the last days when hearing it are the wise virgins. They will be raptured before God’s throne to attend the wedding feast of the Lamb and enjoy the supply of the ever-flowing living water of life from God. On the contrary, those who always live in their own conceptions and imaginations are foolish virgins. They well know that their church is desolate and dark, but when they hear the news of the return of the Lord, they do not seek or investigate but insist on staying in their church. Consequently, they will be left stranded and starve to death, losing God’s salvation of the last days forever. They are just like the earliest Pharisees. When the Lord Jesus came to do His work, they blindly rejected and condemned God’s new work because of keeping the law rigidly. Ultimately, they nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross alive, committing a heinous crime, and thus fell under God’s wrath and punishment. Therefore, when we hear someone preaching that the Lord has come, we shouldn’t just wait for God’s revelation, but should actively seek and investigate it. Only by doing so can we obtain God’s salvation of the last days.
God said, “Since man believes in God, he must closely follow the footsteps of God, step-by-step; he should ‘follow the Lamb wherever He goes.’ Only these are the people who seek the true way, only they are the ones who know the work of the Holy Spirit. … In each period of time, God will begin new work, and in each period, there will be a new beginning among man. If man only abides by the truths that ‘Jehovah is God’ and ‘Jesus is ,’ which are truths that only apply to a single age, then man will never keep up with the work of the Holy Spirit, and will forever be incapable of gaining the work of the Holy Spirit” (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice”). “Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path through which man shall gain life, and the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven …” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life”). God’s work has progressed forward. Only if we closely follow the Lamb’s footsteps and accept God’s new work can we receive God’s approval and enter into God’s kingdom. If we always cling to God’s former work and stand still, we will ultimately be eliminated and abandoned by the work of the Holy Spirit. This is beyond all doubt!
Now, God’s management plan is coming to an end. So, as long as we seek humbly, we will be able to hear the calls of the Lord and receive His salvation of the last days.