Spiritual Warfare Testimonies | I Have Welcomed the Lord’s Return
Spiritual Warfare Testimonies | I Have Welcomed the Lord’s Return
By Chuanyang, United States
The winter of 2010 in the United States left me feeling very cold. Besides the bitter cold of the wind and snow, what was even worse was that my heart felt as though it had been invaded by some kind of “cold wave.” For those of us in the interior decorating business, winter is the hardest time of the year, as once winter starts there is very little work. We even face losing our jobs. This year was my first year in the United States, I was fresh off the boat, and everything felt unfamiliar to me. Neither renting an apartment nor finding a job was easy — and my days were full of hardships. It got so bad that I had to borrow money to pay the rent on my apartment. Faced with this predicament, I became melancholy, and I felt like my life was really hard to bear. At night I faced the ice-cold wall, feeling so sad that all I wanted to do was cry. One day, as I walked around listlessly in my sadness and anxiety, someone who was spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus handed out a card to me, and said, “The Lord Jesus loves you. Brother, come to our church and listen to the Lord’s gospel!” I thought to myself: “I guess there’s nothing I have to do right now, so there’s no harm in me going to listen to this. I might as well, it’s something to do.” So just like that, I stepped into the church. I listened to the pastor read aloud something the Lord Jesus had said: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). When I heard this, I felt deeply moved by the Lord’s love. I cannot clearly explain how I felt, but I could feel that the Lord’s love was real, and that it surpassed any love that could be found in the world. My grief-laden heart felt greatly consoled. As a result, I decided to earnestly place my trust in the Lord Jesus. Afterward, I started enthusiastically participating in meetings every Sunday, and because of my enthusiastic pursuit I quickly became a co-worker in the church.
After serving in the church for two years, I was feeling less and less like the Lord was with me. I didn’t feel enlightened when reading the Bible, I didn’t feel moved when I prayed, and I didn’t feel like I was getting anything out of attending meetings. In addition, I saw how everyone in the church was living a life whereby they sinned in the day only to confess at night, and how everyone, whether pastors, elders or ordinary believers, was bound by sin, engaging in jealous disputes, colluding with each other to form factions, fighting over fame and profit, and coveting worldly things. All kinds of unlawful deeds were being committed more and more. I also saw that people in society at large were becoming more depraved with each passing day, more and more evil and selfish, and that disasters were occurring all over the world — earthquakes, famines and epidemics were constantly breaking out. All kinds of signs made it clear that the last days had come, and that the Lord Jesus would soon return. The pastors and elders often preached about these Bible verses to us: “Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:23–24). In their sermons, they recklessly claimed that false Christs would appear in the last days, and they told us that by all means we must not listen to strangers preach. They even said that, besides those in our church, the believers in other denominations were all wrong, and that we must take care to be discerning about other people so as not to allow ourselves to be deceived and end up following the wrong path. Since I often heard the pastors preach in this way, I told myself: “I must not deviate from the path in this crucial moment of the Lord’s imminent arrival, and I must be sure to keep my faith in the Lord.”
One day in mid-September 2016, I received an unexpected phone call from Sister Zhu. Sister Zhu was a long-time believer and an enthusiastic seeker in our church, and we had always been on good terms, so I was very happy to get a phone call from her. I listened as Sister Zhu spoke to me excitedly, “Brother, I have some good news to tell you: The Lord Jesus has returned as Almighty God! This time God has incarnated to carry out the work of judging, cleansing and saving man!” I was somewhat surprised to hear these words, and I thought to myself: “Has Sister Zhu not kept the way of the Lord? Has she joined another denomination? How could she be so foolish? The pastors and elders have repeatedly emphasized that false Christs will emerge in the last days, so why hasn’t she listened to them? If we go astray in our faith at this crucial moment when the Lord is soon to come, then won’t we have practiced our faith in vain all these years?” As I thought this, I nervously asked Sister Zhu, “Sister, in the Bible it says that in the last days there will be false — ” but without waiting for me to finish speaking, Sister Zhu cut in. “Brother, the Lord Jesus warned us to ‘Judge not,’ and we must not pass judgment as we please, so as not to be condemned by God.” The sister’s warning made me think of these words of the Lord: “Judge not, and you shall not be judged: condemn not, and you shall not be condemned” (Luke 6:37). I didn’t dare say anything more. However, concerning such an important event as the return of the Lord, Sister Zhu and I each had our own opinions, and we both wanted to persuade the other. We therefore took turns trying to make our points, but in the end neither of us could persuade the other.
For over a month after this, Sister Zhu gave me repeated phone calls to preach the gospel of the kingdom of Almighty God to me, but I always refused to accept it, and kept urging her to come back to our church and continue believing in the Lord. As time went on, I saw that she was very firm in her belief in Almighty God and that she would not waver in the least in her faith, so I had to let it go, and stopped trying to persuade her. I said, “From now on, I’ll still believe in my Lord Jesus and you can believe in your Almighty God, and we won’t interfere with each other’s faith!” After that, whenever Sister Zhu called me to bear testimony to God’s work of the last days, I would look for an excuse to avoid her. I kept on refusing to accept God’s work of the last days, but she never gave up trying to spread the gospel to me.
One morning in November shortly after 5 a.m., before daylight had even broken, someone rang the doorbell at my home. I opened the door and saw Sister Zhu, and with her were a brother and a sister. When I saw Sister Zhu, I felt quite defensive. I thought to myself: “Haven’t I been clear with you? Why would you still travel such a long way to come to my home? Regardless of what you say I’m not going to believe in Almighty God.” Heedless of all the years we’d known each other as members of the same church, I said some unpleasant words to them and refused to let them in. When Sister Zhu saw how determined I was, a downcast look showed on her face and in a voice choked with emotion she said to me, “Brother, the reason I have come to spread the kingdom gospel to you is because I have been moved by the Holy Spirit. If it weren’t for God’s love, I wouldn’t have been able to swallow my pride and keep trying to spread the gospel to you time and again. Brother, the Lord Jesus really has returned. Right now, the Holy Spirit is working on those who have accepted God’s new work. If it weren’t for the work of the Holy Spirit, how could anyone have this much faith and willpower to come to preach the gospel to you? You too have seen the current situation of our church. Our brothers and sisters all live bound by sin and they lack the strength to break free. God has come this time to express His words to judge man and to carry out the work of ridding us of sin and cleansing us. If we miss God’s work of the last days, we will not have another opportunity to attain God’s salvation.” The sister’s sincere words moved me and I relented a little. In particular, when she was talking about the situation in our church, all the things I’d seen happen in churches suddenly began to flash through my mind: In the first church I served in, the pastors said one thing and did another, and whoever contributed a lot of money was welcomed by the pastors with smiling faces and given lots of attention. Anyone who didn’t contribute very much money, however, was ignored and looked down upon by the pastors. I really couldn’t bear to see this happen, so I joined another church. In this church I witnessed the co-workers excluding one another, getting into jealous disputes, and colluding with each other to form different factions, and they were no different from people in the secular world. This disappointed me greatly. At first, I wanted to move to yet another church, but a brother told me that he had already gone through many churches, and that no matter where he went he always found the same desolation and darkness…. I also thought of the various behaviors I myself exhibited while living in sin, which made me begin to waver in my heart. I thought: “Could it be that the Lord Jesus truly has returned in the flesh to carry out the work of eradicating sin?” Just then, Sister Zhu went on, saying, “As for whether or not Almighty God is the returned Lord, all you need to do is read the word of Almighty God, and then you’ll know. At the time that the Lord Jesus came to carry out His work, His disciples followed Him because they recognized through His words and His work that He was the Messiah who was foretold. Today, in order to determine whether or not Almighty God is the appearance of the Lord Jesus who has come to carry out His work, we must also do so by looking at the work and the words of Almighty God. If, after you read Almighty God’s words, you still believe that He isn’t the returned Lord, then I will not try to force you to believe, and I will stop preaching the gospel to you, because God has never forced anyone to accept His gospel.”
After Sister Zhu said this, I hesitated for a moment and thought to myself: “I might as well read them and see exactly what truths are spoken in the words of Almighty God that have given Sister Zhu such a staunch belief in Almighty God.” Thereupon, I opened the door and let Sister Zhu and the rest of them into my home. Sister Zhu introduced the others, and they were Sister Zhang Qing and Brother Liu Kaiming from The Church of Almighty God. Sister Zhu said, “Brother Chuanyang, it has been several months since I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. I went to The Church of Almighty God to check it out for myself, and I have participated in their church life. Through personal experiences and through earnest investigation, I have seen that The Church of Almighty God really is a church that has the work of the Holy Spirit. It is a genuine church, and it absolutely arose from God. You and I have been members of the church together for years, and as a co-worker in the church, you ought to know better than I about what’s going on within it now. The Holy Spirit stopped working in our church long ago, and this is something everyone knows. The pastors cannot preach sermons that supply us with life. They only preach about how to attack or to be on guard against other denominations, telling us that we must keep the Lord’s name and that we will be saved so long as we don’t leave our church. But really there is no basis in the word of the Lord for them to act this way. They only do so in order to protect their positions and keep their livelihoods, and they give no thought to our lives. If they truly felt responsible for our lives then they should take the initiative and lead us in search of a church where the Holy Spirit is at work, rather than have us remain obstinately in a religion in which the Holy Spirit stopped working long ago, awaiting our deaths by starvation or from being trapped in a church without the Holy Spirit’s work.” After hearing this I thought to myself: “Sister Zhu really is describing what’s going on. The church today really does not have the work of the Holy Spirit, everything the pastors and elders do really is not done out of consideration for the lives of us believers, and as I’ve stuck with this church over the years I’ve felt more and more like the Lord is not with us. My spirit has long felt parched and far from the light, as though it has come to a dead-end.” Hearing her speak in this reasonable and well-grounded way, I no longer felt opposed to their visit.
Right then, the brother who had come with her — Brother Liu — said, “Brother, the reason the religious world is this desolate is because God has come to carry out new work and the work of the Holy Spirit has moved on, but people have not kept up with the new work that God is doing. An even bigger reason is that the pastors and elders have not obeyed the Lord’s commandments or put the Lord’s words into practice, but instead have led believers to follow the evil trends of the world, and have even resisted and condemned the new work of God. It’s just like when the Lord Jesus came to carry out His work, the temple had been turned into a place where cattle, sheep and doves were sold and money was exchanged. Priests violated laws and offered animals with blemishes as sacrifices to deceive God, the Pharisees coveted wealth and enjoyed the spoils of their position, and other such sins were committed. Even those who served God lived in sin, without the least bit of reverence for God in their hearts. This was enough to show that the Holy Spirit no longer worked in the temple, that the work of the Holy Spirit had moved on, and that God’s work in the Age of Law had come to an end. The Lord Jesus had come to carry out the work of redemption upon the foundation of the work of the Age of Law, and the Holy Spirit no longer worked in those who kept the name of Jehovah God and clung obstinately to the laws. Instead, the work of the Holy Spirit shifted to those who accepted the new work of the Lord Jesus. Since the presence of God was no longer in the temple, it became more and more desolate, until in the end it became a den of thieves. The Lord Jesus’ disciples, on the other hand, received the Lord’s salvation, they put into practice the Lord’s teachings, they followed the Lord with faith and strength, they forsook their homes and abandoned their jobs in order to bear witness to and spread the Lord’s gospel, fearing no persecution or adversity. Wasn’t all of this the effect achieved in them by the work of the Holy Spirit? In the same way, today the return of the Lord signifies that the old age has come to an end and a new age has begun. The Holy Spirit long ago stopped working in the churches of the Age of Grace; rather, He has begun to work on those who have accepted God’s new work, which fulfills these prophecies in the Bible: ‘And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered’ (Amos 4:7). ‘Behold, the days come … that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah’ (Amos 8:11). Almighty God also says: ‘God will accomplish this fact: He will make all people throughout the universe come before Him and worship the God on earth, and His work in other places will cease, and people will be forced to seek the true way. It will be like Joseph: Everyone came to him for food, and bowed down to him, for he had things to eat. In order to avoid famine, people will be forced to seek the true way. The entire religious community will suffer severe famine, and only the God of today is the wellspring of living water, possessed of the ever-flowing wellspring provided for the enjoyment of man, and people will come and depend on Him’ (“The Millennial Kingdom Has Arrived” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘God has made this group of people the sole focus of His work throughout all the universe. He has sacrificed all His heart’s blood for you; He has reclaimed and given to you all the work of the Spirit throughout the universe. That is why I say you are the fortunate ones. Moreover, He has shifted His glory from Israel, His chosen people, onto you, and He shall make the purpose of His plan fully manifest through this group. Therefore, you are the ones who will receive the inheritance of God, and even more than this, you are the heirs to God’s glory’ (“Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘Because those in religion are incapable of accepting God’s new work, and only hold to the old work of the past, thus God has forsaken these people, and does His new work on the people who accept this new work. These are people who cooperate in His new work, and only in this way can His management be accomplished’ (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From these words of God, we can see that the Holy Spirit no longer works in the churches of the Age of Grace, so no matter how hard people try or what kind of human methods they use to revive the churches, it is of no use. The Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations are all the same; the spirits of their believers are parched and starved, their faith and their love gradually grow cold, they are unable to keep the Lord’s teachings, and many of them follow the evil trends of the world, pursuing wealth and coveting worldly things. The churches have become places of desolation. On the other hand, the brothers and sisters in The Church of Almighty God are those who have left different denominations and who come from different professions to accept God’s work of the last days. They are the wise virgins who, upon hearing the voice of God, have returned before His throne. They are receiving the supply of the living water of life that flows out from the throne of God, they are being shepherded and led by God Himself, and they are spreading and bearing witness to the gospel of the kingdom of God with one accord. They endure being ridiculed and slandered by the world, they endure the abuse and condemnation from the leaders of various denominations, and are even beaten, and they endure being arrested, having their homes searched, their possessions confiscated, and being cruelly tortured and imprisoned and more by the CCP government. Still, they have faith, they have strength, they have love, and they are tenacious and unyielding as they follow Almighty God and bear witness to God’s work of the last days. It isn’t by their own strength that they are able to do so. These are all effects achieved through the work of the Holy Spirit! In addition, God’s will is to be found in His sending of famine into the religious world. His purpose in doing so is to compel those who truly believe in God and who thirst for the truth to break away from religion, to rid themselves of the deception and control of religious antichrists, and to walk away from religion. In doing so, they can then seek God’s footsteps and God’s appearance, accept God’s work of judgment in the last days, and be cleansed and perfected by God. At the same time, those nonbelievers who remain in religion, who seek to eat their fill of bread and who do not believe in God with a true heart, but who instead idolize and follow people, shall be exposed and eliminated. In this way, all people will be separated according to their kinds. Is this not the wisdom and almightiness of God?”
After listening to God’s words and this brother’s fellowship, I felt it all sounded very practical, and that it completely accorded with how things really were. I felt like I had awoken from a dream, and I understood the source of the desolation of the various churches. In this moment, I finally saw how insensitive I had been. Although I had seen that, from the pastors and elders to the ordinary believers, all had been bound by sin, and that the church was brimming with lawlessness and iniquity, I still had not sought God’s will, nor had I sought the work of the Holy Spirit. I also had not paid any attention to listening to God’s voice and, as a result, I had been eliminated by the work of the Holy Spirit without even being aware of it. I realized that I needed to carefully read the word of Almighty God. On that day, as Sister Zhu and her companions were leaving, they arranged a time to come back and fellowship with me again, and they also left me with a copy of The Scroll Opened by the Lamb, which I was very happy to receive.
Source From: The Church of Almighty God
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