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With disasters frequently occurring in all nations and all places, most of the prophecies of the Lord’s return have been fulfilled. Now, the whole religious world has become desolate. Believers are weak in faith and love, and most of them indulge themselves in the world and are busy with worldly things, without the desire to consider working for the Lord. The pastors and elders scheme against one another and raise jealousy and strife among themselves. They even separate into factions, form cliques, steal offerings, commit adultery, and so on. Seeing this condition, many brothers and sisters with a heart and a spirit and who genuinely believing in God have started to awaken, and realized that the churches they are in have no work of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, they begin to look everywhere for a church with the Holy Spirit’s work. However, today there being a multitude of denominations, each of them claims that they are most after the Lord’s will. But, what kind of church is the one truly after the Lord’s will? Someone says, “To evaluate whether it is the true church or not, we must look at how many members it has.”; someone else says, “We should look at whether its pastors can preach well.”; while others say, “We need to look at what religious sect it belongs to.” In a word, everyone has his own standards for measuring this. Today, I’ll share with you two principles that we need to grasp in order to find the true church.
We all know that, originally, the temple was full of Jehovah God’s glory. Like Jehovah God said to Solomon, “For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and my eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually” (2 Chronicles 7:16). Because of Jehovah God’s glory, the people of that time reverently served God in the temple, and none of them dared do as they wanted. If someone, against the law of Jehovah God, burst into the temple without permission, he would suffer God’s righteous punishment, even if he was the King of Israel (see 2 Chronicles 26). However, when thecame to work, the temple became “a den of thieves” where money was changed and oxen, sheep, and doves were sold by people. But God’s discipline didn’t come upon them. Now, we all know it’s because God had left the temple, and incarnated into flesh as the Lord Jesus to start a stage of new work outside the temple. Here we can see that only the temple with Jehovah God’s glory was the temple which conformed to God’s heart, however, when turning into a den of thieves, it was rejected by God and no longer conformed to God’s heart. Therefore, the main principle of differentiating between the true church and false churches is measuring whether it has the Holy Spirit’s work. If it does, then it is the true one after God’s heart. If it doesn’t, it is the false one. This is certain.
The second principle is looking at whether believers read and fellowship about God’s words in the meetings, whether the true believers’ lives grows, and moreover, whether the pastors and elders love and seek the truth, have the work of the Holy Spirit, and truly understand and practice the truth. In addition, we should also judge whether the church is ruled by the truth or by antichrists, and whether it is ruled by the ones who seek the truth or by evil people and the ones who mess around.
If the pastors’ and elders’ sermons can supply believers’ lives, and lead them to know God and understand God’s will, then through their sermons, believers can have more and more knowledge of God, form an increasingly normal relationship with God, get closer and closer to God, constantly cast away their satanic disposition, gradually live out a normal humanity, and so on. If these results are achieved, it means that these pastors and elders have the Holy Spirit’s work, and are certainly men pursuing the truth. Because of the guidance of good shepherds, the spiritual life of believers can gradually grow. But, if the pastors and elders only explain doctrines and the literal words of, and use sets of rules to control and bind believers, and do not communicate the truth, then believers will still know nothing after listening to their sermons for many years. At most they understand a few letters and doctrines and spiritual theories, but have no real knowledge of God and no understanding of themselves either, much less do they live out a normal human likeness in real life. Even if these pastors and elders have worked for many years, believers cannot obtain the supply of life from them. In such a situation, in order to keep their positions and jobs, they hinder believers from seeking the church that has the work of the Holy Spirit. It proves that they don’t have the Holy Spirit’s work at all, and are absolutely evil servants who oppose God.
Moreover, the one who truly pursues the truth surely puts his efforts into God’s words, and seeks and ponders the truth. He doesn’t blindly follow the pastors and elders; rather, he will distinguish whether their words and actions are in accordance with the truth or God’s words, or whether they are based on God’s words. If their words and actions fit with the truth, he will accept, if not, he will refuse. Such a man has a place for God in his heart, magnifies God in everything, and looks at things according to God’s words. And he understands the truth and has discernment, and is a man after God’s heart. If people only blindly, seek to fill their bellies with bread, play around, and even despise and hate the truth, then they are the tares, demons masquerading in the church. In the end, they will be the objects who are burnt by fire (see Matthew 13:30).
If it is those who seek the truth that wield power in the church, and they all perform their function as normal, seek the truth, grow in spiritual life, understand more truths, and have more knowledge of God, then we can be certain that there is the Holy Spirit’s work in it, and that it is the true one after God’s heart; otherwise, it surely is a false one. Because the Scriptures say, “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 7:17-20).
In summary, the key to telling whether a church is true or false is investigating whether there is the Holy Spirit’s work in it, whether it is a gathering of people who truly believe in God and seek the truth. When we can distinguish different types of people in the church, we will easily distinguish the church according to these principles and its current situation.
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