By Joseph, Kenya
Brothers and sisters, peace in the Lord! I feel very fortunate to be able to fellowship with you all today about my experiences of welcoming the Lord, and I feel very honored and very grateful to the Lord for giving me this opportunity.
I was born into a Christian family. My mother is a very pious believer, and when I was little, she used to lead us in readingand singing hymns and take us to events at our church. When I grew up, I left home to work and began attending church gatherings in my new local church, and after a couple of years, I was appointed to be in charge of the church. Because the pastor there never preached anything new, because he just always preached the way of making offerings and he was without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, some of the faithful would fall asleep whilst listening to his sermons, and some decided not to come back again as they were not getting anything from him. In order to retain believers, we would sometimes invite a few preachers to come from other churches to give sermons, or we would hold some events. But these methods only had a temporary effect, and when the faithful had finished attending the gathering, they wouldn’t come again. There were also some new believers who would come for a few days and then not come again. I worriedly thought to myself: “What’s going on here? The situation in our church is so bad and we can’t even get any new believers to stay. Are we doing something that isn’t in accord with ? Or has our church been abandoned by God?”
That was not the only problem, however, as I myself, who was in charge of the church, was constantly committing sins. Whenever I saw anyone who was living a richer life than me or who was better than me at something, I would feel so jealous, so much so that I would come up with reasons for the Lord to bless me: “Why doesn’t the Lord bless me?” I would think. “I expend myself for Him, so He should bless me more.” Moreover, I became addicted to online games and my heart was possessed by these things, so that sometimes I wouldn’t even read the Bible or pray at regular times. When I saw pictures of pretty women online, I would have wicked thoughts, and these wicked thoughts would intrude constantly on my mind. I couldn’t help but think of what thehad said before: “But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). “I’m committing sin,” I thought. “Although I pray to the Lord, repent to the Lord and try to restrain myself, I still sin all the time. I just don’t understand why I’m still capable of sinning, when I pray to the Lord and try to master myself.”
And so, I told the pastor about this condition I was finding myself in, but all he did was try to comfort me by saying, “The Bible says, ‘Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God throughour Lord’ (Romans 6:11). Don’t worry. All our sins, whether they be the sins we have committed in the past or the sins we shall commit in the future, are all forgiven through Jesus Christ our Lord. All we have to do is pray more to the Lord and confess and repent to Him.” I wasn’t very convinced by what the pastor had said, and instead I felt even more confused. The Bible says, “Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14), but I was still capable of sinning all the time. Was this behavior worthy of the Lord’s praise?
In order to resolve this problem in my spiritual life, I began to search for some videos on YouTube, and I visited other websites to look for spiritual information. One day, I was searching online when I happened to come across this passage: “Though many people, few understand what means, and what they must do to be after God’s heart. This is because, though people are familiar with the word ‘God’ and phrases such as ‘the work of God,’ they do not know God, much less do they know His work. No wonder, then, that all those who do not know God are possessed of a muddled belief. People do not take belief in God seriously because believing in God is too unfamiliar, too strange for them. In this way, they fall short of the demands of God. In other words, if people do not know God, do not know His work, then they are not fit for God’s use, much less can they fulfill the desire of God. ‘Belief in God’ means believing that there is a God; this is the simplest concept of faith in God. What’s more, believing that there is a God is not the same as truly believing in God; rather, it is a kind of simple faith with strong religious overtones. True faith in God means experiencing the words and work of God based on a belief that God holds sovereignty over all things. So you shall be freed of your corrupt disposition, shall fulfill the desire of God, and shall come to know God. Only through such a journey can you be said to believe in God. Yet people often see belief in God as something very simple and frivolous. The belief of such people is meaningless and shall never gain the approval of God, because they tread the wrong path. Today, there are still those who believe in God in letters, in hollow doctrines. They are unaware that their belief in God has no substance, and that they are unable to gain the approval of God, and they still pray for peace and sufficient grace from God. We should stop and ask ourselves: Could believing in God really be the easiest thing on earth? Does believing in God mean nothing more than receiving much grace from God? Can people who believe in God but do not know Him, and believe in God yet oppose Him, really fulfill the desire of God?” (The Word Appears in the Flesh).
I contemplated the words as I read them. These words revealed what genuine faith in God was: Faith in God was not merely asking God for blessings or for grace but, more importantly, it was to believe that God rules all things and, on this basis, to experience God’s utterances and work. I looked at the situation in our church. The pastor’s sermons always focused on how to make us richer and on how to live peaceful, happy lives. He never preached about how to practice or experience the Lord’s words, or what the Lord’s will was, and the result of this was that we believed in God only to receive blessings. No wonder the problems of my spiritual life could not be resolved. I thought of how I got jealous whenever I saw anyone living a better life than me, or anyone with a higher status than me, and about how I then blamed the Lord, and wished to capitalize on how I’d expended myself for the Lord to come up with reasons to be blessed and to make conditions with the Lord, demanding that He bless me as well. When I’d finished reading this passage, I finally realized that the way in which I’d been believing in God was wrong: I’d been believing in God in order to get His blessings in return. I’d been so selfish and contemptible, always demanding that God bless me more, and that kind of belief was not praiseworthy at all. The Lord Jesus once said, “Not every one that said to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). The Lord said that only by doing the will of the Father in heaven can one enter into heaven, and yet I had not been doing the heavenly Father’s will, nor experiencingand work in my pursuit. To believe in God in this way all one’s life was totally futile, and I knew that I could not carry on this pursuit. This passage I’d read online led me to embark on the correct path of belief in God, and it made me want to read even more.
I then read another passage of words, “Today, God has new work. You may not accept these words, they may feel odd to you, but I advise you not to reveal your naturalness, for only those who truly hunger and thirst for righteousness before God can obtain the truth, and only those who are truly devout can be enlightened and guided by God” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). Reading this, I was amazed: God is performing new work? How could God be performing new work? I’d never heard about this before. My heart was filled with confusion, but when I read these words, “Only those who are truly devout can be enlightened and guided by God,” I thought of what the Lord Jesus had said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). I thought that these words were great, and I felt that they would definitely be able to resolve the problem of my sins, so why not seek and investigate? I therefore wrote in the chat column all about my confusion concerning the problem of committing sins. I also wrote that I wanted to understand more about God’s new work. It was a sister who replied to me. Because it was difficult to explain this issue in online chat, we decided to connect and fellowship on Facebook.
The sister said, “As people who believe in the Lord, we are all waiting for His return. But now He really has returned, and He has come back in the flesh to perform a new work….” When I heard this, I didn’t dare believe it. “Has the Lord Jesus truly returned?” I thought.
The sister then continued her fellowship, saying, “Having incarnated once again, this time God is primarily expressing His words to save people, which precisely fulfills the prophecy made by the Lord Jesus: ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come’ (John 16:12–13). Because the statures of the people at that time were so small and they could not bear what the Lord Jesus had to say, there were many truths which He withheld. When He returns in the last days, however, He will reveal all these truths and mysteries to us. Now this prophecy is fulfilled, andis the Lord Jesus returned. He expresses all the truths that enable people to be purified and to attain true salvation, and He performs the work of judgment and purification. Only by accepting God’s work of judgment in the last days, by taking the truths God expresses as our life and living by His words can our corrupt dispositions be purified and, ultimately, can we be qualified to enter into the .”
I listened to the sister’s fellowship and contemplated these verses of Scripture. Although we had often read them before, we had never understood their true meaning. Only now did I understand that the Lord Jesus had been saying that He would tell us more things when He returned in the last days. This made me think of what the Lord Jesus had said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Only God Himself could deliver the truth to mankind, show people the way and enable us to gain life.