Zhumadian City, Henan Province
I had been a co-worker of the “Praise Church.” Since I believed in the Lord in 1988, I had believed that by listening to the leaders, I would surely be approved by God and go to heaven in the future, as they knew more things than others and had a rich knowledge of the Bible. So, whatever the upper leaders instructed me to do, I would listen to and obey it without the slightest negligence. In 1996, the leader said, “Now, there is a sect called the ‘Eastern Lightning,’ and it is very rampant. Anyone who has contact with its followers will be captivated. Now many people have turned to them. In future, we mustn’t receive any strangers…” Since then, I conveyed the leader’s “order” faithfully and took the lead to carry it out in the church. An unfamiliar sister came to preach God’s work of the last days to me many times, and each time she came, she helped me with the field work. Yet I either avoided her or said harsh words to insult her. But that didn’t stop her from coming to preach to me persistently. Once, when we were having a meeting, she came again. I abused her before all others, “Get away, you devil! I bind Satan in the name of the Lord!” With that, I pushed and shoved her out of the door together with several other believers, and I threw her bike in a deep puddle by the roadside. In the end, she picked it up with the help of the unbelievers. Just in that way, with the leader’s instruction “don’t receive strangers” kept in my mind, I shut the door on God’s salvation of the last days time and time again. However, what happened later greatly exceeded my expectation.
Once, the leader and I went together to visit a church. We went to a host family and the sister received us warmly. She bought a big chunk of meat and cooked it for dinner. The leader was very happy and said to me, “You see, if you are tireless in running the race, your appetite will be satisfied.” I was stunned at that. I had never expected that the leader I looked up to could say such a word. “Do we visit the churches just to eat good food?” Later, we went to a host family of another church. The sister served us an ordinary meal. At night, when we were going to rest, the leader said to me, “You see, this church doesn’t have any love at all. We won’t have meetings with them in future. The host family in the northern part served us well…” Later, the leader really didn’t care for those churches any more. Seeing what she did, I became so weak that I didn’t even want to attend meetings. But I was afraid of offending her, so I had to force myself to hold on.
Just at that time, Almighty God stretched out His saving hand to me once again. One afternoon in May 2000, the sister who had preached the gospel to me came again. I said angrily, “What a cheek! Get out! Our leader told us not to receive strangers…” She said with a smile, “Sister, are you believing in God or the leader?” “Of course God!” “Then, the Bible says, ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’ (Hebrews 13:2) Doesn’t the ‘strangers’ refer to those we don’t know? The Lord told us to entertain ‘strangers,’ but your leader didn’t allow you to do so. Then who should you listen to?” I was speechless. “Yes! How come I didn’t notice this verse? Since the Lord asked us to receive, won’t I be against the Lord’s will if I don’t? The leader’s deeds don’t accord with the Lord’s teachings either.” So I changed my mind and received her. Then, according to God’s word, she fellowshipped with me in detail about many truths such as the reason for the desolation of the churches in the last days, the change of the age, the change of God’s name, the significance of God’s incarnation, the inside truth of the three stages of work, and so on. And when she fellowshipped without referring to the book of God’s word, she asked me every now and then whether her fellowship was correct. I couldn’t help thinking to myself, “The leaders I met before all considered themselves superior to others. They never asked you whether they were right when they spoke, and no matter what they said, the believers must obey it. How could she have such a good living out? And every word in the book is the truth and the fact. This is indeed the work of the true God, the word of the true God!” I kept nodding my head. But when it occurred to me that my leader would rebuke me if I accepted God’s new work, I became somewhat hesitant. The sister noticed it and fellowshipped with me, “No matter how superior a leader is and how rich his biblical knowledge is, he is a small created being like us. He can’t bring people the truth and the life. The Scripture says, ‘This people draws near to me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.’ (Matthew 15:8-9) This shows that God is a jealous God and He hates it most that people worship idols!” Then the sister read two more passages of God’s word: “They only value position, prestige, and power; what they hold in high regard are large groups and sects. Therefore, they have no regard at all for those led by Christ. They are simply traitors who have turned their backs on Christ, on truth, and on life. What you admire is not the humility of Christ, but those false shepherds of prominent standing. You do not love the adorableness or wisdom of Christ, but those wantons who associate with the vile world. You laugh at the pain of Christ who has no place to lay His head, but admire those corpses that seize offerings and live in debauchery. You are not willing to suffer alongside Christ, but gladly go into the arms of those reckless antichrists though they supply to you only flesh, only letters, and only control. Even now your heart still turns toward them, their reputation, their standing in the hearts of all the Satans, their influence, and their authority, yet you continue to have an attitude of resistance and refusal to accept the work of Christ. This is why I say that you do not have the ‘faith’ of acknowledging Christ. The reason you have followed Him to this day is entirely because you were forced. In your heart forever tower many lofty images; you cannot forget their every word and deed, nor their influential words and hands. They are, in your heart, forever supreme and forever heroes.” (from “Are You a True Believer of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “Those who read the Bible in grand churches recite the Bible every day, yet not one understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one is able to know God; moreover, not one is in accord with the heart of God. They are all worthless, vile men, each standing on high to teach ‘God.’ Though they brandish the name of God, they willfully oppose Him. Though they label themselves believers of God, they are ones who eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such men are devils who devour the soul of man, leading demons who purposefully disturb those who try to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks that impede the path of those who seek God. Though they are of ‘robust flesh,’ how are their followers to know that they are antichrists who lead man in opposition to God? How are they to know that they are living devils who specially seek souls to devour?” (from “All Who Do Not Know God Are Those Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh)
After listening to the two passages of God’s word quielty, I was greatly shocked. Then I knew that for so many years in my believing in God, I was actually believing in the leaders, worshipping idols, which was directly resisting God. I really hated myself for being so blind and ignorant. I was manipulated by the leaders all along, being trampled upon by them, joining them in resisting God’s new work, and became an accomplice of Satan. I had committed the most heinous sin! If today I didn’t listen to God’s words that expose it, I would by no means realize it and wouldn’t even know why when I was punished in the end. O Almighty God! You really love me so much! I was so ignorant that I held a misconception that only by obeying the leaders could I go to heaven. So I worshipped man as God, only listening to the leaders’ words and never seeking the truth, conveying and implementing the leaders’ words as an imperial edict. I not only refused Your salvation so many times, but also hindered so many innocent souls from returning to You. But You didn’t remember my evil deeds and still spared no efforts to save me. I have nothing to repay You. I only wish to follow You resolutely, get free from the bondage of the leaders, and bring more brothers and sisters before You.
Not long after I accepted Almighty God, one day, when I was reading God’s word at home, the leader suddenly broke into my house with several co-workers. She roared at me angrily, “I’ve told you so many times not to receive strangers. Why didn’t you listen to me? What benefit did they give to you? The people of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ dare to come to steal my lambs. I must call ‘110’ to have them arrested next time I see them! …” She shouted loudly and many unbelievers came to see what was happening. At that time, I simply couldn’t believe that the person before me was the leader I had adored and followed for so many years. She even claimed that the Lord’s sheep were hers and that she would hand the brothers and sisters believing in Almighty God to the Police. Wasn’t she be a Judas then? The fact I saw with my own eyes made me see her ugly features more clearly. To maintain her position, she would rather have others go to hell with her than let them accept the true way. It was truly like what God’s word exposes, “All such men are devils who devour the soul of man”! Then she pointed her finger at me and said menacingly, “In future, you mustn’t have contact with outsiders without my permission.” Facing that, I could no longer endure it. I asked back firmly, “The Lord told us not to be forgetful to entertain strangers. How dare you go beyond the Lord’s teaching and not let me receive them?” She immediately flew into a rage and bawled, “You’ve become so bold in a few days. You dare to talk back to me? You should make it clear today. Will you follow Almighty God or me?” “You still ask me to follow you? I was nearly killed by you. Your game is up! Now I’m certain that Almighty God is the returned Jesus. I’ll follow Him resolutely and never regret!” She said exasperatedly, “You are incorrigible now! I expel you out of the church in the name of the Lord!” With that, she stalked off. At that time God enlightened me to think of the scene of a blind man being driven out of the synagogue by the Pharisees and taken in by Jesus. I was extremely happy in my heart. He who is rejected by man is accepted by God. What an honorable thing it is to be taken in by the most high Almighty God and stay at His home!
Since then, I completely got free from the bondage of the leader and lived in the presence of Almighty God, enjoying the sweetness of God’s word every day. I saw that there was no distinction of position among the brothers and sisters in the church at all. Everyone talked freely in meetings even when the leader was there. The life I dreamed of for years came true today. How could I not cheer and jump happily? Dear brothers and sisters, do you long for this kind of life? Are you still being “remotely controlled” and ordered about by your leaders as I was before? To be frank, I’ve completely understood now that in believing in God we should only worship God and have our heart occupied solely by God, not by any man. The leaders cannot control our destiny or bring us the truth and the way to practice. Only God is the truth, the way, and the life, and only God’s word is the ever-gushing spring of living water of life. Come, dear brothers and sisters. Let’s get free from man’s control and bondage as soon as possible and go into the arms of Almighty God!