A Different Kind of Love
By Chengxin, Brazil
By a chance opportunity in 2011, I came to Brazil from China. When I had just arrived, my eyes were overflowing with fresh and new experiences, curiosity, and I had a beautiful feeling about the future. But after a short time, this fresh and new feeling was quickly replaced by the loneliness and pain of finding myself in a far-off foreign land. Every day I went back home all alone, ate by myself, looking at the walls around me every day without anyone even to talk to, and I felt especially lonely in my heart, often crying all alone. When I felt the most pain and helpless,brought me into a gathering by means of a friend. Through reading the word of the Lord, singing hymns, and praying in gatherings, my lonely heart received the consolation of the Lord. I learned from that the heavens and earth and all things were created by God, and man too is God’s creation. The was crucified for the redemption of mankind, and it was the Lord Jesus who redeemed us from sin, and He is the only Redeemer of mankind. In the face of the Lord’s , which is greater than all else, I felt deeply moved and resolved to follow the Lord for the rest of my life. Because of this I was baptized on Thanksgiving to become a Christian not just in name but in reality. Because I liked singing songs, especially those in praise of God, after I was baptized I took the initiative to join the choir and work as part of it. Through God’s guidance and blessings, I lived in peace and happiness. Every time I went to a gathering or praised God in worship, I felt suffused with energy.
But a good situation didn’t last forever, and as I entered the ranks ofministry, I gradually saw that in the concern and care the brothers and sisters in the church showed to each other on the surface they were all seemingly harmonious, but that in their speech and actions they were all actually acting out of self-interest. They didn’t want to suffer any personal loss while working in the ministry of the church, and often gossiped behind others’ backs about who was doing more and who was doing less. Even the pastor was extremely snobby. He treated people based on the amounts of their donations, and when preaching always talked about donations. Every time he came to a gathering, the thing the pastor put the most emphasis on was whether or not people were giving donations and how much they had given, and he didn’t want to hear anything about the lives of the brothers and sisters. He talked about love, but didn’t show a single genuine action. When the brothers and sisters had difficulties, the pastor wouldn’t help them, but what made people even more indignant was that he would still criticize them and that he looked down on those powerless and penniless brothers and sisters…. When I saw this environment of the church, I was disappointed but also confused: How had the church changed so that it was no different than society? Slowly, I lost the love and faith I had had before, and on Sunday when I would go to the church I felt much less invigorated. I didn’t even want to sing. Every week when I went to church, I was either standing outside drinking coffee or taking a quick nap in the pews. When the sermon was over, I’d toss in my donation and head out. There was always a feeling of grief or helplessness in my heart.
One Sunday in August of 2016, I met Sister Li Min in a park who had come from America and who was the classmate of sisters Gao Xiaoying and Liu Fang. They all believed in the Lord. We got to chatting while sitting on the lawn. We talked and talked, and came around to the topic of the church environment, and I said everything I had seen in the church. After Sister Li Min heard that, she nodded thoughtfully and said: “Nowadays, not only has your church become this way, but the whole religious world has lost. They’ve fallen into darkness and desolation. The Lord Jesus once prophesied: ‘And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold’ (Matthew 24:12). It’s already the period of , and lawlessness is growing ever more rampant in religion. The pastors and elders don’t abide by the commandments of the Lord Jesus, they don’t carry out the way of the Lord, and they think it is not a big deal to live in sin like that. We all know that the flourishing of the church is the fruit obtained by the work of the Holy Spirit. Today, God has already done new work, and the work of the Holy Spirit has been transmitted to a group of people who accept and obey God’s new work. The pastors and elders in religion don’t lead believers in seeking and investigating God’s work in the last days, but rather resist and condemn God’s new work by disseminating all kinds of rumors and misconceptions to block people from returning to God. They meet with God’s hatred and rejection, so the entire religious world is without God’s blessing and has completely lost the work of the Holy Spirit, and has been cast aside and eliminated by the Lord. So the religion becomes more and more desolate and darkened. It is just like the time when the Lord Jesus became incarnate to perform work. The work of the Lord Jesus opened up the Age of Grace and put an end to the Age of Law. And because those people who followed the Lord Jesus accepted and obeyed the new work of God, they then gained the work of the Holy Spirit, whereas on the contrary the Holy Spirit did not work among those people who did not accept the Lord Jesus and still remained in the temple. So the temple that once was filled with glorification of God and where believers worshiped God became a place for doing business and a den of thieves. That is to say that the reason for the desolation of the church in one respect is caused by the pastors and elders not adhering to God’s commandments nor carrying out the word of God, and their commission of evil acts. In another respect it is because God has performed new work, and that the work of the Holy Spirit has shifted, and people have not caught up to the footsteps of God. However, God’s will is present in the desolation of the church, and there is a truth that can be found therein. Through the desolation of the church, God compelled all those who with true hearts and who thirst for to leave the religion behind, so that they can leave it to search for the work of the Holy Spirit and to catch up with the footsteps of God and to come into the presence of God to obtain God’s present work and salvation.”
Hearing what Sister Li fellowshiped, I nodded my head and said: “What you said is right. It’s certainly just as you say. I was never able to understand this problem, as the church was originally a place for worshiping God, but there is no difference anymore between the church and society at large. Furthermore, there is no new light in what the pastors preach, nor any enjoyment in listening to them, and people now live in darkness. As it turns out, it is that we have not yet caught up to God’s new work, so what must we now do to catch up to God’s new work?” Sister Li said: “The Lord Jesus has long since returned. In the last days, God is incarnated as a man to express the truth under the name of. He has done a stage of the work of judging and purifying mankind. We have to catch up to God’s work in the last days and accept the judgment of God’s word, and then we can obtain the work of the Holy Spirit….” When I heard that the Lord Jesus had already returned to do a stage of the work of judgment, I was astonished. I thought: “Isn’t judgment to punish a person after he is convicted? God comes in the last days to judge those people who don’t believe in God, and we who believe in the Lord Jesus have already been absolved of our sins and have been graced with salvation. We don’t need to receive God’s judgment, for when the Lord comes He will directly raise us to the heavenly kingdom. How could He come to judge us?” With that thought, I had given rise to my own opinion. At that moment, Sister Liu Fang said, “Brother, I have already been investigating Almighty God’s work of the last days for a week with Sister Gao. From the word of Almighty God, we have recognized it is the . Almighty God is indeed the returned Lord Jesus. Read the word of Almighty God, and you will understand. The reason why the Lord Jesus returned to do the work of judgment is that, although we who believe in the Lord have been forgiven of our sins, we are living all along amid sin from which we cannot free ourselves. There is no way to free ourselves from the bondage and control of sin, and indeed we really do need God to express the truth to judge and purify us, and to root out our sinful nature and corrupt satanic disposition. Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days is a new and outstanding work built on the foundation of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus. It completely purifies and saves men through the judgment of the word, and brings people to a wonderful destination.” After this, they patiently fellowshiped about some more truths with me. But no matter what they said, I just couldn’t accept that the Lord was returning to judge those who believed in Him. At the same time I was conflicted, I was also bewildered in my mind: Sisters Gao and Liu were very pious believers, and everyone acknowledged their belief and love for the Lord, so how could they believe that the Lord Jesus was returning to judge us who believe in Him, and that He would not raise us directly into the kingdom of heaven? Could it be that there was some mystery of the truth in this that I did not know?
As I was thinking, Sister Li Min took out a book and said earnestly to me: “Brother, the Lord Jesus said: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3). Don’t jump to a conclusion first, OK? Let us first see if the word of Almighty God is the voice of God, and whether it can provide life for us, and whether it can purify and save us, and then we will know whether Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. God’s sheep will listen to the voice of God, so let us read God’s word together!” I was a bit unwilling in my heart and didn’t answer her question. The three sisters were a little saddened to see my attitude. Sister Liu suddenly suggested: “First let’s pray, and then read some more from the word of God!” After she said that, the three sisters began to pray, and I had to follow along with them. Still, as I was praying, I could hardly quiet my heart. Even though I couldn’t hear what the sisters were praying about, I was moved by their living out. They treated God with such an attitude of sincerity, and searched for God’s will in everything. They hoped that I would investigate God’s work in the last days, and this also came out of God’s love for me. After the prayer, Sister Li handed me a book and said sincerely to me: “Most of the questions in this book, A Hundred Questions and Answers on Investigating the, exist among people of all denominations. For each question, related passages are chosen from the word of God to explain it. Go ahead and take a look.” I didn’t want to take the book, but seeing how sincere they were, I looked again at Sister Gao and Sister Liu, and how much they hoped I would investigate and seek. I thought how crucial a matter it was indeed to welcome the coming of the Lord, and that I shouldn’t treat it carelessly. At that, I accepted the book and said: “Alright, I’m willing to accept this book. Let’s stop here for today. I will read the book first, and then we’ll talk.”
After I went back home, I set the book to one side and my thoughts were all mixed up. I thought back on what Sister Li Min had fellowshiped and had a feeling that it was all clear and distinct. Every sentence she said was a fact, but what I couldn’t understand was: Why would the Lord perform a stage of the work of judgment upon His return? After contemplating it carefully, I still didn’t understand it. But as for this matter of the Lord’s second coming, since I had heard about it, I couldn’t blindly make up the rules and sit resigned to my fate. I thought it would also be a good idea to take a look at the book and grow a little in my differentiation. At that, I spent six days reading that book from cover to cover. I saw that Almighty God had made known many, many truths and mysteries that I had never heard of before. It allowed me to gain great provision, and also, when I had read the words of Almighty God, I felt that there were many things that were said in the same tone as that of the Lord Jesus. There was authority and power as if it was God’s voice speaking. So, after I finished reading the book, I wanted to understand even more what was behind the work of judgment done by Almighty God. I decided to go find Sister Gao to ask for clarification.