How to treat the strangers who preach the gospel? (2)
This is just as the Lord Jesus has prophesied that in the end of the world, the Son of man will send forth his angels to separate the righteous from the wicked. (cf. Matthew 13:40-43, 49-50) Obviously, those who accept the gospel conveyed by the messengers God sends are regarded as righteous in God’s eyes, whereas those who resist and refuse it are regarded as evil. And we are familiar with these verses, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15) It can be seen that God spreads his work of salvation on earth through sending messengers to convey his gospel, and this is a principle of God’s working on earth.
Regarding the final outcomes of the two kinds of people, those who receive the messengers sent by God and those who do not, the Lord Jesus has long prophesied, “Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in…. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink? When saw we you a stranger, and took you in? … And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me. Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and you took me not in…. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, or thirsty, or a stranger…. Then shall he answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (cf. Matthew 25:34-46) Therefore, since we are all waiting for the Lord’s coming again, we should thirst for God’s appearing and seek God’s footsteps; since we know that God looks for us through sending messengers, making all the “wheat” who truly believe in him return into his “barn,” can we still refuse the strangers who preach the gospel without thinking and discerning? If we blindly reject the strangers who preach the gospel, then what awaits us in the end will be a miserable outcome of suffering punishment.
At this point, we should understand that such views and opinions as “no stranger who preaches the gospel is to be received” and “all the ways preached by strangers are false and deceptive” are inadvisable. If we hold on to such views, we will very likely shut the door on those who preach the eternal gospel, and will very likely refuse God’s end-time salvation. On the other hand, we also see that now some denominational leaders still disregard the fact of Almighty God’s end-time work. Not only do they stubbornly hold on to old views, not seeking or accepting the salvation revealed in the end time which was prophesied in the Bible and has already been fulfilled, but they also wildly spread “hearing messages only in the church,” “fellowshipping only with the leaders,” and other fallacies against God’s will to hinder the brothers and sisters from accepting God’s salvation. As a result, many brothers and sisters who don’t know the inside story due to looking up to man and blindly obeying the leaders are slow in coming to God’s throne to enjoy the manna of living water Almighty God supplies, and their life has suffered a great loss. With Such leaders and such working, doesn’t it lead to the ultimate outcome that “if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch”? Is there any difference between them and the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees? “…for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in.” (cf. Matthew 23:13) When the apostles and disciples were sent forth to various places to proclaim the Lord Jesus’s salvation, the religious leaders and authorities like the priests in the temple and the Pharisees and quite a few “kind-hearted persons” advised people with seeming sincerity and solemnity not to listen to what was preached and not to be deceived by strangers. Let’s ask: Who were truly caring for God’s will and cooperating with God’s work? Who were truly deceiving people and hindering God’s work? When Almighty God’s end-time work is rapidly spreading in Mainland China and many “strangers” are sent forth into various denominations and sects to proclaim the kingdom gospel, quite a few religious leaders, authorities, and “kind-hearted persons” stand out to dissuade people…. The fact proves that the views they spread are not only discordant with the Lord Jesus’ teaching, but are even more against God’s eager intention to save man today. On the point of guarding against the “strangers” who preach God’s end-time work, quite a few leaders (pastors and elders) of various denominations and sects surprisingly “hold the same view.” Plainly speaking, these leaders are not only stubborn and conservative, arrogant and self-right, and resistant against God’s end-time work, and at the same time they also trap and control the brothers and sisters, so as to secure their position established by their years of labor and safeguard their own interests. Aren’t they the same with the Pharisees who resisted Jesus at that time? They are real embodiments of the Pharisees! It is really that “there is nothing new under the sun”! Almighty God says, “Those who do not understand the purpose of God’s work are the ones who resist God. Those who understand the purpose of God’s work but do not pursue to satisfy God are even more the ones who resist God. Those who read the Bible in the big churches recite the Bible all day, but none of them understands the purpose of God’s work, and none of them can know God, much less can any of them be after God’s heart. They all are useless base ones and are ones who lecture ‘God’ in a high position. They all are ones who carry the banner of God but deliberately resist God. They all are ones who hang up the signboard of believing in God but eat people’s flesh and drink their blood. All such ones are devils that devour people’s souls, are leading devils that deliberately disturb people’s taking the right way, and are stumbling blocks that hinder people from seeking God. Although they are all ‘physically strong,’ how could those who follow them know that they are antichrists that lead people to resist God? How could they know that they are the living devils that specially devour people’s souls? Those who think themselves noble before God are the lowest, but those who think themselves low are the noblest. Those who think that they know God’s work and who can, looking at God, wildly preach about God’s work to others are the most ignorant ones. All such people are the ones who do not have God’s testimony and are arrogant and self-conceited ones. Those who think that they know too little about God but who indeed have practical experience and have a practical knowledge of God are the ones loved by God the most. Only such people are truly the ones who have testimony, and only such people are the ones who can truly be perfected by God.” (from The Word Appears in the Flesh) “Look at the leaders in every denomination and sect. They are all arrogant and self-right, and they interpret the Bible out of context and according to their own imaginations. They all work by their gifts and knowledge. If they cannot preach anything, will those people follow them? Anyway, they have some knowledge, can preach some doctrines, or know how to win over others and use some artifices, so they have brought the people before themselves and have deceived them. Those people believe in God in name but in reality follow them. If meeting those who preach the true way, some will say, ‘About believing in God, we have to consult him.’ You see, they have to have a man’s consent to their believing in God; isn’t this a problem? What have the leaders become then? Haven’t they become Pharisees, false shepherds, antichrists, and stumbling blocks to people’s accepting the true way?” (from Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers) Brothers and sisters, when we carefully investigate God’s new work, truly treasure our life, and seriously treat our future and destination, it’s sure that God will open our spiritual eyes so that we can discern who is the real deceiver. Do not judge a man by his appearance, and do not listen to a word by its surface. Man’s substance and the evil intention hidden behind various views can only be revealed in Almighty God’s words. Believing blindly and following blindly can only ruin ourselves.
So, it is extremely important for us the end-time people to “receive strangers.” Through receiving strangers, we will, without our knowing it, meet the angels who preach the end-time gospel, receive God’s blessings, and thus avoid the suffering of eternal punishment. Since we believe in the Lord, we should abide by his teachings and listen to his words rather than men’s. Especially today when God’s work takes an epoch-making turn, we should even more bear in mind the Lord’s words and entertain strangers with love, instead of listening to men and being restricted or intimidated by men. If we lose God’s end-time salvation and ruin our lives because we believe men’s words readily, won’t it be very regrettable? Now it is time for us to make a choice. It’s sure that all the brothers and sisters who are willing to abide by the Lord Jesus’ teachings and who sincerely thirst for the truth and seek the Lord’s second appearing will choose the truth and the true way without being controlled by anyone. Almighty God admonishes us, “Jesus’ coming again is an exceedingly great salvation to those who can accept the truth, but to those who cannot accept the truth it is a mark of being condemned. You should choose your way. Do not do things of blaspheming the Holy Spirit and rejecting the truth. Do not be ignorant and arrogant people, but be ones who obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit and thirst for and seek the truth. Only this will be good for you. I advise that you should cautiously walk the path of believing in God. Do not make judgments rashly, much less believe in God casually and carelessly. You ought to know that a believer in God should at least have a meek heart and a God-fearing heart. Those who hear the truth but turn up their noses at it are all foolish and ignorant people. Those who hear the truth but casually make judgments about it or condemn it are all arrogant people. As a believer in Jesus, no one has the right to curse or condemn others. You all should be ones who have sense and accept the truth.” (from The Word Appears in the Flesh) Dear brothers and sisters, may we all be blessed and receive Almighty God’s end-time salvation by receiving the “strangers” who preach the end-time gospel to us.