Cowards Won’t Enter the Kingdom of Heaven
I was an ordinary believer in the Three-Self Church. One night, walking on the street, I saw that the police had mobilized in force—over ten policemen and some armed police officers in three police cars—to arrest several Christians in our village. At the sight of this, my heart couldn’t calm down for quite a long time. The next morning when I went for a walk alone in a park on the edge of my village, I was thinking about this matter when I happened to meet an old sister, Li Qing. Not until we talked about this matter did I find out that those arrested Christians were believers in Eastern Lightning. I was afraid, and thought that it was fortunate I didn’t believe in Eastern Lightning, otherwise I would also be in danger of being arrested.
Several days later my brother and his wife came to my house, and I told them about the arrests. My brother said: “The Chinese Communist government has been persecuting house churches frantically for a number of years. In every denomination there are Christians that have been arrested. And the harshest treatment is directed at the followers of Eastern Lightning. This is because they spread the gospel of God ceaselessly and their church is developing fast, which has attracted the CCP’s attention. The reason why we don’t suffer persecution is that we practice our faith in the Lord at home instead of going out to spread the gospel. The CCP simply has no regard for us at all, so they don’t arrest us. Before I thought that there must be something wrong with Eastern Lightning, and that’s why its followers are frenziedly persecuted by the CCP. But now I know that it is because their faith is greater and they are more loyal to God than us, and as a result they never stop spreading God’s gospel no matter how harsh the environment is.” Hearing all this from my brother, my attitude toward Eastern Lightning improved a little.
Then, my sister-in-law said: “‘The true way has been persecuted since ancient times.’ The truer the way is, the more fiercely it is persecuted by Satan. The CCP government, which is atheists holding power, is an evil satanic force that denies and opposes God. Any church which it brutally persecutes and suppresses is very likely to have the work of Holy Spirit, and to be a true church. And it is quite possible that their way is the true way.”
I thought what she said seemed reasonable, but thinking of my happy and easy life and the misery of those being arrested and put in jail, I couldn’t help being cowardly and frightened. So I said to her: “Sister, what you said is exactly correct. The more that it is the true way, the more it is persecuted. I remember that when thecame to do His work, the persecution from King Herod and the Jewish Pharisees’ was extremely severe. Those disciples and apostles who often spread the gospel and bore witness for God were particularly severely persecuted, and even martyred. In my view, it is all right to secretly at home. But if we go out to spread the gospel and bear witness for God, we will be arrested as well. Then, even if we don’t die, we will be tortured. Who can escape from the CCP’s police in one piece?”
My husband echoed my words: “That’s right! We don’t dare to believe in Eastern Lightning now, even if it is the true way. If we accept it, sooner or later will we be arrested and sent to prison. How can we live a normal life then? How will our whole family survive? Wait until the CCP collapses and the persecution is over and at that time we can still believe in it and be brought into the kingdom of heaven anyway.”
When my brother heard this, he earnestly said to us: “Is it as simple as you imagine to enter into the kingdom of heaven? I think that it is impossible to enter the heavenly kingdom if we can’t welcome the return of the Lord Jesus. Do you know why the CCP government doesn’t arrest us believers in the Three-Self Church? It is because the Three-Self is a church controlled by the CCP, and is completely lacking. And how the sermons are supposed to be delivered is done according to the dictates of the government. How is this true belief in God? This is purely obeying people, not God. That’s why they don’t watch the Three-Self Church at all. The CCP government most fears a church that has the truth, a church in which the Holy Spirit is at work. But we belong to a church that is following worldly trends; can we enter into the kingdom of heaven by believing in the Lord within such a church? Furthermore, there are requirements for entry into the kingdom of heaven; it is not a place just anyone can enter. The Lord Jesus 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). Are we able to welcome the return of the Lord by believing in the Three-Self Church? Are we able to obtain the truth and life? Are we the ones who follow God’s will? You see, when the Lord Jesus came to do His work two thousand years ago, believers in Judaism were too afraid of suffering persecution to follow the Lord Jesus. At that time, Judaism was a lawful religion which the government permitted. People within Judaism believed in God only in name and were not persecuted, but they were not the ones who obeyed the . They were not approved by God, were condemned as evildoers, and were ultimately rejected by the Lord.
I was quite ashamed after hearing these words, and my face burned. I had taken entering into the kingdom of heaven to be simple. At that moment, my husband said nonchalantly: “In our faith in the Lord, we should bring glory to Him in all that we do. Supposing that we are arrested and put into prison, will our family still be a family? Won’t our neighbors laugh at us then? Wasn’t it in order to seek peace and safety that we believed in the Lord? Believing in the Lord in the church can save us much pain. And what is most important is that we are safe. In any case, we truly believe in the Lord in our hearts. As long as we are safe and avoid being sent to prison, then it is enough regardless of whether we are in the Three-Self Church or a house church. When the time comes, if we can be raptured into the kingdom of heaven then it is the grace of the Lord, but if not, we won’t lose out. Even if we fail to gain good fortune, it is better than being put in prison and being punished.” Hearing this, I felt that what he said made sense but seemed not in accord with the will of the Lord. I was puzzled.
My sister in law said: “The Lord Jesus said, ‘the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force’ (Matthew 11:12). In believing in the Lord, no matter how great the hardships we have to suffer, so long as we can meet the return of the Lord, and be raptured into the kingdom of heaven then we are. By contrast, if we can’t welcome the returned Lord our faith is wasted, no matter how comfortable our life is! I saw the Revelation says: ‘These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’ (Revelation 7:14). ‘… These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes.’ (Revelation 14:4). ‘… there shall in no wise enter into it … but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life’ (Revelation 21:27). As we can see, only those who are in the Lamb’s book of life will have a place in the kingdom of heaven. These people follow the lamb at any time, no matter how great the persecutions and tribulations they may suffer. Does it refer to the ones who accept and testify for of ? There may be a mystery here that I’m unable to understand at present. It is clearly said in the words of the Lord who can enter into the kingdom of heaven and who cannot. The Lord said: ‘Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:10). Those who are arrested for believing in the true way are suffering for righteousness. They are certainly better than people who are cowardly like us, so perhaps only they can enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
After hearing all this, I felt very shocked. I thought: “Are we cowardly people? Is it true that cowardly people cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven? And only those who are persecuted for righteousness and follow God’s will can enter into the kingdom of heaven? No, this can’t be right. I’ll have to read the Bible carefully afterward.”
After my brother and his wife left, I hurried to open the Bible and saw this passage in Revelation: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). Since the Lord said that the fearful couldn’t enter into the kingdom of heaven, it must be true, because the Lord once said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). These are the words of the Lord! I sat feebly on the sofa, thinking that though I lead an easy life while believing in the Lord within the Three-Self Church and was not persecuted, I was still a cowardly believer and wouldn’t get into the kingdom of heaven in the end. It seemed that entering into the kingdom of heaven by faith in the Lord wasn’t such a simple thing as I’d imagined. I couldn’t help remembering words of the Lord: “Whoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:33). Yes! Unless we give up our lives to believe in God, we won’t really receive life.
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