On my first Christmas in America, I clicked some Christmas preaching videos of the religious groups on my computer. All that I saw seemed alike: The believers dressed in Christmas robes and sang the anthems. Then the pastor delivered a written sermon and led the prayer to the Lord for blessings, after which all the people dispersed. I heard from a friend who frequented the church that they spent more time on Christmas dinner. Later, I clicked another video from a comparatively well-known religious group in North America. The pastor was familiar to me, as he led a Chinese student movement of the last century and later escaped from China. I still remembered the time when I first watched his preaching video, which was a sermon he delivered in Taiwan over ten years ago. In it, he narrated his escape experience on Christmas Eve and the marvelous salvation of the Lord Jesus. I was truly moved by the Lord’s wonderful deeds at that time. Today, the pastor who turns grey at his temples continues the sermon centering around the testimony of God’s grace, in the newly-decorated and sumptuous church on such a grand festival packaged and prettified by the religious world. Many people who were not regular attenders drove purposely to the meeting from afar that day, earnestly listening to the preach that stood unchanged for more than a decade. It seemed they were enjoying a spiritual feast of the highest standard of that year. Naturally, I felt regrettable at the sight of such a scene. For these people remained in their own temple, enjoying the Lord’s grace habitually, with numb cry and laugh. However, have they ever thought of the questions seriously: Will the Lord really listen to our praise and prayers? Does the Holy Spirit still work in the place full of religious rituals?

PhariseesAt this moment, I couldn’t help but remember the Jewish Pharisees who served Jehovah God originally in the temple. They served there as the chief priests and priests from generation to generation. Like people clothed in Christmas robes, they preached the laws and commandments in classy clothes. Some even wrote the verses on the fringe of their clothes to show their piety. However, the Lord Jesus scolded these Pharisees who were pious by appearance, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like to white washed sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27). “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew 23:15). “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! 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” (Matthew 23:13). In the late period of the Age of Law, the hypocritical substance of the Pharisees was fully revealed. They connived at people’s selling and buying goods like oxen, sheep and doves in the temple, turning the holy place that had been used to offer sacrifices to God into a den of thieves. They prayed loudly at the crossing, deceiving man that they were the most pious to God, but they secretly embezzled the possessions of widows. They repeatedly declared that they would not take part with their ancestors in shedding the blood of the prophets, but actually had many prophets and apostles killed. … As the laws only enabled man to know sin, they could still sin against God constantly due to their corruption, with the result that they sinned more and more. If that had continued, mankind would finally be punished by death for the violation of the laws. Therefore, God was incarnated among man to do a stage of redemptive work by the name of the Lord Jesus. After some people saw and heard His word and work, they came to follow Him. However, the Pharisees feared that people would all convert to the Lord Jesus and thus they would lose their position and job. Thereupon, they deceived the Jewish people that the Lord Jesus was not the coming Messiah, for the name was different, and they even condemned Him for the violation of the laws by not keeping the Sabbath. They required the Jewish people to keep the words of the laws and not to seek the Lord’s work, and they even went so far as to incite and delude them to crucify the Lord Jesus. Even nowadays, only a few Jews believe in the Lord Jesus, which is the irrefutable evidence of the Pharisees resisting God and devouring man’s soul. Nevertheless, as to the evil substance of the Pharisees, how much could the Jewish people, the Pharisees’ followers differentiate?

In the last days, God becomes flesh again and uses the name of Almighty God to carry out a stage of work of judging and purifying man based on the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus, ending the Age of Grace and opening the Age of Kingdom. Almighty God has expressed all the truths for mankind to be saved, which can judge and purify their corrupt dispositions, make them free from sin and be saved. Nowadays, Almighty God’s work of the last days has been carried out for over two decades, and His name has already been spread to countless homes, shocking every sect and group. Those truly yearning for God’s appearance have returned before the throne of God in succession at hearing His voice. God has conquered and gained a group of overcomers in Mainland China and His kingdom gospel is being spread to all nations and all lands of the world. But the pastors and elders of the religious world still stubbornly cleave to the words of the Bible and preach the notions and fallacies such as “All beliefs beyond the Bible are the heresies,” “Whoever does not descend on a heavenly white cloud is not the return of the Lord,” “The returned Lord is to take man into the sky to meet with Him,” etc. They are the same as the Pharisees. To keep their position and job, they deceive the believers that God simply does His work according to the words of the Bible, and any work that is outside the Bible is not from God. Those who believe the heretical fallacies stay in the religious places, the sumptuous churches where the presence of the Holy Spirit is absent. They are merely satisfied with some outward pious religious rituals. Yet they do not receive the slightest supply of the living water of life from God, much less have the way to seek the truth to have their corrupt dispositions thoroughly cleansed. Even if they hold such faith in God to the end, will there be any difference between their ending and that of those Jewish people who didn’t accept the Lord Jesus’ redemptive work throughout their whole life? Do you still have no discernment on the evil substance of some pastors and elders in today’s religious world, who ignore the followers’ lives but only maintain their own status and job? God’s work of the last days will conclude with His glorification. Are you still waiting and seeing or refusing to seek and investigate it for listening to the pastors and elders? In the end, let’s enjoy a passage of warning words from Almighty God to seek and think over the question carefully: On the matter of welcoming the returned Lord in the last days, should we tightly keep to the teachings of the pastors and elders, or come out of the religion, follow God’s footsteps, and seek the way of eternal life from the latest utterance and word of God?

Almighty God says, “since we are searching for the footprints of God, we must search for God’s will, for the words of God, for the utterances of God—for where there are the new words of God, there is the voice of God, and where there are the footsteps of God, there are the deeds of God. Where there is the expression of God, there is the appearance of God, and where there is the appearance of God, there exists the truth, the way, and the life” (“The Appearance of God Has Brought a New Age” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path through which man shall gain life, and the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven…. The steps of God’s work are vast and mighty, like surging waves and rolling thunders—yet you sit and passively await destruction, sticking to your folly and doing nothing. In this way, how can you be considered someone who follows in the footsteps of the Lamb? How can you justify the God that you hold on to as a God who is always new and never old? … I suggest, then, that you stop dreaming, and look at who is working now, at who is now carrying out the work of saving man during the last days. If you do not, you shall never gain the truth, and shall never gain life” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).

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