The Gospel Received Through a Bible Study Class
By Yongxin, United States
I was born in China, and my mother is a devout Christian. When I was young, my mother often reminded me, “As a believer in the Lord Jesus, we should walk according to His teachings. Keep away from evil persons and things. If you stay close to the evil ones, you’ll easily follow them to do evil and share in their evil deeds. For the Bible says, ‘Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law does he meditate day and night’ (Psalms 1:1–2).” I bore my mother’s words in mind. In school, whenever my classmates fought, I would think of the Lord’s teachings and did not join them. Whenever my friends went to steal something or damage crops, I would keep away from it. My mother also often told me the stories of the Lord Jesus, and told me that when I was in trouble, I should remember to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus, and He would listen to my prayer and would help and rescue me anytime and anywhere. Gradually, I knew something about the deeds of the Lord Jesus and kept His name firmly in mind, and I prayed to Him when I encountered any problem. However, as I was fond of play in my childhood and was busy with work for a living when I grew up, I seldom went to the church and didn’t know much about the Lord.
At the end of 2004, I came to the US to make a fortune. In the beginning, as a total stranger there, I had few friends and was occupied with work all day long. I felt the pressure of life was great. Each time my mother called me, she would remind me, “Remember to pray to the Lord Jesus, ask Him to protect you….” In those days, I lived in a dormitory by myself. One night, I suddenly felt my hair standing on end, and I was very frightened. So I immediately called on the Lord Jesus. A second afterward, I felt at ease and peaceful. In 2006, I met an elderly brother in the Lord in a restaurant, and he gave me a Bible. Because of the language barrier, I couldn’t understand what was preached in the local church, so I spent half a year reading through the Bible. Later, in order to attend meetings, I moved to Chinatown in New York, where many Chinese people lived. Thanks to the Lord’s grace, I found a Chinese church, and in July 2011, I was baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As I attended more meetings, I came to know more about the Lord. However, I was gradually aware that although I felt good when I attended the meetings, yet in real life, very often I was unable to keep the Lord’s teachings. I knew clearly that the Lord asked us to hunger and thirst for righteousness and not to be angry with our brothers and sisters, but I was more interested in watching movies on the internet than reading the Bible. When I saw anything against my will at home, I would get angry with my wife and child, and when I saw my child was disobedient, I would get annoyed. I regretted my behavior very much afterward, but I still often committed sins in spite of myself. Besides, I was not happy with my ordinary life and so kept seeking a chance to make a fortune though I knew these words of the Lord Jesus: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Worse still, in 2013, I became addicted to gambling and tried to study the gambling skills to earn more money. In my heart, I knew clearly it was a greedy desire unpleasing to the Lord, but I always indulged myself …
On the afternoon of October 26, 2016, my wife came back from a Bible study class held in the house of Ah Juan, her colleague, and she said to me thoughtfully, “Today, Sister Tong, who studies the Bible together with me in Ah Juan’s house, told me that the Lord Jesus has come back. You know more about the Bible than me. Will you go with me to listen to it so that you can help me discern it?” As soon as I heard the Lord Jesus was back, it occurred to me that the Bible says false Christs will appear in the last days, so I refused her flatly. After that, she begged me to go several more times, but I still refused. In the evening, my wife asked me once more whether to go to listen. Because she asked me again and again, my curiosity was aroused: I only know false Christs will arise to delude people in the last days, but I don’t know how they will delude people. I may as well go to listen. It is not bad to gain discernment. So, I agreed.
The next morning, my wife and I went to Ah Juan’s house, and there was present Sister Chen, Sister Tong, Brother Liu, and others. After the introductions, we started to talk about the return of the Lord Jesus. Sister Tong asked me, “Brother, through His crucifixion, the Lord has redeemed us from sins and spared us from the condemnation of the law, but we still often live in the vicious circle of sinning in the daytime and confessing at night. Have you thought about this? And do you know why?” I replied, “You said it. I’m also bothered by this. Many times I knew clearly what I was doing was against the Lord’s teachings, but I still couldn’t help doing it. And many other brothers and sisters have also spoken of this problem. So why is this?” Then Sister Tong read a passage of God’s words: “Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering, and did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan. And so, after man was forgiven his sins, God has returned to flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment, and this work has brought man into a higher realm” (Preface). And she said, “The Lord Jesus came among people only to do the work of redeeming us humans. He didn’t do the work of removing man’s sinful nature. So our sinful nature still exists though our sins have been forgiven after we received the name of the Lord Jesus. That’s why we often live in the vicious circle of sinning and confessing. Therefore, we human beings need God to become flesh again to do another stage of work — the work of judgment and chastisement — to completely cleanse us. This stage of work is a higher work after the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. This stage and the two previous stages of work are complementary and closely linked one to the next. Only when we accept the work of judgment and chastisement of Almighty God, can we be cleansed and saved.” Then, combining with the verses in the Bible and the words of Almighty God, the sister fellowshiped in detail about the significance and aim of God’s three stages of work, the mystery of God’s incarnation, etc.
I found what she fellowshiped didn’t depart from the Bible, and was all related to the work done by Jesus, and moreover that her fellowship was something I had never heard before. Through her fellowship I understood that the reason why I often sinned and then confessed though I had believed in the Lord Jesus was because the Lord only did the work of redemption and didn’t do the work of removing sins. However, when they said that God’s name is Almighty God in the third stage of His work, and that only if people receive the name of Almighty God and follow His work of the last days can they be saved, I was a little worried, thinking, “Is Almighty God really the return of the Lord Jesus?” I was very afraid that I would take a wrong way and offend the Lord. I told myself: I must be careful regarding the return of the Lord Jesus. This is a great matter. I have believed in the Lord Jesus and accepted Him as my Savior, but now I was suddenly told to believe in the name of Almighty God. I must be cautious about it. I was hesitating whether to accept the work of Almighty God. Meanwhile, I kept telling myself: Be cautious. Wait and see.
After reaching home, I was in no mood to do anything else, and kept thinking of the sister’s communication. I pondered seriously: It’s true that there’re many prophecies concerning the Lord’s return in the Bible. And what the sister communicated about the work of Almighty God are all on the basis of the Bible. But I still couldn’t make a decision, because I still had doubts and worry. I thought: It is in the name of the Lord Jesus that we believers in the Lord are saved. But today I suddenly heard that the Lord has come back in the name of Almighty God and that all believers in the Lord Jesus have to accept Almighty God. It’s really difficult for me to accept Almighty God. Then I remembered the app of the Church of Almighty God that the brothers and sisters installed on my cellphone, and I wanted to see what’s in it. Opening it, I saw the Hymn Column with very meaningful titles. So I started to listen to them one after another. Thank God! These hymns moved me much and increased my faith in God. My heart being drawn by these hymns, I looked up to God silently and asked Him to guide and help me so I could discern and see clearly whether Almighty God was the return of the Lord Jesus.
Afterward when I met the sister of the Church of Almighty God again, she asked me, “Brother, what did you gain after our communication last time? Is there anything you don’t understand?” I said, “What you said is in accord with the Bible, not departing from the way of the Lord Jesus. But since we have believed in the Lord Jesus, why do we have to receive the name of Almighty God?” She read me a passage of God’s words: “Each time God arrives on earth, He shall change His name, His gender, His image, and His work; He does not repeat His work, and He is always new and never old. When He came before, He was called Jesus; could He still be called Jesus when He comes again this time? … If the work of God in each age is always the same, and He is always called by the same name, then how would man know Him? God must be called Jehovah, and apart from a God called Jehovah, one called by any other name is not God. Or else God can only be called Jesus, and God may not be called by any other name except Jesus; apart from Jesus, Jehovah is not God, and Almighty God is not God either. Man believes it is true that God is almighty, but God is a God with man; He must be called Jesus, for God is with man. To do this is to follow doctrine, and to constrain God to a scope. So, the work that God does in each age, the name by which He is called, and the image that He assumes, and each stage of His work until today, do not follow a single regulation, and are not subject to any constraints. He is Jehovah, but He is also Jesus, as well as the Messiah, and Almighty God. His work can gradually change, and there are corresponding changes in His name. No single name can fully represent Him, but all names by which He is called are able to represent Him, and the work that He does in each age represents His disposition” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)”). The sister also played me the movie God’s Name Has Changed?!. Through God’s words and the gospel movie, I came to realize that God originally had no name. As required by His work, He took on one or more names. But no single name can fully represent Him, each name can only represent His work and disposition in one age. The name Jehovah that God took in the Age of Law means that God takes pity on man and curses man; the name the Lord Jesus represents God’s disposition of love and mercy He expressed in the Age of Grace, and means that God is the Lord who redeems man; and the name Almighty God that God takes in the last days means God is majestic, wrathful, and righteous, and through His righteous disposition, He expresses the words of judgment to do the work of purifying and perfecting man. Thus, we shouldn’t constrain God to be called by only one name. Whichever name He takes, it can represent God Himself and His substance is unchanged. If anyone constrains God to be called by only one name, he is following doctrine and defining God, and won’t be able to receive His salvation in the last days. Therefore, only if we receive the name of Almighty God and keep up with His work, can we be completely saved by God. At that time, my misgiving was dispelled and I realized the Lord had really come back. So I continued to read the words of Almighty God, eager to understand God and know His work more.
Later, I watched the gospel movies Waiting, Song of Victory, Who Is My Lord, The Mystery of Godliness, Who Is He That Has Returned, Ironclad Proofs — Exploration of the “Trinity,” Ironclad Proofs — Disclose the Mystery About the Bible, and I was even more certain that Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus.
One night, my wife and I read these words of Almighty God together: “The sins of man were forgiven because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live in the old, corrupt satanic disposition. As such, man must be completely saved from the corrupt satanic disposition so that the sinful nature of man is completely cast away and never again develops, thus allowing the disposition of man to be changed. This requires man to understand the path of growth in life, the way of life, and the way to change his disposition. It also needs man to act in accordance with this path so that the disposition of man can gradually be changed and he can live under the shining of the light, and that he can do all things in accord with the will of God, cast away the corrupt satanic disposition, and break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)”). As I read the words of God, “so that the sinful nature of man is completely cast away and never again develops,” they reminded me of my gambling, and I thought: In the past I learned to gamble in spite of myself in order to make more money. Now the work of Almighty God is to thoroughly cleanse man. Since my gambling is not in line with His will and it just results from my greed, I can’t allow my corrupt disposition to develop anymore. So, I decided never again to go gambling.
Not long afterward, three workmates and I went out to eat western food. On the way, a workmate suddenly suggested going to the casino first and the other two agreed. At once I realized it’s not after God’s heart to go to gamble and I couldn’t do it anymore. And I recalled Almighty God’s words: “The more you satisfy the flesh, the more liberties it takes; if you satisfy it this time, next time it will ask for more, and as this carries on, you come to love the flesh even more. … Man’s flesh is like the snake: Its essence is to harm their lives — and when it completely gets its own way, your life becomes forfeit” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God”). My gambling is to satisfy my greed, and my greed just comes from my nature and the weakness of the flesh. If I always do things according to my satanic nature to satisfy the extravagant desires of the flesh, I will unconsciously be carried away by the evil worldly trends. After thinking of that, I didn’t follow them to go to gamble, but stayed outside the casino for more than two hours. Though it was cold and rainy, I felt at peace and stability. Thank God for protecting me from the control of the corrupt satanic disposition and for keeping me away from gamble.
Through reading God’s words, fellowshiping with some brothers and sisters, and watching the movies of the Church of Almighty God for months, I’m absolutely certain that the work of Almighty God is the work of the Lord Jesus who has returned in the last days. I’m thankful that I have followed the Lamb’s footsteps and found the path to casting away sins. I have set my resolve: I’m willing to follow Almighty God to the end and pursue truth to be purified and saved by God. Thank God! All the glory be to Almighty God! Amen!