Principles for Differentiating Between True Way and False Way
By Manzu, Japan
One morning, as I washed up, I thought of the fellowship of Brother Li I had listened to with my cousin and Sister Liu in my fellow townsman’s house the day before, and felt very excited. Having believed in the Lord for many years, I always believed that God’s name was Jesus. Through listening to the fellowship of Brother Li, I finally understood: God had no name in the beginning and it was because of His salvation work that He took on names. And I also came to know that God doesn’t repeat His work, and that He is always new and never old. Having reaped a lot from the meeting the day before, I just wanted to quickly get myself ready before going to listen to the sermon.
When I was washing my hair, an idea flashed through my mind: Does Brother Li have the same belief as us? Yesterday I was absorbed in his fellowship and forgot to ask him his belief, and I don’t know which denomination he belongs to. Thinking of this, I was tensed up at once: It is the last days now; there are many false ways which could deceive us at any time, and many denominations claim that they are the true church and blessed by God. I have followed the Lord to this day, and I must not go astray. The more I thought, the more I felt something was wrong. Though Brother Li’s sermon is good, it is different from that of our pastor. Today, I have to ask him about his denomination before listening to his sermon. Then I called Sister Liu and told her my thought, asking her to listen to me and speak less in the meeting. After that, I still felt nervous and afraid. So I called out to the Lord Jesus, “Oh Lord, my everything is in Your hand; without Your permission, I won’t lose even a single hair. That I am going to listen to the sermon is under your permission; I believe you shall not hand me over to Satan.” After praying, I felt my heart full of strength.
On arriving at the meeting place, I impolitely questioned Brother Li, “Which denomination do you belong to? Is your belief the same as ours?” Seeing the drastic change of my attitude, Brother Li, my cousin, and other two sisters were all stunned, asking me what happened, and telling me to calm down first. Yet I was both agitated and scared, and couldn’t calm down no matter how.
Sisters and my cousin exhorted me with patience, “Don’t lose your temper. Now that you are here, you should calm down first, so that we can solve your questions together.” Seeing their attitude, I felt embarrassed and guilty. “Sister, there is only one God in heaven and earth. We are all Christians who believe in God, and there are no so-called denominations,” Brother Li said gently. “Sister, you were moved to tears yesterday, which was the effect of the work of the Holy Spirit, and we can’t deny that.” A sister said to me, “Sister, ‘So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’ (Romans 10:17). How can we differentiate the true way from false ways without hearing? I believe God will lead us.” The words of Brother Li touched me: It’s true. Yesterday, I really felt the leading and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and was greatly moved. Hadn’t it been from the Holy Spirit, how could I have been so moved? And what the sister said is also reasonable. At that time, I was a little hesitant: Should I go or stay and listen for a while? Seeing their tolerance and patience toward me, I felt ashamed, thinking: The Lord taught us to love others as ourselves, yet I’ve never practiced His words despite many years of believing in Him. Feeling indebted to the Lord, I sat down with reluctance. However, since I was sure that Brother Li and I didn’t belong to the same denomination, I dared not to accept what he said.
Since that gathering I hadn’t seen Brother Li again. Before long, my elder cousin took a book to me and testified to me about the last days’ work of Almighty God, telling me that our Lord Jesus has returned, and advising me to read the words of Almighty God. I didn’t expect that he received the gospel preached by Brother Li so quickly, and advised him not to easily place trust in Brother Li in case of going astray. Yet he was very firm in his belief, saying he was convinced through investigation that Almighty God is indeed the return of the Lord Jesus, and then read some passages of Almighty God’s words to me. I felt these words are practical with authority, and could offer us spiritual supply. Then I recalled that when I contacted with Brother Li, what he fellowshiped didn’t stray from the Bible, but was in accordance with it, which lightened my heart and made me understand more about God’s work. Could it be that what Brother Li believes in is the true way, and that he doesn’t go astray? After listening to the fellowship of my cousin and watching the gospel films of The Church of Almighty God, I didn’t resist in the way I did before.
Seeing my attitude improved, my cousin gave me the book in his hands, saying, “Sister, you must read this book, and take care of it, for it is extremely precious.” Oddly enough, on the very night, I dreamt that when I was sleeping deeply, I suddenly got up to look for that book, and said: “This book is so precious; I can’t lose it.” In the dream, I held the book tightly in my arms, and didn’t want to put it down. When I woke up in the next morning, I found that the book was still lying beside the pillow, not in my arms; not until then did I realize that it was just a dream. Though I had awakened from my dream, the anxiety I felt in the dream still remained, and I unconsciously became attached to that book.
I realized this was a vision bestowed by the Lord, and thus decided to investigate the last days’ work of Almighty God. Afterward, my cousin introduced to me a brother and three sisters of The Church of Almighty God. When I gathered together with them, they were very cordial to me. From the expressions in their eyes, I could feel their care for me was true; their smiles and happiness came from their hearts, making me feel extremely warm inside. I thought: Were there no God’s love among them, who would have such sincerity? Could it be that the Lord Jesus has really come back?
However, recalling that our pastor had advised us not to get in touch with the believers of The Church of Almighty God, and not to listen or look, I hesitated again. Just then, the Lord’s word suddenly came into my mind, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Yes, the Lord never taught us to refuse and condemn without discernment, nor did He tell us not to listen or look. If we don’t listen or look, how could we discern whether it is the true way? I always obey the pastor and elders; if they have made the wrong judgement, won’t I lose the salvation of the last days? Haven’t I been waiting for the return of the Lord since I believed in Him? I ought to seek the leading of the Holy Spirit rather than listen to the pastor and elders, for they are after all men, not God. The Lord shows no partiality to anyone; as long as one truly believes in Him and seeks, be he a pastor or an ordinary believer, the Lord will enlighten him. Thus, I decided to listen to the sharing and fellowships of the brother and sisters of The Church of Almighty God. Later, according to my conceptions and difficulties, they communicated to me how to distinguish the true way from false ways.
A sister said, “Almighty God says, ‘The return of Jesus is a great salvation for those who are capable of accepting the truth, but for those who are unable to accept the truth it is a sign of condemnation’ (‘When You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus Will Be When God Has Made Anew Heaven and Earth’). The work of God doesn’t correspond with the conceptions of man, but the more incompatible it is with man’s notion, the more it can reveal and perfect man. We all know the wise virgins are those who can listen to God’s voice. Now God has come to earth and done the work of salvation again; though His name and the content and method of His work have changed, the substance of God and His will of salvation have never changed. To discern if it is the work of God, we have to look at whether there is the work and leading of the Holy Spirit, and whether it can bring man positive effects; we can’t blindly evade. Let’s read some of the words of Almighty God, and then we will understand this aspect of truth better.
“Almighty God says, ‘What is the most basic principle in seeking the true way? You have to look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, whether or not these words are the expression of the truth, who is testified to, and what it can bring you. Distinguishing between the true way and the false way requires several aspects of basic knowledge, the most fundamental of which is to tell whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit. For the substance of man’s belief in God is the belief in the Spirit of God, and even his belief in God incarnate is because this flesh is the embodiment of the Spirit of God, which means that such belief is still the belief in the Spirit. There are differences between the Spirit and the flesh, but because this flesh comes from the Spirit, and is the Word become flesh, thus what man believes in is still the inherent substance of God. And so, in distinguishing whether or not it is the true way, above all you must look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, after which you must look at whether or not there is the truth in this way. This truth is the life disposition of normal humanity, which is to say, that which was required of man when God created him in the beginning, namely, all of normal humanity (including human sense, insight, wisdom, and the basic knowledge of being man). That is, you need to look at whether or not this way takes man into a life of normal humanity, whether or not the truth that is spoken of is required according to the reality of normal humanity, whether or not this truth is practical and real, and whether or not it is most timely. If there is truth, then it is able to take man into normal and real experiences; man, furthermore, becomes ever more normal, man’s human sense becomes ever more complete, man’s life in the flesh and the spiritual life become ever more orderly, and man’s emotions become ever more normal. This is the second principle. There is one other principle, which is whether or not man has an increasing knowledge of God, whether or not experiencing such work and truth can inspire a love of God in him, and bring him ever closer to God. In this can be measured whether or not it is the true way. Most fundamental is whether this way is realistic rather than supernatural, and whether or not it is able to provide the life of man. If it conforms to these principles, the conclusion can be drawn that this way is the true way’” (“Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After listening to the words of Almighty God and the fellowship of the sister, I understood that since I had no truth, and knew nothing of the true way and false ways, I didn’t know how to distinguish and thus waved before. Actually, after listening to the sermons of Brother Li and the fellowships and sharing of these sisters, I have gained strength and more knowledge of God’s work, feeling closer to God and sweet in my heart; isn’t this the positive effects and confirmation of the Holy Spirit’s work? Moreover, in my contact with the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God, I saw that they had love, patience, tolerance, and endurance. I, who have believed in the Lord for many years, can’t compare with them. The humanity that they live out has become more and more normal, from which I see God’s love and salvation and their faith and obedience to God. If they had believed in the false way, could they have persistently acted on God’s words, and treated others with love? Besides, what they fellowshiped is the illumination and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; if it were not God uttering truth and leading men, nobody could know so much and fellowship the truth so clearly. In addition, when reading the words of Almighty God, I was profoundly drawn in by them, and my heart felt bright. I was sure that I was not wrong to investigate.
Afterward, we fellowshiped more words of Almighty God, and I understood some truth regarding the incarnation, the three stages of God’s work, and the meaning of God’s names, and so on.
Now I thoroughly understand the truth of how to distinguish the true way from false ways, and affirm that the work of Almighty God is the true way. For none but God Himself can utter the truth to supply us with life, and show His disposition, what He has and is, and His inherent substance to us. From the people, matters, and things elaborately arranged by Almighty God, I have seen His deeds, authority, and salvation for me. I am willing to seek the truth and follow the footsteps of the Lamb.