1. Don’t Rely on Notions and Imaginings, Have a God-fearing Heart
In the Bible, it is recorded, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, said Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9). God’s words say, “We should all know that man, who is of the flesh, has been corrupted by Satan. Mankind’s very nature is to oppose God. Mankind cannot be on par with God, much less can mankind hope to advise the work of God. As for how God guides man, this is the work of God Himself. It is fitting that man should submit, without professing this or that view, for man is but dust” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). God is the Lord of creation, and His work and words reveal His authority, power, wondrousness, and wisdom. Whether or not God’s deeds are in line with our notions and whether we can understand them, as creations, we should all seek, accept, and submit with a God-fearing heart. This is the kind of reason that we as humans should possess. If we are arrogant, relying on our own notions and imaginings to delimit God’s work, if we always hold on to many of our own ideas regarding the Lord’s return, demanding that God do this or that, we will be prone to doing things that oppose God. Just like when the Lord Jesus came to work—the Pharisees entirely lacked hearts of reverence for God, so they didn’t engage in seeking regarding His work. They well knew that the words the Lord Jesus uttered possessed authority and power, but they still haughtily took their own notions and imaginings as the truth, believing that when God came, His name would be Messiah, and He would be born into an aristocratic line to be the King of the Jews. But when God came, His name was Jesus and He was born into an average family. He didn’t act as their king, either, so the Pharisees passed judgment, saying that the Lord Jesus wasn’t the Messiah and that He wasn’t God. And based on what they imagined, the Pharisees believed that when the Messiah came, He would first enlighten them and reveal Himself to them, and that He would work within the temple. They didn’t think He would be working and preaching among such lowly people as publicans, and fishermen; they believed He would continue guiding them to keep the laws of the Old Testament. But in the Lord Jesus’ work, He came out from the temple and frequently sat down to break bread with sinners. He preached and worked among the common people, He worked on the Sabbath, He allowed His disciples to pluck and eat grain on the Sabbath day, and He required that His followers keep to the teachings of the new age, and so on. When faced with the fact that the Lord Jesus’ work didn’t accord with human notions, the Pharisees did not humbly seek, but instead arrogantly, stubbornly clung to their own notions and imaginings, resisting, condemning, judging, and blaspheming the Lord Jesus with all their might. Ultimately, they colluded with the Roman government to crucify Him; this seriously offended God’s disposition and they suffered God’s righteous punishment. The failure of the Pharisees clearly shows us that relying on our own notions and imaginings in our approach to God’s words and work makes us likely to resist God and offend His disposition. This leads to being rejected and punished by God. So, in welcoming the coming of the Lord, we absolutely cannot delimit or judge God’s coming based on our own notions and imaginings. Instead, we must let go of those things, maintain a heart of reverence for God, and seek the truth with an open mind based on the Lord’s words. This is the only way we’ll be able to welcome the return of the Lord. Just as the Lord Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. … Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:3, 6).
2. Actively Seek and Investigate the True Way
The Lord Jesus said, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). This verse shows that the Lord Jesus requires us to be wise virgins; as long as someone cries out that the Bridegroom has come, that is, in the last days if someone is preaching that the Lord has returned, we should actively seek and investigate it. We must focus on hearing the voice of God. This is the only way we’ll be able to welcome the Lord and be raptured up before His throne. However, some brothers and sisters have disregarded this important requirement of the Lord. They just listen to what the pastors and elders have to say, and believe that as long as they hold fast to the name of the Lord, pray and read the Bible frequently, and diligently do the work of the Lord, when He comes, they’ll be able to welcome Him—they won’t need to go out to seek and investigate. There are even some pastors and elders who tell brothers and sisters that now is the last days and there are more and more false Christs and antichrists, so they shouldn’t listen, see, or come into contact with anyone at all who spreads news of the Lord’s return. They say that’s the only way they won’t be deceived. I see that compared to the Lord Jesus’ requirement of us, our way of thinking is not in line with the truth or with the Lord’s will. In that crucial time when the Lord comes, if we hear someone testify that the Lord Jesus has returned but we continue to passively wait instead of proactively seeking and investigating, how could we welcome the Lord? If we just shut the true Christ out because we’re afraid of being misled by false Christs, isn’t that just cutting off our nose to spite our face? Wouldn’t we then be very likely to miss out on our chance to welcome the Lord’s coming? The Lord Jesus made us a promise: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). And it says in the Bible: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). We can see from this that only if we actively listen to sermons and focus on seeking and investigating will we be able to gain God’s guidance. Particularly when it comes to welcoming the Lord’s coming, we should sincerely pray to the Lord and when we hear news of His coming, we should actively seek; that way we will gain the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and guidance, and welcome the return of the Lord. Just like Peter in the Age of Grace, before he was called on by the Lord, he heard about the deeds of the Lord Jesus and longed to see Him who shared the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. When he heard his brother Andrew say, “We have found the Messias” (John 1:41), Peter took the initiative to follow Andrew to go see the Lord Jesus, and through His work and words, determined that He was the Messiah. Ultimately, he gave up everything to follow the Lord Jesus and received His salvation. This is why it is very critical to engage in active seeking and investigation when we hear someone sharing news of the Lord Jesus’ return.
3. Focus on Hearing God’s Voice
The Lord Jesus clearly told us: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16:12–13). “My sheep hear My voice” (John 10:27). This was also prophesied multiple times in Revelation chapters 2 and 3: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” And in chapter 3, verse 20, it said: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” We can determine from the Lord Jesus’ words and the prophecies in Revelation that when the Lord Jesus returns in the last days, He will utter more words to water and sustain us, telling us the truths we do not understand. When we hear the news of the Lord’s return and recognize the voice of God from His utterances, we can follow the footsteps of the Lord and attend the feast of the Lamb. Only God Himself can express the truth; apart from God, no great or famous person or those false Christs that pretend to be God can express the truth. This is why focusing on hearing the voice of God in order to welcome the return of the Lord Jesus is so important.
So how can we discern the voice of God? That does not depend on how great our caliber is or how long we’ve been believers, but it depends on our intuition, the sense within our spirit, that shared feeling within our hearts. Anyone with a heart and spirit can absolutely feel it. Just as Jehovah said: “Visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me, And showing mercy to thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments” (Deuteronomy 5:9–10). When Jehovah God made a promise to Abraham, He said: “And I will make of you a great nation…. And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:2–3). And the Lord Jesus said this: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake” (Matthew 5:10–11). Also, when the Lord Jesus cursed the Pharisees, He said: “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Matthew 23:13). “You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33). By reading God’s words, we can see that God’s words have several characteristics: God’s words possess power and authority and are things that could not come from any human mouth. God’s words open up mysteries and tell us of God’s management plan, which we have never known of before. God’s words get straight to the heart of human beings’ corrupt essence and can even expose the corruption hidden deepest within our hearts. This allows us to see the nature and essence of all sorts of people. In addition, God’s words provide sustenance for our lives, pointing out a specific path of practice for us and resolving our practical difficulties, just as the Lord Jesus spoke on truths such as how to treat others and how to approach our enemies. That gave us a clear path of practice in our interactions with others and then we knew how to treat other people. These are the principles of how to discern whether something is the voice of God or not.
In fact, the disciples who followed the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace such as Peter, John, and James were all people who heard Him speak and preach and felt that His words were full of authority and power, and that they possessed the truth. They felt that it was God speaking, and this is why they recognized that the Lord Jesus was the coming of the Messiah, so they followed the Lord and gained His salvation. And there was Nathanael, who knew within his heart that the Lord Jesus was the Son of God when he heard the Lord say to him: “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” (John 1:47). “Before that Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you” (John 1:48). He knew then that the Lord was the King of the Israelites, because even though the Lord Jesus had never met him before, He still knew that he was praying silently, and said that he was without artifice. It occurred to Nathanael that only God can examine man’s hearts; common people entirely lack that ability, that authority. This is why, when we encounter the words uttered by the Lord in the last days, as long as we genuinely and carefully ponder them and listen with our hearts, we will be able to recognize the voice of God. All those who are able to hear the voice of God, and who accept and submit to Him, will welcome the return of the Lord and be raptured up before God’s throne to attend the wedding feast of the Lamb. All of these people are wise virgins and are the most blessed of all.
Now we’ve gained an understanding of the three paths to welcoming the Lord’s coming. One is to not rely on notions and imaginings, and to have a God-fearing heart. Two, actively seek and investigate the true way. Three, focus on hearing God’s voice. I believe that as long as we practice in accordance with these three paths, we will certainly be able to welcome the return of the Lord Jesus.
Source From: The Church of Almighty God
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