Bible Sermon: How to Tell the True Christ From False Christs
- •The First Way to Tell the Difference Between the True Christ and False Christs: Recognizing Christ as the Truth, the Way, and the Life
- •The Second Way to Tell the Difference Between the True Christ and False Christs: God’s Work Is Ever New and Never Old, and He Does Not Repeat His Work
All sorts of disasters are now occurring and the prophecies in the Bible concerning the coming of the Lord have now largely been fulfilled. Many brothers and sisters feel in their hearts that the Lord may already have returned, and they are all searching for the Lord. Yet there are many who think of these verses from the Bible, “Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:23–24). Even though they may hear someone testifying that the Lord has returned, they do not seek or investigate this claim, but instead follow the religious world and cling to the notion that “any message that preaches the Lord has returned in the flesh is false.” If we do this, will we be able to welcome the return of the Lord? The Lord Jesus prophesied many times that He would return, so if we took His words to mean that any message that preaches the Lord has returned in the flesh is false, would we not then be denying the Lord’s return? We would then be resisting God and committing a terrible mistake, indeed. When it comes to awaiting the Lord’s return, we cannot remain passively guarded, for, in doing so, we will miss the Lord’s return. To welcome the Lord, we must actively seek to listen to God’s voice, just as it says in the Bible, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). The Book of Revelation also prophesied, “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” (Revelation 3:20), and “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). It is the Lord’s will that we remain watchful and focus on hearing God’s voice. The moment someone testifies that the Lord has returned, we must be the wise virgins who actively seek the Lord’s voice, for only in this way will we be able to welcome the Lord. If all we do is guard against false Christs and end up closing our doors on the Lord when He returns as well, would that not be like us stopping eating altogether for fear of choking? And would we not then be like the foolish virgins, unable to welcome the Lord, abandoned and eliminated? God’s sheep listen to His voice; those who truly have the caliber and discernment will listen to God’s voice, and they can seek the truth and tell the difference between the true Christ and false Christs. They will not be deceived by false Christs. What we should now understand more than anything else, therefore, is how to tell between the true Christ and false Christs. Only by doing so will we be protected from the deceptions of false Christs, and we will be able to welcome the return of the Lord. Our fellowship below concerns this aspect of the truth.
The First Way to Tell the Difference Between the True Christ and False Christs: Recognizing Christ as the Truth, the Way, and the Life
To discern whether someone is the true Christ or a false Christ, we must look to see whether they can express the truth and whether they can perform the work of man’s salvation. God says, “He who is God incarnate shall possess the essence of God, and He who is God incarnate shall possess the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He intends to do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon him, and point the way for him. Flesh that does not have the essence of God is decidedly not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. If man intends to inquire into whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, then he must corroborate this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, to corroborate whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, one must discriminate on the basis of His essence. And so, in determining whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key lies in His essence (His work, His utterances, His disposition, and many other aspects), rather than external appearance. If man scrutinizes only His external appearance, and as a result overlooks His essence, this shows that man is benighted and ignorant” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). “God become flesh is called Christ, and so the Christ that can give people the truth is called God. There is nothing excessive about this, for He possesses the substance of God, and possesses God’s disposition, and wisdom in His work, that are unattainable by man. Those who call themselves Christ, yet cannot do the work of God, are frauds. Christ is not merely the manifestation of God on earth, but also the particular flesh assumed by God as He carries out and completes His work among man. This flesh cannot be supplanted by just any man, but is a flesh that can adequately bear God’s work on earth, and express the disposition of God, and well represent God, and provide man with life. Sooner or later, those who impersonate Christ will all fall, for although they claim to be Christ, they possess none of the substance of Christ. And so I say that the authenticity of Christ cannot be defined by man, but is answered and decided by God Himself” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God’s words say very clearly that only God incarnate can be called Christ. Christ is the Spirit of God realized in the flesh, that is, what God has and is, God’s disposition, and God’s wisdom, all realized in the flesh. Christ is possessed of divine essence, He is truth embodied; He can express the truth to shepherd and provide for man at any time and in any place, and only Christ can perform the work of mankind’s redemption and salvation. This is an undeniable fact. For example, the Lord Jesus was Christ incarnate; He was able to express the truth at any time and in any place, He brought to man the way of repentance, and delivered man from the strictures of the laws. The Lord also made some requirements of us so that we would understand how to love and forgive others, and in order to take our sins upon Himself, He was personally crucified. All the work the Lord Jesus did and all the words He spoke, as well as His love and mercy for mankind, were things no man could ever have achieved, and they entirely represent the identity of God.
False Christs, on the other hand, are in essence evil spirits and demons. False Christs are utterly without the truth, much less are they capable of expressing the truth. Most of them are arrogant and preposterous in the extreme. They know that people idolize biblical knowledge, and so they use this mentality to misinterpret the Bible, to take verses out of context, and to put out all kinds of absurd theories to deceive people. Not only are their words incapable of bringing about change in people’s dispositions or allowing people to know God, but they also make people’s spirits grow dark and depressed. They do not dare to make their words public for all mankind to seek and investigate, but can only deceive a handful of undiscerning people in secret. Therefore, to tell the difference between the true Christ and false Christs, we must first discern their essence; only the Christ who is possessed of divine essence is able to express the truth to save and provide for mankind, while those without divine essence cannot do this, no matter how much knowledge they have or how capable they are. Evil spirits and demons are even less able to express the truth or perform the work of man’s salvation; all they can do is deceive and corrupt people. It is therefore clear that in order to tell the difference between the true Christ and false Christs, we must recognize that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. It is just as the Lord Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Revelation 14:4).
The Second Way to Tell the Difference Between the True Christ and False Christs: God’s Work Is Ever New and Never Old, and He Does Not Repeat His Work
As we all know, God is ever new and never old, and He does not repeat His work. We can therefore use this point to distinguish between the true Christ and false Christs. First, let us read a passage of God’s words, “If, during the present day, there is to emerge a person who is able to display signs and wonders, cast out demons, heal the sick, and perform many miracles, and if this person claims that they are Jesus who has come, then this would be a counterfeit produced by evil spirits which imitate Jesus. Remember this! God does not repeat the same work. Jesus’ stage of work has already been completed, and God will never again undertake that stage of work. … If, during the last days, God still displayed signs and wonders, and still cast out demons and healed the sick—if He did exactly the same as Jesus—then God would be repeating the same work, and the work of Jesus would have no significance or value. Thus, God carries out one stage of work in every age. Once each stage of His work has been completed, it is soon imitated by evil spirits, and after Satan begins to follow on the heels of God, God changes to a different method. Once God has completed a stage of His work, it is imitated by evil spirits. You must be clear about this” (“Knowing God’s Work Today” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
We can see from God’s words that God is ever new and never old, and that He does not repeat His work. Every time God performs work, He begins a new age and concludes the old, bringing about a newer and higher phase of work. For example, Jehovah God completed the Age of Law’s work of proclaiming the laws and commandments and leading the lives of men. When the Lord Jesus came to perform His work, He did not repeat the work that had come before; instead, He brought the Age of Law to an end and began the Age of Grace, and He performed the work of man’s salvation and his forgiveness of sin. Only God Himself could have done such work. Because false Christs, however, do not have the essence of God, they are incapable of doing God’s work, much less are they capable of doing the work of beginning a new age and ending an old age. All they can do is trail behind God’s work, imitating the tone of God’s speech and the words He has said, and imitating the work God has done in the past. They display some simple signs and wonders and pretend to be God in order to deceive people. False Christs, moreover, have no authority; no matter how they try to imitate the Lord, they can never perform such signs and wonders as the Lord Jesus performed, such as feeding the five thousand with two fish and five loaves and bringing Lazarus back from the dead. What this means is that God in the last days will absolutely not repeat the work performed previously by the Lord Jesus, and all in the last days who imitate God’s work, who display a few simple signs and wonders and heal the sick and cast out demons to deceive people, are most certainly evil spirits in disguise—they are false Christs. That is why the Lord Jesus gave us this warnin, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24).
From this fellowship, we are now aware that only Christ has the essence of the life of God, and only Christ can express the truth and provide for people’s lives. When those who love the truth and thirst for the truth listen to the word of God, they are drawn in and conquered by His word. Such people belong to God; they are able to understand God’s voice and recognize Christ as God Himself. Peter, John, and the other disciples, for example, all recognized in the Lord Jesus’ words that He was the coming Messiah, and so, one by one, they began to follow Him. Almighty God has now come in the last days, and, beginning with the house of God, He performs the work of judgment, and He expresses all the truths to save mankind; He unseals the mystery of God’s six-thousand-year management work in its entirety, and He exposes man’s satanic nature and essence, so that he might come to know the truth of his corruption and have a path that leads to changes in his disposition. Almighty God also tells us how to put God’s words into practice, how to live out proper humanity, along with many other things, and together, all these things are the way of eternal life. The work of mankind’s salvation performed by Almighty God is the work of God Himself, which precisely fulfills these prophecies in the Bible, “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). “And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47).
Now, the book of words expressed by Almighty God, The Word Appears in the Flesh, has been made public online for pursuit and investigation by lovers of the truth from all around the world. Many people who long for God to appear have read the words expressed by Almighty God and have recognized them to be the voice of God, and have thereby become certain that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned in the last days. One by one, they follow the footsteps of the Lamb and return before the throne of God. This is entirely the result of the work of God Himself, which completely fulfills this prophecy in Isaiah chapter 2 verse 2, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of Jehovah’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.” It is evident that in welcoming the Lord, what is essential is a focus on listening to God’s voice and recognizing Christ as the truth, the way, and the life. We should seek and investigate when we hear that someplace has the utterances of God or someone is preaching the Lord’s return. If we remain fearful of being deceived by false Christs and keep our guard up, if we do not dare to seek or investigate, and we refuse to accept the salvation of Almighty God—Christ of the last days—then would we not be foolish in the extreme? If we did that, we would forever lose God’s salvation of the last days!