The Right Mindset for Sharing the Gospel
By Zhuiqiu, China
Once, a brother mentioned to me that his younger sister, Li Ping, had been a believer since she was little, and for years had worked enthusiastically for the Lord, that she was genuine in her faith. He wanted me to share the gospel with her. I agreed very happily. But when I talked with Li Ping, she stood up and said nervously, “Our pastor said that false Christs will appear in the last days to mislead people, and any news of the Lord’s return is false. You’re preaching for (Matthew 24:27). ‘Eastern Lightning’ refers to the work and words of God. All the truths expressed by are like a great light appearing in the East, hence the name ‘Eastern Lightning.’ This light of the truth has already shone from the East to the West. The Lord’s prophecy has been completely fulfilled. Let’s look into whether Eastern Lightning is the Lord’s appearance and work.” She wouldn’t listen, and said, “Our pastor said if someone preaches a way different from ours, we can’t listen, no matter how good they sound. We can’t even listen to our own parents or siblings, and we can’t host any strangers at all.” That’s not the Lord’s will. The Bible says, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2). I patiently responded, “Sister, the Bible says, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Revelation 2:7). ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). These prophecies tell us that to welcome the Lord, we have to listen for His voice. If someone testifies the Lord has returned, we should go out to meet Him. That’s the only way we’ll have a chance to welcome the Lord. If we don’t listen or seek when we hear someone testify that the Lord has returned, we’ll miss our chance to welcome Him!” But she refused to listen and found an excuse to leave. Li Ping’s attitude put me in a difficult spot. If she didn’t want to listen, how could I share the gospel with her? But I knew that wasn’t the right mindset. I hadn’t even testified the Lord’s return, so how could I give up so easily? As long as she was a true believer, I had to put my all into sharing the gospel with her.. I won’t listen. We can chat about other stuff, but don’t talk to me about matters of faith.” Seeing she’d been deeply misled by the pastor’s rumors and lies, I tried to tell her, “Sister, do you know what ‘Eastern Lightning’ refers to? The clearly prophesied, ‘For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be’
We went to Li Ping’s house later to share the gospel with her, but she closed the door the moment she saw us and refused to open it no matter what we said. There was nothing we could do, so we left. We went a few more times but she wouldn’t open the door, and she said, “Our pastor said you guys want to steal sheep, and we should beat anyone from Eastern Lightning to death, throw them in the river, or just report them to the cops. Get out of here, and make sure our pastor doesn’t see you.” Hearing her say that made me really uncomfortable and I wanted to give up. But at the time, I wasn’t sure if giving up was in line with God’s will or not, so I offered up a silent prayer. Then a passage of (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Spreading the Gospel Is the Duty to Which All Believers Are Honor-Bound). I was ashamed when I thought over God’s words. God saves people to the greatest extent possible. God won’t give up on someone as long as there’s a vestige of hope. As someone sharing the gospel, I should give it my all. As long as a person fits the principles, I should preach to them patiently and lovingly, and fulfill my responsibilities. That’s my duty. But I wanted to retreat and give up when I encountered the slightest difficulty. I wasn’t devoted to my duty at all. I felt really guilty when I realized that. I prayed and set my resolve that no matter how Li Ping treated me, since she had good humanity and was a true believer, I wouldn’t give up, and I’d give her testimony on God’s words and work, and bring her before God. When I first investigated God’s work of the last days, without brothers and sisters patiently fellowshiping on the truth to resolve my notions, I probably would have stayed in the religion. Sharing the gospel requires incredible love and patience, that we do everything we can, and fulfill our responsibilities. That’s God’s will.came to mind: “In spreading the gospel, you must fulfill your responsibility and deal earnestly with everyone to whom you spread it. God saves people to the greatest extent possible, and you must be mindful of God’s will, you must not carelessly pass over anyone who is seeking and considering the true way. … As long as they are willing to consider the true way and able to seek the truth, you should do all you can to read more of God’s words to them and fellowship more of the truth to them, and to testify to God’s work and resolve their notions, so that you may gain them and bring them before God. This is what is in line with the principles of spreading the gospel”
Surprisingly, the next time we went to Li Ping’s house, she opened the door for us. But then she gave us the cold shoulder and wouldn’t speak. I thought that as long as she opened the door, we’d have a chance for fellowship, that she’d gradually come to understand things if she’d listen a bit. We took this chance to fellowship with her. I said, “Sister, welcoming the Lord’s coming is a big deal. If we don’t follow the Lord’s words, but blindly listen to humans when we investigate the true way, we’re likely to go against God. When the Lord Jesus appeared and worked, the Jewish believers listened to their religious leaders, condemning and rejecting the Lord along with them. They were ultimately punished by God. Today’s religious leaders and pastors won’t seek or investigate God’s work of the last days, and even do everything they can to seal off their churches and spread lies to mislead believers. They say any news of the Lord’s coming is false, and even if our own siblings tell us that, we should not listen and report them to the police. Does saying that and acting that way accord with the Lord’s teachings? Does someone who says something like that count as a believer?” Her attitude improved a lot when she saw that everything we said was true, and became willing to chat with us. She also shared what was confusing her: “The Lord Jesus warned us, ‘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). In the last days when the Lord returns, there will be false Christs and false prophets that lead people astray. Our pastor said that any preaching of the Lord’s return is about a false Christ misleading people. We don’t know the Bible well, so he told us to be careful, otherwise our years of faith could come to nothing. I’m worried about what will happen if I have faith in the wrong thing.” I immediately responded, “Sister, we understand your fear of being misled. But we have to understand the Lord’s will. He said this so we’d have discernment over false Christs and not be duped by them, not so that we’d blindly be on our guard against them and fail to welcome the Lord. He also clearly explained the manifestations of false Christs. They rely on showing signs and wonders to lead people astray. We know the hallmarks of a false Christ, so we won’t be misled as long as we look out for these. If we just take the Lord’s words out of context and believe that any testimony of the Lord’s return is false, never seeking or investigating, wouldn’t we condemn the Lord Jesus’ own return? Then how could we welcome the Lord? So if we want to determine whether this is the return of the Lord Jesus, what’s key is to listen for the Lord’s voice and discern the true Christ from false Christs. Always staying guarded and rejecting everything doesn’t solve the problem. The key to welcoming the Lord is listening for His voice. The Lord Jesus said, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears My voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me’ (Revelation 3:20).”
After that, we read a couple passages of God’s words on how to tell the true Christ from false Christs. Almighty God says, “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. The work of God is irreconcilable with the notions of man; for example, the Old Testament foretold the coming of a Messiah, and the result of this prophecy was Jesus’ coming. This having already happened, it would be wrong for another Messiah to come again. Jesus has already come once, and it would be wrong if Jesus were to come again this time. There is one name for every age, and each name contains a characterization of that age. In the notions of man, God must always display signs and wonders, must always heal the sick and cast out demons, and must always be just like Jesus. Yet this time, God is not like that at all. 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” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Knowing God’s Work Today). “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” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Preface). After reading God’s words I fellowshiped, “God’s words are very clear. Telling the true Christ from false Christs must be done from God’s work, words, and the disposition He expresses. This is because Christ’s essence is the way, the truth, and the life. He bestows mankind with the truth and exudes God’s disposition. He does the work of redemption and salvation. When the Lord Jesus worked, He gave humanity the way of repentance. He taught us to confess and repent, to love others as ourselves, to be tolerant and patient. He also showed lots of signs and wonders, healing the sick, driving out demons, bringing the dead back to life, having the lame walk again. He bestowed endless grace upon man, letting us taste God’s mercy and love as well as see His power and authority. In the end, the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, completing the redemption work. From the Lord’s words and work, and the disposition He expressed, we can see that He had a divine essence, that He was God incarnate. Now He has returned in the last days as Almighty God. He expresses the truth and is doing the work of judging and cleansing mankind. Almighty God’s words are rich and plentiful, revealing so many mysteries and truths, such as how we can escape the bonds of sin, how to pursue dispositional change and to be fully saved, and man’s outcome and destination. He’s pointed us toward the path to be saved and enter God’s kingdom. Almighty God also judges and exposes the truth of humanity’s corruption by Satan, laying bare man’s satanic dispositions that are against God, like being arrogant, cunning, and evil. He also displays His righteous disposition that tolerates no offense. His words show us the paths for practice and entering in, such as how to be honest people, how to devote ourselves to our duty, how to submit to God. By eating and drinking God’s words and experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, His chosen people’s dispositions change, and they have lots of experiences and testimonies. We can see from Almighty God’s work and words that He is Christ of the last days, He is God Himself. Almighty God is the return of the Lord. But false Christs are in essence evil spirits. They don’t possess the truth, and they can’t save or purify people. All they can do is lead people astray by showing signs and wonders. We can see that false Christs don’t possess Christ’s essence and can’t do His work. They all call themselves God, but they’re false and can only fool people temporarily.”
She said, “What you read is great—very compelling. No wonder my pastor said we’d be drawn in as soon as we heard what you preach. I really like what I’ve heard from you, but I still need to give it some thought.” I responded, “Sister, over all these years of faith, haven’t we been longing for the Lord’s return? I hope you approach this with caution. If you miss your chance at God’s salvation it will be a lifelong regret.” After that, no matter how we fellowshiped, she wouldn’t react or say a word. I felt depleted and my patience ran out. I was thinking that since she wouldn’t accept it after so much fellowship from us, there was nothing we could do. But that thought left me uncomfortable. I remembered something God said: “Are you aware of the burden on your shoulders, your commission, and your responsibility? Where is your sense of historic mission? How will you adequately serve as a master in the next age? Do you have a strong sense of masterhood? How would you explain the master of all things? Is it really the master of all living creatures and of all physical things in the world? What plans do you have for the progress of the next phase of the work? How many people are waiting for you to be their shepherd? Is your task a heavy one? They are poor, pitiable, blind, and at a loss, wailing in the darkness—where is the way? How they yearn for the light, like a shooting star, to suddenly descend and dispel the forces of darkness that have oppressed man for so many years. Who can know the full extent to which they anxiously hope, and how they pine, day and night, for this? Even on a day when the light flashes past, these deeply suffering people remain imprisoned in a dark dungeon without hope of release; when will they weep no longer? Terrible is the misfortune of these fragile spirits who have never been granted rest, and long have they been kept bound in this state by merciless bonds and frozen history. And who has heard the sound of their wailing? Who has looked upon their miserable state? Has it ever occurred to you how grieved and anxious God’s heart is? How can He bear to see innocent mankind, whom He created with His own hands, suffering such torment? Human beings, after all, are the victims who have been poisoned. And although man has survived to this day, who would have known that mankind has long been poisoned by the evil one? Have you forgotten that you are one of the victims? Are you not willing to strive, out of your love for God, to save these survivors? Are you not willing to devote all of your energy to repaying God, who loves mankind like His own flesh and blood? When all is said and done, how would you interpret being used by God to live your extraordinary life? Do you really have the resolve and confidence to live the meaningful life of a pious, God-serving person?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How Should You Attend to Your Future Mission?). God’s words tell us how grieved and anxious He is, that He’s hoping that all true believers from every denomination, all who are in darkness, bitterly longing for the Lord’s return, hear God’s voice soon and come back into His house. But when a potential gospel recipient, misled by her pastor and bound by religions notions, was right before me, I couldn’t patiently fellowship on the truth and guide her. I was casually delimiting and giving up on her. Where was my love and sense of responsibility? I thought of how I used to long for the Lord’s return on a daily basis. I was afraid of being misled by a false Christ, so when I heard someone bear witness that the Lord has returned, I didn’t dare look into it. It was a bumpy road. I had the good fortune to have accepted God’s work of the last days before Li Ping, so it was my responsibility, my duty to share the gospel with her. Also, I didn’t accept this stage of work in the blink of an eye. I had lots of notions at first, too. Brothers and sisters patiently fellowshiped with me over and over before I was lucky enough to come before God. But I wouldn’t put myself in her shoes and think of things from her perspective. I was lacking love and patience, and wasn’t fulfilling my responsibility. As long as there was a shred of hope and she had some inclination to seek and investigate, I had to think of any way to keep fellowshiping with her. Only that was carrying out my responsibility. When I thought about it that way I was sympathetic to her. Welcoming the Lord is a big deal concerning our final outcome. Her cautious approach was very normal. I’d just made a couple extra trips, and seeing she had lots of notions, I wanted to delimit her and give up. I was so arrogant and unreasonable. I felt terrible and was really guilty when I thought about it that way. I prayed and swore to God that I’d keep sharing the gospel with her and do my best to bring her before God.
I went back to Li Ping’s house with Sister Cheng a couple days later. She greeted us warmly as soon as she saw us, saying, “Sisters, have you eaten? If not I’ll go make something. It’s such a cold day—make yourselves at home.” Her attitude changed that much so quickly? Sister Cheng and I were also taken by surprise. I’d been concerned about whether or not she’d receive us. The 180-degree shift in her attitude was unexpected. After we sat down, Li Ping shared with us what was on her mind: “I’ve been thinking these past few days. You’ve come to share the gospel with me over and over. If your faith wasn’t in the true way, if it didn’t come from the Holy Spirit, how could you have such love and patience? I was also thinking that all the times you’ve come, I haven’t listened to you or been hospitable, but I’ve just listened to my pastor, afraid of being misled by a false Christ. I wasn’t listening for the voice of God. I wasn’t looking into your testimony that the Lord has returned, but just hid when I saw you. How could I ever welcome the Lord that way? I’ve been so foolish and ignorant!” I was really moved to hear her say that and thanked God over and over in my heart. I thought of something God said: “Man’s heart and spirit are held in the hand of God, everything of his life is beheld in the eyes of God. Regardless of whether or not you believe this, any and all things, whether living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear in accordance with God’s thoughts. Such is the way in which God presides over all things” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God Is the Source of Man’s Life). That day we also talked about how we can’t enter God’s kingdom if we’ve just been redeemed of sin, without accepting God’s judgment of the last days. I said, “Believing in the Lord, confessing and repenting just means the Lord redeems us and doesn’t see us as of sin, but it doesn’t mean we’re free from sin. We still live in the cycle of sinning and confessing. If our corrupt dispositions aren’t resolved, we’ll keep sinning and resisting God, and we can’t enter His kingdom. The Bible says, ‘Without holiness no man shall see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). ‘You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy’ (Leviticus 11:45). ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the son stays ever’ (John 8:34–35). God is holy and He won’t allow filthy humans to taint holy land, but we just can’t stop ourselves from sinning all the time. How could we enter God’s kingdom when we’re full of corruption and bound by sin? Only God can save us. In the last days, God appears and works, expressing truths and doing judgment work to resolve mankind’s corruption, fully free people from the shackles of sin, and cleanse us of corruption so ultimately we can enter God’s holy land.” Li Ping said with emotion, “So if we want to be cleansed, we have to experience God’s judgment of the last days, otherwise our corrupt dispositions will never change.” I was so happy that she was able to understand that.
Then we fellowshiped on how to discern religious pastors, Pharisees. We read a couple passages of Almighty God’s words. Almighty God says, “Look at the leaders of each denomination—they are all arrogant and self-righteous, and their interpretations of the Bible lack context and are guided by their own notions and imaginings. They all rely on gifts and erudition to do their work. If they could not preach at all, would people follow them? They do, after all, possess some knowledge and can preach on some doctrine, or they know how to win others over and make use of some artifice. They use these to deceive people and bring them before themselves. Nominally, those people believe in God, but in reality, they follow their leaders. When they encounter someone preaching the true way, some of them say, ‘We have to consult our leader about our faith.’ See how people still need the agreement and approval of others when they believe in God and accept the true way—is this not a problem? What have those leaders become, then? Have they not become Pharisees, false shepherds, antichrists, and stumbling blocks to people’s acceptance of the true way?” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). “There are those who read the Bible in grand churches and recite it all day long, yet not one among them understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one among them is able to know God; still less can any one among them accord with God’s will. They are all worthless, vile people, each standing on high to lecture God. They willfully oppose God even as they carry His banner. Claiming faith in God, still they eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such people are devils that devour the soul of man, head demons that deliberately get in the way of those trying to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks impeding those who seek God. They may appear of ‘sound constitution,’ but how are their followers to know that they are none other than antichrists who lead people to stand against God? How are their followers to know that they are living devils dedicated to the devouring of human souls?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God). I fellowshiped, “Almighty God’s words incisively reveal religious leaders’ nature and essence that is against God. In the past, we didn’t have any discernment over the clergy. We thought they knew the Bible well, that they had stature and understood the truth, so we just blindly listened to them. We’d go along with whatever they arranged. We saw our pastors’ words as more important than the Lord’s, and something as big as welcoming the Lord had to have their approval. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t dare seek or accept it, even if we heard the Lord’s voice. We thought too much of them. We weren’t believers or followers. Now the facts have shown us that when leaders in the religious world hear testimony of the Lord Jesus’ return, they don’t guide believers to look into it, but mislead them with all sorts of lies and keep them from investigating the true way. They only have one goal: to prevent believers from accepting God’s salvation of the last days, to keep them firmly controlled within their grasp, and drag them to hell alongside them. We can see from this behavior of theirs that their very essence is against God, that they’re demons that swallow up people’s souls. Just as the Lord Jesus said, ‘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).” Li Ping’s response was, “Without God incarnating in the last days, appearing and working, expressing truths, exposing the hypocrisy of these religious leaders, we’d never see their true faces, their hypocrisy and malice, but we’d continue being taken in by them. How foolish!” Having discernment over her pastor really was thanks to God. Li Ping read lots of Almighty God’s words after that and we fellowshiped together on God’s three stages of work, why God has incarnated to work in the last days, how to experience God’s judgment to be cleansed, and other aspects of the truth.
After some time of seeking and investigation, she became sure that Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus. But what we didn’t expect was that right after she became certain of God’s work, her pastor found out.
One evening shortly after sitting down, we heard an urgent knocking at the door. Li Ping saw lots of feet through the crack under the door and said, panicked, “Oh no, they said they’d put you on death’s door if they got their hands on you, and hand you over to the police. I can’t let them see you.” She hid us right away, and immediately after that 7 or 8 people burst in. Fuming with anger and all talking at once, they said, “What about those people? We saw two people come to your house and they haven’t left. They have to be here. We’ll break their arms and legs once we get them.” I could see the vicious looks in their eyes through a small crack, just like wolves. They started looking all over the place, in the courtyard, under beds, in the pigpen, in every nook and cranny. When they got to where we were hiding they were shining flashlights everywhere, and when they were almost right in front of me my heart was pounding with fear. If they found us, if they didn’t beat us to death they’d leave us disabled. I quickly said a prayer to God, not daring to be apart from Him for even a moment. I knew that God was my rock, and whatever they did to me that day was in His hands. They couldn’t do anything to me if God didn’t allow it. At that thought, I didn’t feel quite so afraid. They looked in lots of places, but never found us. That was God’s protection! Then I heard someone say, incensed, “That’s so weird. Two people definitely came into your house and never left. Why can’t we find them?” Li Ping rebuked them angrily, “I can see by the way you behave that you’re nothing like believers. They came to share the gospel, but it’s as if they entered a wolf’s den, facing curses or a beating. The Lord Jesus taught us to love others as ourselves. Based on your behavior, you’re not even as good as an unbeliever. Now I’ve really seen you for what you are. Are you even Christians? You’re Pharisees.” They left in a huff after she said that. Sister Cheng and I were really excited to hear that from her. She finally had discernment over those religious leaders and was no longer misled or disturbed by them. After they left, Li Ping said with emotion, “After their disruption today, I’ve seen their true colors. They’re antichrists, enemies of God. I’m following Almighty God no matter how they hassle me.” I was really moved to hear her say that, and thanked God over and over.
That experience gave me a clearer view of the religious leaders’ demonic faces of resisting God. They won’t seek or investigate God’s work at all, and they go off the deep end when they hear someone bear witness to the Lord’s return, and will put them on death’s door. They’re not believers. They are antichrists, Pharisees who are sick of the truth, who hate it. I also saw God’s wondrous deeds and this strengthened my faith. No matter what difficulties I face in sharing the gospel, as long as there’s a potential gospel recipient, I should draw on love and patience to give testimony to God’s work and words so they can hear God’s voice and accept His salvation of the last days. That’s the only way to fulfill my responsibility and duty.