A Surprising Gain From Receiving a Stranger ❤️ 🎁
I used to be a preacher in a house church. One day in a co-worker meeting, Pastor Chen read a passage in the Bible, “I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6–7). And then he said, “Co-workers, Eastern Lightning followers say that the Lord Jesus has returned to do the work of judgment. And many good sheep in other churches have been stolen by them. How can we give an account to the Lord in the future if we fail to look after His flock well? So I’ve decided that in order to protect the flock, no one is allowed to entertain any strangers. And if anyone accepts members of Eastern Lightning into their homes, they will be expelled from the church.” I was greatly shocked by what he said, thinking, “Why have so many true believers in the Lord accepted Eastern Lightning? How could that be? From now on I must be cautious and never receive strangers into my home.”
In the following days, I went to every meeting place to communicate Pastor Chen’s words and asked the believers to obey them. After that, I breathed a sigh of relief, believing that acting this way was devotion to the Lord. One day, an elderly sister came to my home in a fluster and said, “Fengying, a stranger came to my house to preach the gospel of Eastern Lightning, and she said the Lord Jesus has already come back to express the truth …” “Where is she?” I immediately interrupted her. “I’ll go and have a look.” As soon as I got to the elderly sister’s house with her, I quickly walked up to the sister who had come to preach the gospel and said, “You are the one preaching the gospel of Eastern Lightning?” “Yes, auntie,” She said with a smile. “Eastern Lightning is Jehovah God, the second coming of the Lord Jesus.” “Which verse of the Bible records that Eastern Lightning is the Jehovah God?” I asked. “You’d better go now. We won’t believe whatever you are preaching.” Then she replied peacefully, “Auntie, have you forgotten that the Bible says, ‘Ask you of Jehovah rain in the time of the latter rain’ (Zechariah 10:1). Isn’t it Jehovah God who makes the lightning?” Her words made me speechless, like giving me a blow to the head. In order to save face, I fought back, “You can preach to the unbelievers if you want. Besides, we don’t know you, and the pastors and elders forbid us to receive strangers. Go now!” Another sister said, “Right! We don’t know you. Go away!” But the sister of Eastern Lightning said calmly, “Actually, we believers in the Lord should listen to the Lord’s word. The Lord Jesus has never said that no one is allowed to receive strangers; instead He said, ‘Whoever shall receive this child in my name receives me: and whoever shall receive me receives him that sent me’ (Luke 9:48). The Lord said that whoever receives the messengers that preach the gospel receives Him. But your pastors and elders don’t allow you to receive strangers. Aren’t they disobeying the Lord’s teachings?” Another of our group said hastily, “If you don’t leave, I’ll call 110 and then you’ll go.” Everyone present attacked or threatened her, and she was eventually driven away.
After the sister left, I couldn’t help thinking: “What she said didn’t depart from the Bible. And she seemed rather devout and didn’t look like a bad woman.” That night, my heart beat violently and I felt very uncomfortable. So I examined in what way I had offended the Lord. Then I remembered how I’d rejected the people who preached Eastern Lightning in the past. Was my doing so against the Lord’s will? Thinking of this, I felt it hard to calm down. Recalling that the Lord Jesus taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves in the Bible, I got even more confused. So I prayed, “O Lord, I have worked, preached, and protected the flock for You. Why am I having heart problems again? Is it wrong for me not to receive strangers? O Lord, I am so confused and don’t know what I should do to be after Your heart. O Lord, please guide me.” After the prayer, the words in the Bible that the young sister of Eastern Lightning said occurred to me, “Whoever shall receive this child in my name receives me: and whoever shall receive me receives him that sent me” (Luke 9:48). I pondered: “Right! The Lord Jesus said we should even receive children, and He never said not to receive strangers. So wasn’t it wrong for me to reject that sister?” Then I recalled what the pastors and elders said, and thought: “They don’t allow us to receive strangers for the sake of the church’s flock. They’ve done no wrong.” I was really confused at that moment. So I prayed many times and entrusted the Lord with this matter, asking Him to guide me to understand His will.
A few days later, that young sister came to my home. I said, “These days there are many people preaching the gospel of Eastern Lightning, and our pastors and elders have repeatedly asked us not to contact strangers. I don’t know you, so I have to treat you as a stranger.” Then she said quietly, “Auntie, as a preacher, you should know that in the Bible it mentions many people who obtained unexpected blessing unawares just because they received strangers. The Bible records: Lot received strangers, and when Sodom was destroyed, he and his two daughters survived. Rahab the harlot received strangers, and she and the others in her house were spared. The poor widow from Zarephath received a stranger, the prophet Elijah, and then her bin of flour was never used up, nor did her jar of oil ever run dry; and when the son of the widow was seriously sick and there was no breath left in him, Elijah prayed to God and cured him. All of those who received strangers obtained God’s grace unawares. Just as the Lord Jesus said, ‘He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward’ (Matthew 10:41). These are the Lord’s teachings to us, and we should put them into practice. Auntie, is what I said true?” I replied, “Yes. We also frequently preach these teachings at gatherings.” Then she said, “Auntie, if we merely talk about them without practicing them, we won’t gain the truth. Just like the Lord Jesus said, ‘Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house on a rock’ (Matthew 7:24). From these examples recorded in the Bible, we can see that if we receive strangers, not only won’t we be deceived, but instead we will gain God’s protection and blessings. The Bible also says, ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares’ (Hebrews 13:2). If no one had received strangers, just as your pastors and elders advise, then how could the gospel of Jesus Christ have spread from the western countries to our country? Do we know those missionaries from the West? The Lord Jesus said, ‘Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15). Since those people went to all nations to preach the gospel, there must have been lots of people who didn’t know them. Just like when the Lord Jesus’ disciples and Paul were spreading the Lord’s gospel everywhere. Could there have been many people who knew them? So, is it in line with the Lord’s teachings that pastors and elders say not to receive strangers? If we blindly believe those religious leaders’ words and refuse to receive strangers, aren’t we disobeying the Lord’s word and being foolish? Then how can we enter the kingdom of heaven if we just believe in the Lord but don’t obey His word? Isn’t it so, auntie?”
After listening to what she said, I thought: “That’s right. People who believe in the Lord should obey the word of the Lord. Since the Lord Jesus never asked us not to receive strangers, isn’t what the pastors and elders said wrong?” Then I thought: “No! The pastors and elders told us not to receive strangers in case we follow any other gospel. And what they said is for our good.” Thinking of this, I said, “The Bible says, ‘I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ’ (Galatians 1:6–7). Thus the reason why we don’t receive strangers is that we fear to follow another gospel.” She smiled and said, “Auntie, a lot of people in the religious world don’t understand the verse of the Bible you mentioned at all. It is from an epistle that Paul wrote to the Galatian churches. But many people think it’s a teaching to the believers in the Lord in the last days. So they never have the right attitude toward this teaching. At that time, Paul was preaching the gospel in another place, and he learned that many brothers and sisters in the Galatian churches had left the way of the Lord Jesus Christ and returned to the temple to continue to worship Jehovah and keep the laws. Paul was concerned about the churches, but he couldn’t go back to the Galatian churches immediately. So he wrote this epistle to exhort and remind the brothers and sisters in the churches. Just like he said, ‘O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ has been evidently set forth, crucified among you?’ (Galatians 3:1). The leaders, chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of Judaism disturbed and deceived the Galatians, and asked them to deny the word of Jesus Christ. So Paul wrote an epistle, saying, ‘I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.’ In that age, there were two groups of people preaching the gospel. One preached the old way of God, the gospel of believing in Jehovah God and keeping the law; the other preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, there were some who troubled the Galatians, trying to pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ, and make them go back to keeping the law. So Paul said in the epistle, ‘… preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed’” (Galatians 1:8).
After her fellowship, I felt my heart had gained some light: “So, that is what happened. How come the pastors and elders don’t know that? Since we all believe in the Lord, how could she know so much? And where does she get all this from?” So I asked inquiringly, “Sister Zhang, you are right. But how do you know all of these things? The book in your hand is…” “Auntie, how could any man or woman know these things? I learned all of them from this book. This book is particularly different from any other book in the world, because the words in it are expressed by the second incarnate God Himself. It explains everything that mankind doesn’t understand and all the mysteries in the Bible, including what you don’t understand.” Her words reminded me of some believers who love the Lord in other churches. They had believed in the Lord for many years, yet easily accepted Eastern Lightning, and no one could bring them back. It seemed that Eastern Lightning really had the truth. Therefore, I accepted a copy of the book from her.
Then she fellowshiped a lot with me, such as the truth of the three stages of God’s work, the prophecies about Eastern Lightning, and so on. I thought: “What this young sister said is well-founded and illuminating, and I enjoyed it and learnt much from it. I’m also a preacher, so why do I not understand these things?” Before leaving, she left several tapes of recitals of Almighty God’s words to me. After she left, I played the tapes, and heard the pleasing sound, “Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path by which man gains life, and it is the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. … Those who wish to gain life without relying on the truth spoken by Christ are the most ridiculous people on earth, and those who do not accept the way of life brought by Christ are lost in fantasy. And so I say that those who do not accept Christ of the last days shall forever be despised by God. Christ is man’s gateway to the kingdom during the last days, and there are none who can go around Him. None may be perfected by God except through Christ. You believe in God, and so you must accept His words and obey His way. You cannot only think of gaining blessings while being incapable of receiving the truth and incapable of accepting the provision of life. Christ comes during the last days so that all those who truly believe in Him may be provided with life. His work is for the sake of concluding the old age and entering the new one, and His work is the path that must be taken by all those who would enter the new age. If you are incapable of acknowledging Him, and instead condemn, blaspheme, or even persecute Him, then you are bound to burn for eternity and shall never enter the kingdom of God.” Hearing this, I felt both joy and sorrow and tears came to my eyes. I thought: “These authoritative words could only be expressed by God Himself. The Lord Jesus also said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me’ (John 14:6). This is indeed God’s voice.” At that time, the scenes of my rejecting the brothers and sisters who came to preach the gospel to me time after time rose before my eyes. I was very distressed: How foolish and ignorant I had been! During my years of belief, I had listened to what the pastors and elders said more than the Lord’s word, with the result that I didn’t dare to receive any stranger who preached the gospel of Eastern Lightning. Besides, not only did I not seek or investigate the true way, but I hindered my brothers and sisters from doing so, thinking that this was devotion to the Lord. Never did I think that I was in opposition to God. However, God didn’t give up on me because of that, and instead He arranged for a sister to preach the gospel to me once more, giving me another opportunity to repent. When I received the sister, a stranger, God blessed me, and so I received the Lord and welcomed His return unawares. I thank God for His salvation of me, and I am willing to cooperate with Him to bring my brothers and sisters before Him to comfort His heart.
Not long after, I began to live the church life by attending meetings and performing my duty with my brothers and sisters. I was filled with joy. Thank God for His guidance. Later, I worked together with some brothers and sisters and brought those who truly believe in the Lord in my former church before God. All the glory be to Almighty God!
Source From: Find the Shepherd