Now the plagues, fires, insect plagues, earthquakes, floods, and other calamities are getting worse and worse; many countries are in turmoil; the four blood moons have appeared, and the prophecies of the Lord’s return have basically been fulfilled. Now is the critical time to welcome the Lord’s coming. Many people testify that the Lord has returned and He has expressed new words and done new work. However, some brothers and sisters are afraid to investigate because their pastors and elders say that there are many people preaching false ways and that they should not listen to sermons outside their churches, so as not to be misled by false ways. Some brothers and sisters think that they should listen to other sermons for the Bible says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). But they still worry about being deceived because they cannot discern the true way from false ways. In the face of such a big event as welcoming the Lord, that we take the initiative to investigate the true way is in line with the Lord’s will. If we do not investigate the message that preaches the Lord has returned for fear of being deceived by false ways, then will we not be refusing those who preach the true way as well? So, the key thing for us to do now is not to guard against false ways, but to learn to discern the true way from false ways, so that we will not be deceived, and will welcome the return of the Lord Jesus.
Then, how can we discern the true way from false ways? let’s first take a look at what God’s words say, “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 the work of the Holy Spirit is present therein. For the substance of people’s belief in God is the belief in the Spirit of God, and even their belief in God incarnate is because this flesh is the embodiment of the Spirit of God, which means that such belief is still 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. So, in distinguishing whether or not it is the true way, above all you must look at whether or not it has the work of the Holy Spirit, after which you must look at whether or not there is truth in this way. The 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, normal humanity in its entirety (including human sense, insight, wisdom, and the basic knowledge of being man). That is, you need to look at whether or not this way can lead people 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 lead people into normal and real experiences; people, furthermore, become ever more normal, their human sense becomes ever more complete, their life in the flesh and the spiritual life become ever more orderly, and their emotions become ever more normal. This is the second principle. There is one other principle, which is whether or not people have an increasing knowledge of God, and whether or not experiencing such work and truth can inspire a love of God in them and bring them ever closer to God. In this it can be measured whether or not this way is the true way. Most fundamental is whether this way is realistic rather than supernatural, and whether or not it is able to provide for the life of man. If it conforms to these principles, the conclusion can be drawn that this way is the true way.”
We can learn from these words of God that there are three principles to distinguish between the true way and the false way. Below, we will fellowship in detail.
We should know that God’s essence is Spirit. No matter it’s Jehovah God working as a Spirit, or it’s the Lord Jesus performing work in the flesh, in essence it’s the Spirit of God doing work to lead mankind. So it can be said that the substance of our belief in God is the belief in God’s Spirit. The true way can only come from God and it’s the work and word of God Himself, which means it must contain the work of the Holy Spirit and those who accept the true way will definitely have the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It’s just like when the Lord Jesus became flesh to work among mankind and preach the way, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17), The Lord Jesus’ disciples saw that His words were unique, powerful and authoritative and they felt that these words came from God, and then they came to follow the Lord one after another. At that time, the Holy Spirit did Its great work. Every day the Lord Jesus preached to His followers and He taught them to love their enemies, to show tolerance and patience, to forgive others seventy times seven times, to love the Lord with all their heart and soul, and so on. The Lord Jesus’ sermons filled His followers’ hearts with light, gave them the path of practice, and allowed them to feel the presence of God. When God’s work in the flesh was over and the Lord Jesus was resurrected and ascended up into heaven, the Holy Spirit did great work in the church and believers in the Lord were full of faith. No matter how the Pharisees and the Roman government persecuted the Lord’s disciples and believers and obstructed them from preaching the gospel, the number of the people who accepted the Lord’s salvation swelled with every passing day and all those who believed in and followed the Lord could feel moved in their prayers and were all willing to practice according to the Lord’s teachings to satisfy Him. They gained greater faith in the Lord and grew closer to Him, with peace and joy filled in their hearts. The church was fervent at that time. No matter what kind of adversity they faced, the believers in the Lord persisted in reading the Bible and walking the path of the cross; many of them forsook everything to spread the gospel and some even were martyred for their faith. These were all effects achieved through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, when considering whether something is the true way, we can look to see whether it contains the work of the Holy Spirit. When people accept the true way where the Holy Spirit is at work, they can enjoy God’s supply and watering of life, gain release and freedom in their soul, and have a path of practice with issues they encounter. And the church will flourish to an ever larger extent. From God’s previous work we can see that the true way has been persecuted since ancient times. However, no matter how evil forces persecuted the true way, with the work of the Holy Spirit, those who followed the true God not only didn’t lose faith, but gained more and more confidence in following God to the end. This was all reliant on the guidance of the work of the Holy Spirit. Contrarily, if a way doesn’t contain the work of the Holy Spirit, this means it doesn’t have God’s presence and it is just a religious group set up by man. People who follow this way won’t increase in their faith in and love for God, and when things befall them, they just follow some rules or even have nowhere to turn, having no spiritual enjoyment. Such a religious group will eventually perish of itself. It is just as the saying goes: “What comes from God will flourish, what comes from man must perish.”
Another way to distinguish between the true way and the false way is to look at whether or not this way contains expressions of the truth and if it can allow people to live out proper humanity. God is the truth, the way, and the life. Every time when God comes to do His work, He will, according to our needs as corrupt mankind, express new truth and give us new paths of practice to supply our life, restore our conscience and reason, enable us to live out proper humanity. This can be confirmed by God’s two previous stages of work. For instance, in the Age of Law Jehovah God used Moses to issue the laws and commandments. Though they didn’t consist of too many words, all of them came from God and were the truth, and were what people at that time needed the most. These laws and commandments taught mankind how to live a proper life on earth and how to worship God, so that they can grasp some basic principles for living.
In the Age of Grace when the Lord Jesus came to work in the flesh, He, according to their needs, gave mankind the way of repentance and a new way to practice according to their needs. For example, the Lord Jesus required of us that we should forgive others seventy times seven times, be forgiving and tolerant with others, love each other, be an honest person, not judge others, and more. We believers in the Lord practice in accordance with the Lord’s words such things as humility and patience, and gradually, we experience some changes in our behavior and live with an increasingly normal humanity.
The Lord Jesus has prophesied that in the last days He will return. He said: “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). “Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth” (John 17:17). It says in Hebrews 9:28: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin to salvation.” From these verses we can see that when the Lord returns in the last days, He will, according to our stature, express more and higher truths than those expressed in the Age of Grace, enabling us to cast off the bonds of sin and thoroughly resolving the root cause of our sinning. If we practice according to the truth expressed by the returned Lord, we will surely sin less and less and gradually be purified of our satanic corrupt dispositions. This is the effect that is to be achieved by God’s words of the new age. So, when someone testifies to us the returned Lord’s new work, we can see if that way contains all the truths which can allow us to be free from sin and attain purity, and whether there are testimonies of achieving a change in disposition and living out a true human likeness through experiencing God’s work. These effects cannot be achieved by a false way, because man cannot express the truth and have others achieve a change in their life disposition.
We can weigh whether it is the true way or the false way based on whether or not this way gives people an increasing knowledge of God and enables their relationship with God to become increasingly normal. When God comes to perform His work and save man, He will certainly tell us what His will and requirements are, so that we can understand what deeds God takes delight in and what deeds He detests, and gain a deeper knowledge of God’s love for mankind and of what He has and is, thus developing hearts of reverence and love for Him and having a more and more normal relationship with Him. This can be confirmed by God’s past work. In the Age of Law, the laws and commandments issued forth from Jehovah God made people at that time aware of God’s majestic, wrathful and inviolable disposition. Those who went against the laws would be punished, while those who observed the laws could receive God’s guidance and blessings; this allowed them to know God’s righteousness and beauty and develop reverence for Jehovah God.
But toward the end of the Age of Law, people sinned more and more. There were no longer enough sacrifices to atone for their sins, and everyone was at risk of being condemned and put to death in accordance with the laws. So God personally became flesh to do work, bestowed upon mankind His mercy and love as well as bountiful grace and blessings, such as healing the sick and casting out demons, feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, and so forth. Eventually, He was crucified to act as a sin offering for mankind. Many people, after accepting the Lord Jesus’ salvation and seeing His mercy and love for mankind, were touched by His love and were willing to abandon everything to serve Him.
We can see that God’s being and possessions, as well as His disposition were revealed in the work He has done in the past. Likewise, when the Lord returns to appear and work in the last days, He will tell us more of His will and make us come to a new understanding of God. Therefore, if we are to differentiate between the true way and the false way, we can look at whether those who accept this way have a new knowledge of God, and whether they have testimonies of obedience to God and love for Him. It’s because those who believe in the false way or the old way, are never able to communicate new knowledge of God’s being and possessions, much less can they have a witness of love for God.
These are the three principles of discerning the true way from false ways. I hope this text will be helpful for you and help you welcome the Lord Jesus’ return soon.