The Coming of the Lord Will Be Soon
The Lord will return as a thief in the night-unexpected (2 Peter 3:10). Why do we believe it will be soon? Look around you; what do you see?
The Bible tells us what will take place in the last days. These very things are being fulfilled-“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:38). God destroyed the first world with the flood because man became selfish and the imaginations of his heart were evil continually. Violence filled the earth. They were “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4). Today people love pleasure as never before, and will put forth all effort to obtain it.
Let us look at the conditions existing in the world today. There are destructive and hateful uprisings in many cities. Bloodshed and murder are daily occurrences. Why? Men have forgotten God. Why have youth become so restless and uneasy? Mom and Dad are working away from home, leaving children to shift for themselves at the very time when they need someone to guide them. They run the streets and get into much trouble. Juvenile delinquency increases every year. Crime, ranging from misdemeanors to grave offenses is on the increase. What do you think, will it get better? Do you see any chance at all for improvement? How long can this go on? God is longsuffering, but His Spirit will not always strive with man. There is a reckoning day coming when men must give account before God.
How is it with the Christians of today? Is he really putting first things first? Or have the material things of this world so engulfed him that he is not able to hold up the real light? Has the salt of earth lost its saving power? The Bible says if the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness. Yes, I believe, we must all truly say the light has become very dim and that soon the day will come when all souls will stand before that Great Judge and answer for their deeds.
Jesus is coming as the Bible plainly tells us-“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11). This, my friends, is one event we won’t miss. Every eye shall see Him. He is coming, and when He comes-“before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:32). Some will go with Him to glory; some will be left. What about you-will you go or will you be left behind? You must choose.
WE ARE ALL SINNERS
We are all born with a sinful nature-prone to sin. All we like sheep have gone astray. None doeth good, no, not one. No one can say he is free of sin. It is man’s very nature to lie, cheat, and steal. From childhood we did many things we knew were wrong. When we came to adulthood, we still found we were apt to do those very same things. Sin has its reward-it will not go unpunished. “For he that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption” (Galatians 6:8). We have no way of ourselves to atone for our sin, and sin will never enter heaven. So where does that leave us? Out in the cold with no hope, unless we repent.
Someday the Lord shall descend from heaven to take those who are ready-who are born again-with Him to glory (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Heaven will be so beautiful and lovely-“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). If we are not ready we will be left behind. Then the Bible says the earth will melt with fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10). It tells us that this fire shall be forever, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44). There shall be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth-forever. There will be pain and torment for those who are left behind-“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever” (Revelation 14:11). Our finite minds cannot possibly understand what that means. Lost-cast away! Absolutely no hope for a better future.
The worst part will be that through stubbornness and neglect, love of pleasure and sin, we will have missed the reward of eternal salvation. It will be no one’s fault but our own. We will have chosen to be there-for the love of God made a way so we could have escaped this fate.
One can give no better explanation of God’s love than John 3:16-17-“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” Jesus invites everyone, and says: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me…For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Throughout Old Testament times men shed the blood of bulls, lambs, goats, and turtledoves when bringing oblations. They must have realized that the only way sin could be atoned for was by blood and death. Isaiah chapter 53 tells us how Christ was led as a lamb to the slaughter and he opened not His mouth. Yes, the way out of our lost condition is to accept Jesus as our Savior-His blood for our atonement-His way as our way. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). The Word of God points us to Jesus, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. It tells us how He lived while on earth, how He lifted the burdens of the heavy laden, healed the sick, and restored the dead to life. And last, but not least, He died on the cross and rose again. Now the way of salvation is complete; it is perfect. If we neglect so great salvation, how shall we escape?
THE CHRISTIAN’S RESPONSIBILITY
Soon our time on earth will be over. The important question is, will our work have been done? When we have the opportunity to witness for Christ to some lost soul and we fail, then that opportunity is past. If that poor soul goes to eternity without Christ, where will that leave us? How will we answer for our own neglect?
The Lord said through the prophet Ezekiel, “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his evil way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand” (Ezekiel 3:18). Please read the next four verses in the same chapter. It should really make us tremble to realize our great responsibility. We are His witnesses. Our attitude toward the natural things of life and our earnestness toward spiritual things, help people form their opinion of Christianity. We must be filled with the Holy Spirit. Our hearts must be filled with the love of God. We must have a knowledge of the terrible fate of the lost to really be a true witness. Too many times we wait for an inspiration when we should be earnestly praying for an inspiration. What, oh Christian, can we do to arouse ourselves to the challenge of our day? Will our work be finished, or will we miss the gift of eternal salvation? If we would do something for the Lord-we must do it now! “For he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37).
Jesus is coming! We know not how soon,
coming at midnight, at morning, or noon;
Evening may bring Him to bear us away;
will I be watching and waiting each day?