Submission and Obedience

Christ Returns!

Christ Returneth!

1. It may be at morn, when the day is awaking,
When sunlight through darkness and shadow is breaking,
That Jesus will come in the fullness of glory
To receive from the world "His own."

O Lord Jesus, how long, how long
Ere we shout the glad song---
Christ returneth! Hallelujah!
Hallejulah! Amen.
Hallejulah! Amen.

2. It may be at midday, it may be at twilight,
It may be, perchance, that the blackness of midnight
Will burst into light in the blaze of His glory,
When Jesus receives "His own."

3. While hosts cry Hosanna, from heaven descending,
With glorified saints and the angels attending,
With grace on His brow, like a halo of glory,
Will Jesus receive "His own."

4. Oh, joy oh, delight! should we go without dying,
No sickness, no sadness, no dread and no crying;
Caught up through the clouds with our Lord into glory,
When Jesus receives "His own."

Back in the '50s, we sang this hymn often. Preachers preached about the Second Coming. Articles cautioned us to be ready. We planned with it in mind. In fact, when I came home from school one day and my mother wasn't there (very unusual!), I thought the Rapture had happened and I was left behind! That scared me real good!

In the Olivet discourse (Luke 21 and Matthew 24-25), Jesus identified signs that will occur prior to His second coming: earthquakes, wars and disturbances, nations coming against each other, plagues and famines, and signs in the heavens. Persecution and imprisonment of believers will be rampant across the world. Family members will be disloyal and betray each other. The sun and moon will give signs and the natural elements on earth will be in disarray to perplex and frighten the nations of the world.

But, Jesus said, "See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end." Matthew 24:6.

Those of us who are believers are not to be afraid nor shaken in our faith when we see the signs of the last days taking place. Instead, Jesus admonished us: "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Luke 21:28.

Fearful people cower and bend low. Jesus tells believers to stand tall and lift up their heads! Cast away all fear. His kingdom that we pray for in the Lord's Prayer soon will be established on earth forever! We shall know fully even as we are fully known! That is cause for rejoicing!

Fear is the key weapon of the devil. Fear does not come from God at all. Fear robs us of our faith in God to keep us in any and all situations. Fear leads us to do irrational things rather than putting our faith in Him to provide for and keep us safe. Fear and faith cannot occupy the heart at the same time. Jesus says imperatively: See to it that you are not frightened when you see all the upheaval in the world before I come. Do not relinquish your faith to fear!

Jesus' coming for His own and the last days are intricately woven together. As the days grow darker, we are to gain hope, because we shall be going up soon! However, we don't know exactly when Jesus will come and that is the conundrum!

It is true. No one, not even Jesus Himself, knows when the moment of His second coming for His own will occur. Men like Harold Camping a few decades ago set dates that did not see Jesus' arrival as he predicted. It is that very uncertainty and our lack of control over WHEN He will return that causes believers to grow weary and doubt THAT He will return or that His appearance will happen any time soon.

Matthew 24 is probably the most-quoted chapter regarding the second coming of Jesus for His church. There Jesus detailed the progression of events and happenings that will precede His coming in the air. Great deception will figure into the mix to try to deter believers from their faith in Christ. All sorts of false teachers will spread wrong teachings to sidetrack our faith. Jesus warns us not to fall for their lies.

It was not until Jesus had given the many signs of His soon coming that He used the last half of chapter 24 of Matthew and all of chapter 25 to caution us about staying alert and being ready for His coming. He used twice the footage to warn us not to miss His return. The parables of the fig tree, the faithful slave, the ten virgins and the talents appear AFTER Jesus gave us the signs of His coming, all to challenge us to be diligent and consistent in our faith if we are not to miss His coming in the air!

II Peter 3:3-4 refers to these last days with the caution: "Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.'"

Doubt, deception, persecution and absorption with daily life and its woes will try to move our faith off-course so we're not watching for His return. Even the un-knowing of when He will come will persuade some believers to slack off and grow careless in their faithfulness to Christ. Jesus said many will fall away and betray and hate each other.

We must carefully protect the salvation Jesus so freely gave us at the cross. The secret is found in Nehemiah 4:17-18: "The laborers who carried materials worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other. And each of the builders worked with his sword strapped at his side."

We must not let down our guard as we go about our daily business, whatever that is. Be alert. Live in the Word of God! Meet with Him in prayer always! Do not neglect or ignore the leading of the Holy Spirit. Listen for His voice. Obey Him completely and immediately. Your redemption is very close! Our redemption is very near. Look up and rejoice!

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®
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