It has become our practice for our “Words of Grace for Strength” articles to take an excerpt from a book and then add commentary on the passage. Today we will make a slight departure from this formula, in that our commentary will precede the excerpt. The authors we have chosen to quote in this series, are some of the greatest biblical preachers and teachers of the past two centuries.
This has been by design, in order to show that a good understanding of biblical truth is timeless. However, unfortunately in this current day it is becoming harder and harder to find writings worthy of quotation. Today there are many “preachers and teachers” who no longer hold to Scriptural truth, literal interpretation, and a correct contextual exegesis of God’s Word.
Paul, in his second letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 3:1-7) warned that in “the last days” perilous times would be marked by men who, although they appear godly, would in fact be dominated by their lustful desires; lacking the ability to understand truth. And Peter, in his second epistle (2 Peter 2:1-3) describes these men as false prophets and false teachers who unfortunately will exploit many, leading them away from truth into destruction.
John writes (1 John 2:15-28) a warning to believers about these false teachers and false prophets, describing them as having at one time appeared to be followers of Christ, but in truth, they had not accepted by faith, His identity and gift of eternal life. Again, they are described as having a desire to turn people away from the truth of who Jesus Christ is, and what the Father wants for His children.
This is the conflict we are in today. There are many standing in pulpits around the world who are teaching psychology, materialism, socialism, environmentalism, deism, pantheism, and even atheism. The truth of the gospel is better than any of these teachings. There are those who are teaching that God is love and that Jesus loves you, yet avoid the subject of sin and the need for repentance and sanctification.
And there are still others who seem to have their theology about half right; yet they deny God’s future plan for Israel, the Rapture of the church, the reality of His millennial reign, or His literal Second Coming (therefore making half right, ALL wrong).
The truth of the gospel is very simple. Jesus came the first time as the Son of Man born of a woman. Fully man and fully God. He lived a sinless life in order to pay our sin debt on the cross at Calvary. There He died crying out, It is finished; was buried, on the third day rose from the dead, walked among and taught His disciples for 40 days, before ascending to heaven, where He sits at the right hand of His Father.
Today we await His imminent return for His church, and His Second Coming in power and great glory to bind Satan and destroy his armies. The truth of the gospel isn’t about how God can be a blessing to our lives, it is about the fact that because of what He has done for us, we need to be blessing Him with our lives.
There are those who will not hold to the whole truth of the gospel, but only some portion of it, even if it is only a small part of the truth which they seek to leave out. This is nothing more than the sinful pride of man trying to control his own personal destiny, only trying to make the Lord fit into a box of Man’s own making.
Instead, they take the fullness of the Lord out of a Book of the Lord’s own inspiration. When someone does so, it is the enemy himself who moves in and feeds the “spiritual” or “religious” cravings of the individual, for they have turned from accepting the fullness of the Lord to the emptiness of any other way but Him, and Him alone, and Him in all His glory, love and wisdom.
In his book, The Return of the Lord Jesus, R.A. Torrey writes of the importance, truth, and certainty of the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And his last chapter describes what our attitude should be toward that return.
Today this is where we find:
Words of Grace for Strength
Excerpted from The Return of the Lord Jesus by R. A. Torrey 1913.
We Should Earnestly Desire the Coming of Our Lord. In 2 Peter 3:12 we read, “Looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of the God by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” If we love our Lord above all else we will long for His return above all else. How a true wife longs for the return of the husband who is across the sea.
No gifts that he can send her during his absence will compensate for the absence of the husband, so the true bride of Christ longs for the return of the heavenly Bridegroom. While she may rejoice in those measures of grace vouchsafed her in the present through the indwelling Christ, she longs for the return of the Bridegroom Himself.
I once heard of one who had been widely proclaimed as a teacher of advanced truth say that there was a time when he was greatly interested in the Second Coming of Christ, but that of late years he had been so taken up with the glory of the indwelling Christ that he had lost interest in the thought of His return. This utterance was thoroughly unscriptural. To me it is incomprehensible on the part of one who really knows the truth about the Return of our Lord.
It is well to preach the present privileges of the indwelling Christ, but there is something better than even this, our Lord Himself is coming; we shall see HIM; we shall be caught up to meet HIM; we shall be ever with HIM. And if it is Himself we love and not merely His gifts, no joy and victory that we may know through the indwelling Christ will satisfy the deepest longings of our soul. We shall long for Himself and for that fullness of fellowship with Him that we shall only know when He Himself comes again. There is a crown awaiting those who loved His appearing.
It is doubtful if there ever was a believer on this earth who knew more experimentally about the glory of the indwelling Christ than the Apostle Paul, yet one of the last things he wrote was, “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give to me in that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). May I put a plain question to you? Are you longing for Christ’s return? If you are not, you may be sure there is something wrong about your life somewhere, or about your relations to your Lord.
Our Lord Jesus is coming again – precious words! How they ought to thrill our hearts! How they ought to lead us to inquire diligently lest there be anything in us that will grieve Him at His coming. How they ought to make our hearts burn with the desire to do more and to use our talents more faithfully while He tarries. THE LORD JESUS IS COMING!
How small these words make the world with its gain and its loss, its pomp and its pride, its pleasure and its pain, its praise and its blame, to appear. OUR LORD JESUS IS COMING! How these words should make us eager to bring our friends to Christ at once lest they be “left” at His coming. OUR LORD JESUS IS COMING! Yes, He is coming, perhaps this year; perhaps this month, perhaps tomorrow; perhaps today. Are you ready? Listen once again to His own last and sweetest promise, Yea, I come quickly.
“AMEN, COME, LORD JESUS.”
Dr. Tuck Whitaker and Andy Coticchio