Lord's Day Evening Meditations December
"That Blessed Hope"
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the
glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
The way time is passing by brings the subject of the Lord's coming
to mind this evening, what Paul called our "blessed hope."
In the beginning God put lights in the heavens and said, "Let
them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years."
Gen. 1:14. Time is an integral part of this creation, and God
has set markers to measure it as it goes by. We are approaching
another such marker as this year draws to a close. One of these
years, or days, will be the last one, and then, as far as we are
concerned, "Time shall be no more." It is an important
element just now, and it is bringing us closer and closer to our
"blessed hope." What is "that blessed
"And if I go and prepare a place or you,
I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where
I am, there ye may be also." John 14:3. That promise
- "I will come again," is our "blessed
hope," the expectation of His coming to receive us
to Himself. Notice that He didn't say, "I'll take you to
heaven." No, He'll come to receive us to Himself, because
as we sometimes sing:
Yet it must be, Thy love had not its rest
Were Thy redeemed not with Thee fully blest.
He came to this earth, and served and died and
rose and has returned to glory where He maintains the interests
of His own down here, but He will not be satisfied until His redeemed
are with Him where He is. Are we satisfied to remain here,
or are we, like Him, waiting anxiously and longingly to be with
Him? O that we might be in the condition of soul described
in the poem:
I wake in the morning with thoughts of His love
Who is living for me in the glory above,
Every minute expecting He'll call me away,
And that keeps me bright all the rest of the day!
But the moments speed forward, and on comes the
Yet still I am singing, "He'll come very
And thus I am watching from morning till night,
And pluming my wings to be ready for flight!
We waited for Him this year and He hasn't come
yet; He still might come before the year is out. If not, we will
wait for Him next year. What a blessed thing it is to have this
hope before us! What must it be for those who don't know the Lord,
who don't have any such hope before them. What must it be like
to have no future, no anchor, no certainty beyond the immediate
present? Through faith in Christ, and purely by the grace of God,
we look forward to leave this place of trial and sorrow to be
with the Lord Jesus, and like Him forever. This
sheds a light and gives a character to the life of a believer
that cannot be found in the world.
Our Lord's promise in John 14 is that He will come,
but He didn't say when. A reason for this is that He wants us
to be expecting Him at any time. The hope of the Lord's coming
is designed so that those who wait for Him always expect Him in
their lifetime. The Apostle Paul expected Him in his time. The
Thessalonians believed in Christ and "turned to God from
idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His
Son from heaven." We have many books of valuable
ministry, written by brethren who lived years ago, and we often
find them referring to the Lord's coming as being very near. As
believers, we do not expect to die; we expect to go directly
to be with Him.
But if He will not be satisfied until He has His
redeemed people with Him, why is He waiting? We are now in the
time of "the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ."
Rev. 1:9. To the assembly at Philadelphia He said, "Because
thou hast kept the word of My patience" (Rev. 3:10),
which I believe means keeping His word in the time of His patience.
That is the time that we are in now - the time of the "patience
of Jesus Christ." When He was here He was the "Man
of sorrows"; now He is the Man of patience, and soon
He will be the Man of glory. But now He is the Man of patience.
He knows all that is going on down here, in the world, and amongst
His people, most of which is contrary to His holiness and to His
love, and yet He is waiting . . . waiting. Why?
When Peter confessed Him as the Son of the living
God, the Lord revealed to him something that He had not made known
before. He said, "I will build My church (assembly)."
That was before He died; He hadn't begun to build yet. The building
began on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit came
down from heaven and baptized all the believers at that time into
one unit, referred to in various ways as His church, His body,
or His bride. The building has been going on since then - "And
are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus
Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in Whom all the building
fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the
Lord." Eph. 2:19 - 22. That temple is composed of all
the truly saved since the day of Pentecost. Notice that it is
still growing; it isn't finished yet. When the last living stone
is put in place and the temple is complete, then He will come
and take His redeemed ones to be with Himself.
What will determine the moment of His coming? It
is not the fulfillment of certain prophecies, for there are no
prophecies that need to be fulfilled before He comes. It is not
even the state of the world or of the church. You hear people
say, "Things are so bad, surely He must be coming soon."
No, what will end the time of His patience so that He then fulfills
His promise is the completion of "His church,"
His bride. When every one who is to be saved, in this time of
grace, has been saved, then He will come and call His people to
be with Himself.
Every saved person is a living stone in that "holy
temple in the Lord." Are you a living stone in that
building? If you are not saved and the Lord came while we are
here tonight, you'd be left here all alone, with the door of salvation
closed - forever too late. Solemn thought! Let me say a word to
you younger ones here who have grown up hearing these things all
your lives. Have you taken these things in and truly believed
them, or have they become so familiar to you that you just tune
them out? Have you truly repented of your sins and received the
Lord Jesus as your Saviour? If not, do it now, tonight. Don't
put it off any longer. I know that I have said this many times,
but one of these times will be the last one!
"And that, knowing the time, that now
it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation
nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day
is at hand." Read Rom. 13:11 - 14. "Our salvation"
spoken of there is not the salvation of our souls; it is the moment
of the Lord's coming to take us out of this world of trouble.
So, "Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed"
means that if you were saved 5 years ago (or 10, 20, or 60), then
you are that many years closer to the moment of the Lord's coming
than the day you were saved. That is what time is doing to us
- bringing us closer and closer to that wonderful moment. Yes,
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand."
"That blessed hope" should have a very positive
effect on our hearts and lives.
When He does come, how will it happen? Read 1 Thess.
4:15 - 18. Notice that Paul wrote this "by the word of
the Lord." It will not fail! To the Lord a thousand
years are as but one day, so it isn't yet even two days since
He said, "I will come again." In verse 15,
"shall not prevent then which are asleep"
means will not "go before" those who have died. Those
"which sleep in Jesus" and "we which
are alive and remain" will all go to meet the Lord
together. Paul and the Thessalonians expected to be among those
"which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord,"
but it was not for their time. Believers we know expected to still
be alive when He came, but they have fallen asleep. So now we
are the ones who "are alive and remain unto the coming
of the Lord!" He will give the call; those asleep in
Jesus will rise in their changed bodies and we will be changed,
all in "the twinkling of an eye," to be "caught
up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air."
Are you ready, are you waiting, are you watching for "that
blessed hope"? S.L.