Missionary statesman Dr George Forbes reminds us of a powerful declaration: ‘Even so, come Lord Jesus.’
These virtually closing words of the Bible (Revelation 22: 20) have been on the hearts and lips of believers since the first century. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is one of the great beliefs of the Christian faith. Millions of believers have lived and died with this hope in their hearts.
I love the statement of the apostle John when he says, ‘How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us it that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure’ (1 John 3:1-3).
I recall more than one older believer many years ago, who declared they were preparing themselves for the coming of the Lord. They testified that they would be alive at the time of the coming of the Lord.
This was probably true of many Christians who lived and died with the hope of his coming deep within their hearts.
A passage of scripture that has encouraged me over many years is 2 Peter 3:11-12. I especially like the NIV translation of verse 12. Peter says…
• ‘Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.’
• The older King James version says, ‘hasting unto the coming of the day of God.’
• The modern King James says, ‘rushing the coming of the Day of God.’
I believe the NIV provides us with a valuable meaning when the term, ‘speed its coming’ is used.
Speeding the return
Yes, we can ‘speed its coming.’ The scriptures teach that the return of Jesus Christ is directly linked with the commission he gave his church before he ascended into heaven. We have been given a great task and the return of the King will be when the job is finished.
How then can we ‘speed his coming? ’ Surely it is in the vital matter of reaching every nation with the gospel of Christ. This is the one and only reason Jesus has not yet returned. He is waiting for ‘the precious fruit of the earth’ as James writes in his letter: ‘Be patient then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains’ (Jas. 5:7).
The leaders of the church worldwide can help ‘speed his coming’ by teaching and modelling the preparation and participation in the harvest that these scriptures teach. This will only happen as the Holy Spirit is recognised as Commander-in-Chief of global evangelisation.
There are multiplied tasks in the work of the kingdom of God. Ministries and missions of great variety abound. The church of Jesus Christ has been given a task of staggering proportions, while at the same time, we have been given authority, power and grace to do all that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has called us to do.
A missing priority today!
We can do all things through Christ. There is nothing God commanded that cannot be done. Yet, so little of the missions’ effort of the church worldwide is focused on the great task of ‘speeding Christ’s coming.’
This may surprise, or even upset, some who read these words. I earnestly hope that these words will at least cause you to think more about what needs to happen before Jesus returns.
I realise there are different beliefs and interpretations of prophetic scriptures that bear on the second coming of Jesus Christ. The plethora of printed material and TV sermons that concentrate on debatable views of end time events, indicate to me that our priorities are not always the same as God’s.
We must give attention to where God wants us involved. Sometimes I think we spend more time trying to work out the times and seasons for his return, rather than fulfilling the great task of reaching the lost, the last and the least.
Dr George Forbes is internationally recognised as a missionary statesman with a heart for the lost of the nations. With a wealth of missionary knowledge and a unique ability to communicate the global picture, he is widely known as the ‘story-teller.’ Link: firstname.lastname@example.org