"Watch Therefore...Your Lord Cometh..."
By B. W. Miller and G. F. Owen
The Holy Spirit inspired holy men of old to write concerning the Second Coming of Christ with such fullness that almost one twenty-fifth of the New Testament deals with the Redeemer’s return. When Jesus wished to stress the vital importance of watchfulness and readiness He linked His admonitions with His speedy, lightning flash return. Faithful apostles grounded their converts in repentance, sobriety, truthfulness, holiness and heart purity, in brotherly love and holy conversation by using as a motive this great truth – that Christ is coming again....
No doctrine of the Bible is used to enforce holiness of conduct more than that of the Second Coming.
Watchfulness. "Watch therefore...your Lord cometh...Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 24:42-44).
Sobriety. "The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night...Let us watch and be sober" (1 Thes. 5:2-6). "Be sober, and set your hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1:13).
Repentance. "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out...and He shall send Jesus Christ...whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things" (Acts 3:19-21).
Fidelity. "After a long time the Lord of those servants cometh...And he that had received five talents came and brought five other talents...His Lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things" (Matt. 25:19-21).
Not to be ashamed of Christ. "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me...of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:38).
Other-worldliness. "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? For the Son of man shall come...then He shall reward every man according to his works" (Matt. 16:26-27).
Moderation. "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand" (Phil. 4:5).
Mortification of fleshly lusts and desires. "When Christ...shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. Mortify therefore your members ...fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness" (Col 3:4-5).
Sincerity. "That ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ" (Phil. 1:10).
Sanctification and holy living. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thes. 5:23).
Ministerial faithfulness. "I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ...at His appearing... Preach the word; be instant in season, and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort" (2 Tim. 4:1-2).
Keeping the commandments. "Keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, unto the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Tim. 6:14).
Pastoral diligence. "Feed the flock of God...being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (1 Pet. 5:2-4).
Purity. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; ...And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure" (1 John 3:2-3).
Abiding in Christ. "Abide in Him; that when He shall appear, we may have confidence" (1 John 2:28).
Endure temptations and trials of faith. "That the trial of your faith... though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet.1:7).
Holy conversation. "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God...think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you...but rejoice...that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad with exceeding joy" (1 Pet. 4:11-13).
Brotherly love. "The Lord make you increase and abound in love one toward another and toward all men...to the end He may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness...at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thes. 3:12-13).
Fight the fight of faith. "I have fought a good fight...I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing" (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
Keeping your crown. "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (Rev. 3:11).
Denying ungodliness; living godly. "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:12-13).
Watchfulness for sudden coming. "For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in His day" (Luke 17:24).
Judge not. "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come" (1 Cor. 4:5).
Assurance of a time of rejoicing. "Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain" (Phil. 2:16).
A comfort while He is away. "I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3).
The event for which we await. "Wait for His Son from heaven" (1 Thes. 1:10).
Time of judgment. "When the Son of man shall come in His glory...then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations" (Matt. 25:31-32).
Resurrection of the saints. "In Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming" (1 Cor. 15:22-23).
The manifestation of the saints. "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col. 3:4).
Consolation for the dead in Christ. "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep ...For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven...and the dead in Christ shall rise first...Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thes. 4:13-18).
The time of the tribulation of unbelievers. "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thes. 1:7-8).
Proclaimed with the Lord’s Supper. "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come" (1 Cor. 11:26).
Oh, that the ministry of every church should preach such vitally soul-touching messages as this, which is so intricately bound up with all the fundamentals of Christian faith and holy living, and which is the keynote of deep piety and spirituality....
Robed in Wedding Garments
Jesus and the apostles used the Second Coming to enforce many practical admonitions. We are to watch and be ready, robed in wedding garments – confess Him before depraved and sinful men. We are to be faithful – to repent completely – to stem the fierce tide of worldliness. We are warned to be moderate and patient – to mortify the deadly soul-blighting lusts of the flesh – to be sincere and godly and righteous in this present world. We are commanded to be holy and unblamable, unrebukeable and upright. We are admonished to obey the commandments – for Christ is coming!
Our hearts, torn with inward battles, are to be established in holiness. We must be sober – set our hopes on the grace of God and be godly in conversation. As the branch in the vine so are we exhorted to abide in Christ – to have our lives hid, submerged, in Christ – to purify ourselves from the taints of evil.
As good soldiers we are to bear scathing persecutions and fiery trials and the testings of our well-grounded faith. Following the example of Christ we are to increase in brotherly love – to stay our pure minds on the heavenly citizenship. As men dwelling in a world of crass materialism, we are asked to love and look for the Second Coming – for His coming draweth nigh!
We are admonished to have complete confidence in Christ’s power. As love-servants we are to hold fast our hope and let no man take our blood-bought crown. Looking for that better country on high, "the city whose builder and maker is God," we are to be separated from entangling lusts, wrapping their slimy cords about the soul, sinful practices and the delights from the deadly perfume of the flowers of passion’s garden – to guard against hasty judgment – for He shall come with His holy angels!
Fight, Labor and Love!
Poor in worldly goods, a tent or a cottage, we are to hope and labor for a rich reward from the hand of the King of kings – to gain comfort from the thought of being resurrected with a glorified body – to be caught up during the rapture. We are addressed to be ready, with garments washed in the redeeming flow from Calvary. Saved to new heights divine, we are to be the sons of the Mighty God – to shine forth as beacon lights with luminous power and might. We are exhorted to abound in love and in the deep things of Christ – to look up, to gaze heavenward, to watch for the first gleams of the "Sun of Righteousness" – to take hope and unsheathing the sword of faith, to fight and to labor and love – for the Lord comes as a thief in the night!
Let us preach it, and may our messages be rock-ribbed with its precious truth. May our songs herald it with sweet melodies of celestial strains!
Behold He Cometh!
– Condensed from "Watch Therefore ...Your Lord Cometh" in Behold He Cometh by B. W. Miller and G. F. Owen. Copyright © 1924 by Nazarene Publishing House. Used by permission.