The Two Comings

The Two Comings

December 18th, 1966 @ 8:15 AM

Isaiah 9:6-7

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
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THE TWO COMINGS

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Isaiah 9:6-7

12-18-66     8:15 a.m.

 

On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the morning message entitled The Two Comings.  This is a sermon on the most primary and fundamental of all of the criteria of interpretation that the pastor could think of with regard to the Word of God.  Without an understanding of this message this morning, which is very plain, very simple, there is no understanding of the Word of God.

Before I begin could I say a word about this coming Sunday?  This coming Lord’s Day is Christmas day, and I noticed from the paper that many churches are rearranging their schedules, and not having services, and moving them to other times, and things like that.  This coming Sunday we shall have our full day as we do every Lord’s Day.  At 8:15 o’clock there will be our preaching service and worship service, and at 10:50 o’clock our second morning preaching and worship service, and at 7:30 o’clock, 7:30 o’clock next Sunday evening there will be our church service here in the auditorium.  And New Years’ Day it will be just the same, only more so, and God help us as we get ready for the days and the years that lie ahead.

This is a time of great rejoicing and of gladness and gratitude to God and expressing in beautiful music, and melody, and worship, and prayer, and praise, our thanksgiving for the marvelous gift of God’s Son.  And we pray the preacher will do better during this season in preaching than any other time in his life, all except the time when he comes to preach on the Book of Daniel.

Now as I was saying, the message this morning is primary and fundamental to any understanding of the Word of God.  But if we have this clearly in our minds, the Bible will be an open book for you, and everything will fit into the whole mosaic of God’s providence in history, in our lives; past, present, and future.  Now as an instance, and we are going to look at many of them this morning; but to begin with, as a background for the message, I shall read out of Isaiah 52 and Isaiah 53:

Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city . . .

Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem:  loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion . . .

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.

Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem:  for the Lord hath comforted His people, He hath redeemed Jerusalem.

[Isaiah 52:1, 2, 7-9]

Now, there are no chapter divisions in the Bible as it was written.  These were added centuries later.  Now in the same breath:

Who hath believed our report?  and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:  and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.

He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.

[Isaiah 53:1, 3, 5]

Both of those passages, side by side: you do not turn a page in the Bible to read them, yet how infinitely separate they are, how different!  And how do you explain and how do you understand the whole Word of God which is like that?  All of it is like that.

Now, not only do you find that in the Word of God side by side:  this glorious exaltation, and rejoicing, and praising, victory, and conquest, and the kingdom, and all of the glory of the presence of God [Isaiah 52:1, 2, 7-9], and in the same breath, the tears, and the sobs, and the sorrows of sacrifice and atonement [Isaiah 53:1, 3, 5]—right together.  Now we cannot escape that in our own speaking of the presence of the Lord.

The two inevitably, unconsciously, unplantingly merge together; the coming of the Lord in sacrifice, in redemptive love, in atoning mercy and grace, in lowliness and humility [Matthew 11:29], and the coming of the Lord in glory, in power, in triumph, in victory, in hope and prayer, in faith [Matthew 24:30].  Now I have a Christmas poem here, a very beautiful one written by Cecil Francis Alexander, and I want you to see how both of them are even in this poem:

Once in royal David’s city

stood a lowly cattle shed,

Where a mother laid her Baby

in a manger for His bed;

Mary was that mother mild;

Jesus the Christ, her little Child.

He came down to earth from heaven

 who is God and Lord of all,

And His shelter was a stable

 and His cradle was a stall.

With the poor, and meek, and lowly

Lived on earth our Savior holy.

Now watch it change.

And our eyes at last shall see Him

through His own redeeming love;

for that Child so dear and gentle

is our Lord in heaven above;

and He comes someday for His own

from the place where He has gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable

with the oxen standing by

we shall see Him, but in heaven

sat at God’s right hand on high,

When like stars His children crowned

all in white shall gather round.

[adapted from “Once In David’s Royal City”]

 

You can’t help that.  As it is a pattern in the Word of God, it is a pattern in our own faith, and devotion, and love, and praise, and hope in Jesus.  Once to come, lowly, bearing our burdens, living our lives [Hebrews 4:14-16], walking our earth [John 1:14], dying for our sins [1 Corinthians 15:3], raised for our justification [Romans 4:25].  But that’s not all; coming again, coming again in power, in glory, openly establishing a kingdom that endures forever [Hebrews 9:27-28].  Now that’s the background for the message this morning.

We shall look at in the Word of God, and as I said to begin with, if we understand this and have it clearly in our minds, the whole Bible will be an open book before you.  We shall begin with the prophets.  The Old Testament prophets never saw that, never; that’s the first primary thing to remember in reading the Word of God.  The Old Testament prophets, none of them, it was hid from their eyes.  As we shall see in a moment in delivering this message, it was a mustērion, a secret kept in the heart of God.  The Old Testament prophets never saw, never saw—it is not in the Old Bible, in the Old Testament—they never saw those two comings.

As they looked into the future and as God revealed the future to the Old Testament prophets, he saw one brilliant star, as you see a star most brilliant in the sky at night.  A star, a glorious star, yet the astronomer with his magnificent telescope will tell you you’re not looking at one star; you’re looking at a Gemini.  You’re looking at two stars, and they are separated by great distances in between.  But to us so far away they look as though the two were one, as someone might look at a mountain peak far off on the blue horizon.  And to him there is one tremendous mountain peak there, but when you come to it you find they are two with a great valley in between, but so far away it looks like one.  So it is with all of the Old Testament prophets, all of them.  No Old Testament prophet ever saw the two comings.  To him, as he looked in that far away distance, there was one and always one.  Consequently, when we read of the prophecies in the Old Testament, they are always together.  With one voice the prophet will describe the humiliation of our Lord, and in the same breath he will describe the exaltation of our Lord—His humility, His suffering, His passion, the pouring out of His life unto them—and in the same breath, and sometimes in the same sentence, will be described the glorious kingdom and appearing of the Savior of the world.  And always in the Old Testament they are never separated; they are always together.

Now it begins in the Old Testament with the protevangelium, the gospel before the gospel.  That is so often the word to describe Genesis 3:15.  The protevangelium, the gospel before the gospel, this is the first announcement.  In the garden of Eden when Satan is cursed, God says, “I will put enmity between thee Satan and the woman” [Genesis 3:15].  Can you imagine God placing in the field of conflict and confrontation Satan, the archangel from heaven who fell, and the woman?  “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; He shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise His heel” [Genesis 3:15].

The Old Testament is the grand announcement, “Someone is coming.  Someone is coming.”  He shall destroy Satan’s kingdom.  He shall crush his head.  He shall break his power; death, sin, heartache, sorrow, wrong, violence, war, all of it will be destroyed when He comes.  “Someone is coming.”  If I could carry that thought through just parenthetically here, and the New Testament is, “Somebody has come,” and the Revelation is, “Somebody is coming again.”  The whole Bible is woven around that great hope, “Someone is coming,” and that first announcement is in Genesis 3:15.

Now, as we go through the Word of God, that One coming was always presented together in the Bible, in the Old Testament; never the two.  In Genesis 49:10, this is Israel’s prophecy concerning Judah:

Judah thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise.

Judah is a lion’s whelp . . .

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come—

that is the first coming—

And unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.

[Genesis 49:8-10]

 

They’re scattered all over the earth now, but someday unto Him shall the gathering of the people be, side by side, those two comings.  But he never saw it.  No Old Testament prophet ever saw it.

The first coming: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah” [Genesis 49:10].  Judah will be a kingdom and a nation.  Judah will have a government until Jesus comes, “until Shiloh come” [Genesis 49:10].  And when Jesus was born and the prophecy fulfilled [Matthew 1:20-2:1], Judah was destroyed, and it has never been able to find itself again.  But there is another coming: “And unto Him shall the gathering of the people be” [Genesis 49:10].  Someday, someday around the person of the Messiah of that chosen people will all of these people, scattered and dispersed to the ends of the earth, gather [Genesis 49:10].  Both comings in this same breath, but he never saw it.

Now we turn again to the second Book of Samuel chapter 7.  And the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to say to David, “And when thy days be fulfilled thou shall sleep with thy fathers, but I will set up thy seed after thee . . . he shall build a house in My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever” [2 Samuel 7:12-13].  “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever, thy throne shall be established for ever” [2 Samuel 7:16], he repeats it.

David is to have a Son of his seed.  The New Testament begins the birth roll of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, who was the son of Abraham; that’s His first coming [Matthew 1:1].  There is to be born in the lineage, and in the genealogy, and in the household of David a Son: that’s the first coming [Matthew 1:1].  And I will establish the throne of His kingdom for ever”: that’s His second coming [2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16].

The Lord certainly doesn’t have a throne that governs over this earth today.  With increasing minority we face this immediate future.  But there is coming a time when His kingdom shall be established and His throne forever and ever [2 Samuel 7:16]; that‘s the second coming.  But Nathan never saw it [2 Samuel 7:4-5, 12-13, 16].  David never saw it.  It’s said in the same verse and in the same sentence.  That’s repeated in the eighth [Psalm 8:5] and ninth Psalm [Psalm 9:7], and I’ll not take time for it.

You see it again in these glorious prophecies in Isaiah.  We have read from it this morning, this is the first coming; “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name God with us, Immanuel, God with us” [Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22].  Then in the next breath, in the next breath there will be the incomparable description of that Lord in the first and the second coming:  “For unto us a Child is born, and unto us a Son is given” [Isaiah 9:6]: that’s the first coming.  “And the government shall be upon His shoulder” [Isaiah 9:6]: that’s the second coming.  “And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end” [Isaiah 9:6-7], that’s the second coming.  “Upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice for ever” [Isaiah 9:7]: that’s the second coming.  And as I turn the page, the same thing is seen again in Isaiah 11.  This is the first coming:

And there shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

And the Sprit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.

[Isaiah 11:1-2]

That’s the first coming.

And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid—that’s the second coming—and lion shall eat straw like the ox.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

[Isaiah 11:6-7, 9]

 

That’s the second coming.

Yet in the Word of God, they’re never separated in the Old Testament.  And the prophet never saw it.  He never looked upon it.  In the same breath, this is the same prophecy, then it describes the birth of the Child, a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, a Branch out of his roots, and the Spirit of the Lord upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding—in the same breath; and the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the lion shall eat straw like an ox; both of them in the same breath [Isaiah 11:1-2, 6-7].

When I turn through these prophecies, and our time is oh so rapidly wasting away, when I turn through these prophecies, how many times are they side by side: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy King cometh unto thee.”  Here’s His first coming.  “He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” [Zechariah 9:9], that’s His first coming.

His second coming:  “He shall speak peace unto the nations: and His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River even to the ends of the earth” [Zechariah 9:10].  “And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof [Zechariah 14:4].  And the Lord God shall come, and all the saints with Him, and the Lord shall be King over all the earth” [Zechariah 14:5, 9]; that’s the second coming.  But when the prophet Zechariah says it, he’ll say it in the same words, in the same breath [Zechariah 9:9, 10, 14:4, 5, 9].

 I turn the pages to Malachi.  “Behold,” says Malachi quoting the Lord, “I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me” [Malachi 3:1]; that’s the first coming; “And the Lord whom you seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Angel of the covenant, whom you delight in:  behold, He shall come” [Malachi3:1], that’s the first coming.

Now the second coming: “But who may abide the day of His coming?  And who shall stand when He appeareth?  For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:  And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver” [Malachi 3:2-3], that’s His second coming.   And Malachi closes, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” [Malachi 4:5]; that’s the first coming and the second coming.  The first coming; in the spirit of Elijah, John the Baptist [Matthew 4:5], but in the second coming when the Lord shall return to the earth, He will be preceded before the great and dreadful day of the Lord by the prophet Elijah [Malachi 4:5].  “And Elijah shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest God come and destroy this wicked earth” [Malachi 4:6], as it was in the days of Noah [Genesis 7:17-24; Matthew 24:37-39].  Now that’s the way the Old Testament ends [Malachi 4:6].

Now we’re going to turn to the New Testament.  In the New Testament, in the lives of the apostles, there was a quandary that they could not resolve.  There was an unableness to understand that that they could never enter into.  All right, look at it, and we must hasten.  Now when John the Baptist heard in prison the works of Christ he sent two of his disciples and said unto Him, the Lord Christ, “Are Thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” [Matthew 11:2-3].  And people take that passage and say John the Baptist was in the prison, and he began to doubt about the testimony that he had given to Jesus as the Christ.  I could not conceive in my wildest imagination a more false or untrue interpretation of the Word of God than that, for the Lord said after the disciples of John the Baptist left, “What went you out for to see?  A reed shaken by the wind?  What went you out for to see?  A man in soft clothing?”  [Matthew 11:7-8].  As though an imprisonment could have made John the Baptist doubt the testimony of the Lord God to Jesus as the Messiah.

God said to him, “The one on whom you see the Spirit of God falling, that is He” [John 1:33].  And while he was baptizing [Matthew 3:5-6], he baptized Jesus, and lo the Spirit of God came down from heaven, bodily, as a dove, and it rested upon Jesus [Matthew 3:16].  And John the Baptist said, “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” [John 1:34].  Yet these people come along and say John, because he was in prison, began to doubt whether Jesus was the Christ or not. Ah, the foolishnesses that are said and taught in the name of religion in the Word of God.

It is simple what happened.  It is simple what happened.  John the Baptist, when he preached—John belonged to the Old Testament dispensation.  John was an Old Testament prophet, and John the Baptist came forward, and he announced, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand [Matthew 3:2], and the ax is laid at the root of the tree; and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, God is going to hew it down” [Matthew 3:10].  And he said, “The winnowing fan is in His hand, and He is going to purge the threshing floor, and the grain He is going to gather into the garner, but the chaff He is going to burn up with unquenchable fire” [Matthew 3:12].  John the Baptist was announcing the day of judgment; that is the second coming of Christ [Matthew 3:12].  And John the Baptist preached, “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world” [John 1:29]; that’s the first coming.  And when the Lord came and He was gentle, and meek, and lowly [Matthew 11:29], opening the eyes of the blind, preaching the gospel to the poor [Matthew 11:5], the redemptive Savior, John could see.  John the Baptist could see [John 1:29].

But where is the ax laid at the root of the tree [Matthew 3:10], and where’s the winnowing fan when He drives the chaff away? [Matthew 3:12]. And John the Baptist sent word to ask Him, “Lord, are there two Messiahs? [Matthew 11:3].  Is there One coming to be the Lamb of the world [John 1:29], and we are looking for another Messiah to put the ax at the root of the tree [Matthew 3:10], and to burn the chaff with unquenchable fire? [Matthew 3:12].  Lord, this announcement that I made of the judgment day [Matthew 3:10-12], are You that Messiah and that Judge?  Is there one, or are there two? [Matthew 11:2-3].

That was the question of John the Baptist.  He couldn’t understand.  No Old Testament prophet could see it, and when the Lord came, it plunged the whole religious world that knew God’s Book into a quandary, and it plunged John into it.  “Lord, are we looking for another Messiah also, besides You? [Matthew 11:3]. Is there another One?  Is there One coming to die for our sins [Isaiah 53:3-9], and then is there another Messiah who is coming to be the Judge of the earth? [Isaiah 11:4-5]. I don’t understand,” said John, and he sent to Jesus to find out [Matthew 11:2-3].

Now, that same perplexity and quandary is found in the disciples.  There when the Lord in the sixteenth chapter of [Matthew] said, “I build My church” [Matthew 16:18], He began to show unto the disciples how He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things, and be killed [Matthew 16:21].  Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall not be unto Thee” [Matthew 16:22].  Why, the Messiah is not going to be killed.  He is going to be the King of all of the earth.

And the people have that same misunderstanding.  In the twelfth chapter of the Book of John, Jesus says, “And if I be lifted up, if I be raised up on a cross, I will draw all men unto Me” [John 12:32].  This signified by what death He should die [John 12:33].  Then the people answered Him, “We have heard out of the Bible, out of the Old Testament, that Christ abideth forever, forever [Psalm 89:36; Micah 4:7], and yet You say the Son of Man must be lifted up and die?”  [John 12:34]   We don’t understand,” and they didn’t understand.  It was a quandary to them in the Old Testament.

And when the Lord was raised from the dead [Matthew 28:1-7], and was ascending back up into glory, in the first chapter of the Book of Acts; when they therefore were come together on the top of Mount Olives from which the Lord entered up into heaven, when they were come together they asked of Him, saying, “Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  [Acts 1:6].   Lord, we don’t understand.”

When the Lord Jesus was [raised] by the love and drawing of God [Acts 2:24], when He was being lifted up into heaven at His ascension [Acts 1:9-10], the disciples at that late moment still could not understand.  “Lord, are You that King that is going to lead Israel to be the great head of the nations and the blessings of the people of the earth?  Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” [Acts 1:6].  They couldn’t understand.  No prophet understood it, and no disciple understood it in the days of the Lord.  And John the Baptist couldn’t understand it [Matthew 11:2-3].

“How is it that the Messiah, the Coming One, is to be an atonement for our sins [Isaiah 53:3-5], and also to be the King and Lord of the earth? [Isaiah 11:4-5].  Are there two Messiahs, one to come to die for us, and another to come to judge the earth and rule the world and to be King of all God’s creation?”  They couldn’t understand it.  But Paul says––and this is the great key to the Holy Scriptures––Paul said in the third chapter of the Book of Ephesians, “You have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given to me:  How that by revelation God made known unto me the mustērion, the secret . . . which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men” [Ephesians 3:2-5].

No prophet of the Old Testament saw it, but it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit [Ephesians 3:5], namely, that there should be an age of dispensation [Ephesians 3:1], a time between when the Lord comes to die for our sins [1 Timothy 1:15], and when the Lord is coming to be the King of all the earth [1 Timothy 6:15].  And that all the nations in this period in time should be of the same body [Ephesians 3:6].  There’s no longer a Jew, not now; no longer a Gentile, not now; no longer a female, not now; no longer a male, not now; no longer a freeman or a bondman: but we are all alike in the presence of God now [Galatians 3:28-29].  We’ve all been added to the household of faith who come to Jesus by faith [Galatians 3:26].  We are partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel; ninth verse:

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of that mustērion, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God…

To the intent that now unto principalities and powers in heavenlies might be made known by the church the manifest wisdom of God,

According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

[Ephesians 3:9-11]

There was revealed to the apostles that there was a great valley in between.  There was first a coming to be the Savior, and the Redeemer, and the atonement for the sins of the world [Isaiah 53:3-9].  God made flesh; the first Christmas in Bethlehem [Matthew 1:20-2:1], of the city of David of the royal lineage of David, according to the covenant God made with David [Acts 13:22-23]; a first coming when He became flesh and came to be a sacrifice for our sins [Hebrews 10:5-11].  Then this long valley in between; it is now lasted almost two thousand years.  And in these two thousand years in that valley in between, God is doing a thing that Paul said He had kept in His heart from the beginning of creation; that there is to be another body called the church [Ephesians 3:3-10].  And people don’t enter that because they’re Jews, or because they’re Gentiles, or because they’re males, or because they’re females, or because they’re wise, or unwise, people enter that body through faith in Jesus Christ, all alike in repentance and faith, and we become members of that body in between [Ephesians 3:11-12].  But there is another coming.

There is a second coming when the Lord shall be King over all the earth.  So much so that the author of the Hebrews in the tenth chapter of his book and verse [35]; after he has comforted that little church that was suffering so greatly, he says:

Cast not away your confidence . . .

Ye have need of patience, that, after you have suffered according to the will of God, you might receive the promise.

For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

Now the just shall live by faith . . .

But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them who believe to the saving of the soul.

[Hebrews 10:35-39]

 

And the whole bin, and the whole bit, and the whole turn of our life of faith and trust today is; “Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry” [Hebrews 10:37].  As there was the fulfilling of the promise of God in the first coming when He came to be a man and offer His body a sacrifice for sins [Hebrews 10:5-14], so there is yet another coming when He shall be Lord of all the earth [Hebrews 9:28], and those glorious promises of the prophecy will be fulfilled, every iota and every tittle, not one shall fall to the ground [Matthew 5:18].  So we are looking for the Lord Himself, we are, from heaven [1 Thessalonians 1:10].

May I close?

It is not for a sign we are watching,

For wonders above and below,

The pouring of vials of judgment,

The sounding of trumpets of woe.

It is not for a day we are looking,

Not even a time yet to be,

When the earth shall be filled with God’s glory,

As the waters cover the sea.

It is not for a king we are [longing],

To make the world kingdoms His own.

It is not for a judge who [will] summon

The nations of earth to His throne.

All those things are true, but

We wait for the Lord; our beloved,

Our Comforter, Master and Friend,

The substance of all that we hope for,

Beginning of faith and its end.

We watch for our Savior and Bridegroom,

Who loved us and made us His own.

For Him we are looking and longing,

For Jesus and Jesus alone.

[“What Are You Watching For?”  Annie Johnson Flint]

What a precious, indescribable, glorious hope and promise that the King of all the earth, and the Judge of the souls of men, and the Leader of all future history and destiny and eternity is none other than that One whose nail-print hands extend to us in love, and mercy, and grace [John 15:9-17].  God is for us, the Lord is with us, and the King of the whole creation is Jesus, the lowly, humble, precious Jesus, who died for us [Philippians 2:7-8].  What a wonderful thing!

Ah, if you sang it a thousand years, you still would say but I must have yet another song, I haven’t sung it yet as it ought to be.  And if you were to preach it a thousand years, you’d say, “O Lord, there yet must be another hour, I haven’t said it yet.”  You can’t put your arms around it.  It is so sublimely, infinitely great and marvelous that the Lord of the earth and our coming King is that Child in Bethlehem [Matthew 1:23-2:1]; is that Savior on the cross [Matthew 27:32-50]; is that One who extends-nail pierced hands, in invitation to us [Matthew 11:28-29].  Oh, I wish I could preach as I want to preach, and I wish Lee Roy could sing like he ought to sing, and all of us could be what we ought to be, but we never say it.  It’s too marvelous and too great.  No wonder these old-time forefathers of ours got to where they couldn’t express it any other way, so they just shouted all over the tabernacle, and all over the arbor and all over the temple, and all over the church.  It’s a gospel glorious!

Now, if we’re going to Sunday school we’d better sing an invitation hymn.  To give your heart to Jesus [Romans 10:9-10], to put your life in the church, on the first note of the first stanza, you come and stand by me.  A family you, a couple you, however God shall open the door, shall lead in the way, you come this morning.  On the first note of the first stanza, do; what a glorious day, and what a precious hour to come, while we stand and while we sing.