The Return of the King
April 22, 2007 / No. 3355
Dear radio friends,
When the King comes, it will be great glory for Him. God has been busy exalting His Son, Jesus Christ. We read in Philippians 2, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” God has raised His Son Jesus from the grave. He is ascended up on high to the right hand of God where God has placed His own Son to rule over all things for His glory, for His honor.
But the culmination of all the glory of God’s Son, our King, will be when He returns in judgment at the end of the world. Then all the earth will tremble. The wicked will hide themselves and the righteous will admire Him. He Himself said in Matthew 25, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” He will be surrounded by glorious angels as attendants, and all His saints will accompany Him. And it will be great glory for our King.
While on earth, they despised Him. They spit upon Him, hated Him, and crucified Him. Today mankind refuses to acknowledge Him as Lord alone, denies His truth, and curses His name. But not then. When He returns, He shall be glorified in all of His great admirable glory. He shall be seen in His awesome, terrible majesty. We pray, “Come, Lord Jesus.” We look forward to the coming of our King.
For it will not only be glory for Him. Oh, it will be glory for us! It is the culmination for Jesus in His glory, but it is the culmination also of our glory and of our hope. All of our faith in Jesus Christ is aimed at this point. This is the goal, the heart, of everything. This is all our hope. And this is why we live, why we serve Him, and why we endure the loss of all things, if necessary, for His sake.
David, in the Old Testament, knew this. Already at the end of his life in II Samuel 23 he confessed the following: “And he (referring to the king) shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even as a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain…for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.” To see the King return in glory! Imagine!
Imagine your faith today without this article of the Christian faith: the return of Jesus Christ to judge the living and the dead. Without that article of the Christian faith, what would you have? You say, “Well, we would have forgiveness. We would have the church. We would have the Holy Spirit.” Yes, perhaps.
But without this article, without this certain faith that Jesus Christ, the King of all, is returning at the end of the world, then there would be no culmination. There would be no final glory. There would be no final church; no eternity; no new heaven and earth; no time when we shall sit down, as Jesus said, with Abraham and Moses and Paul and all the saints there to admire the wonderful grace of God in perfection.
My brothers and sisters, this is the goal. This is what we are waiting for. This is what gives ballast to our souls in the midst of every trial and trouble. This provides direction. This is the purpose for life. Why are you living? Are you living ready to stand before the King and to be with the King eternally? This is why we are willing to suffer, as I said a moment ago, for His cause. This is why we labor in instructing our children in the home and maintain a biblical, godly marriage in the midst of a world of filth. This is why we labor for Christian schools and maintain marriages—because Jesus is coming!
This is what we lay hold of by faith. This is what comforts us now in every sorrow. This is what is before our eyes when we put the body of our loved one into a casket and bury him in the ground. And this is what pulls our feet out of snares of temptations that the devil has laid for us or keeps us out of the embrace of another woman (or man). This is why we will not quit our marriages. And this is why we will not join the world in its vain and empty pursuits—because our King is coming. King Jesus is coming. Are you ready?
He is coming back for judgment, according to the Bible, the great day of reckoning for the human race. Now He returns for other things as well; for the Bible says that at that day He will raise our bodies from the dead. Oh, what a day this is going to be when He shall change our vile body, that it might be fashioned like to His most glorious body. Our bodies that now decay and become old and are placed in the ground and become dust—those bodies shall not be left forgotten in the grave. He stands watch over those bodies. And when He comes He will change them like unto His glorious body.
Still more. He comes to create the new heavens and the new earth wherein righteousness shall dwell, says the apostle Peter. He will gather the church into one. And there we shall be forever before Him in matchless splendor.
Still more. He comes in order that He might place the jewel of His grace and glory upon our heads, that He might bring us into perfect peace and bliss and fellowship with God.
But, primarily, Jesus Christ is coming again for judgment—that all men might be gathered before Him as the Judge. For He said in John 5 that the Father had committed all judgment unto His Son. He will stand before His enemies, before the unbelieving, before the wicked and all who blaspheme His name, who live in this world out of the pride of their own heart, who declare before Him that they are their own and that they will do what they want and that no one will ever tell them what to do, who declare proudly that “I am man.” He comes to judge them. And He says today, “Be wise, O ye rulers of the earth. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry in that day.”
He comes also to judge us, His people. For we, too, shall stand within the mass of humanity on that day. He said, “Before Him shall be gathered all nations. And He shall separate them one from another.” One, final, public judgment issuing in heaven or hell. Mankind summoned before the throne of the Son of man in His return. This was God’s eternal purpose—that at the last His righteousness in Jesus be revealed to every heart and soul. Romans 2:5, “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation (here is the return of Jesus) of the righteous judgment of God.” In that day, through Jesus, it will be universally and publicly known, declared, and confessed that God, in Jesus, is righteous—righteous in condemnation of all those who refuse His Son Jesus Christ, who shall hear the words, “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting darkness,” and righteous in His salvation when He says to His children, “Come, ye blessed—blessed because your sins are covered perfectly in My Son’s blood.”
The Bible is simply full of this. The creation is longing and groaning for this day. Romans 8 tells us that it longs to share in the glorious liberty of the children of God. The church now in glory, worshiping around the throne of God, all the souls of the saints of God who are with Jesus, they cry out: “How long, O God, holy and true. Dost Thou not avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? Rise up, Lord. Stand up. Show Thyself.” And the Scriptures repeatedly, in parables and epistles and psalms and Old Testament prophecies, constantly are telling us, “The King is coming. The world will come to its conclusion, to its end, when Jesus Christ appears upon the clouds of glory.” This is what is coming to this earth. Are you ready?
Before His coming, the Bible tells us, there will be a great falling away of nominal Christianity—a great falling away from the truth of the Scriptures. There will be the rising of what Paul says in II Thessalonians 2 is the man of sin, the Antichrist, the one-world empire, united in hatred of our Lord and King and everyone who would confess Him or do His will. There will be a great persecution against all who shall live godly in Jesus Christ.
But when, at last, sin and rebellion against God have reached their divinely appointed limit and end, when the last elect is born in this world and regenerated by the Holy Spirit of Christ, then Jesus is going to come down from the right hand of God as the King. He will be visible to everyone in His glory. With His appearance the dead will immediately arise out of the earth, so that all men will stand before Him—humanity from Adam to the last soul. Christ will sit upon a throne of judgment, the record of the human deeds of mankind shall be read, and He shall pronounce a just verdict upon all: innocent or guilty. And He shall execute that verdict. The wicked, who have not been cleansed by His blood, and who have lived in unbelief, shall be cast into the lake of fire. And the righteous, by grace alone, covered by His blood—unto life eternal.
You will appear there. You will not escape this. You will be there. In II Corinthians 5:10 God says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” You will not lose yourself in the crowd. You will not be able to sink unnoticed behind the lines of the billions who stand before the throne. Your name will be called. And you will step forward. And you will be judged.
There are two truths, then, that need to be pointed out to us today.
First, the return of our King, Jesus, puts the lie to everything the world is saying. What is the world saying? In television, in news, in books, in songs they are saying “There is no judgment from God.” The truth of the King’s return is scorned by man because man detests the idea of being accountable, answerable, responsible to one true and only God who is the Lord.
Man is answerable to God. That is what the return of Jesus Christ declares. He is answerable to the Creator, he is answerable for treason before this Creator—for man originally was created to love, serve, know, and glorify God. And failure to do so is heinous evil.
But God sent His Son into this world in order that those who believe, by grace, in His Son shall not perish but have everlasting life and joy with God.
The return of Jesus Christ puts the lie to the inmost heart of man when man says, “There is no judgment from God.” It puts the lie to evolution. Evolution is not a scientific explanation of origins. That is not its driving force. It is not an honest attempt to figure out where we came from. Evolution is an attempt to deny where we came from. It is interested in this question: Answerability, accountability—Who am I? That is what is trying to be answered in evolution. Man says, “I’m not answerable to God. I’m part of cosmic significance. I have somehow, by chance occurrence, arisen on the scene of human destiny. I have evolved.” And God says, “No, you did not. You were made by Myhand. You were made out of the dust of the ground. I breathed into your nostrils the breath of life. I gave to you a soul. And that soul must stand before Me to glorify Me, either in the execution of My holy justice or in songs of praise.” You are accountable to God. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repent of sin. Find sure refuge and eternal bliss in Him.
We must remember that this judgment, which surely comes, will come upon the world and all therein.
But this is comfort. My comfort is that the One who judges me in that day is the One who died for me. The comfort is that the basis of judgment will be in my Lord Jesus. The King who judges is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One who, out of the grace of God, has loved His children even unto the end. He is the One who, believer, has loved your soul in the deepest hell upon the cross. He is the One who stuck closer than a brother. He is the One who declares that He is faithful and true.
The Father, as I said before ( John 5), has committed all judgment to His Son. The One who shed His own blood for our souls will be the Judge. That is our comfort. Will He, who is the head of church, condemn the body, the members of the church? Will this Husband, our Lord Jesus Christ, damn His wife? Will the Savior abandon us at that moment? I tell you, He will not. He will confess each and every name for whom He died. He will come and say, “Ah, this one, this is one of Mine, in eternal grace and election. This is the one I remember so well, for I paid for his sins upon the cross. This is the one who, by My grace, walked with Me in this world and walked upon a path of repentance with Me.”
That is why we do not want to be ashamed on that day or bring shame to His name. Because our Savior is the One who is returning, our great and glorious Savior, we do not want now to do anything that would in any way bring shame to that wonderful, glorious grace of Jesus Christ. That He should be disappointed in me? That I should injure His love? That I should have to say to Him, “Lord, while outwardly I confessed Your name, nevertheless, I walked contrary to everything I was saying when the eyes of men were not upon me. My religion was only for the eyes of men.” Saving faith is not for the eyes of men. Saving faith is for the eye of the King. That is why we live.
My comfort, and your comfort, as a believer, is that on that day all His and our enemies shall be destroyed. Now the enemies of Jesus Christ ridicule and persecute those who confess Him. They ask, “Where is your God?” They say that it is vain to put your trust in Jesus Christ. They say that you are an enemy because you proclaim man’s problem as being sin, sin against God. So Jesus said to us, “Marvel not if the world hate you. They hated Me. The servant is not above his Lord.” They watch and they are very quick to point out your inconsistencies. And they want now to make Christianity out to be the religion of bigots, the enemies of sexual choice, advocates of intolerance.
But in that day the record will be set straight. And the cause of God and all those who represented it shall be vindicated. There is comfort here, because on that day we shall be translated into heavenly joys and glory.
Here is one of the most blessed words from the Scriptures that you shall ever hear: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…. Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Those are the most blessed words that your ear can or will ever hear. The most blessed words for your ear to hear is not: “Oh, you are everything to me (if it is spoken by another man or woman). Won’t you give me….” The most blessed words are not: “There will be a Christmas bonus.” Or “You’re one of the guys.” Or “You’re in the group.” Or “You’re our best salesman.” Or “You’re house and your yard are so lovely.” Or “You’re beautiful, or the best.” Those are not the sweetest words for the human ear to hear. In that day all such words will fall to the ground as empty. In that day every proud look and every haughty spirit will be laid low. In that day the thoughts of men will perish.
But it only matters what God says of you. It matters today what God says about you. It matters what He will say in that day about you. That is what matters!
My comfort is that, in Jesus, God sees me as His, redeemed and precious. Therefore, in His grace, He will say, “Come into this bliss prepared for you—this eternal paradise. Come to this place where there are no tears ever to be found or formed. Come to My side. Sit thou here and I will serve thee.”
The King is coming. He is robed in might, appareled in glory, with the scepter in His hand. He is seated upon His throne, issuing His commands. If I do not lift up my voice today and tell you that He is coming and that you must stand before Him, then your blood will be upon my hands in that day. And if you do not hear this word, your blood will be required of you. You are not your own. This is life: to know Jesus Christ and to know God in Him. Jesus is coming. Go out to meet Him. Prepare yourself for His coming.
We prepare for His coming not by predicting the time, which no man can do. And any who try declare themselves to be false prophets, enemies of Jesus Christ. But we prepare by living a righteous and holy life. We prepare by living with the eye of faith upon this day. This is what must be set before us when we get up in the morning, when we get married, when we graduate from high school, when we leave the house at 6:30. We must constantly say to ourselves: “My King is coming.” Do you?
If you do not, you are on the wrong path today. You had better get off that path now. You are on the road to destruction. Do you live for the things of this life? Is this what matters to your heart? Is this what you are pursuing? There is one path for your soul. There is one path for your heart. Your eye must be on the coming of Jesus Christ. You must store up spiritual treasure and love in Him.
You, who are in business—He will require of you of His goods and how you did your business and how you conducted yourself. You, who have riches or lands or homes, you, who have children—into all of these things the Lord will inquire. You, with the strength of your body—how you used your body. You with talents; you with resources—did you use them in the pursuit of the great and glorious kingdom? He will ask: “How did you serve Me? How did you work?” I solemnly swear to you, on the basis of God’s Word, that Jesus Christ will inquire of you.
Oh, what regret if I must say, “King, while you were away, I beat your servants. I lived in hatred against other members of the church. King, while you were gone, I lived in the kingdom of darkness. King, I saw one of your little ones in need but I was too busy with my own business and I thought someone else would help him. King, I was too busy to take in the poor, to read the Scriptures. I was too busy to come to the aid of the church. I slept in this world.” Oh, oh, what regret.
Rather, let us live with an eye to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we might be acceptable and pleased in Him that day. Let us endure, if need be, loss for His name. Let us be ready to be called whatever name they wish to call us. Let us be ready to give up our homes, possessions, families, and goods. And let us hope to the end. For the King is coming! It is just a little while now. Be patient and wait and pray: “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.”
Let us pray.
Father, we thank Thee for Thy precious word. Bind it now to our hearts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.