The Blessed Hope
“Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ.”—Titus 2:13
I want to talk to you tonight on this wonderful hope that we have, of the coming back of Jesus. As you have listened to this beautiful music, what a joy it has been to you to hear in song the blessed words: “He is coming again!”But oh, what a joy it is to think of the “time of music” that is ahead!
The devil has in his hands a good deal of the music down here today, but, thank God, there will be no music in hell, for all of it is going to be in glory. The devil may have a sort of trust on some of it now, but, bless God, he will have to resign when Jesus comes.
On the Vertex
This thought of the coming back of Jesus ought to solemnize our hearts. It was wonderful for the men of old to have the hope of Jesus’ coming, but it is far more wonderful for us today. The signs of His soon appearing are all ‘round about us; we are living on the very vertex of it. We should praise God that we are living in this wonderful day and age of the world.
We have a great prospect, my friends. Almost any time, almost any day—perhaps tonight—we may be caught away. Oh, if you have not that hope, you will find out that there is just something lacking in your Christian life. With me, there was always a trying to get hold of something, until I found out that Jesus is coming to the world again. Things do not head up right until you find out that He is Himself coming back to Earth. As you try to think the thing through, you are left in darkness without this blessed hope.
Bible Full of It
Some folks say, “Well, I haven’t time to read it, and study it out.” If you are saying that, you are admitting that you have not time to read a great portion of your Bible, for very much of this book is taken up with nothing else than Jesus’ coming back again; so that you leave out by this statement much of your Bible. We might pick up your Bible and look it through and find a few little thumbmarks in the New Testament, maybe, and a little in Psalms, and you try to find out how it all started, but outside of that you haven’t any Bible; but, praise God, when you realize God’s plan in the coming back of Jesus Christ, you will have a whole Bible and a whole circle of truth. You have in His coming a place of reckoning. Like a surveyor, you have a line, a base, from which to work. It puts the cap on things, the climax on things. Then there is an end to your thinking. There is a goal to work toward; it pays to wait, for you are waiting for something sure. It pays to be patient, for He will come as He promised. It is a blessed hope truly in your heart as the days go by.
Not at Death
Now I find that a great many people are saying that the coming of Jesus is simply the time when we die. That is one of the great theories with which folks are fighting the teaching of the coming back of Jesus to this world. Listen: my Bible tells me that the coming back of Jesus is a “blessed hope.” Did anybody ever tell you a casket was a blessed hope? No man looks ahead to the time he is going to die as a blessed hope. It is lovely to know that maybe you will be caught up without dying. “Oh, wonderful thought—shall we go without dying?”
Think of it, my friend! If Jesus were to come tonight, this is the hope: that as you sit there in your seat, as quickly as you can bat your eye you will be changed, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” No death—no dying—no agony—no struggle. Those who have already died and passed on are to see the Lord first—“The dead in Christ shall arise first,” and afterwards, He says, those of us who remain “shall be caught up to meet Him in the air, and thus shall we ever be with the Lord!” Hallelujah!
The First Fruits
Jesus’ disciples saw that wonderful body of His come into the room where the door was shut. What a wonderful thing. Friend, do you know that a Christian is a supernatural man? There is nothing common about him. Think of it—that inside the breast of a man or a woman who has been born again, there is a new creature, an absolutely new creature. Nothing like it has ever been seen in the world but once, and that was when Jesus Himself came back from the dead; then was this wonderful kind of new creature seen. He was the first fruits.
I see this great bird sailing off in the air, high up in the sky; they tell me it is an eagle. I see a huge kind of animal roaring in the forest, and with a voice like a trumpet he shakes the trees—and they tell me that is a lion.
I see this little bird, a little yellow affair, twittering in the branches; they tell me it is a canary.
There is another kind of life in the ocean—a fish.
But was there ever this kind of life on the Earth where comes a man into a room, and the doors are shut? Jesus has entered into that room and is in their midst. Thank God, my Bible tells me that He is the first fruits of them that sleep, and that afterwards the rest of us are to have a body like unto His glorious body. The disciples looked at Him with their natural eyes, and as he talked to them he looked like an ordinary man; but as he began to break the bread with two men and lifted His hands from the tablecloth, He gave Himself away, for they saw the holes in His hands—and He vanishes out of their sight.
Here is another kind of creature that the world has never seen before: the resurrected Jesus; but, thank God, thousands and thousands of them are going to be back in the world again, made like our Lord Jesus Christ, at His coming. If that is a fairy tale to you, thank God it is not to me. I recognize that God can easily, in a moment, transform my body. I did not see how He could transform my disposition and my soul, and when I found out that God could get at the very functioning of my being and my personality and subdue my will and cast out my sin and the devil and the power that was within me and raging in my heart, bless God, I knew it wasn’t going to be very hard for Him to change that body of mine.
You chemists know how easily elements are combined. Friends, God has the combination of all the elements, and as far as His transforming my body is concerned, that has never been anything for me to doubt. God handles life, and since He has transformed my soul and filled me with His own Spirit, I am just waiting for the time when the rest of it, the outside shell, shall all be changed like unto His own in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
We used to live by a family whose father had discovered a mine about three miles from Leadville, and struck it rich. The prospectors had given him figures on it, and the father owned about sixty percent of the mine himself. And that father and mother and children used to sit there on their front porch and do nothing but plan what they were going to do when they got that money. And after a while the money came—a fortune—and they carried out most of the plans they had made back there on the porch.
Thank God, I can sit on my front porch tonight and talk about something that will do more than money will, for I am going to live eternally with Him! He is coming for us shortly. I am going to have a “body like unto His own precious body.” Since He has promised me a body like unto His own and to let me come back in this word with Him, reigning with Him, ruling with Him, I tell you, my friend, I can forget everything in this world that is not of God. This blessed hope holds you in the hour of temptation; this blessed hope keeps you strong when men are telling you of some big thing that is going to come to pass in this world.
A Big Parade
They tell you about a big parade that is coming when men shall show great marvels of discovery. Thank God I know a bigger parade than theirs—when Jesus shall come in the sky to execute judgment with ten thousand of His saints. It may seem an idle dream to some, but it is not an idle dream to many who have Jesus in their hearts. I know there are many precious saved people who have not this hope, but thank God there are thousands of Christians today who are getting it. They are going to Bible conferences by the thousands. Open up a Bible conference, and the Christians will flock to it to get the truth. They are hungry to know about the coming of the Lord. Oh, it is lovely to sit down and count your money and find out how rich you are going to be in glory!
“A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
They’re building a palace for me over there.
I’m the child of a King, the child of a King,
With Jesus my Saviour, I’m the child of a King.”
What more of a mansion do I want than a new body like unto the one that came into that room to His disciples, on that night? See Him with that body on the shore; He has the fish ready for His disciples as they come from the boat. Jesus, Jesus, in this room tonight. My Jesus, your Jesus, I hope, and if He is not yours, this is the night that you can make Him yours if you will. Oh, we argue so much that we forget sometimes what a glorious hope we have in Him.
See what it says in 2 Peter 3:13-14: “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness; wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
You are waiting for the great event, and it pays to be “diligent.” It pays to be looking up all the while. I find that this hope, if you have it, really separates you from the world. You begin to realize that somehow there is a life that you have that is not common life. You begin to realize the mighty working of Jesus Christ in your heart; this wonderful working of the Spirit of Jesus on our natures, on this old thing we have turned over to Him. It is not that you say: “I am better than other people,” but oh, you begin to say to yourself, “My, it is a wonderful thing to be saved.” You begin to love other people and say, “I wish they had what I have!” It separates you from the things of sin. You do not want to defile God’s body that you have given over to Him. You do not want to be touched by the things of the world. You want to walk in such a way that the moment He comes you will be ready for Him to take you away.
I know we are preaching much about the security of our salvation, but I tell you these warnings mean something. It means something for a Christian to be up to date every minute in the Lord. There is a warning here, “that ye might be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless.”
You look forward to it, you wait for it, you have your hope fixed in Him and Him alone. It may be tonight, it may be tomorrow, and so you can wait and be patient and you can afford to set aside the temptations of the devil, with this hope within you.
He Couldn’t Steal
I remember of a colored boy in a certain family; after the folks had come home from meeting he came to the boss of the house and confessed that he was going to steal something while they were all out.
He says: “Boss, I was going to steal something tonight, but about the time I was going to take it, I would feel like somebody was coming in the front door; then I would feel like somebody was coming in the back door; then I thought I heard somebody cough out on the walk—and it kept me from taking it, all the time.”
I tell you, my friends, if you really have the hope of Jesus’ coming, you find out that it is a great help in the hour of temptation. You say “I cannot tie up with this kind of a business; I cannot connect myself up with these people and those people, and the other people.” Why? “I hear a footstep coming down the stairway from Heaven, and He may be here in a moment. Jesus may step in the next moment and be with us.”
It is not frightening us into it, but friends, it is a constant guardian of our attention; we forget so readily. It is so easy for us to get our mind upon something of the world and center here, and God wants to absolutely fix our mind and our attention upon this: “Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the Great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” That is the next great event in this world; I am waiting for a parade, when everything that is of Earth, as far as we are concerned, of the tears, and the sorrow and the sighing and the temptation, miraculously march off forever, and we are one with Him, and become new creatures in Christ Jesus in body as well as in soul and spirit.
That is what God offers to the soul that will take it—a new life, a new being, incorruptible, that does not fade away—a God-given inheritance.
John Newton’s Conversion
We were reading this morning in family worship about the conversion of John Newton. He was a very wicked sailor, and as they sailed along one night on the ship, after a night of debauchery and drunkenness and dissipation, in agony of soul he went to sleep, under conviction. And he dreamed that he stood at the side of the ship with a magnificent jewel in his hand, and Satan seemed to come alongside and say: “I dare you to drop that into the ocean.” He took the dare and as he did, something seemed to whisper to his heart, “you have lost your soul. There it is down there.”
In another vision Jesus stood beside him, and He asked him if he wanted his soul and wanted his life. “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
“Yes, I want it,” said Newton. Jesus immediately dived from the deck, and before long, with agony upon His face, and showing the horrors of the effort through which He had gone, He appeared again and had the little jewel in His hand. Newton reached his hand out to get it, but the Saviour drew it back. “Oh no,” He said, “I gave it to you once, and you were careless with it and threw it away, but I will keep it for you now. It is yours, but it will never be thrown away again.”
Hallelujah, that is our salvation! God gave men this life, and they threw it away. The devil tempted you, and you let it sink. God help you to see that outside of God you are lost, man, you are lost, woman. You have let go; you have let the devil in, and if Jesus asks you tonight to walk up and take life from Him, the devil tries to keep you in that seat; he wants you to go out again into the giddy world and forget you have lost.
Life Rescued from Death
As God looked down upon us, He saw us lost and undone—perishing. PERISHING! Oh, how that word makes my soul thrill with agony and horror for men. I have heard it in the night hours, I have heard it in the morning hours. Friend, let me tell you: there is nobody can ever dive into death and get your life back but Jesus Christ. Jesus broke the laws of death. He appears in the room with His disciples with the life in His own hands. There He is—His body, a body like ours, transformed. He enters, the doors being shut, and says: “Here is your life—I am your life.” What did He say to Mary and Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life.” HIMSELF. He says, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” Praise God, I am so glad my life is in Jesus. He is my life. God gave Him life and power over all flesh. The Scripture says in Jesus’ prayer in the 17th of John: “As thou has given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” He is holding our new bodies safe in His keeping, and will deliver them. Oh blessed hope!
He is calling you tonight. What does He offer you? This life He has died for; He has broken the powers of death and now He offers you a living soul, forever. Friend, do you hear me? Are your ears so dull that you cannot hear the gospel message, that Jesus has life, and you have none unless you get it from Him? You know not the way to God, and there is no other way to get to God and life outside of Jesus Christ. If you have not Jesus Christ in your life, my friend, I would not care if you belonged to fifty churches, and went every day, or had gone through confirmation or been baptized, or any other kind of ordinance. If I did not have the witness from heaven that I was a child of God, I would get it tonight. I would not be bluffed by the organizations of men nor the theories of men. I would have life, straight out of God’s heart. And wait with this new life throbbing in my breast for His appearing and a new body as His own.
When Jesus died and His blood was spilt on Calvary, He paid the debt for your life. He took over the old business or body and then He is going to tear the whole old structure of the body down and put up a new; He paid the mortgage on the old place. Like the rich man Mr. Dawes told about, who went back to the little New England farm: the little farm and house where his father had lived. When he got there, he found that the man who now owned it had a mortgage of $17,000 on the place. He took a carpenter along with him, and they walked around the buildings. He asked the carpenter: “What will it take to bolster up the old barn?” And the carpenter said: “It is useless; it can’t be patched up.”
They looked at the old house, and he asked him: “How can you fix it up?” But the carpenter said: “You can’t patch that, either; it is useless. The boards are rotten and the foundation is rotten—the whole thing is rotten.”
“What shall we do?” he asked him.
“Do you love this spot?” asked the carpenter.
“I certainly do love this old spot—this was my father’s farm and buildings.”
“All right, then, we can build another house just like this one—a new one.”
So they tore down the old one and in its place put up a new one, just like it. The man paid the mortgage off, and built a new house on the old spot.
Thank God, Jesus’ blood paid the mortgage on this old farm of ours. These old bodies are wrecked and ruined by sin, and God could not have lived in them and get His glory in them as He desired. So His Son paid the mortgage on our souls: the old spot—and soon the buildings: our bodies—will be made new.
Oh, it is detestable to the heart of God these days to hear a lot of theories about the divine spark in man, when he is a dirty, tumble-down, rotten shack on the outside, and eaten upon the inside by the mortgage of sin.
But Jesus has paid the mortgage, and will give you a new heart; you are born again, and the Holy Spirit can come in then and dwell in your heart. He will give you a new house to live in later; perhaps tonight.
New Houses—New City
Then He is coming back to collect all the houses He has made, put us all together, so we will be a city. That is the New Jerusalem; a city; you are a house and I am a house. I do not know what street you are living on, but I am on the corner of Joy Street and Hallelujah Avenue, and you can live there, too, if you want to. God has given you a mansion, in this wonderful city of our God, that cometh down out of heaven: this wonderful city, the bride of the bridegroom.
This is the wonderful creation God offers you tonight. It is not a theory. Jesus demonstrated it before the eyes of His disciples; this wonderful resurrection body of Jesus was shown openly and handled!
Warning in Our Day
We have a lot of theories these days, but God wants real faith in your heart. If you believe that Jesus can change you in a moment and in the twinkling of an eye, and it may be any one of these days, do you mean to tell me that you are not going to separate from these things of the world? You will say “I cannot afford to have any of this stuff hanging to me. I will restore to any man anything I have wronged. I will clean up, I will get straight with men and women.” The coming of Jesus is the warning in our day, my friend. As Noah preached to his day and said: “The flood is coming,” the warning of our day is that the tribulation is coming and the bride must make ready for Jesus’ coming. “He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.”
Do you say, “It is a hard life to live”? Hard?—and you may have a glorified body in ten minutes? Oh, God, somehow put a faith in us tonight that will laugh at the little persecutions of Earth. Oh, we need a glorious vision of what it is to be saved. He may come at any moment. Can you say you are ready, brother? Ready for that soul’s bright home? Sister, brother, are you ready? You can be ready.
It will consecrate you. It will get you to the place where you say, “Lord, yes—I see why you want me to be given up to you.”
It Focuses the Soul
It focuses the soul. It gets your mind fixed on one thing. It seemed to me I had about ten different minds before Jesus became all and in all. One day I would think this way, and the next day a few arguments would switch me over and I would think the other way. But, friends, when you get all that you have in Jesus, and center in Him, thank God you live a peaceful, steady sort of a life. Your heart will be fixed; your eyes will be fixed; and folks will know right where you are stepping. They know you have made up your mind to go along with Jesus and are going right along that way. We talk about a “bee-line.” That bee never loses sight in his mind of that little hive, all the time he is flying; and you will not lose sight of that little hive of yours up there in glory, where God’s honey is stored and soon to be given out to His own. You will be making a bee-line for it, every day.
Are We Ready?
Brother, are you ready? Sister, are you ready? Suppose the thing was to strike here tonight. How about you?
I Strike My Hand
Now it is all over. Suppose the whole thing had struck as I struck my hand just now—how about you? That is exactly how quick it is coming. The devil is trying to tell you you have a lot of time, but listen: When it comes you will have no time to prepare. It comes faster than death. Death may creep on and you may have three or four weeks of preparation—but Jesus may come tonight—in a moment. He says: “Watch, for you know neither the day nor the hour that the Son of Man cometh.”
God help you to wake up! Supposing it was all over, just a few moments ago—where would you be? Just answer this—don’t put any “ifs” or “ands” in it—where wouldyou be? Inside or outside?