Until He Come
by Inglis Fleming
The glorious hope of the Christian is the return of the Lord Jesus. “If 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.” This was His comforting promise. And it will have its fulfilment “in its own time.”
So we are called to endurance “in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9). Our God is “the God of patience,” and it is He who directs His own into His love and into the patience of Christ, while we wait for His coming again.
We are creatures of such brief life here, that we are apt to be impatient. But God is “the unhurried God.” Everything serves His purpose, all is under His control and He will carry out His bright designs and work His sovereign will according to His own purposes of grace.
On the last page of our Bible we hear our Lord speaking of His sure and swift return. “Behold, I come quickly” (v. 7); “Behold, I come quickly” (v. 12); “Surely I come quickly” (v. 20). In the first of these promises He speaks of our responsibility to keep His sayings. In the second He speaks of reward for service. In the last He speaks of Himself alone. As if answering the cry of the Spirit and the Bride of verse 17, He says, “Yea, I come quickly.” Then the answer springs from the hearts of His loved ones “Yea! Come, Lord Jesus.”
As we think of our responsibility or of reward, we cannot but feel how little we have answered to all that has been conferred upon us of blessing and privilege. Thus there is no answering cry in verses 7 and 12. But when He Himself alone is before the heart in glory and in grace, “the Root and Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star,” then the believer, jubilant in expectation, cries, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
This is our blessed ultimate, Himself, His presence, His return, and this truth is interwoven in all that concerns the Christian’s course. It may be for profit to recall some of the instances where the Lord Himself speaks of His coming back and of the conduct which befits us in view of it.
In John 21, we are in company with the risen Son of God. He is about to leave His own and go to the Father. They are to remain awhile in the world where He has been rejected. He tells Peter of what his privilege will be, to suffer for His sake, and signifies what death he will die.
Peter, seeing John following, asks, “Lord, and what shall this man do?” “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou Me,” was our Lord’s reply. What John would do was the Lord’s business. Peter’s business was to follow.
FOLLOWING TILL HE COME
was what was to engage Peter in his life and pathway—and well he seems to have carried out this exhortation.
And are we not in danger of troubling ourselves about “the other man;” and what course he will take. Our chief concern should be to see that we ourselves follow our Master’s steps, as Peter, himself, tells us to do. “Take heed to thyself,” echoes this injunction. The Lord will care for and direct the other man. We need not burden our thoughts concerning him, or curiously enquire as to what his service may be, it is ours patiently, persistently, to go on with our eye fixed upon Him “who has marked out the path that we tread.”
The Gospel of John opens with followers. The Baptist’s disciples leave him to follow Jesus upon whom they had looked “as He walked.” The Lord knew what they were doing, and “turned and saw them following,” and took them to abide with Him.
May it be so with us that we may be seen following until He call us to “Come and see” where He dwells in the Father’s house, where His own presence has prepared the place for us. “If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honour” (John 12:26). Blessed pathway! Blessed prospect! Blessed promise!
OCCUPYING TILL HE COME
The parable of the pounds (Luke 19:12-27) brings a word for our consciences. It calls us to attention and diligence in using for our Lord all that which He has committed to us in stewardship. It is required of us as stewards that we “be found faithful.”
“And he called his ten servants and delivered them ten pounds and said unto them, Occupy till I come.” “Ten servants—ten pounds.” Each of the ten had his pound. Each had the same amount put into his charge to trade with. The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 shows us the sovereign knowledge of the Lord, who gives to each according to His wisdom and according to the several abilities of those with whom He entrusts the talents. Here it is the individual responsibility, diligence and devotedness of each servant which are in view. “To every man his work” is the way this is expressed in Mark 13:34.
Every Christian has a pound. Every one has a mission to fulfil, a service to perform. Thus everyone is called to perform his part, everyone is to use actively, constantly, the good deposit entrusted to him.
There is a danger lest we should leave all service to those who appear to have greater gifts and powers than we ourselves possess. Let us beware of this. In the day of manifestation everyone shall receive according to his own labour.
Use what you have and you will be given more. Employ your time in the things of our Lord and in seeking the welfare of others for His sake. If we live selfish, self-centred, self-occupied lives, seeking “our own and not the things which are Jesus Christ’s,” we shall see all burnt up “in that day” though we ourselves are saved in His great grace. And all that we have gained of spiritual intelligence and understanding in His mind will be of value for our fuller service in His kingdom glory.
HOLDING FAST TILL HE COME
The message to the believer in the midst of departure and darkness and the depths of Satan, as seen in “Thyatira” in Revelation 3, is “That which ye have already hold fast till I come.”
It is a day when many, through the opposition of falsely-named Science, are giving up the fundamental truths of Christianity. The apostasy so long foretold seems setting in apace. Thus every believer is called to be steadfast and unmoveable. The exhortation, “Stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong,” falls upon our ears. The end draws nigh, and the attack of the enemy is pressed harder and still harder as the days pass. We need to keep the faith amid all the giving up on every hand.
Privilege great indeed it is to have the truth committed to us in any measure; but we have to watch lest in any way we should have any part of our possessions wrested from our grasp by the force or the subtlety of the foe.
“The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Ps. 12:6). As we hold to, and proclaim the truth we shall find our Lord’s support, for “He is a shield and buckler to all who trust in Him.” And it is but “a little while” before His return. If it so be that we have to suffer for His sake or on account of maintaining the truth, we may rejoice that for this we are counted worthy. Our Lord has suffered for us. He has died here and “the servant is not greater than his lord.”
SHOWING HIS DEATH TILL HE COME
This is one of our sweetest and choicest privileges. From the glory where He now is He gave to Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, that which he delivered to the saints at Corinth—“That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed,” thought of His loved ones left in the world of His refusal and gave them a feast by which to recall Him in His great love. Instituting “The Lord’s Supper” He gave us that which ever reminds us of the great foundation of all our blessing, His death for us, His body given and His precious blood shed on our behalf.
It awakens our affections towards Himself now risen, for “hereby perceive we the love because He laid down His life for us.” It brings before us the fact that we are in the world out of which He has been cast. And it is the unfurling of His standard where His rights have been refused, and the announcement that He who has died here lives again and comes to set up His kingdom. It is the privilege of every true Christian to answer to the Lord’s request and thus remember Him. It may be some reader may say, “I am not worthy to do this.” But Christ is worthy that we should fulfil His request. No one could claim worthiness save that with which He clothes us for His own presence.
May it be ours “until He come” to be watching and waiting for His return, and to be like men who are awaiting their Master, with lip and with life saying, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
Help and Food 1928