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Christ, Our Coming King

Why Preaching the Gospel is Vital

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Before He went to the cross, Jesus told His disciples: “‘In my Father’s house are many rooms; . . . I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am’” (John 14:2–3).

Luke records that when the disciples were intently looking up into the sky as Jesus was taken up to heaven before their eyes, angels confirmed the Lord’s earlier promise: “‘Men of Galilee . . . why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven’” (Acts 1:11).

The doctrine of the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is the fourth great pillar of the Fourfold Gospel—Christ, our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King. It is expressed well in the Manual of The Christian and Missionary Alliance:

The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent and will be personal, visible, and premillennial. This is the believer’s blessed hope and is vital truth which is incentive to holy living and faithful service .

This Statement of Faith thus summarizes Christ’s own testimony and the apostles’ writings throughout the New Testament.

Two Aspects of Christ’s Coming

The Scripture tells us that Christ’s first return will be the beginning of the tribulation. He will come like a thief to our house, without a warning, to take away the most precious treasure—the Church, the Bride of Christ. The Lord told John, “‘Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed’” (Rev. 16:15). At this coming, the Church will be lifted up to meet with her Bridegroom in the air. The apostle Paul comforted the Thessalonians who had lost loved ones on this earth when he wrote, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, . . . and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:16–17). It will be a wonderful reunion for the saints.

After the rapture, the tribulation will take place for a period of seven years. This will be a dreadful time for those who are left behind. Jesus told His disciples: “‘For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened’” (Matt. 24:21–22).

After the tribulation, Christ will return with His saints and will reign in this world for a thousand years. He will be personal and visible. Jesus told His disciples of this glorious event when He said, “‘At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory’” (Luke 21:27). The apostle John wrote to the Church in Asia Minor: “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen” (Rev. 1:7).

During Christ’s reign on earth, Satan will be chained and thrown into the abyss. Those who were caught up in the air at the rapture “will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6). I look forward to serving our King Jesus along with the other saints in this greater capacity for the sake of the gospel.

Preparing the Way

Paul exhorted Titus on how to live in anticipation for the glorious coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11–13).

Here Paul reminds us that as people being saved by the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ and waiting expectantly for His return, we should denounce worldly things and live a godly life to honor Christ in whatever we do. Not only that, we should live a higher Christian life by growing deeper and deeper in our relationship with our Savior. This has been symbolized by a tree planted by a stream that sends out its roots toward the life-giving water (Jer. 17:8). Once our roots grow in Christ, we draw nourishment from the Holy Spirit and then He causes us to flourish, to burst forth as a tall, majestic and fruitful tree. We can then become God’s instrument and blessing to point others to Christ. This is the higher Christian life, a supernatural life to do supernatural work, which focuses on bringing the gospel to all unreached people.

This is the life that my wife, Kay, and I want to live out and why we will move on to serve our Lord in Cambodia this summer. Even though during the past 19 years thousands of Cambodian people have come to Christ through the preaching of the gospel and church planting, less than 2 percent of the country’s 14 million people are Christians. In addition to the Khmer people, who comprise 86 percent of Cambodia’s population, there are other ethnic groups, such as the Cham, the Chinese, the Khmer Krom, the Khmer Surin, the Khmer Loeu (Kachok, Krung, Brao, Kavet, Kuy, Phnong, Tampuan, Stieng and Jarai), the Lao and the Vietnamese. Most of these people groups are very open to the gospel, and we have been called to train pastors and lay leaders to reach out to them. Since the C&MA has a burden for the Cambodian upper class, we have additionally been asked to share the gospel with professionals, intellectuals and government officials and to plant churches among them.

Kay and I are excited about the opportunity to be part of God’s work among all people groups in Cambodia to hasten the Lord’s return. For the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come’” (Matt. 24:14). This verse is the driving force behind us as a denomination for sharing the gospel with all unreached people groups around the world and to bring back the King.

“‘I am coming soon!’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).

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