The Second Coming Of Christ
"For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.” -- Mark 13:34-37
In the Holy Scriptures we are assured that our Lord Jesus Christ is coming again. Soon, that One who died as our Substitute at Calvary, arose from the dead, and ascended up into heaven, the exalted God-man, our Lord and King, shall appear on this earth again, in the brightness of his glory, taking vengeance upon all his enemies and bringing the salvation of his elect to its consummate glory. We are also assured that no one knows, or can know, when Christ shall appear. Our Lord has graciously hidden that from us. No man knows, or can know, the exact hour, or day, or even the exact millennium! Those who pretend otherwise are deluded. It is positively evil for us to pry into such matters (Matt. 24:36; Mk. 13:32; 1 Thess. 5:1; Acts 1:7). However, the Scriptures do teach us many things about our Lord’s second coming. Those things that are revealed we should seek to know.
The House of God
Our Lord Jesus here compares his church and kingdom to a man’s house. The church on earth is the house of God (1 Tim. 3:14-16). Every true gospel church is the peculiar, distinct house of God. There is something almost mystical about the assembled body of Christ. As we gather in his name to worship our God, each local assembly in which the Lord God is truly worshipped becomes the dwelling place and temple of the triune God!
In 1 Timothy 3 Paul speaks of the local church as “the house of God…the pillar and ground of the truth.” In Ephesians 2:22, we read that the local Church, every true gospel Church, is “an habitation of God through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 3:16, declares, with regard to the assembled saints in any given place, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Our Lord Jesus Christ promises in Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” In this parable (Mk. 13:34) our Savior speaks of the church on earth as his own house, his distinct dwelling. -- “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house.”
The church is called his house because he is the Foundation stone upon which it is built. Just as every stone of a building rests on the foundation, so every believer rests on Christ alone. Christ is the Rock upon which we are built, the sure Foundation of our souls. He is “The Stone of Israel” (Gen. 49:24; Isa. 28:16; Acts 4:11-12; Rom. 9:33; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:6-8)). Were it not for the foundation, the whole house would fall into ruins. The floods of judgment and winds of adversity would sweep it away. Were it not for Christ, we would all be swept away by God's anger. But that cannot be! We are rooted, and grounded, and built upon him.
Our Lord rightfully calls the church his house because he alone is the Builder of it. The church is not built by men, not even by faithful men, much less by the entertainment, gimmicks, tricks, and tomfoolery of modern religion. Christ alone builds his Church (Matt. 16:18). Every stone in the building has been placed there by the hands of Christ. Christ himself has taken every stone from the quarry. Look unto the rock whence ye were hewn, and the hole of the pit whence ye were digged. We were all embedded in the world, in sin, in ungodliness and death, and just as firmly so as a rock in the quarry. Only the hands of our omnipotent Saviour could dig us out of the pit.
Our Lord Jesus Christ carries every stone dug from the pit of fallen humanity, and lays it on the Foundation. Once the stone has been quarried, it cannot lift itself; it needs to be carried, and built upon the foundation. We cannot build ourselves on the Son of God. We must be built on him. The hewn stone is carried on the shoulder of the great Master Builder and laid in its ordained place, exactly according to the eternal blueprint of grace. Every stone in this building, which is his house, has been hewn, carried, and put in place by the Son of God. This house is very properly called his house, since he builds every stone of it.
The church is his house because he owns it. Not only does he build it with his hands; he bought it with his own precious blood (Acts 20:28). He purchased his church legally, satisfying all the demands of divine justice for his people. The Son of God purchased his church particularly, having loved it with an everlasting love (Eph. 5:25). And our Lord’s purchase of his church effectually guarantees the everlasting glory of it (Eph. 5:26-27).
The church of God is called his house because this is where he dwells with his family. Wherever a man's family is, that is his home. Wherever a man's mother and sister and brother dwell, that is his home. This, then, must be Christ's home, for he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said: "Behold my mother and my brethren; for whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."
A Long Journey
Our Lord Jesus Christ is like “a man who taking a far journey” (Verse 34). Though the church on earth is his house, and though he dwells with us spiritually, our Savior is not here physically. He is risen, ascended, exalted and glorified in heaven.
He has gone to take possession of heaven in our name, as our Representative (Heb. 6:20). When a man goes abroad to purchase a piece property for himself and his family, he goes on a far journey ahead of his family, in order to take possession of the property. That is what Christ has done for us. He lived and died in order to purchase eternal redemption for his people. He has gone into heaven to take possession of it for us (Heb. 9:12).
Do you trust Christ as your Surety? Do you believe the Son of God? If you do, then heaven is yours already. You already hold the title deed in your hands. You possess it now and shall possess it forever! Perhaps, you are thinking, “How can I be a possessor of heaven when I have never been there?” Christ your Surety has taken possession of it in your name.
Look at your Surety, my brother, my sister, in the glory land that is very far off. He calls it ours! "These things have I spoken unto you, that your joy may be full." Heaven is our inheritance right now. We possess it now in Christ by eternal predestination (Eph. 1:11), by legal purchase (Heb. 9:12), by proxy (Heb. 6:20), and by divine pledge (Eph. 1:11-14; 4:30).
Our Lord Jesus has gone into heaven to make intercession for us, to ever plead our cause at the throne. He has gone to intercede for his lost sheep and for his needy family in this world. He has gone to procure all blessings of grace for us. He has gone far above all heavens, there to appear in the presence of God for us, and to ask the very things we need, and to send down all the treasures of heaven upon us. The Lord Jesus has gone to glory to intercede for his sinning saints (1 John 2:1-2).
Our Savior has gone to prepare a place for us. His word to us is: -- "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And 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” (John 14:1-3). The Lord Jesus is preparing a place for us. There we soon shall be. There we shall be with him, with him in the place he has prepared for us forever!
Our Lord Jesus Christ has left us here upon the earth to be his servants, to serve the interests of his house, his kingdom, and his glory in this world (verse 34.) All God’s people are his servants. Each one has been set in this world, in the place where God has put him, to serve him in a specific way. – “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch."
Pastors, elders, and missionaries (gospel preachers whatever the field of their calling), are servants, and have their work assigned them. God’s preachers are porters who throw open the door of the house to poor, needy sinners, bidding them “Come in”. They are also stewards of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:1-7), the treasure of the house, who must rightly divide the Word of truth. Faithful gospel preachers are men who feed the Church of God with knowledge and understanding (Jer. 3:15). Those men who are set over the house of God are set upon the walls of Zion as watchmen, too (Ezek. 33:1-11).
Some people think that preachers alone are God’s servants. That is not so. Christianity is not a spectator sport! Look at our text - "He gave to every man his work.” All believers are Christ’s servants. We all have our work to do. I have my work assigned to me; and you have your work assigned to you. Let us do it faithfully. When our Savior found us, he said, "Go, work in my vineyard.” Find out what the Lord would have you to do in his vineyard, and do it with all your might.
Learn to keep to your own work. Each of us has his own peculiar work assigned to him. We must not leave it. "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called." It is not for me to choose what I will do for Christ. It is mine to do what he has given me the opportunity and ability to do. If you are the Lord Christ’s, you have your work to do for him where you are. Even in poverty, sickness, and in time of great trial, you are Christ’s servant and have your work to do for him there as much as the most influential servant of Christ in the world. The smallest twinkling star is as much a servant of God as the mid-day sun. Live for Christ and serve him where you are. That is the place of your service.
The Master Comes
Our blessed Master is coming back again, we know not when. The Lord Jesus does not say, “The Master shall come.” He declares, “The Master cometh.” “Behold, he cometh!” Our Master is coming now. "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping” (Verses 35, 36).
Yes, our Redeemer is coming again. The whole Bible bears witness to this fact. The Master of the house has been away on his journey for a long time; but he will return. When our Lord left his disciples and ascended up into heaven, a cloud received him out of their sight. As they gazed upon their ascending Lord, looking steadfastly into heaven, the angels said: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." He went up in a cloud. He shall come in the clouds.
When Christ comes again, he will appear with unannounced suddenness. The whole Bible bears witness to this as well. Our Master’s return shall be "as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." -- "The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night." -- "Ye know not when the master of the house cometh."
His coming will be sudden, sudden to the world, and sudden to the children of God. "In such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh." "Ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning." But at the appointed hour, he shall come again!
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." – (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
"And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch" (verse 37). The gospel preacher must watch. Each one must watch over his own soul. Yet, he must watch over the souls of those committed by divine providence to his care. Each believer must watch over his own soul, too. Do not read that word lightly. -- “Watch!” -- Watch against sin. -- Watch against slothfulness and indifference. -- Watch against unbelief. -- Watch against worldliness - the love of the world! – Watch for Christ! Do not look for signs, but for the Savior. As you go about your business of serving him, do so upon the tiptoe of faith in blessed expectation of his appearing, -- “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ!”
Should any read these lines who are yet without Christ, let the Master’s word ring in your heart. – “Watch!” Oh, Christless souls, how dreadful your case is! Death may take you suddenly to eternity! How sudden it often is. You may have no time for repentance, not even the space of a breath to pray! The coming of Christ in judgment shall be more sudden still. You know neither the day nor the hour. You are without God! -- Without Christ! -- Without atonement! -- Without righteousness! -- Without peace! -- Without hope! Oh, what will you do in the day of the Lord's fierce anger?