Conversion to God: Part 2

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
The Lord recognized the love that made them feel sad; He recognized the love that wished Him back and craved for His presence. He, therefore, said, “If I go away, I will come again, and receive you unto myself.”
Dear friends, a great promise was that! It brought them joy and hope. These men at Thessalonica heard it also. They heard it from the lips of the apostle. They drank in its sweetness and comfort, and said, ‘Oh, what a glorious thing it will be for Him to come back here from His glory,' and they forgot, as it were, the difficulties and trials of their path through this world in the vision of hope that the Lord would return and receive them to Himself.
They heard also the angelic testimony to the disciples when they stood on Mount Olivet gazing up into heaven, where that beloved One had vanished from their eyes. They stood gazing up into heaven waiting for the cloud to open, and thinking He would return immediately; but the angel spoke to them, and 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.” “This same Jesus!” It is the blessed Person Himself who is coming, the Person who bears in His hands and feet the marks of the nails! This is He whom the Thessalonians expected, and whom we, too, expect. That same Jesus shall come-not some bright vision for your deathbed—not something for your imagination—but no! that very Person who suffered here shall come back. This is a promise, the truth of which we cannot deny, for the Lord has said it. Can it be a fact that a man whose sins have been washed away in the precious blood of Jesus—can it be that a person for whom Jesus died on the tree, does not care to cherish the hope of His coming again?
Some persons think it is a doctrine for those who are well instructed in the word of God; that it is a doctrine for persons who have studied, for instance, the visions of the wondrous Book of Daniel—that it is especially for such. But the Thessalonians knew nothing yet about Daniel's prophecies. Did they know anything about Daniel even? Here was the simple fact, that some idolatrous people had turned to God, and were ignorant of divine revelation. They had turned from lives that were absolutely devoid of heavenly truth, and. they learned from the servant of the Lord that Christ would come from heaven.
We also have that word. Let me ask, What are you waiting for? Are you waiting for His coming? Waiting, I take it, means anxiously expecting. You will remember that those virgins who went out to wait for the Bridegroom slumbered and slept. Could they then be said to be waiting for the Bridegroom? How could they be waiting for Him? They were not even ready for Him.
Do you say, “My Lord delayeth His coming,” or is it a fact that you are affected by the scoffers that are around us, who say “Where is the promise of His coming?” But that promise was made nearly two thousand years ago. Then we are nearly two thousand years nearer the fulfillment of it! Beloved friends, if you love the Lord Jesus Christ, you will surely love His word, and He says “Surely I am coming quickly.” Wait for Him, then. Walk on the mountains, and look out for the Bright and Morning Star. “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and 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: so shall we be forever with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16,1716For 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: 17Then 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. (1 Thessalonians 4:16‑17)). What a comfort this hope contains. Are you waiting for the Son from the heavens, even Jesus who has delivered us from the wrath to come?
There is a sad side to the future revealed in these words. Not only is the Son coming from the heavens, but the wrath is coming. The wrath of heaven is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness, and the Executor of that wrath is Jesus, our Deliverer. He has delivered us from the wrath to come. The believer expects the Lord Jesus to receive him into the bright mansions above, but the Lord is also coming to execute judgment upon all. God, who passed over the days of ignorance, now commandeth all men everywhere to repent. Why? Because He has appointed a day in which He will “judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained: whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
O beloved friends, it is a grim outlook for this world; for the world can look forward to nothing but God's wrath. The unrighteousness, the disregard of God's holy word and will, must receive God's judgment by and by. God is holy, and He waits in longsuffering mercy, not willing that any should perish; but there is a limit to this longsuffering. This guilty world in which we are is stained by the blood of God's Son. It is true this blood speaks better things than that of Abel. It speaks of mercy and salvation to the sinner, but God's justice and holiness demand that the crucifixion of that just and holy Jesus should be avenged. The world stands guilty. Dear friends, all has to be answered for in a day that is coming. It is for you to come now to the refuge that God has provided, to believe on His Son, and to wait for His Son, that you may be taken away from this world before God's judgments break upon it. Men shall say “Peace and safety,” and sudden destruction shall come upon them. As it was in the day of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of man.
Beloved friends, these are established facts, resting for their truth upon God's holy word. They are there. Search the Scriptures whether these things are so or not. If they are so, heed them, make them part of your lives. May the light of them shine upon your pathway, and great shall be your reward now, greater still in the day which is to come.
I ask you, on which side are you? What is the rule of your life here in this world? Is God's Son governing your life Are you ready to lay anything on one side for Christ's name? Oh, beware of rejecting anything that you know is God's will. Every person who has turned to God from idols finds that very shortly, he must come to a decision. He has to obey God and give up something to do so. He has to break some tender cord, perhaps, for God. This is often a great struggle, and you have to bring yourself to face the naked truth, and ask yourself, 'Whom shall I obey?' Shall I obey God, or shall I obey someone, perhaps, who is dearer than all the world beside
Friends, to decide rightly in a question of this kind, you have to look at it from the right standpoint. Be on the side of God. Be on the side of truth. Let this holy Book be the standard for you, that to which you refer, and that which is your guide to obedience from day to day. May God bless the truth and light of His holy word! May the scripture we have considered have a deeper and fuller effect than ever before upon the hearts and lives of everyone present here this evening!
(Concluded from page 816)
W. J. H.