The Return Of Our Lord And Worldwide Evangelism
By Samuel Zwemer
Those who look eagerly for Christ's second coming are most eager also to complete the task of evangelism. "The gospel must first be preached unto all nations" "for a witness" (Mark 13:10; Matt. 24:14). There is no stronger incentive to immediate evangelism than the imminence of Christ's return....
The return of Christ is the living hope for a despairing world. It tells of the dawn of an eternal morning after our night of gloom. As Jesus said to John on lonely Patmos: "Fear not;....I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive forever more" (Rev. 1:17-18). Because He lives, we shall live also. We are not ambassadors of a dead Hero, but of Him who was "declared to be the Son of God with power...by the resurrection from the dead" (Rom. 1:4), to whom "all power is given...in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18), and who is coming again...
The hope of Christ's imminent, personal, visible return is the strongest possible incentive to missions. It sounds the note of urgency. Those who are filled with the hope of His coming are also on fire for worldwide evangelism....
Some have been very clever at preparing a timetable of prophetical events and suggesting the hour when we may expect our Lord. A man may know all about the timetable, and yet miss the train! Some are not living as if they were anxious to be found ready for that return.
The demand above anything else is other-worldliness, a sense of stewardship, and a supreme sense of the urgency of our task. There is no other event in history which will have such absolute, immediate, and startling effect on all property values as the rending of the sky and the return of our Lord.
Are all of us ready for His coming and faithful stewards of His blessings? Were men's hearts ever so expectant of a climax and a crisis in history as now? Was the world ever in greater need of a deliverer and judge? Are not the signs of which Jesus spoke in the Gospels, and which usher in the day of the Lord, on the front pages of our newspaper? Were the opportunities for evangelism ever so great as now? Apart from His coming again is there any hope for this disillusioned, stricken, war-torn world?
This is an age which is drinking the bitterest waters of all historical eras. In a day when the judgment of God has melted into burning lava and is pouring through the ruins of man's proudest achievements, let the prophetic trumpet-call of repentance pierce the tormented soul of man.
Jesus came; Jesus is coming again. To accept these two statements, which are the shortest summary of the New Testament, with all they imply of faith and hope and glory, would fill us with the joy of the early Christians and their devotion.