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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Come Quickly Lord Jesus

May 22, 2016

I don’t know about you, but one of the prayers I pray perhaps more than any other nowadays is this: “Come Quickly Lord Jesus”. Sometimes that is all I can pray. My heart is heavy, my spirit groans, and I see darkness all around me – all I can do is implore the Lord to return soon.

Of course I know I have a job to do, and I am to occupy till he comes. I certainly do not have my bags packed, my feet up, just sitting around waiting for his coming. I will work and I will pray until he arrives – whenever that may be. So this is no plea for pulling out and abdicating our responsibilities.

But it seems to me that anyone who deeply loves the Lord Jesus Christ and is seeking to be conformed to his image will increasingly feel utterly out of place in this world. They will be heartsick over what they see happening all around them – even in the churches.

Indeed, that will grieve the real follower of Jesus Christ more than anything. It will break his heart and drive him to his knees. This is the normal Christian life: one of growing holiness and growing dis-ease with what is all around us.

Come Quickly 2In fact, I believe that if Christians are not deeply grieved by what they see all around them, a case can be made that they are not Christians at all. The disciple of Christ shares in the heart of his Lord, and if God’s heart is broken over what he finds everywhere, so too should our hearts be.

The Bible often speaks to this. We know, for example, that God is near to those whose hearts are broken and whose spirits are grieving. Consider just a few psalms here:

Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

And having a heart that breaks over what breaks the heart of God is so often what we see with the great men and women of God as found in Scripture, especially the prophets. Consider a few more passages:

Esther 4:1 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly.
Nehemiah 2:1-3 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
Psalm 42:3 My tears have been my food day and night
Psalm 119:53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law.
Psalm 119:136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.
Isaiah 21:3-4 At this my body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor; I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see. My heart falters, fear makes me tremble; the twilight I longed for has become a horror to me.
Isaiah 22:4 Therefore I said, “Turn away from me; let me weep bitterly. Do not try to console me over the destruction of my people.”
Jeremiah 8:21 Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me.
Jeremiah 9:1 Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people.
Ezekiel 9:3-4 Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the LORD called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.”
Ezek 21:6-7 “Therefore groan, son of man! Groan before them with broken heart and bitter grief. And when they ask you, ‘Why are you groaning?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that is coming. Every heart will melt with fear and every hand go limp; every spirit will become faint and every leg will be wet with urine.’ It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

This as I say is the normal Christian life. It is a life of tears, of heartache, of brokenness, of grief. Sure, there is wonderful joy in the Lord, but this is always coupled with great grief for the lost, for sin, for ungodliness, and so on. We rejoice in the Lord, but the sin and unrighteousness all around us should vex our very souls.

As we read of Lot, he was “a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)” (2 Peter 2:7-8).

With so much torment of soul and brokenness of heart, one can only expect that a natural prayer of the righteous would be for God to make things right, for Christ to return, and for sin and rebellion to be finally put down. Thus the saint of God rightly calls out to God for his speedy return.

Various times in the book of Revelation we read about how Jesus says he is coming soon, or quickly, depending on the English translation you use. The NIV for example opts for the first version:

Revelation 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.
Revelation 22:7 Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.
Revelation 22:12 Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.
Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

The first three passages speak of his coming, but it is only in the final passage that this becomes a plea, a request: “Come Lord Jesus”. And that certainly has been my prayer, especially of late. When I see the destruction of the West, the assault on our children, the erosion of the faith, and the tidal waves of filth and immorality crashing over us, it gets so heavy and intense that I know of no other prayer but to plea for his soon return.

I know millions of other followers of Christ feel the same way. And I am reminded of what Paul said in Romans 8:26-27 about our present sufferings: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

Often there is just a lot of groaning and sighing going on! But thankfully the Spirit translates all that and presents it to Father God on our behalf. So if you are feeling heavy and overwhelmed and think that things are getting so very bleak and diabolical, you are right to feel this way.

And you are right to pray for the Lord’s speedy return. Sure, God is in control, and he is working out his plans and purposes, but all true believers should grieve deeply for what they see taking place all around them. We need to have the broken heart of God.

Indeed, the Bible even pronounces a woe on those who do not grieve – in this case, grieve over the destruction of Israel (Amos 6:6). The destruction of the West and the Western church should cause us to feel the same way God’s people felt about the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity. Consider these two verses:

Ezekiel 3:14-15 The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the LORD upon me. I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days, overwhelmed.

Psalm 137:1-4 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?

But we do not succumb to despair. We do not give up. We do not let the circumstances overwhelm us. Instead, we work more than ever before. We pray more than ever before. And we worship more than ever before.

And all the while, we implore the Lord: Come quickly Lord Jesus.

[1635 words]

14 Responses to Come Quickly Lord Jesus

  • Well said Bill, exactly how I am feeling at the moment.
    I am so tired of seeing all the nonsense facebook posts made by supposed Christians about recipes and puppies and stupid memes – they seem to be living with their heads in the sand about all that is going on around us. Very rarely will one of these types ‘like’ or ‘share’ a post about the spiritual war we are in – too concerned for what their ‘facebook friends’ might think?

    You are so right when you say that we will feel more and more alienated here on earth…that’s exactly what I feel like more and more with each passing day.

  • Thanks for this Bill. And Annette I share your concern. I posted in Facebook about the plight of Christians in the Middle East and the persecution they face on the same weekend as the US Supreme Court made its decision about gay marriage. I noticed those who had rainbow colours on their FB profile did not respond, even Christians. I was reminded what our job is especially today in Ezekiel 33:11: “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?'”

  • I have felt alienated for years, have always found the world’s ways difficult to come to terms with; but what people accept today as “normal” shows a degeneration of human mentality is taking place. It really has gone beyond the fringes and into the dark zones. Remember that scary space- film “Event Horizon”? That’s where the masses are heading, I’m sure of it.

  • The Apostle Paul’s “Maranatha” saying comes with a stark, sobering anathema for those whose love for the Lord is a mere charade:

    …If any man loveth not the Lord, let him be anathema. Maranatha. – 1 Corinthians 16:22 (ASV)

    …no man speaking in the Spirit of God saith, Jesus is anathema; and no man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit. – 1 Corinthians 12:3 (ASV)

  • There’s little I can add to what’s already been said, other than pray according to Revelation 2:10
    “Stop being afraid of what you are about to suffer – for the devil will soon throw some of you into prison to test you. You will be persecuted for ‘ten days.’ Remain faithful even when facing death and I will give you the crown of life – an unending, glorious future.”
    I have so many relatives – even some within my own family – who have no time for God. I pray constantly that they would come to Him before it is too late.

  • Amen Bill! and the five above, Annette to Anne. “Jesus, Lord!” the cry of the Spirit and “Abba, Father!” as Jesus in the garden, intercessory and effectual. So I walked to this computer, the cry of the Spirit in my heart and on my lips as on yours. This morning I read Richard Sibbes’ “The Bruised Reed” being lifted up as the puritans are so able while they reveal our corruptions (the smoke in our fire) in this world and Sibbes wonderfully applies the Word of Christ and fans the spark in the believer that the smoke shows is there! Christ Himself loves His own! It is given to our enemy to wear out the saints but not at last to overcome us – Christ! who will come in flaming fire when we are surrounded to be extinguished – that necessary process is building isn’t it. Let us indeed exhort one another – that is always in our power to do – thank God He has not left us Wordless to believe and to do as He moves the whole world to the Day. I see the two mysteries (hidden truths) are being revealed to faithful believers – that of ‘ iniquity’ and that of ‘the gospel’ both fully known to our Father, they both glorify Him by the saints on that Day! “Hallelujah” – (the third cry of the Spirit in our hearts and on our lips for this day.)

  • My daughter put me onto your website. We both feel the same way. Everyday I am so disgusted at the increase in wealth of people at the expense of so many less fortunate.I get so disgusted at the tv shows constantly focusing on murders and reality shows to break up marriages. I would not dare see a movie now as I am sure it would have evil motives. The gaming world has taken over some people I know and now they are aggressive. I also tried to put scriptures up on my Facebook page when for some reason none of my postings were seen by anybody. When one of them was finally on there, it was only my sister who ‘liked’ it. People just don’t want to know about the Bible. If only they knew what it contains, they would love it like i and by the look of it, all the readers of this website do. Thank you Bill and all the other comments here.

  • Dear Bill, Thank you for quoting the psalms. They really do describe how I feel sometimes about the state the world is in.We need someone like you to remind Catholics what the WORD says about these things too.

    Heaven knows Australia is godless enough now with the Catholic Church pushed to the margins of society helped by an aggressively secularised MSM who have zealously seized the opportunity to push it even further from mainstream society over the sexual abuse scandals committed by a pitiful few of its priests.However, I also grieve over England where I was born and which was once known as Our Lady’s Dowry because it is even further down the path of de-Christianisation with centuries old Churches and chapels abandoned because the people have failed to support them and the heresy of Islam becoming ever more firmly entrenched because there are so few Christian leaders.

    When my husband and I with our three children left England in 1968 the congregation of the Catholic Church I attended was made up of four nationalities English, Irish, Australian and Italian. Admittedly this reflected the white Australia policy but where have all those faithful gone? They are certainly not there now as many have given up the fight and lapsed including many in my own family. Sunday Mass attendance now reflects the multi cultural nature of Australia’s immigration policy with many Catholics coming from India,various parts of Asia and the Americas.Whilst this diversity shows the universality of the Catholic Church I can’t help wondering how long it will be before this new congregation will succumb to the secularising and godless influence of the MSM. which is surely controlled by Satan himself.

    Our Lady said in 1917 at Fatima that wars came about through the sins of men. I am old now and have seen so many wars. Even the so called ‘just wars” like WW2 have left such terrible legacies that Our Lord’s Sacred Heart which has burned with love for men must be breaking. This latest war by militant Islam is not even recognised for what it is, an attack on THE REMNANTS OF THE CHRISTIAN WEST because our weak leaders are doing the job for them. How many more times must Jesus warn the world what will come if the world does not turn back to the Triune God who was revealed to humankind by Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago?

  • “Instead, we work more than ever before.”
    On that subject, a call for volunteers:
    http://www.acl.org.au/volunteer

  • I hope you remember that the joy of the Lord is your strength even in these troubled times. Many souls need to be saved. As Christians we can demonstrate hope in Christ to others by our response to these troubled times. God is in total and absolute control. My prayer is that we recognize that this is the Church’s hour. God Himself is getting the Bride ready for the groom’s return. I believe God has to discipline the church first.
    The sins that are being exposed in the church now is God cleansing and correction. God is coming back for a bride without spot or wrinkle. Be encouraged.

  • No Bill you are not alone. There are many who cry ‘How Long O Lord’ and see his return as our only hope. Thank you for all your comments and particularly Barbara that we can find joy even in these troubled times and that we need to be prepared as a church for his return remaining faithful.

  • When Jesus said that it will be good for that servant whom the Master finds doing his will when he returns (Matt. 24:46; Luke 12:43), does that not imply that the work will not be finished until the Master returns to finish it?

    Do not be afraid – those who are with us are more than those who are with them (1 Kings 6:16).

    Incidentally, did the NIV quote of Rev 22:12 above strike anyone else as odd? Above it says

    I will give to each person according to what they have done.

    But my NIV printed in 1978 says

    I will give to everyone according to what he has done

  • Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
    Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

  • Bill, that was indeed powerful. A very good reminder for all of us to shift our focus towards the return of the Lord. Many believers are losing their faith and joining the world in the ‘greed’ race. The destruction of the church is gaining momentum in Africa too. I was appalled by some of the messages preached on radio and TV on my last visit to my country. Messages which previously centred on the rapture and the second coming have given way to materialistic messages. False prophets are all over deceiving the elect. Very sad

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