King's Business - 1947-01

be fast running out, and the clock of time to have struck the eleventh hour. But there is still work for God’s servants in this eleventh hour. The vineyard parable of Jesus pictures the lord of the vineyard’s calling for laborers even at the eleventh hour. Our risen Lord gave to His disciples an explicit command to make known His salvation to all men. His last words were: “Ye shall be [my] witnesses . . . unto the uttermost part of the earth.” And let it be noted that this statement is more than a command: it is a prediction as well. Surely that pre­ diction must be fulfilled, and that task must be carried out. And if so, does this fact not establish a clear re­ lation between world evangelization and the Lord’s re­ turn? Hudson Taylor, the godly founder of the China Inland Mission, wrote: “If the Lord is coming soon, is this not a very practical motive for greater missionary effort? I know of no other motive that has been so stimulating to myself.” The statement is frequently made that all the events have taken place, and the conditions met, that were predicted to precede the coming back of Christ. Yet the fact remains that Christ has not yet come. Is it not well to consider whether His delay may be because, the task He set for His Church is not yet completed? I con­ fess to disappointment that prophetic conferences so often discuss elaborately “the signs of the times” but without any mention of the missionary sign, which I regard as one of the most important. Moreover, all of these other signs relate to matters about which we can do little or nothing, whereas in the spreading of the Gospel to the ends of the earth we may all have an active part. It is indeed a joy to note the recent marked increase of missionary concern and co-operation among Christians at home, and also the penetration of hitherto wholly unoccupied regions abroad. Thus hope is quickened and effort stimulated for the speedy com­ pletion of the task of evangelizing the world. Mention of the last day leads our thought to the last chapter of the Book of God. There we read the words, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.” Commenta­ tors differ as to whether this is the Advent call, or the Gospel call. Some take it to be the response to the Lord’s “Surely I come quickly,” rather than part of the gracious invitation, “Let him that is athirst come. And . . . take the water of life freely.” Dr. A. J. Gordon in one of his great books suggested that the two interpre­ tations might well be blended together. “With eyes turned heavenward,” he wrote, “the Bride is ever cajling to the Bridegroom, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus,’ the Holy Spirit, the Friend of the Bridegroom, inspiring and sus­ taining this cry throughout the age. At the same time, with hands outstretched toward a famishing world, both are calling, ‘Let him that heareth say, Come . . . and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’ ” We as Christians need to maintain this double at­ titude. The uplifted gaze without the outstretched hands will tend to make us visionary, while the out­ stretched hands without the upward look will tend to make us weary. The two_ must go together. Like the Thessalonian believers, we should combine the “pa­ tience of hope” with the “ labour of love.” Let us not be gazers, engrossed in speculation about “the times or the seasons” (Acts 1:7), but goers, pressing on and out to the ends of the earth with the Good News, in­ spired by the “ blessed hope” and the prospect of greet­ ing our Lord with an offering of souls rescued from sin to become lustrous gems for His crown in the day of His appearing. To pray consistently that last prayer of the Bible, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus,” we must be living and afcting in obedience to His last command, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Page 9

It is a time of new and menacing opposition It must not be thought for a moment that Satan, de­ feated in his design to overthrow missions by means of war, will now relax his efforts and allow the present highly advantageous situation to go unchallenged. He will surely continue his tenacious opposition to Christ’s cause, cunningly employing fresh and crafty devices to achieve his wicked purpose. Without a doubt, he is even now mustering his evil forces for a fresh as­ sault, and will hotly contest every effort for post-war missionary advance. It must be evident that the new open door for God’s forces is equally an open door for the devil’s emissaries. And so into the reopened door to the newly awakened lands of the Orient and Africa will pour a fresh flood of ail the vices of a godless civi­ lization, such as rum, narcotics, harlotry, indecent pic­ ture shows, immoral and atheistic literature, as well as false cults and philosophies, perverted religion, and a host of other vile influences. Communism has already raised anew its ugly head in the Far East, in open and deadly opposition to the Gospel. All this need not surprise us, for from the very in­ ception of Christian missions the “many adversaries” have kept abreast of the “great door and effectual.” Yet the Apostle Paul was not in the least dismayed or de­ terred by them. They only whetted his zeal, and stimu­ lated his efforts. Writing to the Christians of his day, he bade them be “ in nothing terrified by your adver­ saries.” We need to take to heart that admonition in our day and “ give [no] place to the devil.” To allow these present corrupting and damning forces to outrun us in pressing into the new open doors and turning to their own wicked ends all these splendid advantages and opportunities which have been cited would mean a disastrous setback to the cause of Christ. We MUST go forward and win out at any cost. It is the time of the last days This is the final and climactic feature to consider. That we are in the last days, and that the end of the age is drawing near seems altogether obvious when we note the striking correspondence between present- day conditions and the inspired picture which the New Testament presents of the last days of this age. We see the alarming breakdown of morals, the shocking increase of foul and callous crime, as well as of lewd behavior on every hand. We read official reports of juvenile delinquency marked by acts of unbelievable vileness. We see persistent friction between labor and capital, attended by a veritable epidemic of strikes and violent disorders, with utter disregard for public needs and interests, which are wantonly sacrificed to selfish greed and graft. We see ever mounting political strife and confusion within the nation, and steadily worsening international relations, despite all the elabo­ rate schemes for bringing about mutual understanding and goodwill. We see a steady trend toward dictatorship in the political world, and significant beginnings of a similar huge, unspiritual control in the religious world. We see all too commonly “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof,” accompanied by every phase of spiritual and moral declension predicted in the epistles to Timothy as characterizing “the last days.” We see the continued ruthless persecution of the Jews and the increase of anti-Semitism. We see appalling famine and misery stalking across the entire world in the wake of global war. Can we fail to recognize in these conditions, and par­ ticularly in the combination of all of them at one time, a striking resemblance to the Bible picture of the last days? Do they not indicate the near approach of the end and the return of the Lord? Man’s day seems to JA N U A R Y , 1947

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