Second Coming Sermon Illustrations

Second Coming Sermon Illustrations

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In Sherman's march from Chattanooga to Atlanta and from Atlanta to the sea, the Confederate government, impatient with the Fabian tactics of General Joseph E. Johnston, removed him from command and gave his army to the impetuous General Hood. Hood at once marched to the rear of Sherman, threatening his communications and base of supplies at Chattanooga and Nashville. An important link to these communications was Allatoona, which commanded the pass through the mountains. This post was at once attacked by Hood's army. Sherman sent an order to one of his lieutenants, Corse, to proceed to Allatoona. He himself went back as far as Kenesaw Mountain, and from that eminence on the clear October day could see plainly the smoke of the battle and hear the faint reverberation of the cannon. His flag officer at length made out the letters which were being wigwagged from the garrison at Allatoona, "Corse is here." This was a great relief to Sherman, who then heliographed his famous message, "Hold the fort. I am coming."

Among the soldiers in Sherman's army was a young officer, Major Whittle, who related the incident to P. B. Bliss, the famous evangelist. Taking this incicent in the campaign for his inspiration, Bliss wrote the once well-known hymn, "Hold the Fort, for I Am Comingl"

The hymn thus inspired has genuine Christian truth in its lines. The Church is to occupy until Christ comes. It is assailed and besieged by the world and by the enemies of the truth. But Christ has not left it without a promise, a promise which means deliverance and victory. From the ramparts of heaven he waves to us the message that he is coming. Confident in that great appearance, the Church will occupy till he comes.

The Jacobites of Scotland never met one another on the mountain paths, never sat down to a table of council and conference, without lifting a cup to pledge the return of their king and prince, Charles. At length Charles came back, but only to bring to Scodand defeat, disaster, and suffering. In every celebration of the Lord's Supper, since that last and first night in the Upper Room, the followers of Christ have lifted the sacramental cup as a token of their faith that their King shall come. That is the meaning of those words which we hear so often that we forget their deep import: "As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come." Till he come! And when he comes he shall come not to bring pain and suffering, as did King Charles to unhappy Scotland, but to bind up all wounds, to set at liberty all the captives of sin, to wipe away all tears from all eyes.

Canon Liddon once said: "If Christ is not coming, we might as well lock the west door of this cathedral and throw the key into the river." In other words, Christianity would be proved false and all its lights and hopes would have faded, its great music quenched.

One of the great epics of classic literature tells of a woman who was separated from her husband. He had gone off to a foreign war. The months and the years had passed by, but no word had come of the missing Ulysses, tossed up and down on the waves of the ocean and tempted by sirens. The multitude of suitors pressed about Penelope, as she sat surrounded by her maids "laying her hands to the spindle and holding the distaff," and urged their claims upon her; but she was faithful to her absent lord—in Stephen Phillips' words,

True to a vision, steadfast to a dream,
Indissolubly married to remembrance?

At length Ulysses himself in the guise of a beggar appeared one day among the suitors, took his own great bow and bent it, and thus revealed himself as the lost husband; and the fidelity of Penelope was rewarded.

An unwritten saying of Christ preserved by Justin Martyr is an excellent summary of Christ's teaching as to the meaning of his return for each one of us: "In whatsoever employment I may surprise you, therein also will I judge you."

"He Said He Would"

A life insurance leaflet contains the following: A father and a girl of ten years, both good swimmers, entered the waters of the Atlantic at a New Jersey seashore resort a few summers ago. When some distance from shore they became separated, and the father realized they were being carried out to sea by the tide. He called out to his daughter: "Mary, I am going to shore for help. If you get tired, turn on your back; you can float all day on your back. I'll come back for you." Before long many searchers in boats were scurrying over the face of the water hunting for one small girl, while hundreds of people to whom the news had spread waited anxiously on shore. It was four hours before they found her, far from land. She was calmly floating on her back and not at all frightened. Cheers and tears of joy and relief greeted the rescuers with their precious burden as they came to land. The child took it calmly. She said, "He said he would come for me, and that I could float all day, so I swam and floated, because I knew he would come." May such faith in our Heavenly Father sustain us in those hours in which we must swim and float and wait.—Gospel Chimes.

He Promised

Someone has imagined the convalescent traveler able to sit in the doorway of the inn, earnestly looking up the road. waiting for the return of his deliverer. He could say, "He promised to come again. I know he will keep his word. I want to be waiting and watching for him when he returns." Is not this the attitude in which every redeemed sinner should be found—daily waiting for "the coming of our Lord Jesu's Christ, and... our gathering together unto him?" (II Thess. 2 :1).—Sunday School Quarterly.

A Little Girl's Example

A little girl had been listening while her mother's friends had been speaking about the near return of the Lord. After some hours she was missed. She was found looking out of a window at the top of the house. Asked what she was doing, she said, "Oh, Mother, I heard you say Jesus might come today, and I wanted to be the first to see Him. See! I washed myself and put on a clean pinny."—Sunday School Times.

Today? Tonight?

At night as Dr. Horatius Bonar retired to rest, his last action ere he laid down to sleep was to draw aside the curtain and looking up into the starry heavens, say: "Perhaps tonight, Lord?" In the morning, as he arose, his first movement was to raise the blind, and looking out upon the gray dawn, remark: "Perhaps today, Lord?"—The Dawn.

Why He Left

Dr. J. C. Massee has told how when a young man he was persuaded to attend a theater much against his will. After being seated, he quickly got up. "What are you doing?" asked his friends. "I'm getting up," he replied. "But where are you going?" they urged. "I'm going out," said he. "But you just came in." "I know it, and I'm going out. See here," added Dr. Massee, "I'm a Christian; I believe the Bible, and my Bible tells me that Jesus, my Lord, is coming back to this earth, and that He may come at any time, and I don't want Him to catch me here."—Sunday School Times.

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