A Sermon by

Dr. Walter A. Maier

“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. Then 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.... The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” 1Thessalonians 4:16-18; 5:2-8

Precious savior, who wilt soon return to us, as thou hast promised: All the signs of Thy second coming are being fulfilled before our eyes as never before. A score of warnings, each foretold in Thy Word, cry out, “The Lord is coming.” Therefore send Thy Holy Spirit to keep us watchful and waiting for Thine advent and to prevent us from being misled by those why cry, “Peace and safety!” Help us testify to unbelievers that the time of Thy return brings the hour of judgement, when they will be sentenced for rejecting their Redeemer, and so empower our words that as we proclaim Thy Gospel, they may be drawn to Thee, their Deliverer from eternal destruction! Enable our thoughts and desires to recognize that since this world will end, we must not trust in perishable and passing attractions, but rivet our mind on the eternal, unchanging glories of Thy grace! Give us a deep personal sense of repentance over our sins, but a stronger realization of the death-destroying truth that Thou didst bear the guilt and punishment of our transgressions in Thine own body to free us from their curse! Comfort the sorrowing and bereaved with the guarantee of Thy return! Show us today anew the marvelous mercy that if we live and die in reliance on Thine atoning love, we shall ever be with Thee in heaven! Bless the efforts to promote peace, and heal the wounds of war, but give us in an age of unbelief Thine own Cross-purchased peace that passeth all understanding! Amen!

    The morning of May 8, 1902, broke bright and promising over the island of Martinique in the West Indies. For many of the 40,000 people in Saint Pierre, its capital, with its hellholes of blasphemy and vice, it was just another day to practice voodoo atrocities, devil worship, and obscene ridicule of the redeeming Christ. What if the crater of Mt. Pelee, the volcano in close vicinity, was belching smoke and rumbling more Loudly than usual? It had fumed and spewed before. Besides, had not a group of the city’s best-known citizens climbed to the edge of the crater, peered into its depths, and returned to report: “Don’t be alarmed! There is no need to worry”? What if some charcoal burners on the slopes had brought the strange tale that animals seemed to flee from Mt. Pelee and that even birds were deserting their nests in its foliage? They were only dumb, doleful creatures, while Saint Pierre had men and women courageous enough to defy any god or his lumbering volcano. Why, that very night some of the brazen leaders were planning to repeat their challenge to Christ: they were going to crucify another pig and in sensual orgies prove their utter disdain of the Bible and its Savior.

    That night never arrived for the people of Saint Pierre. Suddenly the crater of Mt. Pelee became a blazing inferno. Flames shot hundreds of feet high into the air, and from within the mountain itself came a roar terrorizing every heart. Then, while fire and ashes fell on the city, the volcano erupted in its full, frightful force, pushing deadly lava, millions of tons of molten stone and metal, down the mountain slopes. Furiously these rivers of ruin, floods of divine vengeance, rushed into the city, sweeping through streets which leaped into flame at its approach, blistering, burning, baking the trapped victims. Tin roofs on housetops, iron and steel utensils in kitchens, melted and ran through the gutters like liquid wax — so close were these horrors to hell on earth!

    Yes, I said “hell.” Before nightfall, Saint Pierre was no more, its 40,000 inhabitants — a hundred times more than those who perished in the Texas City fire — were destroyed. Yet one man in the doomed city — and for some time he was thought to be the only one — escaped the fiery fate of his fellow citizens. He was Joseph Ludger, and when the disaster struck, he was locked in the solitary confinement cell of the Saint Pierre prison. Cut off from the rest of the world, he heard what he called “the immense and terrible uproar”; he felt the heat so searing that his skin began to blister, his knees burned when he knelt on the floor to pray, and his hands sizzled as they touched the red-hot bars. He saw the roof of his cell split, and through the opening he could watch clouds of fire and ashes sweep over the city. Two members of a mercy squad who had rushed into Saint Pierre after the fury of the volcano subsided heard his faint moaning, the only human sound that reached their ears. They rescued Ludger and carried him to a hospital in a near-by city. After eighty-one days’ treatment he was pronounced healed and could go into the world to tell his fellow men of his awful experiences when divine justice wrote this inscription over the charred city and its 40,000 graves: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked’

    In this Advent season, set aside also to remind us of our blessed Redeemer’s return, I call your attention to the truth that this sin-saturated world faces a final fire, in comparison with which that Martinique misery will seem only a Fourth of July sparkler. This will be the end of our globe, when, the earth consumed by flames, on the day of Christ’s Second Coming, and His judgment of “the quick and the dead,” every man, both living and dead, will face either the most crushing of agonies or the most radiant of blessings. What will actually happen on that Last Day, when this crime-cursed world with everything in it passes away? You cannot hope to escape and outlive this fiery finale, as Joseph Ludger was spared when Mt. Pelee spilled its lava-laden ruin; for it is written with divine truth and unavoidable finality, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” Even if we could remain as he, the last to leave, the sequence of sorrows for the godless on Judgment Day and its schedule of supreme glory for those in Christ are so far above our human grasp that we would be hopelessly baffled. Thank God with me, then, that we have Scripture to foresee and foretell the end of the world and the beginning of our heavenly happiness with Jesus Christ. As I discuss with you today the startling events


    May the Holy Spirit help us learn and believe that earth’s end brings sin’s destruction to an unbelieving world, but our Savior’s eternal deliverance to all the faithful. This is the double lesson taught by our text (the words of First Thessalonians, chapter four, verses sixteen to eighteen, and chapter five, verses two and three): “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. Then 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. . . . The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them.”


    This world will not go on forever; it must end. A date, unknown to us, is marked on God’s calendar when the Almighty will decree: This is the earth’s last day. Even in their limited mental powers, men of themselves have come to the definite conclusion that this globe, far from being eternal, grown weak and feeble, robbed of its resources, resembles an old, senile, decrepit person. With a frequency not previously known, scientists, authors, and leaders in human affairs speak and write of the world’s end.

    Yet for absolute assurance on this question you need the Bible, not biology; Christ, not chemistry; faith, not physics; theology, not geology. Turn to the thirteenth chapter of Saint Matthew, and you will find that our Savior, whose Word is always sure and certain, three times in this one chapter mentions the final moments of mundane history. When our Lord speaks once, that is eternal truth; and when in a few verses He thrice restates this fact, which He otherwise frequently emphasizes and which the writers of sacred Scripture often repeat, then, no matter how frantically proud unbelievers, afraid of God’s judgment, claim that the human race will never stop, “the end of all things” must come. Iniquity cannot continue forever; and because this globe is sin-soaked and sin-cursed, it will be wiped out. Despite the pleasant but perverted claims that the world is getting better, we who view international events in the light of Scripture are convinced that the world is getting worse. Herod destroyed — at the most — a few dozen babies in Bethlehem; but our blockbusters have crushed thousands of infants to death. Nero had scores of Christian martyrs massacred in his blood-stained arenas, but our age has exceeded him in killing those loyal to the Lord Jesus. Figures recently published in American newspapers reported that the Red rebellion against the Almighty has exiled or murdered more than 255,000 members of the clergy and religious orders, destroyed or closed more than 88,000 religious buildings.

    Assyrians and Babylonians, cruel pagans that they were, were branded as history’s most brutal fiends, because of the atrocities they inflicted on their captives. Yet our era has gone far beyond even their mania for genocide. An investigating commission claims that in four Polish concentration camps the Nazis put 130,000 prisoners to death.
    A maniac like Genghis Khan mowed down his ten thousands in cold blood; but we have outstripped his gory gruesomeness. We bombed to death 250,000 civilians, women, children, invalids, in our attacks on Dresden.
    Scourges of Satan, like Tamerlane, laid great areas of productive land waste; on one occasion, it is said, he wiped out 100,000 prisoners; but he could not complete his devastation as quickly and thoroughly as we do now, when a single bomb dropped by an American plane — may God forgive us! — destroyed 78,000 Japanese in Hiroshima.

    In short, the present generation has out-massacred the bloodiest ages in the annals of humanity, as mankind becomes more brutalized than ever before. Such widespread, wanton wickedness cannot continue indefinitely to maintain its increasing violence, especially not when we are being pushed toward a new world war, which from every known point of comparison will make the two past global conflicts seem small. The Almighty is too just and holy to permit a race of rebellious men to live on indefinitely, and He may be too merciful — pray that He is! — to permit the fulfillment of the two warnings recently spoken by Dr. Harold C. Urey, vice-chairman of the Emergency Committee of American Scientists, first, that twenty atomic bombs of the type soon to be made, dropped on our country, “would destroy every living thing on the American continent,” and, second, that there can never be a defense against such a bomb “a thousand times more powerful than any used so far.”

    Our text, in common with many other portions of Scripture, calls the time of this end “the Day of the Lord,” when God manifests His awful power, and it predicts that “sudden destruction” will come. Believe that if the Bible says “destruction,” it means final, complete annihilation! In these last years scientists who never before spoke of the world’s end have frequently claimed that with atomic fission at their disposal, men could destroy the entire race themselves. Experts have asserted that a hundred atomic bombs dropped on the cold wastes of Siberia would ultimately kill every human being in the northern hemisphere. Similar ruin rained on the heart of Africa would correspondingly wipe out the southern hemisphere, since radioactive particles, spreading over the surface of the earth, would annihilate even those at immense distances. Nevertheless newspaper headlines like “Atom Bomb Could End World, Scientists Say” are exaggerations. The Lord says that He — not men — will destroy the globe; and, I repeat, when God’s Word says “destruction,” He means not only that mens’ lives will be taken, but also that the entire earth will be no more. The attack on Hiroshima could take many thousand lives, but Hiroshima still exists. Hundreds of these hideous bombs could produce unspeakable agony in our country, but no amount of such man-made devastation could ever reduce the United States, its prairies, mountains, lakes, and rivers, to nothingness. After the “Day of the Lord” dawns, however, with its “destruction,” there will be no more United States, no more North America, no more Western Hemisphere, no more world.

    Plainly Scripture tells us how this “destruction” is to come. Peter writes to the believers in the first church, and to us, that on the Last Day “the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Here, too, the advance of science has rebuked those who contradict God’s Word, denying that our sphere will disappear in fiery flames. We know, first, that the globe consists largely of highly inflammable material and that most of the ninety-six elements which Peter emphasizes and of which the world and everything in it are composed, can burn with a consuming heat; second, that an immense fire, flaming at a high, sustained temperature, never otherwise witnessed by men, flares within the center of the earth; third, that the destruction which marks the end may be seen repeatedly in the heavens, when observatory telescopes reveal that starry bodies, far larger than our planet, explode and disappear in flames. Above this endorsement of science, the Bible stands supreme and final — the fiercest fire men or angels have ever witnessed will consume the entire globe and leave not even ashes.

    That Last Day will mark Christ’s return to judge the living and the dead. Our text reports, “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven,” not as He came in the humiliation and lowliness of His first Advent, but in divine majesty, as the “King of Kings.” We are further told that He will come back “with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” No sound that human ears have ever heard will even approach the glory “cry” of the celestial choir which comes with Jesus at His Second Advent. No acclaim to which men have hearkened will be more than a dull whisper beside “the voice of the archangel” who leads the legions of the heavenly hosts, as they appear, not to announce the Christ Child’s birth to a few shepherds on Bethlehem’s plain, but the Lord’s approach for judgment on all the world. No fanfare ever raised to welcome an earthly ruler should be mentioned together with “the trump of God,” which will resound throughout the universe, proclaiming to all: The Judge of all mankind has come!

    “The dead in Christ shall rise first,” the text explains, in the heavenly priority their faith gives them; but all men, dead and decayed in their graves, shall appear for judgment. Saint John writes in his Revelation, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” At the blast of that, trumpet the billions who lived and died in all past centuries and in ages still to come will be resurrected, no matter how they have been buried, however long ago their remains were dust. Their bodies may have been cremated into ashes or crushed beneath the weight of oceans; nevertheless, they shall be revived for judgement. Often mighty leaders have been laid to rest in secret spots, so that their graves could not be rifled; but God knows the place of their burial. Attila, ruthless conqueror of millions in many countries, died in a drunken spasm. To prevent future vandals from discovering and desecrating his tomb, his body was first laid into a golden casket; this was surrounded by a second, larger, silver casket, and the whole thing was enclosed by a third, iron casket. Slaves then dug the large grave on a desolate plain in Hungary. They lowered the triple coffin into its depths, covered it first with a thick blanket of costly spoils taken from defeated enemies, and then sealed the grave with tons of soil. To keep the burial spot of the ruthless conqueror secret, the slaves who had prepared the hidden sepulcher were murdered; but the Almighty knows where Attila’s remnants lie, and on the Last Day that hidden grave will yield its dead despot; for as Jude records, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all.”

    That celestial court procedure, entirely different from other trials, first of all will embrace the entire race of men, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Second, this judgement is inevitable, unavoidable. Money, position, influence, can sometimes keep criminals out of court today; but nothing can exempt us from appearing before God’s tribunal. However people may differ in life, they are all equal in this, that on the Last Day they must give account of themselves before Christ. Third, this investigation cannot be postponed. Clever attorneys can secure one delay after the other for their clients and drag their hearings through long years; but the Almighty has unchangeably set the Last Day. Fourth, the verdict in this judgment will be based on truth. Today, perjury and dishonesty often combine to sentence the innocent and acquit the guilty; but our God is all-knowing; He sees even the hidden thoughts of the heart, and He knows when people practice hypocrisy, cheat their fellow men, and deceive even their husbands or wives. Fifth, this is a final judgment, with no second chance, no possibility of a new trial, no opportunity for reversing the decision. When Christ, the Judge, gives His verdict, the issue is settled for eternity; it can never be appealed. Sixth, the evidence on which your eternal destiny rests is clear, and no expert attorney is required to explain the issue. Jesus Himself made it plain when He said, “Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.” Your faith in the Savior or your rejection of His mercy, as well as the evidence of either the trust or the unbelief you show by your willingness or refusal to feed the hungry, satisfy the thirsty, receive strangers, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, decide your destiny for eternity. Seventh, this is the most important of judgments for both God and man. Mighty meetings are in progress now which will help direct our future course toward peace or war, send millions into battle or keep them in constructive enterprise; yet the most vital issues of this day are not to be compared with the verdict which Jesus, the Judge of all nations, pronounces on your soul. For you it is either heaven or hell; there is no third place after death — either indescribable blessedness with Christ or immeasurable damnation and agony without Christ.

    The Holy Spirit grant that you understand the horror of hell! Do not think for a moment that we delight in mentioning this shocking punishment; but we cannot be true to the privileges and responsibilities God gives us unless we warn you that hell is as real as heaven, as real as this earth, as real as sin itself; that it is a place of penalty and pain, appalling beyond all understanding, marked, as the Bible emphasizes in these very terms, by “flame,” “weeping,” “wailing,” “gnashing of teeth,” “darkness,” “fire,” “furnace of fire,” “unquenchable fire,” “anguish,” “torment” — only ten among many other Scriptural expressions which paint the awful doom of the damned. Hell is the place of remorse and rejection for the faithless to whom Jesus has said, “Depart from Me,” and who are therefore banished from that most glorious of privileges which angels desire, beholding the blessed Redeemer face to face. Hell means the unbeliever’s separation from his loved ones who die in the faith. What a crushing catastrophe some of you Christless husbands will suffer when you are torn away forever from your Christ-exalting wives! How altogether terrifying for some of you young folks to realize that unless you repent and return to the Almighty, you will never enter heaven to see your God-fearing parents! Finally, hell means everlasting punishment, the unchangeable, in- commutable, unpardonable sentence imposed by Christ Himself in fulfillment of His decree, “He that believeth not shall be damned.”

    May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to the horror of hell before it is too late and you, with your unforgiven sins must face the just and righteous God! In the brevity and uncertainty of life today, you may suddenly be snatched out of existence; and if your soul is still stained by sin, how can you hope to escape this ultimatum of His unbreakable Word: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die”? Back in 1942 a Boston physician made a ten-dollar bet with one of his patients that he, the sick man, would live five years more. A few days ago, the five years completed, the patient signed a ten-dollar check in payment of his wager, wrote the doctor that he was happy to lose, and then, having mailed the letter with the money, returned to his room, where he died of a heart attack. Who knows whether you will have five years, five months, five days, five hours, or five minutes longer? While you still have the chance, before death closes the door of hope, before the day dawns when there is no more grace for you, come humbly, contritely, but confidently to your God! Come the only way you can, not the way of good works, not the way of good intentions, not the way of good emotions, but by the Savior, who is “the Way”! Come not merely with a religious faith, with a lip faith, with a head faith, but with a soul- and-heart faith, which trusts Him as the sin-atoning Deliverer from death! You have sinned repeatedly, disgracefully, and damnably, but Jesus loves you, He wants you, He cherishes you more than His own life. The newspapers have been telling us of the pretty young Iowa secretary at the United States Leprosarium in Carlyle, Louisiana, who loves a young man there afflicted with leprosy, and wants to marry him, yet who must wait months, perhaps years, before the ceremony can be performed. The Savior loved you, afflicted with the incomparably worse leprosy of the soul; yet He did not wait months or years to cure you of that dread disease; rather did He give Himself as the Cure, and shed His own blood to cleanse you from its curse. Christ wants you to escape the horrors of hell; He gave Himself to take away your transgressions and free you from their guilt; He pleads with you that you accept His mercy and find rescue from ruin for eternity. The Holy Spirit grant that, after I have shown you the terror-filled sentence of divine judgment which the merciful but just Son of God pronounces on all unbelievers when the Last Day comes, you will turn to Him with repentance for your transgressions, but with firm reliance on His sin-destroying mercy!


    Thank the Lord with me that while the Last Day brings destruction to those who reject Jesus, it grants those who receive Him eternal deliverance, heaven and its endless joy. When “the trump of God” sounds, “the dead in Christ shall rise first.” Take comfort in this sacred reassurance of the resurrection, you the bereaved who have recently laid to rest a loved one, asleep in Jesus; you gold-star parents, to whom December 7 recalls this very Sunday only a few years ago when the war began which snatched your son from the land of the living! The Word of truth triumphantly promises, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord,” blessed, because their sorrows and sufferings are over, because they are translated into the Savior’s presence, and because they await “the trump of God,” which will summon them from their graves, to resurrect them in divine perfection.

    What about those who are alive when Jesus returns? Saint Paul answers this question gloriously when he explains, “Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” Someone has measured the time “in the twinkling of an eye” and found it to be seven one-hundredths of a second. In that almost inconceivably short fraction of a moment, a marvel of unequaled magnificence will be completed, a radiant transformation which all the laboratories and factories in the world could not produce in ten thousand years:

    our whole existence will be changed. We who are the Lord’s will be given a new body, spiritual, holy, faultless, like Christ’s resurrection form, with no more marks of sin and sickness, disease and ache, age, and disaster. With such divine swiftness we who are creatures of clay and corruption become children of God, with our Savior’s incorruptible glory. You see, then, the Almighty can operate in small fractions of a second; and if your afflictions and adversities take longer and drag on over years, this is not because the Lord needs so much time, but because you do.

    Now, when “the trump of God” sounds and the believers, living and dead, are changed in that twinkling of triumph, “then,” Saint Paul assures us today, “we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them [who have died in Jesus] in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” In these new, marvelous resurrection bodies, which defy the law of gravity and, like the living Savior’s form and features, are not limited by barriers of space or time, the faithful who are living when the Last Day dawns, together with those who have died in Jesus, shall be radiantly raised high over the earth to welcome the Son of God on His return in the clouds.

    Never has there been a meeting like this, Christ, the Bridegroom, coming to meet His bride, the Church of His redeemed. A husband returning to his wife after a long absence; children running to embrace their long-lost parents; the oppressed welcoming their liberator; slaves acclaiming the hero who broke their shackles and lifted their yoke; the suffering and diseased praising physicians who bring cures for their afflictions — these are pictures — though weak and unworthy — of the glorious gathering “in the air.” That will be the fulfillment of a hundred hallowed promises in Scripture; it will be the reunion of our blessed Redeemer with those who accept His sacrifice on the cross of blood and shame — not one of them lost. It will be the beginning of a heavenly, radiant, all- glorious life, far too magnificent for our earth-bound minds to understand.

    For those who “die in the Lord” the judgment which follows will seal their eternal pardon and peace in Christ. They have been saved in the only way men can be saved, by faith in the sin-removing love of God’s Son. They will realize Scripture’s many magnificent pledges of mercy, like: “He that heareth My Word and believeth on Him that sent Me hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation.” Or, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” On the Last Day, and before the Judge of eternity, you will remember your own sins and transgressions; but relying on your Redeemer you will recall His greater grace: “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous.” Then, when it is either heaven or hell for you, the Son of God, your Defense Attorney, will rise to plead your cause and declare as He points to you: “Father, I was wounded for his transgressions, I was crucified for his iniquities. I paid the full punishment of his rebellion against Thy will; I died in his stead, to destroy the curse on his life. Therefore, Father, be is free, forgiven, faultless.” Then Christ will turn to those who clung to Him as their Deliverer and pronounce this peerless pardon: “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

    “So,” our text summarizes in words of golden grace, which I give to you as this Sunday’s memory verse, “so shell we ever be with the Lord.” Forever with Jesus, in new, perfect, heavenly bodies! Forever with Jesus, all sin and evil overcome! Forever with Jesus, earth’s tears and toils ended! Forever with Jesus, in radiance and rejoicing, in light and love, in happiness and harmony! Face to face with Jesus, who loved us and gave Himself for us, and rose from the grave to prepare a place for us in heavenly bliss! All this, instead of hell’s horror; all this, mercifully, by trusting faith in the Savior’s redemption; all this, eternally, without interruption or end; and all this, yours today, through Christ!

    No wonder Saint Paul draws abiding consolation from the Second Coming and tells us, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words”! Are you soul-burdened, grief- stricken, heartbroken over any of the hundred hardships with which sin and men’s cruelty have burdened you? Then “comfort one another with these words”: “We shall ‘ever be with the Lord.’” Do you suffer from desertion and disaster? Are you disappointed and deceived by those whom you trusted most? Have you been deprived or defrauded of that which is rightfully yours? “Comfort one another with these words”: “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us”! Whatever the anguish may be under which you stagger, look to the heavens Jesus opened, see the Son of God sitting at the right hand of His Father and, preparing for His imminent return, when He comes to take all believers to their eternal home, believe surely that “earth hath no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal”!

    Beloved, “the Day of the Lord,” which “cometh as a thief in the night,” is at hand. The time preceding its coming is the present day when, as our text predicts, statesmen cry, “Peace and safety,” promise a glittering, golden age, as international conference leaders repeatedly have, during these very days, yet are blind to the fact that unless men repent and return humbly to the Almighty, in Christ, the world may be punished with even more brutal bloodshed, in fulfillment of the Savior’s prediction that “wars and rumors of wars” will precede His return to judgment. Each of the many signs listed as evidence of the Second Coming is fulfilled now more clearly than ever before. Jesus Himself foretold that days like those of Noah are upon us, and as before the flood, corruption, violence, sensuality in marriage and family life, disfigured the race, so the same sins, in unprecedented number, indicate the Lord’s quick return.

    Jesus is coming! He is coming soon! He is coming for you! On this Advent Sunday, after I have warned you that you must face the final judgment and shown you how you can be assured of pardon and heaven, through faith in Christ, I plead with you, in the name of that Savior, your coming King, listen, as the Advent cry re-echoes more clearly than at any time in the past, “Lo, I come!” Behold and believe your Redeemer, as He stretches His arms wide to welcome you with the plea, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!” Then, with triumphant, exultant faith, prepare now for victory, peace, and heaven’s glory, by falling on your knees before Christ and pledging:

Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

    The Holy Spirit give all of you this day the glorious guarantee of His grace for the Last Day, through Jesus Christ, the Savior and Sovereign of our souls! Amen!

Note: The preceding Lutheran Hour sermon first aired in December 1947. (From the book “One Thousand Radio Voices for Christ”.)