The message of John the Baptist was “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). The Kingdom was coming then in the Person of the Saviour; it was a spiritual Kingdom, the reign of God in the hearts of men. The Kingdom is coming soon; it will be a visible Kingdom when the King returns and once again our message should be “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Christ’s message to the church for this hour is “Repent.” But who dares to call the average Sunday-morning congregation to repentance? Said Joseph Parker: “The man whose message is ‘Repent’ sets himself against his age and will be battered mercilessly by the age whose moral tone he challenges. There is but one end for such a man…off with his head! You had better not preach repentance until you have pledged your head to heaven.”
Dr. A. J. Gordon was a great preacher of the second coming of Christ. His son and biographer writes, “Advocacy of this doctrine cost him much. It seems to awaken suspicion and lead to estrangement – this great doctrine of hope.” Dr. Gordon himself said, “It is not wanted by a church with millionaire merchants and great universities. But, after all, it was for the assertion of this doctrine that Christ at the last was crucified” (Matthew 26:64). To this day certain churchmen resent the enthusiastic proclamation of it. To declare that our Lord may return at any moment may disturb their grandiose plans and programs.