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Summary: A sermon about the Rapture, with a focus on "are you ready?"

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September 7, 2003

Title: As It Was in the Days of Noah

Text: Matthew 24:36

Introduction

A priest and pastor from the local churches are standing by the side of the road pounding a sign into the ground that reads: ’The End is Near! Turn yourself around now before it’s too late!’

A car sped by and a guy yelled out the window, "Leave us alone you religious nuts!’

As the car disappeared around the next curve, the priest and the Pastor heard the sound of screeching tires and a big splash.

The pastor turns to the priest and asks, ’Do you think the sign should just say ’Bridge Out?’

The rapture is quite the topic of interest nowadays.

The "Left Behind" series of books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins have been very popular.

I haven’t read them yet, but I plan to.

Just the fact that there is so much interest in these books is proof that there is great interest in end times events.

I can remember as a child, seeing movies like:

"A Thief in the Night" and

"A Distant Thunder"

And I’ve heard the songs...

"there’s no time to change your mind...the Son has come and you’ve been left behind"

There’s a great many different opinions on the Rapture and when it will occur.

And I will share my opinion this morning...

But like I said last week, the most important thing isn’t arguing over when certain events will take place...

the most important thing is...

ARE YOU READY?

Read Text: Matthew 24:36-44

Body

1. When (Timing)

First of all, let me briefly explain the sequence of end times events

First of all, there is the 7 year tribulation

The Rapture

(depending on your interpretation of Scripture, this will occur before, after, or during the tribulation):

The Rapture is when Jesus returns...PART WAY..

And those people who are saved will be caught up to meet with Him.

Sometimes, Christians think about this as Jesus’ second coming...

but His TRUE second coming, when He actually sets foot on earth again, will be...

Following the Tribulation and the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon

After Armageddon, Satan is chained and cast into the bottomless pit for 1000

This institutes a 1000 year period of time called the Millenneum

this is a wonderful time of peace on earth...

Scripture says, "The lion will lay down with the lamb"

Following the Millenneum, Satan is loosed from his chains for a short time...

before he is cast into hell for all eternity

I will be covering each of these event in more detail as the weeks go by.

But as for the Rapture...there are different opinions as to when it will occur in relation to the Tribulation...

and to be honest, I haven’t studied it enough to come up with a firm belief...

but I lean toward the "mid-trib" camp.

let me tell you why.

Scripture says, "as it was in the days of Noah"

Noah was a righteous man...

and he was living at a time when the world was going to be judged.

Prior to the flood, while he was building the ark, he spent 120 years preaching to the people...and no one responded...because it was just Noah and his family on the ark.

During this 120 year time...Noah faced ridicule...(show video)

So, while Noah was persecuted...

He did miss the judgment of God...the Flood...

God provided an ark of safety for Noah.

When we study the Tribulation, you will see that during the first 3 1/2 years, there is persecution and things that Christians will go through because of mankind...we will talk about the 7 bowls.

But during the 2nd 3 1/2 years, we will talk about the 7 Trumpets, which details the wrath of God’s judgment.

Just like Noah, I believe that we will face ridicule and persecution during the last days...

You’ve heard about the anti-christ...and the mark of the beast and so on.

But God has provided us an Ark of Safety...His Name is Jesus Christ.

If we will but come to Christ, we will miss out on the "flood" of God’s judgment upon mankind.

And it is because of this, that I believe that the rapture will occur after the 7 Bowls...

but before the 7 Trumpets.

But like I said, it matters very little WHEN you believe that the Rapture will take place

The all consuming question is...ARE YOU READY FOR WHENEVER IT WILL OCCUR?

2. How (Suddenly)

Our text tells us that when Christ comes, it will be sudden and unexpected...

two people will be working in the field...

the one that has accepted Christ as his/her Savior will be taken...

the other one will be left behind

Two people will be grinding at the mill

the one that is a Christian will be taken...

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