Summary: Do we live like we really believe Jesus is coming again?
Intro. Do we really believe? Not just a casual belief, IF you really believe it will effect the way that you live. Prophetically, everything is in place for Jesus to call his children home. Israel is a nation, plans for a new tabernacle, special animals for the sacrifices are being bred, the priestly garments are being made. Now the door is opened for a new Pope and the scene could be set for a one world religion to come on the scene. News reports are asking will the next pope be more moderate and tolerant. There is not one thing that must happen before the rapture. Maybe today, maybe not.
A George Gallup Poll in 1987 revealed that 62% of Americans claimed to have had a belief that Jesus Christ will return to earth someday. It is amazing that so many say they believe, but do not live like it. Promiscuity abounds, even among those that claim to be saved. Do you really think that if we believed with all our hearts that Jesus could come at any second that we would not live holy?. Would we be lazy concerning His Word and prayer? Would we make excuses for our cold, dry Spiritual lives? Would we have that lingering sin in our lives? Would we be determined to tell the lost if we really believed?
THE COUNTDOWN HAS CLEARLY BEGUN!
I. THE CONCERNS OF THE LIVING - VS. 13-15 (ignorant-without understanding)
A. The Sleep of the Christian vs. 13 Goes back to what we talked about last week. Sleep is the same word used that means natural sleep of the body - Natural death is only the death of the earthly tabernacle. (2Co 5:1)
B. The Sorrow of the Condemned (no hope) vs. 13
- As Christians we will grieve, but not like those who have no hope. (Pr 14:32)
C. The Security of the Converted - 14-15
1. Depends upon a Genuine Belief - vs. 14 If we really believe the Resurrection then we can believe that God will bring them with him - Some impulsively say they will see their loved ones again, a promise only to the redeemed!
2. Depends upon the God’s Word - vs. 15 - We will not precede those who have physically died before us. Those that are said to be resurrected are those who have died in Christ. How? God spoke the worlds into existence, he can easily reconstruct those tabernacles.
II. THE CALL OF THE LORD - VS. 16-17
A. A Personal Call - The Lord Himself - Difference between the Rapture and the Bodily Return - first he gets His Saints, later he sends his angels to the four corners of the earth to gather the 144,000 and their converts as seen in Mt 24:29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
This method is also used in the protection of the 144,000 in Rev. 7:1 "And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel."
B. A Powerful Call
1. Voice of Command (shout) (John 11:43)
2. Voice of the Archangel - Most likely the declaration by the chief angel. Michael, that the Saints of God are coming home! 3. The Voice of God - The Trump of God - John said in Revelation 1:10 "I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,"
There are many questions about the rapture, but what this passage declares clearly is that it will be: Sudden - Forceful - and Dramatic I hope you are ready to go!