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Summary: A sermon on the Rapture

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THE END IS NEAR

Part 2, Going Up?

Sunday, August 9 2009

Pastor Brian Matherlee

Years ago I a friend and I were driving to Spartanburg from Southern Wesleyan University to spend the night at the church I was serving in order to catch an early morning flight the next day to San Diego for an evangelism class trip to Pastor Josh’s home church, Skyline Wesleyan. It was a great trip to meet the pastor, John Maxwell, and talk about their efforts to reach people for Christ.

We stayed several days and the day came for us to depart. The airport wasn’t far, and it was a good thing, because my friend Glenn McGrady was slow as molasses. We got into the car and began the commute. It wasn’t too long on our way when Glenn discovered he didn’t have his ticket. We had to go back and there it was, laying on the driveway. He had put it on the top of the car loading his bags. We hurried to the airport and arrived a few minutes before our plane was to depart. They checked us in quickly and we made our way to security. It was much easier back then but I had a camera case that had multiple lenses and the guard wanted to check the whole thing. My pleas about missing the plane didn’t faze her a bit. Glenn went on and made the flight but they closed the door before I could get there. Doesn’t seem fair, does it. Funny thing, though…he had to fly to San Jose and connect to Dallas. I was given a direct flight and we ended up on the same flight from Dallas to Greenville-Spartanburg.

Imagine a trip you and the people you love the most have looked forward to for a long time. You’re counting down the months, weeks and days and the day arrives to depart and half neglected to make any preparations. They don’t have a passport, they haven’t packed, and they don’t set their alarm, nothing. But because you love them, wouldn’t you do everything within your power to get them on the plane, boat, or to the train station? But they can’t go….and they have no one to blame but themselves.

Missing a flight or long anticipated trip is sad, even depressing. But most missed engagements are within our power to make. They are our own fault.

Today we’re talking about the rapture. It is a word that is never used in the Bible but the event is alluded to or described in at least 14 different passages. In nearly every description of the event there is a warning to be ready because no one knows the timing of the event. And you don’t want to miss this trip. The implications are not simply sad, or even depressing…no, it is horrific to think that believers, dead and alive will be caught up with Christ, and you will not be one of them.

Now, for those who weren’t here last week you need to know that we established proof that the Bible is the most reliable book of all time. We established that every prophecy made about Jesus came true and the odds of such were astronomical. Therefore we can conclude that whatever the Bible, and specifically Jesus, states is true to the uttermost and we should heed its instructions.

We looked at specific signs that precede the End Times and discovered that all things the Bible states must take place to usher these days in have been occurring and are seen in our world today.

But mark this—Jesus said even He didn’t know when the Rapture would take place. Truly, He could return at any moment. The Rapture is awaiting no prophecy of Scripture to be fulfilled.

Let’s look at a couple of Bible passages:

1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:9

Matthew 24:36-44

What happens at the Rapture?

• People are living life (as in the days of Noah). There are good times and bad times. People ignore the warnings all around them. How much banging do you think there was on the outside of that ark when the water began to lift it off the ground?

• Christ returns with the souls of believers who have been in heaven. Their bodies rise from the grave and reunited in glorious fashion. Then, living believers are instantly caught up and changed as they meet Christ in the air.

• Christian influence will be gone.

• There will be no doubt where everyone stands on that day.

• Two in a bed, one taken another remains. Two in a field, two at work, two all over the place…but only one left.

• I can’t think of any sight more frightening.

• An Austin, Texas newspaper tells about a group of coworkers decided to play a joke on a man in the office who was always talking about the Rapture. They waited until he went on break and laid out their clothes (they had a change of clothes) at their work stations. When he returned he fell to his knees sure the Rapture had taken place and he was left behind. He was so distressed he had a heart attack. His coworkers emerged to aid him and the man recovered. His coworkers said they did it to turn the tables on him. According to his wife he is studying the Scriptures more intently than ever.

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