Summary: Being ready to meet the Lord is the most pressing issue in life. Readiness must become our highest priority.
This sermon was preached on Sunday morning September 21st, 2003 to the Evergreen Church by Scotty L Killingsworth
The text for the message is taken from 1 Thessalonians 4
The sermon series is part of the “Ready” series
The sermon title is: I wish we’d all been ready
In 1971-2 I recorded a song on the American Artists label written by Larry Norman, entitled, “I wish we’d all been ready.”
The lyrics: Life was filled with guns and war and everyone got trampled on the floor. I wish we’d all been ready. Children died the days grew cold a piece of bread could buy a bag of gold. I wish we’d all been ready. There’s no time to change you mind the Son has come and you’ve been left behind.
Man and wife asleep in bed she hears a noise and turns her head—he’s gone
I wish we’d all been ready. Two men walking up a hill one disappears and one’s left standing still. I wish we’d all been ready. There’s no time to change you mind. The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.
There’s no time to change your mind. How could you have been so blind?
There is coming a day when life ends. It may come for you at death or for all of us in one fell swoop at the end of this age. When it comes is irrelevant. It is coming and it will divide humanity into two groups. Group one, those who were ready and group two those who were not. Matthew describes this end time experience like this:
Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. . . . 41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘De part from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
All humanity is divided into two categories. Matthew’s Gospel calls them sheep and goats. Baptists call them two categories saved and lost. Paul’s writings call the differences spiritual or carnal. He also talks about an inner man and an outer man.
God loves both categories and died to save both, but one group believes that and the other doesn’t.
There will be a final day event where the two different kinds of people are forever divided up. The faithful, believing group will live forever in the presence of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The faithless and unbelieving group will live forever separated from God.
In that final day being ready will mean more than anything else ever has.
I wish we’d all been ready!
In today’s text we have a clear description of these events from the believer’s point of view. Final event lessons:
#1. This Jesus, who died, was buried and rose again, returned to heaven and one day will come again. When he comes the dead in Christ will come with him. V. 14
#2. In fact the dead will come out of their graves before living believers are changed and translated into God’s presence. The time delay is described as a wink of the eye. The rapture events are nearly simultaneous.
#3. It all begins with divine noise:
A loud shout (command) will signal the beginning of the end
The voice will be originate with an Arch angel
The trumpet call of God will sound out
These are the sounds and signals for war, but in this case the war has been won already.
The new believers were worried that their dead would miss the resurrection. They asked Paul about the order of the final departure from earth and he assured them they will not miss it. In fact they will be resurrection an instant before we are changed and removed.
When these final events overtake us there is not enough time to get ready. All preparations must be made before we die or are translated.
When God destroyed the earth with a flood in the days of Noah he first closed the door of the Ark before he poured out his wrath. Once the door was closed it was too late to change.
In Matthew 25 a story of 10 young ladies (called virgins) were waiting for the bridegroom and five of them ran out of oil. When they left to get more he came and they missed the whole event.