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Summary: This message is about the return of Jesus Christ, and the rapture of the Church. Recent world events are all pointing towards Christ’s soon and certain return.

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In light of recent world events, I have felt the need for us to hear from Matthew 24 this morning…to HEED the warnings in the Scripture that tell of Christ’s return…

We have always believed that Jesus is coming back…

BUT NOW, as we see things escalate in the Middle East (Israel attacks! Lebanon, Iraq, Iran…then you have Korea)…and then we have the continual oddities with the weather (earthquakes, tornadoes and tsunamis)…for me, my eyes are turning upward for the SOON & CERTAIN return of Jesus Christ!

I am reminded of the words from Luke, as he recorded the words of Jesus when He spoke of the Second Coming…Luke 21:28, “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near!”

Church…we are in this time that we should be LOOKING UP and getting ready to go!

Because OUR REDEMPTION IS DRAWING NEARER day-by-day!!!!

And, I see it like this…

Jesus is saying…

“READY OR NOT, HERE I COME!”

TEXT: Matthew 24:36-25:13 & II Timothy3:1-5

Matthew 24:36-44, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. [37] For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. [38] For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, [39] and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be. [40] Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. [41] Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. [42] Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. [43] But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. [44] For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”

PRAYER…

INTRODUCTION:

If we could be imaginative a bit…Jesus may be saying to us…

READY OR NOT, HERE I COME!

You’ll remember that great childhood game…

Everyone would run and hide in their best-found spot to keep from being seen…

The person that was “IT” could be heard counting to 20…

Then, he would shout…”Ready or not, here I come!” Then, he would make the mad dash to find hidden ones to win the game!

Well…somewhere in Heaven there is a count-down that only God the Father knows…

And, a trumpet is about to sound…sending Jesus here to call His chosen ones away…

Listen to how this is described to us by Paul, the apostle, in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed!”

And the statement remains…”READY OR NOT, HERE I COME!”

In keeping with my premise this morning…let me ask you a question…

ARE YOU READY FOR THE SOON & CERTAIN RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST?

Now…when playing Hide-and-go-Seek…

-There is nothing worse that can happen to you than not even finding a hiding place when the count-down is complete and “IT” begins to go on his search…

-Likewise Church, there is nothing worse than for one soul to be found UNPREPARED for the return of Jesus Christ either…

-Especially if they are associated with the Body of Christ, and own a Bible…

Ask yourself…”Are you ready for Christ’s return today???”

ILLUSTRATION:

One of the most memorable events that had taken America by surprise was the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941…

-Unprepared may be an overstatement…but we certainly were not on-guard…

-President Roosevelt had previously sent the fleet there to serve as a deterrent to Japanese attacks…

-But, that was unsuccessful…

-We were hit just minutes before 8 AM, and within a short time, 5 of 8 ships were sunk or sinking…with the rest were damaged

*Tragedy came to us because there was a lack of preparation…

Something of more modern-time that we will never forget, are the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001…

-We knew from previous attacks, and information given, that we certainly have enemies who wanted to expedite our demise…

-19 men hi-jacked 4 planes to use as their tools for destruction…

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