Summary: God does not want us to be ignorant about the rapture. We need the hope and endurance that knowledge about the rapture brings.
The Massive Exit
1. Operation Evacuation
Various Christian groups have been helping flooded areas recently. Here is an August 29, 2007 report:
"ROCHESTER, Minn. (BP)--More than 570 disaster relief volunteers from the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention and eight other states are working long hours to aid victims affected by recent flooding in southeast Minnesota.??And in response to Aug. 21 flooding in Ohio, up to 80 disaster relief teams from across the Southern Baptist Convention are on stand-by and may arrive in the Buckeye State as early as Thursday, Aug. 30."
2. One task such workers have is evacuation. According to Webster, to evacuate means, " To withdraw or send away (troops or inhabitants) from a threatened area."
3. One day, Jesus Christ is going to perform the greatest evacuation of all time. Within a split second, He will remove millions and millions from planet earth to meet Him in the air. We refer to this event as "the Rapture."
4. Christians believe all sorts of things about the timing of the rapture; some have given up hope; like waiting for a meal at a slow restaurant when famished, they wonder if the promise of blessing will ever be kept.
5. But Bible faithful Christians know that this event will take place. We may not agree when it will occur in relation to the coming 7 year Tribulation. Some of us believe it will happen before, others during, others after, and some others believe that the Bible is intentionally unclear about the timing of this event.
6. But, for today, we are going to focus on the Rapture itself. What will happen then? How will it happen? What does this great event involve.
Main Idea: God does not want us to be ignorant about the rapture. We need the hope and endurance that knowledge about the rapture brings.
I. How Should the Rapture Affect Our ATTITUDE towards the Death? (13-14)
A. Based on KNOWLEDGE
John Stott comments about Paul: "He traces many problems of Christian faith and life to ignorance, and regards knowledge as the key to many blessings."
1. Considered SLEEP
• the term refers to the body being still
• used in many cultures for death; in OT, "Slept with his fathers…"
• implies that physical death is only temporary
• Daniel 12:2 reads, "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt."
• the English word "cemetery" comes from the Latin, meaning "resting place."
• The body is asleep, but not the soul. 2 Corinthians 5:6,8, "Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord…We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord,"
2. Grieving tempered by HOPE
? We should GRIEVE
--- but not like those who do not know Christ
---Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus,
--- In Acts 9:29, after the beloved Dorcas had died, we read, "Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them."