Summary: The Rapture is not a side-show of the Gospel, but a main attraction that should capture our attention.What is the Rapture? What are its 4 benefits? And what are the 7 indisputable signs that the Rapture is about to occur?
THE RAPTURE: ARE YOU READY?
1. JOKE #1 Pizza or Mobster? The following are either actual mobster nicknames or pizza specials. Can you tell which is which? 1. Big Tuna 2. Pistol Pete 3. Greasy Thumb 4. The Greek 5. Meatball 6. Lucky 7 7. Johnny Sausage 8. Big Brother 9. Burger 10. White Knight 11. Cheesebox 12. T. Town Driller 13. The Grim Reaper 14. The Works. (Answer: odd numbers are mobster nicknames; even numbers are pizzas).
B. THE MOST COVETED SUPER-POWERS
1. Wouldn’t it be great to have super powers? Wouldn’t you like to wake up one morning to find you had, in the words of the old Superman TV show… “powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men?”
a. To be faster than a speeding bullet…
b. More powerful than a locomotive…
c. To leap tall buildings in a single bound?
2. I wonder, if you were given the chance to acquire one super power…what would it be? A recent poll asked this question, and gave participants the following options:
a. Invulnerability f. Invisibility
b. Reading minds g. Super strength
c. Spider-sense h. Genie-like magic
d. The ability to fly i. Great intelligence
e. X-Ray vision j. Incredible luck
3. Which of those, if you could choose only one, would be your super power of choice? Of 9,000 people polled, the highest choice was…The ability to fly.
1. One of these days we’re going to get to fly, without
airplanes or wings, because the Bible tells us of an event that will happen called “the RAPTURE.”
2. So this morning, we’re going to look at what the Rapture is, the benefits of going up in the Rapture, and the 7 signs that the Rapture is imminent.
3. The title of this message is: “The Rapture: Are You Ready?”
I. CERTAINTY OF HIS COMING
A. WHAT IS THE RAPTURE?
1. “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” 1 Thess. 4:16-17
2. Definition of “Rapture”: “Christ’s sudden, brief, and unannounced coming in the air to catch away His Church before the ‘Day’ of God’s wrath begins. Jesus returns to heaven with His saints for the Believer’s Judgment and Marriage Supper of the Lamb.”
3. The Greek word “harpadzo,” used in 1 Th. 4:17 and trans. as “caught up” was trans. in the Latin Vulgate as “raptus,” from whence we get our English word rapture.
B. JESUS SAID HE WAS COMING BACK
1. Early in His Ministry (Luke 4:18), Jesus told Jewish leaders that He had come to heal the sick. They didn’t believe He could, but He healed the people anyway.
2. Jesus told them He could drive out demons. They didn’t believe He could, but He did it anyway.
3. Jesus told them He would rise from the Dead. They didn’t believe He would.
a. His body was wrapped in grave clothes
b. A heavy stone was rolled against the tomb’s mouth,
c. Soldiers were posted outside the tomb to guard it,
d. The door was sealed so it couldn’t be opened….
4. BUT NO HUMAN OR SUPERNATURAL FORCE COULD STOP THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS FROM THE DEAD! HE’S ALIVE!
5. This same Jesus told us, “I am coming back.” There are 52 prophecies of Jesus’ 2nd Coming, 535 verses! Many Christians have quit looking for His appearing, but HE’S COMING BACK!
6. Many people today make fun of the idea of the Rapture. People like Harold Camping have made a mockery of it.
7. BUT JESUS IS COMING BACK & ALL THE POWERS OF HEAVEN OR HELL, OR ARMIES, OR NUCLEAR MISSILES CAN’T STOP HIM!
8. JOKE. We do wish He’d come back sooner. Like Uncle Pete who had to wait in long lines to get to see the Doctor. When he finally saw him, the Doctor apologized for the wait. Uncle Pete said, “It’s Ok, I just thought you might prefer treating my ailment in its earlier stages.”
II. BENEFITS OF CHRIST’S RETURN
A. YOU WILL SEE JESUS FACE-TO-FACE
1. The Bible says, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven” (1 Thess. 4:16).
2. Imagine the joy of seeing Jesus in person – the ecstasy of seeing His loving face and beholding His glory!
B. YOU & I WILL BE CHANGED
1. “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51-52).