Summary: In this first sermon I discuss what the rapture is and show how close we really are to the Lord’s return. I give 5 points backed with news information that show the Lord could come back in our lifetime.
Title: The Rapture Of The Church (Part 1)
Text: I Thess 4:15-18 and I Cor 15:51-52
While on a South Pole expedition, British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton left a few men on Elephant Island, promising that he would return. Later, when he tried to go back, huge icebergs blocked the way. But suddenly, as if by a miracle, an avenue opened in the ice and Shackleton was able to get through. His men, ready and waiting, quickly scrambled aboard. No sooner had the ship cleared the island than the ice crashed together behind them. Contemplating their narrow escape, the explorer said to his men, "It was fortunate you were all packed and ready to go!" They replied, "We never gave up hope. Whenever the sea was clear of ice, we rolled up our sleeping bags and reminded each other, ’The boss may come today.’"
- We are going to talk this evening about the rapture of the church, the first sermon in a series that we are doing on the end times.
What is the rapture?
- First let me say what the rapture is.
- The word rapture is derived from the Latin word raptu, which means caught away or caught up.
- The word described in our text refers to the catching up of the church from the earth to meet the Lord in the air.
- It only involves the faithful of Jesus church, not the ones who play church.
So What Will The Rapture Look Like?
- Our text says, the dead in Christ will rise first.
- All the ones who died in Christ will rise first to meet the Lord in the air and then we who are alive and remain will be caught up with the Lord together.
- We will all visibly be united with Christ and united with loved ones who have died before.
- Following the rapture of the church is the Tribulation period or the day of the Lord.
- Will Christians go through the tribulation period?
Will Christians Go Through The Tribulation Period?
- This is a question that has been debated for many years, by great scholars.
- There are four major views right now concerning the rapture and they are:
a. The Post tribulation view which states that the church is going through all the tribulation.
b. The Mid Tribulation view states the church will only go through half of the tribulation
c. The Pre Tribulation view states that the church will not go through any of the Tribulation
d. The Partial Rapture view states that only those sanctified will be taken before the tribulation, and the rest of the church will go through the tribulation.
- My personal opinion is the Pre Tribulation theory that clearly states in scripture that we will not go through any of the tribulation.
- Let me give you some reasons why I believe this to be true.
- Rev 3:10 says, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.”
- Christ promises to keep the faithful from the hour of trial that is to come upon the whole earth.
- I Thess 1:10 says, “Even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
- Paul’s promise to the church in Thessalonians was that they would be rescued from the coming wrath which is the tribulation hour.
- Also when you read from Rev 4 right through to 22 the term church or churches disappear.
- The bride of Christ appears in Chapter 19 with Christ in Heaven, ready to come down to earth to judge the wicked and to reign in the millennial kingdom.
- So the promise given to the church in Philadelphia, to keep it from the hour of trial applies to all believers who stand true to Jesus before the tribulation.
- So now that we know what the rapture is, what it will look like and if we will go through the tribulation, the next big question is when will the rapture take place?
- Jesus answers this question in Matt 24:36 that says, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
- No one knows the day or hour Christ will return. Many people have tried to predict the Second Coming of Jesus but only to fail in there attempt.
- Only God knows when He will return, but the Bible makes it very clear how close we are.
- So my next question that will form the body of my message is:
How Close Are We To The Rapture Of The Church?