Summary: What is the rapture and how should we live in light of the coming rapture?
Text: I Thessalonians 4: 13- 5:11
Title: The rapture of the church.
The next two great events in the history of the church are;
1.The end-time revival
2.The rapture of the church.
The word “rapture” is not found in the bible. The word rapture is a translation of the Latin word “rapio” which means, “to be caught up, to snatch up” as in verse 15 where Paul writes “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up (rapture) together to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
The Apostle Paul brings up the rapture of the church for the following two reasons.
1.For the education and encouragement of those who are in Christ.
“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.” (V13)
There were brothers and sisters in the Lord who had died and many in the church did not know if those who had died were going to make the rapture.
Education always brings encouragement.
“Therefore encourage each other with these words.” (V18)
2.For the evangelization of those who are not in Christ.
This morning we want to address the following questions concerning the rapture.
1.What will happen at the rapture?
2.What proof do we have that there will even be rapture?
3.Who will be raptured?
4.When will the rapture happen?
5.How should we live in light of the rapture?
What will happen at the rapture?
“According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 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.” (V15-17)
1.Jesus will come down from heaven announced by trumpet and the voice of the archangel.
2.Those who are dead in Christ and those who are alive in Christ will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
3.And so we will be with the Lord forever.
The rapture is limited to those who are dead in Christ and to those who are alive in Christ.
What proof do we have that there even will be a rapture?
The proof is the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.
“We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” (V14)
If we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead then we believe it is just as easy for God to raise anyone else from the dead.
If we believe that by God’s power Jesus was taken up into heaven then we believe that it is just as easy for God to raise anyone else up into heaven.
So when is the rapture going to happen?
Is there a date and time so we can know in advance?
“Now, brothers, about times and dates, we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety”, destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3)
We do not know when the rapture will happen but we can be sure it will be sudden and a surprise to those who are left behind.
How sudden will the rapture happen?
Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.
“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed- in a flash in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
How sudden will the rapture happen? In the twinkling or blink of an eye!
In less than one second it will be all over. Those who are left behind are not going to have time to go up in the rapture.
Not only will the rapture happen suddenly but also it will also completely surprise those who are left behind.
“While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (V3)
When might a person say, “peace and safety” but not recognize the destruction that is about to come on them?