Summary: How to be prepared for God’s Coming?
The RaptUre: What Is It?
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,  and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation."
Christians were dying, and Christ hadn¡¦t returned. When the gospel was first preached to the Thessalonians, a strong part of the message focused on the expectation of Christ¡¦s return. Several years later, the death of some of the believers raised questions in the church. How long would Christ delay? What about those who died in the meantime? How should Christians live? In response to these questions and other concerns, Paul sent the Thessalonians a letter.
Over the past 30 years, we have seen and experience the rise of a nation Israel. We see the reformation of the Roman Empire. We see the growing power in the East (China). We see the growing tension and the possible peace in the nation of Israel. Are we close, I am convicted that we are very close. We don¡¦t talk about this area of theology enough because during the years the doctrine of the Last Things has been corrupted.
1. THE BASIS OF THE RAPTURE vv 13-15a
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.  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.  According to the Lord’s own word,
A. The Death of Christ
„Ã The first basis of the death of Christ, because through his death transformed death into sleep for believers. So in other words, when we die, we just asleep. The foundational work was done at the cross.
2 Cor. 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 1 Peter 2:24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
„Ã When we die (believers), our spirit goes immediately into conscious fellowship with the Lord, while our bodies temporarily sleep in the grave, awaiting the rapture.
B. The Resurrection of Christ
„Ã Christ resurrection proves that He conquered sin and death. God will treat those who died (Old Testament Saints) trusting in Jesus the same way He treated Jesus Himself, namely resurrecting them.
John 14:19 "After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 2 Cor. 4:14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.
C. The Revelation of Christ
„Ã The reason why we talk about this is because Jesus Himself said that the rapture will happen. We don¡¦t need the news to tell us that Jesus is coming soon, we need to go to the revealed word.
John 14:1-3 "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  "In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
2. THE PARTICIPATIONS OF THE FUTURE v15b
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.
A. Those who are Alive
„Ã Paul say¡¦s ¡§we¡¨ meaning the he believed that the rapture will happen in his lifetime. So Paul saw signs of His coming @ his lifetime.
Matthew 24:36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Acts 1:7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;
„Ã Alive is us because we are not dead yet.
B. Those who are Fallen Asleep
„Ã Sleep is the familiar NT euphemism for death which describes the appearance of the decease. It describes the dead body, not the soul (cf. 2 Cor. 5:1¡V9; Phil. 1:23).
„Ã Sleep is used of Jarius¡¦ daughter (Matt. 9:24) whom Jesus raised from the dead and Stephen who was stoned to death. Those who sleep are identified in v. 16 as ¡§the dead in Christ.¡¨