TEXT: Matthew 24:37-42 (READ)
INTRO: Much has been written and said about the Rapture of the Church. Best-selling books (like the popular “Left Behind” series) have been written. Countless sermons have been preached on the subject. Many of us have watched gospel films (like the old Billy Graham movie, “A Thief in the Night”). Hundreds of songs have been written on that theme from old hymns like “There’s Going to be a Meeting in the Air” to the Gaither classic “The King is Coming.” From Andrae Crouch’s, “Soon and Very Soon” to more contemporary songs like Crystal Lewis “People Get Ready, Jesus is Coming” (Soon we’ll be going home).
Perhaps one of the most powerful songs about the rapture is Larry Norman’s haunting “The Son Has Come and You’ve Been Left Behind.” Recently re-recorded by DC Talk, this song sums up the tragic and frightening reality that many will face the day after the rapture:
“There’s no time to change your mind,
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.”
I’m here to remind you of a biblical fact that none that Satan wants us all to forget: Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God who rose triumphant from the grave. Jesus Christ, who even now is seated at the right hand of the Throne of God in majesty and great power. Jesus Christ, who ascended through the clouds into heaven right before the eyes of his astonished disciples. Jesus Christ, who is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords".
PROP: This same Jesus is coming again. We have his word on it.
John 14:2-3 – “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that where I am you may be also.”
We even have the angel’s word on it.
Acts 1:9-11 – “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. (The disciples stood there) looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who had been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Jesus is coming again. Could be today. Could be tomorrow. Could be next year. Could be in 5 or ten years. “No man knows the day or the hour” but Jesus is coming…and soon. We’re closer today than we’ve ever been to the coming of the Lord. The question for you is this:
INTERROG. SENTENCE: If He comes back today, will you be left behind?
HERE ARE FOUR THINGS WE KNOW FOR SURE ABOUT THE RAPTURE:
1. IT WILL COME SUDDENLY. When Jesus comes, he will come so suddenly, so quickly that it will take your breath away.
I Corinthians 15:51 – “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash (moment), in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
He’s coming SUDDENLY. In a split-second moment. In the blink of an eye. Like a surprise blast from a trumpet or a sudden gust of wind. People will disappear right before your very eyes! One second they are here, the next they’ll be gone, with Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:3 – “While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them SUDDENLY.”
Matthew 24:27 – “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
He’s coming SUDDENLY. Like lightning in the heavens he will appear and be gone. Flash. Blink. Gone. “The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.” You say, “Couldn’t he at least send a memo or something?” You’re holding it in your hands. (the Bible). We’re reading that memo today. Revelation 22:20 – “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming SOON.’” What if he came in the next second? What if he came before your next heartbeat? What if he came before you had time to even say a prayer? He’s coming SUDDENLY. Will you be left behind?
2. IT WILL COME UNEXPECTEDLY. When Jesus comes it will catch millions of people completely by surprise.
Matthew 24:36-39 – “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”