Summary: Jesus stresses 3 essentials related to our readiness: 1. The priority for us to be ready (Matt 24:40-44). 2. The proof that we are ready (Matt 24:45-51). 3. The way to prepare (Matt 25:1-13).
The Second Coming of Christ
Part 6: Be Ready for the Rapture
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - July 22, 2015
*Some of the shortest questions have the longest impact: "Do you love me?" "Will you marry me?" Tonight I want to ask you a question like that. It's a short question, but it will determine your destiny for all eternity: "Are you ready for the rapture?" With all His heart, God wants us to be ready, so in this Scripture, the Lord stresses 3 essentials related to our readiness.
1. First: Jesus stresses the priority for us to be ready.
*Remember how this conversation all started. It was just two days before the cross. Jesus had just finished condemning Jewish religious leaders in a scalding way. He condemned them for their spiritual pride and their hypocrisy. Jesus also condemned them for their stubborn rejection of Him as the true Messiah.
*Then on the way out of town, the disciples stopped to admire the Temple. Matthew 24:1 says: "Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came to Him to show Him the buildings of the temple." I can imagine them saying, "Lord take a look! Isn't it wonderful? Aren't you impressed?"
*Jesus was not impressed. And in vs. 2, the Lord told them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.''
*The disciples were shocked. The destruction of the Temple was one of the last things they expected, so they began to question the Lord. Matthew 24:3 says, "Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?'''
*The disciples asked three questions that day:
-"When will these things be?"
-What will be the sign of Your coming?"
-And "What will be the sign of the end of the age?"
*We've studied the Lord's answer for several weeks, looking at the mysteries, the Old Testament background, and the final fulfillment of His words. But the first thing to notice tonight is this: Jesus spent most of His time in these Scriptures stressing the priority for us to be ready.
*Jesus began His answer in Matthew 24:4, and in Matthew's Gospel the Lord's answer goes on for 94 verses. Counting the judgment story at the end of Matthew 25, Jesus spent 62 of these 94 verses focusing on being ready for the rapture. When the disciples asked their questions, the Lord spent two thirds of His answer on the priority for us to be ready.
*The Lord described the rapture starting in vs. 40:
40. "Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.
41. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
42. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming."
*Being ready for Jesus' return is so important that next the Lord told four parables to help His followers understand. We see the first of the Lord's parables starting in vs. 43. There Jesus said:
43. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
44. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him."
*Someone breaking into our house is a terrible, frightful thing, especially if we are home in the middle of the night. We want to be ready for that, especially if we know when the thief is coming. If you had solid information that a thief was coming to break into your house, can you imagine not getting ready? -- No way! We would do everything we possibly could to be ready.
*Ella Edwards was ready. Ella was a tiny, sweet-as-sugar, senior adult lady we knew at church in West Monroe. Miss Ella was as good as gold. She was like a grandmother to our children when their own grandmothers lived hundreds of miles away.
*Before she moved to town, Miss Ella lived way out in the country by herself for many years. One day I asked her if she was ever afraid living way out like that by herself. She laughed a little and said, "No! -- I had a shotgun by the front door and a shotgun by the back door, and I knew how to use them!"
*Ella Edwards was ready for a break-in, and Jesus wants us to be ready for His return. It is urgently important, so Jesus stresses the priority for us to be ready.