Summary: What relationship is there to faith and works and the Rapture? This message attempts to answer that question for new converts.
What Does it Take to Make the Rapture?
Can a Born Again, Faithful Christian Miss the Rapture?
By Pastor Jim May
For some of you tonight who have been living for the Lord for a long time, you may find most of what I have to say tonight to be nothing new. I hope that is true for if it isn’t then maybe you really need to hear what I’m about to say more than anyone else here. If this becomes boring to you, just think about Heaven and the coming of the Lord and it won’t be so boring after that. Remember that not everyone has been blessed with a good scriptural background and many do not have the foundation in the Word that you may have. God’s Word is not a secret and he wants all men to know him by studying it.
For some of you, who perhaps have been serving the Lord only a short time, or who have come from other denominations where you did not receive much teaching or preaching like we often hear in full gospel circles, this may be an eye-opener for you and help you to understand what the requirements of going in the rapture are all about. On the outside it may seem confusing, but it really isn’t. Just listen and learn, and let the Holy Ghost and the Word of God speak to you.
I will not give you opinion, at least not my opinion, nor the opinion of any man concerning the requirements for going in the rapture. I will only attempt to use scripture to back up scripture and allow God’s living Word to do the work that it must in your heart and mind. The Holy Ghost will drive this home and if you will only ask, he will open your understanding so that from this day on, the question of what it takes to make the Rapture will be forever answered in your heart.
First, let’s begin by establishing that there really will be a rapture. The work “rapture” never appears, not even once, in the scriptures and yet it is one of the great doctrinal teachings of the church. While the rapture is never mentioned, the idea and fact of such an event happening is spoken of in many passages.
According to the English Dictionary there are at least two meanings to the word “Rapture” that pertain to our study tonight. 1) ecstatic joy, and absolute delight, 2) the carrying of a person to another place or sphere of existence.
At the rapture of the church, both of these definitions will definitely be appropriate and so we describe the great “catching away” of God’s people, to meet Jesus in the air, and to go with him to Heaven, a place of ecstasy, delight and absolute joy, as the Rapture. This “catching away” is proclaimed by the Bible as an event that will happen in the last days just prior to the revealing of the Antichrist and only a few years (about 7) before the establishment of the Millennial Reign of Christ upon the earth.
One of the primary passages of the scriptures used to prove this teaching can be found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
Other references can be found in the parables of the 10 Virgins, and in the parable of the unprofitable servant found in Matthew chapter 25.
Another reference can be found in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way." This is referring, at least in part, to the fact that the church will no longer be on planet earth to interfere with the workings of the devil.
A really good reference appears in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"