Summary: This is a sermon on the rapture and the judgment seat of Christ preached as the start of the Advent Season.
You’ve Got A Date
NLF 12/2/2001 Eccl. 11-9-12:14 2 Corinthians 5:8-12
When someone asks you for a date, there are usually three things you have to consider. First, do I want to be with this person. Second, do I want to do what this person wants to do. Third can I get prepared in time to be available at the time of the date.
If the answer to the first question is No, then a flat out no should be given when asked out. If the answer to the first question is yes, but the answer to the second question is no, then a "not this time but maybe some other time" should be given. If the answer to the first question is definitely, and the answer to the second is yes, but the answer to the third question is no, then you need to see if you can readjust something in your life to get prepared to make the date.
Let’s suppose Donald and Tasha are going to the prom together. Donald is decked in his Tuxedo. He tells everyone at his house, I’m going over to get Tasha and I’m going to bring her back for all of you to see. He gets in the family Lexus to go and pick her here for the date. Her corsage costs more than you would care to spend. The brother has even went out and bought matching watches.
When he gets to Tracy house, she’s not only in her old blue jeans, but she says, “Oh I didn’t expect you today, I thought the Prom was tomorrow. “I can’t go with you, because I’ll be busy playing checkers with Sam. I kind of like him a lot. Maybe we could go to the prom together next year if things don’t work out between me and Sam.” Donald turns away and heads back toward the Lexus.
How do you think you would feel if you were Donald? You’ve gone out of your way to do everything possible to give Tasha a great time, but she’s more interested in playing checkers with another guy. That’s a little bit how Jesus is going to feel when he comes back to get us, and we’ve forgotten about him because of other things which now have our attention.
We celebrate Advent because it is the time in which we look forward to the coming of Christ. When Christ arrived, will we be like Tasha, completely unprepared for the occasion because something else means more to us. God has set two dates with the world. God promised to send a savior into the world which is the reason we celebrate Christmas. God also promised to come back and judge the world, which is why we as Christians look forward to the second coming of Christ. God has one other special date for followers of Christ alone and that date is known as the rapture.
One reason for setting a date is to build up the excitement of what’s going to happen when the person arrives. Sometimes thinking about the date is actually more exciting than what actually happens on the date. The other reason for setting a date is to have sufficient time to get oneself prepared for the date. Very few of us want our date showing up early, and we have not yet even begun to get ready for the outing.
The only thing we have to do as believers to get ready for our date that God has set for us is to live for Jesus 24/7. God never called anybody to be a part time Christian. Yet amazingly there are many people who are convinced, they could have this part of their life as Christian, and that part over there as something Have you ever tried fooling people into thinking you were doing something that you were not doing.Partial obedience is always disobedience.
We have a dog by the name of Hope. We use to have a no sitting on the bed rule with her. Hope knew that she was not to get on the bed in the blue room. If Hope was in the Blue room, when she heard or saw me coming, she would be sitting on the floor with a smile on her face as I entered the room. But the dent she left behind on the bed, let me know she had not been on the floor very long.
Now Jesus knew that some of us would live our Christian lives like Hope. As long as somebody is watching me, I’ll obey Christ, but the moment nobody knows I’m suppose to be a Christian, look out.
To help us keep honest in our journey, Jesus decided to make a surprise date with all pretenders. It will not be a surprise to those who are living for Him because they are always living under the thought, Jesus might come in just a few minutes. Whereas the second coming of Jesus into the world will be accompanied by the sky lighting up around the world, angels marching from heaven in formation behind Jesus, and great destruction coming upon the earth with earthquakes and floods and the like, the rapture is going to be totally different.