“Are You Ready For The Rapture?”

 

INTRODUCTION: I begin this morning with a SERIES on “The Rapture”…
*Do you really believe that the Rapture of the Church is soon?
If you really want to be honest with yourself, your answer is probably “No!”

*While you might believe that He COULD come at any time … you really... probably... don’t believe that He WILL…

*There are probably some here today who don’t even believe that Jesus will come in their lifetime…
• MAYBE within the next 20 years…
• CERTAINLY not this YEAR … or this MONTH … or this WEEK…
• DEFINITELY not before midnight tonight…
• NO WAY He will come before NOON today (before the end of my message)…

Church I believe we’re like those folks in:

2 Peter 3:3-4
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

 

2 Peter 3:8-9
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Listen church, we don’t know WHEN the Lord will come… and Jesus says this clearly in the CONTEXT of His coming at the REVELATION, but it also holds true for the RAPTURE…

 

Matt 24:36

36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
HOWEVER … church there are several things that we DO KNOW:

 

 

I.- HE WILL COME

Again, we might not know WHEN … BUT … we do know that He WILL… (Amen)

*LISTEN to the words of an angel, as he saw Jesus ascending from this earth…

 Acts 1:11

11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

As soon as Jesus left, He gave us the assurance that He would come back…

TURN to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

16 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:
17 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.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Now TURN to 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 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.

Listen church, Jesus in the flesh left us and there can be NO DOUBT that He’s coming back!…

John 14:3

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
I.- I Believe We Have Established The Fact That He Will Come…

 

II.- But The Bible Also Say’s That HE WILL COME QUICKLY…

LISTEN to what Jesus said in Rev. 3:3

3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

In the last chapter of the Bible, LISTEN to what Jesus says:
• Revelation 22:7 – “Behold, I come quickly.”
• Revelation 22:20 – (Next-to-last verse in Bible) - “Surely, I come quickly, Amen.”

Listen Church, when Jesus comes at the Rapture, there will be no warning…

It will be INSTANTANEOUS. 1 Cor. 15:52 says that it will be in the “twinkling of an eye” … which means literally as long as it takes you to blink your eyes…

Listen church, there will be no time to get ready… No time to get your life straightened out… No time to repent… And No time to be saved…

That’s why the Bible says in 2 Cor. 6:2 – “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

 

I.- He Will Come
II.- He Will Come Quickly

 

III.- WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY…

What are we to be doing in the meantime … until Jesus returns?

1st. Live Right So As To Not Be Ashamed When He Comes

Listen to me CHRISTIANS … Someday, Jesus is coming back for you … AND … you will meet Him face-to-face

You’ll have to look at Him straight in the eyes … eyeball-to-eyeball…

Now let me ask you again, when this day comes are you going to be ASHAMED?

The Apostle John has some ADVICE for us …

1 John 2:28

And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

Or as the NLT puts it “And now, dear children, continue to live in fellowship with Christ so that when He returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from Him in shame.”

Jesus even talked about this. Mark 8:38 –

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
If you KNEW that Jesus was coming before MIDNIGHT tonight … are there some SINS that you would need to REPENT of?

Some RELATIONSHIPS that you would need to REPAIR?

Some SINS that you would need to CONFESS?

Listen church, there’s no need to DREAD the coming of Jesus…

As a matter of fact, Jesus has a special reward for those who are READY for His return…

The Apostle Paul was READY … he had nothing to be ashamed about, when he would meet Jesus face-to-face… LISTEN to what he says in…

2 Tim 4:8

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
2nd. Live Right With Your Fellow Man

LISTEN to Philippians 4:5

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Or in other words “Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.”

Listen church, Jesus will hold us accountable in our relationships with other people… (Amen)

When He comes, will He find a GOSSIP … a GROUCH … a PESSIMIST … an UNLOVING, UNCARING, SELFISH person … a PRODIGAL SON? OR … will He find an ENCOURAGER … the heart of a SERVANT … a GOOD SAMARITAN?

Make no mistake about it Jesus is coming again! AND … when He comes … He will deal with us according to our RELATIONSHIPS … with our mate … our family … our children … our parents … our friends … and our enemies…

3rd. Live Right In Your Faith

Jesus has given us ample warning about His coming again… In Revelation 3:11, He says,

11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

Jesus tells us clearly that we can be in danger of losing our rewards (“crowns”) if we don’t “hold fast”. (Amen)

And listen church, Satan knows that, if he can’t have your SOUL … he can at least cause you to lose your TESTIMONY … your EFFECTIVENESS as a Christian … and your REWARDS…

Satan wants you to stand before Christ EMPTY-HANDED … and ASHAMED…

He wants you to lose your faith … to make your Christian life frustrating & miserable… He wants to make you stumble … AND … keep you down…

He wants you to be discouraged & depressed…

He wants you to worry … forsake the Lord … forsake your faith … and forsake your commitment to Christ…

Christians while you wait for the return of Jesus, you need to “establish your faith”.

James tells us in James 5:8

8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

Folks you can’t do that by neglecting time in PRAYER … time in the WORD … and time in WORSHIP…

Listen to me church… you can’t “establish your faith” by leaving Christ out of your daily life… You just CAN’T!

4th. Live Obedient To God’s Word

In the last chapter of the Bible, Jesus has some insight as to how to be ready for His return…

Rev 22:7

7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

Paul also has some words of insight into how to prepare for the Lord’s return…

1 Tim 6:14

14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
In reality church, the Christian life is really VERY SIMPLE... OBEY GOD … OBEY HIS WORD… While we are waiting for His return, we are to live our lives in obedience to His Word…

Let’s not be hard of hearing, when it comes to God’s Word… (Amen)

Waiting for Jesus … will be a lot more pleasant … IF … we just obey what He says in His Word… WON’T IT?

5th. Live Non-Judgmental Toward Others

LISTEN to what the Apostle Paul has to say about this…

1 Cor 4:5

5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
SOMETIMES … we judge others unfairly … before we get all the facts…

We will criticize and condemn … SOMETIMES … falsely…

ONLY GOD knows what is in a person’s heart… THEREFORE … only HE can judge … AND … His judgment is fair & true…

We often look for the WORST in others … don’t we? And we assume they are guilty … UNTIL … they are proven innocent.

Listen church, when Jesus returns, He will judge us for judging others…

Keep this in mind...The measure of how you judge will be used to measure you...

So let’s leave the judging up to the Judge… (Amen)

 

6th. Live Busily In Your Christianity

Jesus gave a parable about this in…

Luke 19:13

13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

To “occupy” means to ‘be busy’…

In this Parable, Jesus tells us that He has given each Christian certain talents, abilities and gifts… Not everyone has the same ones… some of you are more gifted than others…

And to those whom He gives more … more is expected…

Church, the servant who NEGLECTED his abilities, was highly CONDEMNED by our Lord … BECAUSE … he wasn’t BUSY in the Lord’s business…

We ALL have our life to live… Were ALL BUSY… (Amen)

We’ve got family, work, leisure time… Our plates are full. BUT … we need to make time for Christ … AND … HIS BUSINESS. OR … we will be severely judged … when He returns…

God doesn’t like lazy Christians… Jesus said to “Occupy, till I come.”

We must make time for Jesus because He will hold us each accountable, when we see Him face-to-face at the Rapture…

If you’re “too busy” for the things of Christ … you’re TOO BUSY!

7th. Live Blamelessly

The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thess. 5:23 –

23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Listen church “blameless” speaks of our REPUTATION…

Everyone here has a REPUTATION… You have spent your whole life developing it…

It’s not something that you have given yourself … it has been given to you by others… AND … it will follow you the rest of your life … UNLESS … you change it…

Your REPUTATION will either give glory to God … OR … shame His Name…

Jesus tells us … “While you’re waiting for Me to return, live blameless lives … live up to My Name, “Christian” … don’t let me come and find My reputation soiled, because your reputation is soiled.”

 

I.- He Will Come
II.- He Will Come Quickly
III.- We Have A Responsibility

 

IV. WE ARE TO BE EAGERLY EXPECTING HIM…

Titus 2:13

13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Phil 3:20

20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Or in other words – “But we are citizens of Heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior.”

The very last book of the Bible, ends with the EAGER ANTICIPATION of the return of Jesus…

I wonder, is that your testimony this morning? Are you ANXIOUS for Jesus to return? We CAN BE … IF … we live like Jesus could come again at ANY TIME.

 

CONCLUSION:
Jesus IS COMING … He will COME QUICKLY … We have a RESPONSIBILITY while we wait. AND … we are to look for Him with EAGER EXPECTATION.

Are you living your life as if Jesus will come at any time? Are you ready?

STAND – PRAY

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