VANISHED WITHOUT A TRACE
HEADLINES ABOUT PEOPLE WHO VANISH,
RIVET OUR ATTENTION:
"MAN VANISHES AFTER CONCERT"
"SEARCH CONTINUES FOR WOMAN WHO VANISHED;"
"POLICE SAY MAN VANISHED WITHOUT A TRACE;"
WE READ THE HEADLINES AND WONDER WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO THEM.
ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE, THERE'S GOING TO BE A DAY WHEN A BILLION PEOPLE WILL SUDDENLY VANISH FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH -- WITHOUT A TRACE.
CHRISTIANS ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS DAY
AND THEY CALL IT THE RAPTURE.
I. LET'S CALL IT THE GREAT DISAPPEARANCE
IN OCTOBER OF 2007, -- 350, 000 CALIFORNIA HOMES WERE EVACUATED,
DISPLACING OVER A MILLION PEOPLE
THE REASON THEY WERE EVACUATED WAS BECAUSE THERE WERE 16 FIRES BURNING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.
CAN YOU IMAGINE A PERSON WHO MIGHT HAVE MISSED THE CALL TO EVACUATE,
THEY WAKE UP AFTER EVERYONE HAS GONE?
THEN STUMBLING THROUGH THE STREETS, CONFUSED AND AMAZED
THEY WONDER WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON.
THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT SOME DAY,
MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WILL DISAPPEAR FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH.
IT'LL HAPPEN IN LESS THAN A MILLISECOND.
JUMBO JETS WILL PLUMMET TO THE EARTH.
DRIVERLESS BUSES, TRAINS, SUBWAYS AND CARS
WILL CAUSE UNIMAGINABLE DISTRUCTION AND DISASTER.
CLASSROOMS WILL SUDDENLY BE WITHOUT TEACHERS....
DOCTORS AND NURSES WILL SEEM TO HAVE ABANDONED THEIR PATIENTS IN THE MIDDLE OF SURGICAL OPERATIONS.
PATIENTS WILL DISAPPEAR FROM OPERATING TABLES.
CHILDREN WILL DISAPPEAR FROM THEIR BEDS.
PEOPLE WILL RUN THROUGH THE STREETS LOOKING FOR THEIR LOVED ONES.
AND PANIC WILL GRIP EVERY HOUSEHOLD, CITY AND COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.
WITH ALL THIS DEVASTATION, LOSS AND GRIEF, IT MAY SEEM STRANGE TO CALL IT THE RAPTURE.
THE DEFINITION OF RAPTURE MEANS AN EXPRESSION OR MANIFESTATION OF ECSTACY OR PASSION.
SO WHY DO CHRISTIANS CALL THIS EVENT "THE RAPTURE"?
THE WORD RAPTURE IS THE LATIN VERSION OF A PHRASE THAT THE BIBLE USES TO DESCRIBE THE CATCHING AWAY OF ALL CHRISTIANS -- BEFORE THE END TIMES.
THE REASON THAT THE WORD RAPTURE IS APPROAPRIATE IS BECAUSE
THE FOCUS IS ON THOSE WHO ARE BEING RAPTURED,
NOT ON THOSE WHO ARE GOING TO BE LEFT BEHIND.
WHEN ALL THE TRUE CHRISTIANS ARE CAUGHT UP FROM THE EARTH TO BE WITH THE LORD,
IT'S GOING TO BE AN AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL TIME FOR THEM.
NOT ONLY ARE THEY GOING TO BE WITH THEIR LORD,
THEY'RE GOING TO MISS ALL THE HORRORS OF THE SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION.
JESUS SAID IN JOHN 14:1-3 (NIV)
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
THE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST THAT ARE RAPTURED ARE GOING TO BE SPARED THE TRAUMA OF DEATH,
AND THEY WON'T HAVE TO BE A PART OF THE COMING DISASTERS THAT ARE ABOUT TO HAPPEN TO THE EARTH
IN DAVID JEREMIAH'S BOOK HE TELLS OF A GIRL WHO SAID TO HER MOTHER
"DR. JEREMIAH KEEPS TALKING ABOUT ALL THE SIGNS THAT ARE DEVELOPING CONCERNING THE LORD'S RETURN.
AND THEN IN THE NEXT BREATH HE SAYS THAT NOTHING NEEDS TO HAPPEN BEFORE JESUS COMES BACK TO TAKE US HOME TO BE WITH HIM.
I DON'T UNDERSTAND."
MOST OF THIS MISUNDERSTANDING COMES FROM CONFUSING TWO EVENTS:
THE RAPTURE -- AND THE SECOND COMING.
WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE SIGNS THAT SIGNAL THE RETURN OF CHRIST,
WE AREN'T TALKING ABOUT THE RAPTURE.
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE LORD'S ULTIMATE RETURN
TO THE EARTH WITH ALL OF HIS SAINTS.
THIS HAPPENS AFTER THE RAPTURE
AND IS DIFFERENT IN AT LEAST TWO WAYS.
FIRST, THE RAPTURE WILL BE A "STEALTH EVENT" THAT WILL BE WITNESSED ONLY BY THE BELIEVERS WHO ARE RAPTURED.
THE SECOND COMING WILL BE A PUBLIC EVENT,THAT'S SEEN BY EVERYONE.
IN Revelation 1:7 (NIV) WE READ
7 Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.
SECOND, WHEN ALL THE BELIEVERS ARE RAPTURED,
JESUS WILL TAKE THEM BACK TO HEAVEN TO BE WITH HIM.
BUT WHEN HE RETURNS SEVEN YEARS LATER, HE'S GOING TO STAY.
THE SECOND COMING IS SOMETIMES CALLED
"THE SECOND ADVENT"
THIS IS WHEN JESUS IS GOING TO SET UP HIS KINGDOM
ON THE EARTH AND IT'S GOING TO LAST 1000 YEARS.
THERE ARE NO EVENTS THAT MUST TAKE PLACE BEFORE THE RAPTURE OCCURS.
THE TIMING IS IN GOD'S HANDS ALONE.
BUT SINCE THE RAPTURE HAPPENS SEVEN YEARS BEFORE THE SECOND COMING,
THE SIGNS THAT POINT TO THE SECOND ADVENT MAKE US REALIZE THAT THE RAPTURE IS EVEN MORE IMINENT
THAN JESUS CHRIST'S SECOND COMING.
UNRAVELING THE RAPTURE
THE APOSTLE PAUL WAS THE ONE WHO GAVE US DETAILS ABOUT THE RAPTURE.
HE SPOKE ABOUT IT IN HIS LETTERS TO THE CORINTHIANS AND TO THE THESSALONIANS.
JUST LIKE MANY PEOPLE TODAY,
THE CHRISTIANS IN THESSALONICA WERE CONFUSED ABOUT THE EVENTS
THAT WERE GOING TO TAKE PLACE IN THE FUTURE.
THEY ALSO LIKE US, WONDERED,
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON.
THEY WERE WORRIED ABOUT THEIR DEAD LOVED ONES AND IF THEY HAD SOMEHOW MISSED OUT ON HEAVEN.
SO PAUL EXPLAINED IN:
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NIV)
13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
LET'S LOOK MORE DEEPLY INTO WHAT PAUL HAS SAID.
FIRST HE WROTE:
1 Thessalonians 4:13 (NIV)
13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
HERE PAUL IS TALKING ABOUT THOSE WHO HAVE DIED WHILE BELIEVING IN CHRIST.
HE USES THE GREEK WORD koimao (COY MAO)
TO DESCRIBE THOSE WHO HAVE DIED AS BEING ASLEEP.
ONE OF THE MEANINGS OF koimao IS "TO SLEEP IN DEATH"
THIS SAME WORD WAS USED WHEN SPEAKING OF LAZARUS, STEPHEN, DAVID AND EVEN JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF.
IN John 11:11 (NIV) WE READ
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
Acts 7:60 (NIV)
60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Acts 13:36 (NIV)
36 “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed.
1 Corinthians 15:20 (NIV)
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
(ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I LOVE ABOUT JESUS IS THAT HE HAS INCLUDED HIMSELF IN THIS WORLD RIGHT ALONG WITH ME -- AND YOU.)
THIS CONCEPT OF DEATH/SLEEP WAS ADOPTED BY THE EARLY CHRISTIANS FOR THE BURING PLACES OF THEIR LOVED ONES.
THEY USED THE GREEK WORD koimeterion, (COY-MA-TEAR-ION) WHICH MEANS A SLEEPING PLACE.
LIKE A MOTEL OR AN INN, WHERE YOU STOP FOR A LITTLE WHILE TO SLEEP
AND THEN WAKE UP READY TO CONTINUE ON, IN THE MORNING.
koimeterion IS WHERE WE GET OUR WORD "CEMETERY".
THEY'RE SAYING THAT WHEN CHRISTIANS DIE IT'S AS IF THEY'RE SLUMBERING PEACEFULLY IN A PLACE OF REST,
READY TO BE AWAKENED AT THE RETURN OF THE LORD.
PAUL REASONED THAT CHRISTIANS CAN BELIEVE THIS PROMISE OF RESURRECTION BECAUSE IT'S BACKED UP BY THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF.
IF WE BELIEVE THAT JESUS DIED AND ROSE AGAIN,
THEN WE CAN BELIEVE THAT HE CAN DO THE SAME FOR US
AND FOR THOSE WE LOVE.
PAUL DIDN'T SAY THAT WE SHOULDN'T GRIEVE FOR THE LOSS OF OUR LOVED ONE.
WE'VE SUFFERED A LOSS AND GRIEVING IS NOT ONLY NATURAL, BUT IT'S HEALTHY.
HOWEVER BECAUSE OF THE LORD'S PROMISE OF RESURRECTION,
WE DON'T HAVE TO GRIEVE LIKE NON-CHRISTIAN DO.
THEY HAVE NO HOPE OF THE RESURRECTION,
HAS ANYONE HERE READ THE LEFT BEHIND SERIES OF BOOKS, CO-AUTHORED BY TIM LA HAYE?
THEY'VE SOLD OVER 65 MILLION BOOKS IN THAT SERIES.
PAT & I LOVED THEM. WE COULDN'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE TO BE PUBLISHED.
THEY WERE A CONTINUING STORY ABOUT THE HORRIBLE THINGS THAT WOULD HAPPEN TO THE EARTH AFTER ALL THE CHRISTIANS HAD BEEN RAPTURED.
BELIEVE YOU ME, YOU DON'T WANT TO GO THROUGH THAT KIND OF EVIL DISTRUCTION AND DISASTER.
THE CRONOLOGICAL PROGRAM OF THE RAPTURE
IN 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 (NIV) WE READ
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, 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. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
1. FIRST THERE WILL BE AN ORDER OF PRIORITY
THOSE WHO ARE ALIVE WILL RISE
AFTER THOSE WHO ARE ASLEEP IN CHRIST.
1 Thessalonians 4:15 (NIV)
15 ...we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
PAUL IS SAYING THAT NOT ONLY WILL THOSE WHO HAVE DIED IN CHRIST BE PRESENT AT THE RAPTURE,
THEY WILL RISE UP AHEAD OF US WHO ARE STILL ALIVE.
2. SECOND THERE WILL BE A RETURN
1 Thessalonians 4:16 (NIV)
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God,
AS WE ARE GATHERED HERE IN THIS CHURCH RIGHT NOW,
JESUS CHRIST IS SEATED IN THE HEAVENLYS
AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER.
AND WHEN JUST THE RIGHT MOMENT COMES,
HE WILL INITIATE THE RAPTURE BY LITERALLY AND PHYSICALLY RISING FROM HIS THRONE,
STEPPING INTO THE CORRIDORS OF LIGHT
AND ACTUALLY DESCENDING INTO THE ATMOSPHERE OF PLANET EARTH
FROM WHICH HE ROSE INTO THE HEAVENS
LEAVING THE MOUNT OF OLIVES
TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO.
PAUL EVEN TELLS US ABOUT THE SOUNDS WE WILL HEAR.
A LOUD COMMAND,
THE VOICE OF AN ARCHANGEL,
AND THE TRUMPET CALL OF GOD.
SOME ONE ONCE SAID, WHAT IF JESUS WOULD HAVE FORGOTTEN TO USE LAZARUS'S NAME
WHEN HE CALLED HIM BACK FROM THE DEAD?
WOULD EVERY DEAD PERSON WITHIN THE RANGE OF HIS VOICE HAVE COME OUT OF THEIR GRAVES?
WELL THAT'S WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN AT THE RAPTURE TO EVERYONE WHO IS DEAD IN CHRIST.
AT WINSTON CHURCHILL'S FUNERAL.
FOLLOWING THE PRAYER OF THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
AND FOLLOWING THE SINGING OF "GOD SAVE THE QUEEN"
A TRUMPETER PERCHED HIGH IN THE TOP OF THE DOME
OF ST. PAULS CATHERDRAL, -- PLAYED TAPS.
THEN -- AS THE LAST SORROWFUL NOTE FADED AWAY,
ANOTHER TRUMPET SOUNDED LONG AND STRONG.
IT WAS PLAYING REVEILLE.
THE CALL TO SLEEP WAS FOLLOWED BY
A CALL TO ARISE.
3. THIRD THERE WILL BE A RESURRECTION
1 Thessalonians 4:16 (NIV)
16b and the dead in Christ will rise first.
THE CALL TO RESURRECTION AT THE RAPTURE WILL NOT SUMMON ALL THE DEAD IN THE WORLD, BUT ONLY THOSE WHO WERE BELIEVERS AT THE TIME OF THEIR DEATH.
4. FOURTH THERE WILL BE A RAPTURE
1 Thessalonians 4:17a (NIV)
17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
THIS VERSE IS WHERE WE GET THE WORD RAPTURE FROM.
THE GREEK WORD USED FOR CAUGHT UP IS 'HARPAZO'
AND IMPLIES SEIZING SOMETHING,
OR SNATCHING SOMETHING FROM THE HAND.
ACTUALLY WE GET OUR WORD RAPTURE FROM THE LATIN VULGATE VERSION OF THE BIBLE WHERE THE LATIN WORD USED FOR 'HARPAZO' IS 'RAPTUS'.
THIS BEING CAUGHT UP IS LIKE A KNIGHT RIDING INTO A CLEARING AND SNATCHING UP THE DAMSEL IN DISTRESS,
AND RIDING OFF TO A SAFE PLACE WITH HER.
IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IN A MOMENT,
IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE.
LET'S TURN ON OUR IMAGINATIONS AND INVISION THIS:
MILLIONS OF PEOPLE FROM ALL PARTS OF THE EARTH
WILL FEEL A TINGLING SENSATION PULSING THROUGHOUT THEIR BODIES.
THEY ARE SUDDENLY ENERGIZED.
THEIR PHYSICAL DEFORMITIES ARE HEALED.
THE BLIND CAN NOW SEE.
WRINKLES ARE GONE, YOUTHFULNESS IS RESTORED.
AS THESE PEOPLE ARE MARVELING AT THEIR PHYSICAL TRANSFORMATION,
THEY ARE SUDDENLY LIFTED UP INTO THE SKY.
THEY PASS THROUGH CEILINGS AND ROOFS WITH NO PROBLEM AT ALL.
THEY'RE DEFYING ALL KNOWN LAWS OF PHYSICS AS THEY TRAVEL HEAVEN WARD.
SOME OF THEM SEE AND GREET THOSE WHO HAVE RISEN FROM THE GRAVE.
AND THEN THEY ARE GONE FROM THIS EARTH.
WHAT A WONDERFUL VISION THAT IS.
THIS HAS ALREADY HAPPENED TO SEVERAL PEOPLE.
ENOCH: Hebrews 11:5 (NIV)
5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.
ELIJAH: 2 Kings 2:11 (NIV)
11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.
PAUL: 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 (NIV)
2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.
PAUL USES THE WORD 'HARPAZO' TWICE IN THIS PASSAGE.
THE GREEK WORD THAT TRANSLATES TO RAPTURE IN THE NIV.
JESUS CHRIST: Acts 1:10-11 (NIV)
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
5. FIFTH THERE WILL BE A REUNION.
1. DEAD BODIES WILL BE REUNITED WITH THEIR SPIRITS.
2. RESURRECTED BELIEVERS WILL BE REUNITED WITH LIVING BELIEVERS.
3. RESURRECTED BELIEVERS AND RAPTURED BELIEVERS WILL MEET THE LORD.
THE ULTIMATE CONSEQUENCE OF THIS REUNION IS THAT THERE WILL NEVER BE A PARTING AGAIN.
THE COMFORTING PURPOSE OF THE RAPTURE
WE HAVE IN PAUL'S DESCRIPTIONS OF CHRISTIAN DEATH AND RESURRECTION ALL THAT WE NEED
TO COMFORT EACH OTHER WHEN OUR LOVED ONES GO ON AHEAD OF US.
CHRISTIAN DEATH IS NOT PERMANENT.
IT IS ONLY A SHORT SLEEP.
A.T PIERSON MADE THIS OBSERVATION.
"IT IS A REMARKABLE FACT THAT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, SO FAR AS I REMEMBER, IT IS NEVER ONCE SAID,
AFTER CHRIST'S RESURRECTION, THAT A DISCIPLE DIED.
THE ONLY TIME WHERE THE WORD DEAD IS USED, IS WITH THE QUALIFICATION: "THE DEAD IN CHRIST,"
OR "THE DEAD WHICH DIE IN THE LORD."
WHAT PIERSON IS IMPLYING IS THAT CHRIST ABOLISHED DEATH SO COMPLETELY
THAT EVEN THE TERM DEATH IS NO LONGER APPROPRIATE FOR BELIEVERS.
TODAY AS NEVER BEFORE, WE'RE BEGINNING TO SEE THE SIGNS OF OUR LORD'S IMPENDING RETURN.
WE'VE ALREADY COVERED SOME OF THE SIGNS;
1. THE REBIRTH OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL.
2. THE GROWING CRISIS OVER OIL
3. THE REFORMATION OF EUROPE INTO THE ROMAN EMPIRE
4. THE GROWTH OF MILITANT, RADICAL ISLAM
ALL OF THESE DEVELOPMENTS POINT TOWARD THAT DAY WHEN OUR LORD WILL COME TO RAPTURE US OUT OF THIS WORLD.
CHRISTIANS ARE THE SALT AND LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
WHEN ALL THE CHRISTIANS ARE REMOVED FROM THE EARTH IN ONE DAY,
ALL THE SALT AND LIGHT WILL DISAPPEAR TOO.
THE RESULT IS PREDICTABLE
Matthew 24:21-22 (NIV)
21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive,
AS THESE DIRE WORDS ARE BEING FULFILLED DURING THE TRIBULATION PERIOD, WE WHO ARE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST WILL HAVE ALREADY BEEN RAPTURED TO HEAVEN.
THERE'S NO PROMISE GIVEN TO BELIEVERS THAT IS MORE PRECIOUS THAN THE ONE GIVEN TO THE CHURCH IN PHILIDELPHIA.
IN Revelation 3:10 (NIV)
10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.
JESUS DIDN'T SAY HE WOULD KEEP US IN THE HOUR OF TRIAL,
HE SAID HE WOULD KEEP US FROM THE HOUR OF TRIAL WHICH WILL COME ON THE WHOLE WORLD.
IN 1 Thessalonians 5:9 (NIV) WE READ
9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE UNTIL HE COMES
1. FIRST WE SHOULD BE LOOKING FOR THE LORD.
PHILLIPIANS 3:20 SAYS
OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN, FROM WHICH WE ALSO, EAGERLY WAIT FOR THE SAVIOR, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
WAYNE GRUDEM SUGGESTS THAT THE DEGREE TO WHICH WE ARE ACTUALLY LONGING FOR CHRIST'S RETURN
IS A MEASURE OF OUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION.
THE MORE CHRISTIANS ARE CAUGHT UP IN ENJOYING THE GOOD THINGS OF THIS LIFE,
AND THE MORE THEY NEGLECT GENUINE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
AND THEIR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST,
THE LESS THEY WILL LONG FOR HIS RETURN.
ON THE OTHER HAND,
THE MANY CHRISTIANS WHO ARE EXPERIENCING SUFFERING OR PERSECUTION,
OR WHO ARE MORE ELDERLY AND INFIRM,
AND THOSE WHOSE DAILY WALK WITH CHRIST IS VITAL AND DEEP,
WILL HAVE A MORE INTENSE LONGING FOR HIS RETURN.
2. SECOND WE SHOULD BE LIVING FOR THE LORD.
PETER, PAUL AND JOHN ALL HAD SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT HOW WE SHOULD LIVE.
Titus 2:11-14 (NIV)
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
2 Peter 3:11 (NIV)
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives
1 John 3:2 (NIV)
2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,a we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
YOU'D THINK IT WOULD BE OBVIOUS,
SINCE THE SIGNS TELL US THAT CHRIST IS COMING SOON, PEOPLE WOULD TAKE EXTRA CARE
TO LIVE AS GOD WANTS THEM TO LIVE.
IF YOU KNEW THAT GUESTS WERE COMING SOON TO YOUR HOME,
BUT YOU DIDN'T KNOW EXACTLY WHEN THEY WOULD ARRIVE,
YOU WOULD KEEP YOUR HOUSE SWEPT, PICKED UP
AND DUSTED IN ANTICIPATION OF THEIR COMING.
YOU DON'T WANT THEM COMING WHEN THERE'S DISHES PILED IN THE SINK,
BEDS ARE UNMADE
AND MUD FOOT PRINTS ARE ALL OVER THE CARPET.
BELIEVE ME, YOUR PLACE IN HEAVEN WITH JESUS
IS NOT SOMETHING YOU WANT TO TAKE A CHANCE ON.
TRUTH IS, IF YOU'RE GAMBOLING WITH YOUR SALVATION, YOU'RE ALREADY DISQUALIFIED.
IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
THEY HAD INSTALLED A TELEPHONE WARNING SYSTEM THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO WARN THE RESIDENTS OF APPROACHING WILD FIRES.
SOME OF THE RESIDENTS HAD SCREENING TECHNOLOGY ON THEIR PHONES THAT PREVENTED THEM FROM RECEIVING THE WARNING CALL,
OTHERS IGNORED IT OR JUST DIDN'T GET A CALL.
SOME OF THESE PEOPLE DIDN'T EVACUATE
AND THEY LOST THEIR LIVES.
GOD HAS SOUNDED THE WARNING.
THE FIRESTORM IS COMING.
HE HAS PROVIDED AN EXCAPE ROUTE.
IF YOUR READY WHEN HE COMES BACK
YOU CAN AVOID ETERNAL DEATH.
IF YOUR NAME IS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE
THEN YOU WILL BE TAKEN TO BE WITH HIM FOREVER.
BUT IF YOU NAME ISN'T ON THE LIST.
YOU'RE GOING TO BE LEFT BEHIND
TO EXPERIENCE HORRORS WORSE THAN ANYTHING
THIS WORLD HAS EVER SEEN.
DON'T WAIT ANOTHER DAY TO TURN TO JESUS.
DON'T WAIT ANOTHER DAY TO TELL THOSE YOU KNOW ABOUT WHAT'S COMING.
a Or when it is made known