The Rapture Part 2

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The below sermon on the rapture of the church takes an overview at the what the Bible has to say about Jesus’ second coming and the rapture. These free inductive notes are intended as supplement to your own study, not a replacement. Feel free to copy, print, or share them. These notes can be helpful for individual study of the Word or for small group Bible studies. We hope your understanding of God’s Word is deeper from them.

Sermon on the Rapture of the Church – Part 2

See part 1 of this sermon on the rapture. 

4.     Fulfills our Eager Waiting

·        Have ever had a loved one who was away for a prolonged time, maybe they were in the military serving in a distant land, overseas for their education, or perhaps just on an extended business trip. Remember how eager you were for them to return. Sometimes the waiting seemed almost unbearable and then the joyous day arrived. You got to the airport early and were anxiously waiting to catch that first glimpse of their face. Do you remember how excited you were when your loved one finally arrived and you were reunited at last.

Tit 2:13

13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,

Heb 9:28

28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

·        If you were that excited and eager for the return of your loved one, how much more excited and eager should we be for our Savior’s return? Well, take that eagerness, that anticipation, the joy of that reunion with your loved one and multiply it by about 100. That’s the level of excitement and joy we should have concerning Jesus’ coming back for us and our being united with Him forever.

5.    Preparedness

·        We have just celebrated Christmas. In order to really enjoy the celebration, you had to be prepared. For many families here, that meant arranging schedules, buying gifts, decorating the tree, celebrating family traditions, preparing and eating lots of good food. Christmas is certainly an important season and it’s a good thing to be adequately prepared, but if you think about it Christmas is an annual celebration of Jesus’ birth. If we put all this preparation into celebrating Jesus’ birthday each year, how much effort should we put into being prepared for His coming back to get us?

Don’t be ill-prepared!

·        These verses tell us specifically what we should be doing to be prepared for the Lord’s arrival.

Jas 5:7-8

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the LordThe farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.

You too be patient;strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Rv 2:25

25’Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.

1 Jn 2:28

28 Now, little children,abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.

·        We are exhorted to be patient (like the farmer) until the coming of the Lord for us. Just picture the farmer in the middle of the morning sitting in a rocking chair on his front porch looking out over his fields. His wife comes out and asks him what he’s doing. He replies, “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m waiting patiently for the crops to come in.” She responds, “you can sit there and rock all you want, but unless you get out there and plow the field and plant some seed there won’t be any crops!” When you consider a farmer’s patience, you observe that patience is not the same as inactivity and is certainly not an encouragement to be lazy. No, farmers are known for their long hours and hard work, but no matter how hard the farmer works, the rewards for his labor are not instantaneous. They are deferred. Therefore the farmer must wait patiently to receive the eventual outcome of his diligence – a bountiful harvest. In the same way believers must now be faithful and diligent in the Lord’s work, but should not look for or expect instant rewards for their labor. Notice that verse 7 tells us to “Therefore be patient”. The context is that today the wicked treat the righteous unjustly andit seems that evil is prevailing. You may wonder just how long we must patiently endure the injustices of this world.  I can tell you exactly how long! You have to be patient “…until the coming of the Lord.” Presently, the believers’ reward is being deferred. It is when we are raptured and Jesus takes us back to heaven to be with Him forever that we will be rewarded for diligent faithful service.

·        We will consider the principles in the remaining two verses together as they are so similar. We are told to “hold fast” and to “abide in HIm”

Hold fast –  krateo (krat-eh’-o); from NT:2904; to use strength to retain:

KJV – hold (by, fast), keep, lay hand (hold) on, obtain, retain, take (by).

Abide – meno (men’-o); a primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy):

KJV – abide, continuedwell,endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for), thine own.

Put simply, we are to hold fast to what we have. Let’s be honest. It’s pretty easy to start out well whether it’s a Scripture reading plan, a daily exercise routine, or sticking to a budget. The hard part is not in starting but in persevering. It’s much easier for us to let good habits slip away than it is to develop them. So Scripture encourages us to hold fast to what we have – things like pure doctrine, integrity, and personal discipline.

In addition to holding fast to good habits and principles, a very similar concept that Scripture also encourages in is to abide in Christ. To abide in Christ is to remain faithful to Him, to be steadfast in our walk. There’s a line in a well known hymn that says, “prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;” It’s true, our inclination is to stray from following the Lord. To abide in Christ requires a daily commitment to follow Him. The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint and we must persevere until we get to the finish line.

Just how important is it to abide in Christ? Let’s look at what Jesus has to say about it.

John 15:4-7

4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

A.    Not abiding à No Fruit

B.     Abide in Him à Much Fruit

C.     Not abiding à thrown away, cast into the fire, to be burned (not a Christian)

D.    Abide in Him à God answers your prayers

You get the idea from what Jesus says about abiding in Him that it’s an essential requirement for us.

·        Referring back to the verse about the rapture that commands us to abide in Him.

1 Jn 2:28

28 Now, little children,abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.

It says that if we’ve been abiding in Christ, we’ll have confidence at His coming. How about you today? Are you abiding in Christ or will you be among those who shrink away from Him in shame at His coming? To help you honestly answer that question, I’ve compiled a list of some qualities and practices that characterize someone who is abiding in Christ.

1.              You have a hunger for and devotion to God’s Word.

2.              You have hatred for sin and repent of all known sin.

3.              Your life is being transformed so that you are becoming more Christlike.

4.              You are eagerly looking forward to the Lord’s return.

5.              You demonstrate genuine humility by dying to self and putting others first.

6.              You are devoted to glorifying God.

7.              You separate yourself from the world.

8.              You devote yourself to prayer.

9.              You are obedient to God’s revealed will.

10.          Your love for God is greater than your love for anything else.

This is a fairly general list, but I think it covers most of the basic aspects of abiding in Christ.

We’ve seen this morning that Jesus is coming back to get all Christians and take them back with Him to heaven. This event is called the rapture. It will take place immediately before the Great Tribulation so that Christians will be delivered from the wrath of God that will be poured out on the world. It will be a joyful reunion with our Savior at which time we will receive new glorified bodies suitable for heaven. We should be eagerly waiting with anticipation for glorious event.

Lastly and most importantly, we should currently be faithfully abiding in Christ so that we will have confidence when He appears and we will not shrink back from Him in shame.

When the rapture comes, there will be two types of people:

1.      Those who are abiding in Christ. They will be raptured.

2.      Those who are not abiding in Christ. They will be left behind.

Are you ready?

See part 1 of this sermon on the rapture. 

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