Friday, September 16, 2016

Are You Ready for the Rapture?

Christ could return at any moment, and as Christians and Christian mentors we need to share this truth with other people. God has given all Christians the commission to share the Gospel message with those who are lost, and in doing so, we need to explain to people that time is running out to make a decision about asking Christ to come into their heart. For only those who have believed on the risen Son of God and are "saved" will be taken to heaven at the moment of the Rapture. Are you ready for the Rapture? Moreover, have you told others about their glorious opportunity for Salvation and what it means to be Saved? Have you told others about the coming Rapture?

Obviously, it can be daunting and in some cases hard to share the truth of the Gospel message and the gift of Salvation with others, especially if they want to ridicule us. However, with the help of the Holy Spirit we can do what Christ has asked us to do. But if you still can’t bring yourself to share the truth, then ask yourself if you are willing to leave a loved one, friend, or acquaintance behind to go to hell just because you were unwilling to be uncomfortable in telling the truth about Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for their sins. I know that I want my friends, loved ones, and as many other people as possible to be Raptured with me and all the other believers when Christ comes to get His church and take us all home to eternity in heaven?

Telling Others about Christ and the Coming Rapture

It is important for our friends and acquaintances who are engaging in false religions to hear the Gospel message just as it is for those who have no beliefs to hear the Gospel. Yet, like the Apostle Paul when he visited Athens and spoke before the Council of Philosophers, we, too, have to be willing to speak to those who adhere to false religions. (see Acts 17: 16-34). Certainly, Paul was not afraid to share the truth of the Gospel message, or if he was afraid, he put his fear aside to do the will of God. Can you put your fear aside to tell others about Christ?

Not everyone who hears the Gospel message will believe, but at least you will have tried and they will have had the chance to choose. It was the same in the Apostle Paul’s day. Even though not everyone in Athens who heard Paul speak accepted Christ as their Savior, there were some who heard the truth and became believers in Jesus Christ, all because Paul put aside his fear and told the group about Christ. Those who believed on Christ back then will be Raptured with all the others who are dead in Christ when Christ calls His church, i.e., all believers, home to eternity. For even those, who have been long dead, will be Raptured if they had asked Christ to be their Savior before they died. Actually, those dead in Christ will be called up first and then those who are still alive will meet together with them in the air to go home with Christ. What a glorious reunion that will be!

There is only one way to get to heaven. However, because we have minds of our own and want to do things the way that we want to do them, humans hate to have other people tell us that there is only one way to go to heaven. But the truth is that there is only one way to heaven. Unfortunately, those who refuse to accept the fact that there is only one way to heaven often try to refute this truth by their treating God as if He is one of us. They try to rationalize their own beliefs and desires by telling themselves that God should think a certain way or by believing that God thinks and acts like us. They then tell themselves that they would never create just one way to get to heaven, so why would God create just one way to heaven. That is, they can’t imagine that a “loving God” would give us only one way to get to heaven when there are so many different religions here on earth and there are many ways of accomplishing things here on earth. Isn’t there that old saying, “All roads lead to Rome”? So, if all roads can lead to Rome, then why not have many roads leading to heaven?

To add to their failure to understand that they can’t just wish themselves to heaven is the fact that almost all people believe that they deserve to go to heaven.  They believe they deserve to go to heaven because in their minds they think that they are good people and that being a good person is all that it takes to get to heaven. Sadly, they don’t understand that God is the only one who can determine goodness. Because many people believe that they are basically good, they can’t understand why they would be punished for being good? But suggesting that we are innately good is one of the greatest misconceptions of all time, for not one of us is truly good. “No one is good except God alone.” – (Luke 18: 19. NASB). In fact, we were all born sinners and as such, we cannot enter into heaven without first accepting Christ as our Savior, and asking for His cleansing blood to cover our sins. It is only through our Salvation that we will be able to enter into the eternity of heaven either when we die or when Christ comes back to collect His followers and take them to heaven at the time of the Rapture.

The problem with thinking that goodness will get them to heaven is that these people forget that God is holy, just, and righteous; moreover, He is not human. God is a supernatural being who is self-existent. He does not need humans to tell Him what to do or how to do it. Furthermore, as a finite human beings, we cannot begin to understand the immortal God who created us out of the dust of the earth, nor should we assume that we know how God thinks or put our human thinking upon God. Neither can we truly understand how sinful that we really are until we submit ourselves to the loving grace and mercy of God’s love. Only then, can we get a glimpse of how our sinfulness has kept us away from the almighty and holy God.

It is in this glimpse of our sinfulness that we become shamefully overwhelmed and desperately want to be forgiven. Only then, do we realize that God loves us so much that He has given us a way to be made righteous before Him so that we can spend eternity with Him. But there is only one way to be cleansed from this unrighteousness and that is through the blood of Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins so that we do not have to spend eternity in hell. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” – (II Corinthians 5: 21. NLT). So, only by believing on Christ as the risen Son of God and by asking Him to forgive our sins and come into our heart will we be cleansed of this sinful unrighteousness and be able to spend eternity in heaven. Only through our salvation can we be Raptured with other believers!

Once we have realized that we need Jesus Christ as our Savior and in repentance of our sins have asked Christ to come into our heart, we have moved from an assured eternity of damnation to an assured eternity of beauty, love, peace, and everlasting joy lived within the presence of God and His Son. Believers know that they will go to heaven, because the Holy Spirit, who indwells every believer, gives us the assurance of this eternity with God. But our Salvation is just the beginning of our new eternal life, for it is up to each new believer to live in the light of Christ daily and to share the Gospel message with others who have yet to be saved. Furthermore, as we go through this life journey here on earth, Christians are eagerly awaiting with anticipation the time when Christ will call us to take us home to eternity to be with Him and His Father. This call of Christ's to collect His church, i.e. all believers, is called “The Rapture”. For, it is at this call that those living and dead in Christ will be “snatched up” or Raptured to meet Christ in the air and to go to heaven.

What is the Rapture?

The word Rapture means to “snatch away” or be “carried away”.  (The Rapture, which is Christ collecting His church to take us all to heaven, is not the same as the Second Coming of Christ, which will occur at some future point after the Rapture.). The clearest biblical passage about the Rapture of the church is found in I Thessalonians 4: 13-17. At that time, the Christians in Thessalonica were seeing their friends, family members, and neighbors die even as they waited for Christ’s return. They had been told that Christ would come and Rapture His church, but what about all the people who had been Saved but had already died before the Rapture? Could the Rapture have already occurred? To add to their confusion, many false prophets were indeed telling them that they had missed the Rapture and that they had been left behind. Furthermore, these false prophets were telling them that they were now already in the Tribulation period, because there was so much persecution happening to all the Christians of that day. Then the Apostle Paul wrote to them to assure them that they had not missed the Rapture. He explained that the Rapture had not already occurred and that they weren't living in the Tribulation period. Indeed, he explained that those living were still waiting on Christ’s return, and the ones that had already died would not miss out on the Rapture either. So, the Apostle Paul wrote:

And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died.

I can tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not rise to meet him ahead of those who are in their graves. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with Him forever. So comfort and encourage each other with these words.– (I Thessalonians 4: 13-17. NLT).

The words “caught up” actually means “to snatch” or “to pluck”, which is the very same meaning as the word Rapture. To understand more about the word Rapture, Jesus gave us an even clearer picture of this event when He said, “Yes, it will be business as usual right up to the hour when the Son of Man returns. … That night two people will be asleep in one bed; one will be taken away, and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding flour together at the mill; one will be taken, and the other left.”  -- (Luke 30, 34, 35. NLT). These amazing passages describe the exact moment when the Lord returns for His church (who are those that are saved). It is at this moment in time, “in the twinkling of an eye” (see I Corinthians 15: 52), that all believers will be separated from the unbelievers and be caught up in the air with those believers who have been resurrected to meet Christ and go to heaven.

Notice in the above verse that even though it will be nighttime on one side of the earth, that on the other side of the earth it will be daylight when the Rapture occurs. Some people will be sleeping and some will be working. Jesus was giving the above example so that the people of His day and time could understand the many different things that could be going on when He suddenly returns to Rapture or collect His church. When He said that two women will be grinding flour together, this was not a literal event. This was just a way of stating that it will be an ordinary day and people will be going about their daily business of work and sleep when their lives will be suddenly interrupted by the Rapture. Jesus just gave examples of the type of work that the people of His day could understand. Obviously, He would not use an example of someone working at a computer or of someone working as an air traffic controller, because the people He was talking to would not be able to understand that type of work.

So, the Rapture is when Jesus returns to resurrect the dead in Christ and to gather to Him all the believers who are still alive. Both the resurrected dead and the believers who are still alive will be swept up to meet Jesus Christ in the air. It is then that we will receive glorified bodies that will be imperishable. The Apostle Paul wrote: “But let me tell you a wonderful secret God has revealed to us. Not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed. It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die. For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.”  -- (I Corinthians 15: 51-53. NLT). Not only will we be called home to eternity, but we will receive glorified or heavenly bodies. How wonderful that will be! No more aches and pains, just beautiful bodies to live in forever.

Are You Ready for the Rapture?

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to the Rapture. When will the Rapture occur? Well, it could occur at any time, so we all need to be ready for the Rapture. We need to share the Gospel message with others and explain to people that the Rapture, or Christ calling His believers home to eternity, could happen at any time. As Christians and Christian mentors, we have a responsibility to share this Good News with others, including sharing it with those that we are mentoring. I hope that you are ready for the Rapture!

Next week, we will look at more information about the Rapture and find out more about when, according to the Bible, that the Rapture will occur. Until then, look closely at your lifestyle, at how you share your faith with others, and what you have been doing to tell others about Christ and the Rapture. Have you been mentoring anyone lately? If not, perhaps you will consider serving the Lord and others through Active Relational Christian Mentoring. At the very least, I hope you consider sharing the Gospel message with someone who does not yet know Christ as their Savior. I believe in you, and I believe that you can do it! You can witness for Christ and you can actively mentor another in some way, using the gifts that God has bestowed upon you to do so.

Remember, time is winding down and the Rapture could occur any moment. Are you ready for the Rapture?  Are you saved? If so, have you shared your faith with another? If you aren’t saved, please consider asking Christ into your heart. God is holding off sending Christ to collect His church so that as many people as possible will get a chance to hear the Gospel message and make a decision. Will you be ready when Christ calls His church home at the Rapture?  I sure hope so! What peace, joy, and happiness there is in knowing Christ as your Savior! Moreover, what glorious peace, joy, and happiness one will have living in eternity with God in a glorified imperishable body! What have you got to lose by looking into God’s offer of Salvation through Christ, the risen Son of God? If you need to find out more about Salvation and the Rapture, find a Christian and ask questions or pick up the Bible and start reading the book of John, and the book of I Thessalonians. What a glorious life you can have in knowing Christ personally. I’m excited for you!

Until next week, may you be blessed by being ready for the Rapture!

1 comment:

  1. Love that you and Donna are on the same page of the SOON COMING RAPTURE. Love this.