1 Thess. 4:13-18
Title: "Caught Away By Christ"
Subj: The "catching away"
The Bible says, "...We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be
We are fast approaching the year
2000. This may have significance for many
reasons. First the number 7, in the
seems to speak of maturity or completion. Second, God created the heavens and the earth in
7 days, then rested. Third, we believe the earth to be about 6,000 years old, with a 1,000
year millennial kingdom still to come, which equals 7,000 years. Fourth, a 1,000 years is
as a day to the Lord. So somewhere around the
year 2,000 we will have seen the passage of some 6,000 years of God's work of salvation on
this earth. In other words, it appears that
God's purpose for His earthly churches and children is drawing to a close.
The Biblical event that will
close this 6,000 years of time is called by the Bible "the catching away," but
more popularly, "the Rapture," which is from the Latin, "to seize,"
"to snatch." The "catching
away" is important to Christians for many reasons.
First, it removes us from the outpouring of God's wrath during the seven
years of Tribulation when over 1/2 of the world's humanity will be killed. Second, it completes the blessed hope of our
original salvation. Third, it brings to pass
the Bema (reward) Seat of Christ. Fourth, it
brings to pass the marriage of Christ to His New Testament churches. Fifth, it is our entrance into eternity.
The question is not whether this
event will occur, but whether you are ready! I
realize that the possibility that you, as a Christian, may only live on this earth for
less than 5-20 more years is a mind-boggling thought, but God has never promised us more
than one day at a time anyway!! Many have died
much younger than you. So as we consider "Being Caught Away By Christ," let's use
the time wisely, checking our own hearts to see if we are ready for the inevitable, but
1 Thess. 4:13-18 -- "Caught Away By Christ" -- prayer
I. OUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION
A. The brethren have
wisdom in contrast to the world's ignorance
"Ignorant" = uninformed, misinformed
The world is spiritually blind & at odds with God!
About those "asleep" = Bible word for a believer's bodily state after death
Note: God does not want you to be spiritually ignorant,
especially about those that are dead! Why? Because death represents the line we cross into the
next life, and fixes our destiny eternally! If
you are ignorant about the dead, then you are ignorant about every other spiritual truth
to one degree or another. That is why all forms of religion point to death!
B. The brethren are
joyful in contrast to the world's sorrow
"Sorrow" = to grieve
We can grieve over a lose, but not over their state!
We know where the "asleep" are!
C. The brethren are
hopeful in contrast to the world's hopelessness
"hope" = a well-grounded expectation and firmly held prospect of a future good
We know where we will be when "asleep"
II. OUR FOUNDATION OF FAITH
death, burial, resurrection
I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our
sins according to the scriptures; And that He
was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the
1 Cor. 15:3-5
"If" = since
If you believe? Do you believe that Jesus died
for your sins, was buried, and was resurrected for your justification? Are you saved?
If you believe, it is since
you believe, and since
believe that Jesus died and rose again, you should have no trouble believing the rest of
B. Our trust in
Christ's work on our behalf
We know it is on our behalf because we have the
in v13, believers
in v14, them
which sleep in Jesus
(v14), those awaiting His coming (v15), the dead
(v16), and those that meet
which sleep in Jesus (rest & peace)
will bring them with Jesus
Here we see the importance of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything is based on the finished work of Christ,
our trust in that work, and the benefits gained from that work.
III. OUR SOURCE OF HOPE
A. Word of the
Lord (Always back to the Bible!)
revelation from God
2. Testimony of
3. Testimony of
Holy Spirit (inspired)
B. Coming of
are alive & remain
"Prevent" = precede, go before
of the Lord (all)
IV. OUR DESCENDING SAVIOUR
With a "shout" = word of command
With the voice of the archangel (ruler of angels)
Seraphs, cherubs, archangels, angels (principalities, powers, thrones, dominions)
With the trumpet of God
Used both for a call to worship and a call to battle
OUR MEETING THE LORD
("asleep" but dead!) first
"In Christ" = united to Him by trust in His work
From wherever they were "buried"
the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which
were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."
The dead shall rise, but we all shall be "caught" up!
To meet the Lord
To be ever with the Lord
Picture: The resurrected Christ in His glorified body,
followed by the innumerable souls of every dead believer since His resurrection, leaves
the confines of heaven and descends into the firmament above the earth (the clouds). As Christ leaves the boundary of heaven, He shouts
a command. This "command" announces
His coming, calls Satan and his demons (both elect angels and fallen demons) to stand at
attention in military rank as we pass through, and commands the sleeping bodies of the
saints to arise ("Lazarus, come forth") to meet Him in the air. Immediately the archangel's voice calls the angelic
host to attention and in rank. Then the
trumpet of God sounds, calling the saints and heavenly host to worship, and Satan and his
demons to battle. Now the dead rise out of
their graves, whether earth or sea. And as
they ascend to ground level, those which are alive and remain are snatched together with
them, passing through rank after rank of demons and angels, into the clouds. There we gather to praise and worship Christ before
our journey ends in heaven.
VI. OUR COMFORT IN CHRIST'S COMING
"Comfort" = every kind of speaking to which is meant to produce a particular
effect; exhortation, encouragement, comfort, etc.
Conc: Christ is coming!
Are you 100% ready, 75% ready, 50% ready, 25% ready, 10% ready, or 0% ready. What is your spiritual condition? Ignorant, sorrowful, hopeless like the world, or
wise, joyful, and hopeful in the promises of Christ? Jesus
Christ is coming again, and at that moment your eternal "spiritual meter" will
be set in time. Now is the time to "get
right," "get ready," and "get going."