If you’re worried about what’s happening in the world – which you might well be (and I am too in one sense) – I have a hope in the Lord Jesus Christ whom nothing can separate me from.
And I know the end of the story. I know that we win. So, I’m going to hang on to Jesus and I hope you are too.
Those who don’t believe or search for answers in all the wrong places (2 Thessalonians 2 speaks about how they’re going to end up believing the lie) because they refuse the truth of the Gospel will, as they believe the lie, be open to what the Antichrist, the man of sin will proclaim and they will be open to him and will go his way.
Believe the Word of God, believe Jesus. Titus 2 verse 11 says:
Take that scripture and meditate on it.
It tells you why Jesus came, how He wants you to live, how He’s going to come again, and how it’s His blessed hope to believe in Him. And He also tells you that He is the great God and Saviour.
He’s not just a man, He’s not just a prophet, He is God, Emmanuel, and He’s able to sort out the mess which we can’t work out.
The second thing Jesus says is: don’t be weighed down with cares of this world or the pleasures of this world. It says:
Sometimes people think that they’ve heard Jesus’ story before and it hasn’t happened, therefore, it’s not going to happen, that it doesn’t matter.
Sometimes we see that the Lord is delaying His coming because He wants people to be saved but, in the meantime, don’t just say ‘well, it’s not going to happen so, I’ll just live carelessly like everybody else’. He says: don’t go for the pleasures of this world the cares of this world because this world is passing away. People in the world put their trust in things of the world which are not going to last, they’re not going to be fulfilled.
Over the last month, we saw the tremendous excitement in this country about the football and England winning the cup and, before the final, everyone was psyched up with this great hope that we had to win the cup, and it was going to make lives so much better, and we were all going to be happy because we had won the European cup.
Then, they lost on penalties and it all became a flat ‘nothing’. So, if you trust in things which are passing away, then they’re never going to give you satisfaction.
I notice that the thing which they’re getting most excited about with the end of lockdown is that they can go to discos and parties, and raves and things.
Well, those things can give you a bit of pleasure for a while but there’s pleasure in sin for a season. It’s not lasting and it’s not going to last, and Jesus says all these things are passing away. What matters is what is eternal, what matters is our entrance into the Kingdom of God.
2 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 16 says:
I hope you’re trusting in the things which are eternal. Some people say to me: ‘if we could see God then we would believe in Him.’
The third thing which He says is to expect the coming of the Lord – coming at any time. He says that day will come upon you unexpectedly, it will come …
Expect the coming of the Lord. Do you expect Jesus to come at any time?
Now, that does raise another question which is about the timing of the Rapture, whether it’s before or at the end of the Tribulation.
If the Rapture is at the end of the Tribulation, then Jesus can’t come at any time. There must be certain things happening before, there has to be the rise of the Antichrist, there’s to be the ‘mark of the beast’, there have to be the armies gathering together at Armageddon, there has to be the darkness and then, the light of Jesus coming.
Then, we’ll be caught up to meet the Lord at the Second Coming and come straight down back with Him.
That’s a view which many people have. I don’t say it’s an impossible view because it hasn’t happened yet, and we should actually have some concern that we might be here in the Tribulation, in which case, we may die.
However, I believe that the more acceptable and consistent view of the Second Coming of Jesus does put the Rapture before the Tribulation.
One of the reasons is because of this element of unexpectedness, that it could happen at any time, that you could be just walking down the street, buying and selling and going about your normal life and, suddenly, one should be taken, one should be left and we’re going to be with the Lord.
If that’s the case, then Jesus could come at any time now which is why we should be ready to meet Him. We’re seeing the signs of the Second Coming but we’re not seeing the fulfilment of the Tribulation prophecies yet. Therefore, from the pre-Trib point of view, you should be ready now for the coming of the Lord.
It’s like when you go to a great mountain range, you get into the foothills first and you know that, if you carry on, you’ll get to the high mountains. Right now, you could say we’re in the foothills but we’re not yet in the high mountains.
When you come to a great city like London you get to the suburbs, but you don’t get to the centre of the city until you carry on.
Right now, you could say we’re in the suburbs not in the centre of the city.
I believe that, at this time, Jesus could come to take us at any time and that’s why it says also it will come as a snare on the unbelievers, a trap. They’ll be left behind and they’ll be facing then the time of trouble of the Antichrist, and instead of the peace and safety which he may promise them, they’ll have war and trouble; instead of a saviour, they’ll find one who’ll be their captor and their destroyer.
The Bible does indicate that people will come to faith in this time of trouble but, for the most part, the cost of their faith will be martyrdom and it will come as a condition on the whole earth.
As Jesus says in Matthew in 24:
Be ready for the coming of Jesus. If it is pre-Tribulation as I believe it is, it could come, He could come, at any time now. But He could be delayed by years, so I’m not saying He is coming right now, I’m just saying ‘be ready at all times’.
It’s also a word of encouragement to us to purify ourselves that we can be ready for the coming of the Lord.
As saved men and women, we know that our sins are forgiven and that we have no fear of judgment, that we have a future and a hope and an eternal life for Jesus.
I hope that everyone has that hope now because that’s the blessed hope of the coming of the Lord. If we don’t live to that time, we’re going to die. Then, we’ll also be caught up be with Him.
So, it doesn’t matter whether you live or die, you’ll be with the Lord and have that hope in Jesus.
In just one final scripture, the Rapture passage itself, in 1 Thessalonians 4 it says:
That is going to happen friends; at which point we will be taken to be with the Lord and be with Him forever.
Therefore, comfort one another with these words and if you believe this, it says:
We’re with Him forever and He’s going to come first for the church and then to return with the saints to the earth and set up his Millennial Kingdom and reign for a thousand years on the earth after which the earth will be burned up and there’ll be new heavens and a new earth in which we’ll dwell with Him forever in righteousness.
If you’re a Christian today, you can’t lose, you’re on the winning side, and you have a glorious future and hope.
Let us also use the time that remains to get the message out, to tell people about Jesus.
We’ve just done another leaflet (of which I’ve got some copies of here), called Hope for the Future.
A good one to take home, just to give to your friends, put through the neighbours’ doors to tell them that there is a hope for the future, that there is a hope, that the hope is in Jesus Christ.