The 2nd Coming of Christ

The Rapture – Are You Ready

Scripture: – Matthew 25: 1-13

Text: –

  • Be vigilant …You have no idea when the Son of Man is going to show up. “Matthew 24:44” – The Message

Introduction: –

We live in a generation when the general tendency is to have a “vanilla” Proclamation of God’s Word. It is aimed at the provision of a Preaching and Proclamation of the Word of God and especially the Gospel that will offend no one: –

  • A Gospel that Preaches – Salvation without the Blood
  • A Gospel that Preaches – Christ Without the Cross.
  • A Gospel that Preaches – Salvation Without Sanctification.
  • A Gospel that Preaches – Decisions Without Discipleship.
  • A Gospel that Preaches – the Love of God Without Lordship.
  • A Gospel that Preaches – Prosperity Without Purpose.
  • A Gospel that Preaches – Blessing Without Birth-Right Responsibilities.
  • A Gospel that Preaches – Revival Without Reformation.

The Evangelical world is contaminated by a spirit of by all means attract the un-saved. Sure, this is all laced with good intentions. However, Samuel Johnson was attributed to saying in The Life of Samuel Johnson LL.D. Vol 2 – “Hell is paved with good intentions.” 

This principle and philosophy are a massive contortion of what we read in – “1 Corinthians 9:22-23

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” ESV

In fact, it is in reality “another gospel” as Paul declared in “Galatians 1:8” – “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” ESV

If we are not careful also, we can start to support a philosophy with significant dangers contained within it. The philosophy portraying itself in the two very dangerous words of Relevance and Understanding. The Galatian Church through it were beguiled by pandering too much to their culture and I sadly have to face the fact that the Church today finds itself in the same position.

We must not for one moment consider that the doctrine of the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ and the Rapture of the Church is anything other than an essential element of the Gospel. It is the hope given to those who are members of the Body of Christ. In fact, the Lord has gone to great lengths through the inspiration of the Scriptures to emphasis how important it is.

Jesus the Bridegroom is most emphatically going to return for His Bride (in my opinion before the start of the 7yr time of the Tribulation and the period of Jacobs Troubles) I make no apology in declaring that I am a “Premillennial and Pretribulation” believer.

The Biblical writers speak of the rapture as being a Blessed, Purifying, Comforting and Sure Hope with its very foundational stone the truth of Christs Gospel.

  • A Blessed Hope – “……. while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ” – “Titus 2:13
  • A Purifying Hope – “All those who focus their hopes on Him, and His coming seek to purify themselves just as He is pure.”  – “1 John 3:3” – The Voice
  • A Comforting Hope – “Then we who are alive and left behind will be snatched up together with them into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. This is how we, the resurrected and the living, will be with Him forever. 18 So comfort one another with this hope and encourage one another with these words.”    “1 Thessalonians 4:17-18” – The Voice
  • A Sure Hope – “We weren’t, you know, just wishing on a star when we laid the facts out before you regarding the powerful return of our Master, Jesus Christ. We were there for the preview! We saw it with our own eyes: Jesus resplendent with light from God the Father as the voice of Majestic Glory spoke: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of all my delight.” We were there on the holy mountain with him. We heard the voice out of heaven with our very own ears. We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard – God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts.” – “2 Peter 1:16-21b” The Message

The 2nd Coming of Jesus and the Rapture used to be a Hot Topic it was one of those themes regularly preached in the Church. I grew up in an atmosphere that was filled with it. Now however it is difficult to go anywhere and hear it, let alone find that Pastors and Leaders are willing to get off their fence of uncertainty of belief to declare and teach it.

Today, if asked directly many Christians say that they are looking for His coming, however the truth for the majority of them is that they are not really ready for His coming. It’s the prayer that this message will cause us to seek to be ready for His coming.

The 2nd Coming of Christ is truly an Evangelistic Theme and Topic however it’s quite easy for us in our good intentions to be a Christian or a Church Group and to be thoroughly Evangelical but without being at all Evangelistic.

We have and hold “firmly to the trustworthy message” as Paul says in “Titus 1:9” but fail in our responsible of “holding out the word of life” – “Philippians 2: 16”. I for one am determined not to fail you in the declaration of a truth that has an Eternal Impact upon your Eternity.

There is a powerful cry, “Jesus is coming! can you hear it (Listen for a moment) – Sadly, it would be my contention that you cannot hear it – Why? Because it is seldom heard in God’s house today.

Let me ask you a question right now.

  • Are you Living Daily with a Sense of Expectancy of His Return?
  • Are you Yearning for Jesus’ return?

I don’t ask as a method to condemn, No! quite the opposite. I ask in order that our Expectancy and Yearning may be either Restored or Birthed in us.

What? Is the question we need to ask ourselves by “Jesus Return Soon” mean for us today and in our on-going walk with Jesus. It obviously has a high significance. Christ promised His disciples that He would return, and to that I say Maranatha. I was told a few weeks ago that the use of the word in collective prayer and in conversation was not worth it because many of today’s believers in Christ do not understand what the word means. In reality, that says more about what we are taught than its cultural usage.

  • In order to illuminate let me briefly explain its meaning. It is found in – “1 Corinthians 16:22” – “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha” NASV. The word is constructed of two Aramean words, Maran’athah, meaning, “our Lord comes,” or is “coming.” If the latter interpretation is adopted, the meaning of the phrase is, “Our Lord is coming, and he will judge those who have set him at nought.” If you want to look further at its etymology the compare “Philippians 4:5” – “James 5:8” – “James 5:9

Jesus urges us to pray that God will hasten His return and at that time those who are true believers will be caught up to meet Him in the air and the graves of all types will be opened.

Today, if asked directly, many Christians say that they are looking for His coming, however the truth for the majority of them is that they are not really ready for His coming. It’s my prayer that this message will cause us to seek to be ready for His coming.

We need to be prepared for His Coming.

How can we be prepared?

  1. We Must Be Children of God to be Prepared
  2. We Must Have our Lives and Conduct Founded Upon the Principles of God’s Word to be Prepared.
  3. We Must Have our Work in Place to be Prepared.
  1. We Must Be Children of God to be Prepared

I guess it is to be assumed that it is an Absolute Necessity to be Born again in order to be Prepared / Ready.

The Scriptures are very clear in that Jesus will Return and His purpose is to Claim His Bride. Its important that we recognise that if we have not given our lives to Jesus Christ and are declaring His Lordship and Kingship then we are not those He is Returning for.

Some contend that a God of Love will in the end bring Salvation to All – This Universalism is completely erroneous. Outside of Jesus Christ we are under the wrath of God and He has declared that in that condition we will join the fallen angels and the Devil himself in the Lake of Fire. I recognise that is hard, but sin has broken the link between God and Man, Jesus Bridged that Gap and He invites us to walk over. However, this is the condemnation – “Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” – “John 3:18”   The Message

The Foolish Virgins and the Wedding Nightmare

Let me introduce you again to a fairly well-known parable that Jesus gave. It’s found in “Matthew 25:1-13” it’s the parable of the Foolish Virgins who were not ready. Usually a Preacher will look at both The Foolish Virgins and the Parable of the Servants in the following Chapter 25:1-13. They are parables revealing contrasts.

  • The Virgins Parable speaks of Being Prepared in case Jesus Returns Quicker than we Thought.
  • The Servants Parable speaks of Being Prepared in case Jesus Returns Later than we Thought.

Let me try to set the scene for you: –

In the East in Biblical Times a typical Jewish Marriage was a 3 Part Event and was usually extended over several months.

Part 1 – The Legal Engagement

  • This was arranged by the Parents and Sealed with a Payment and On-Going Contract

Part 2 – The Betrothal Period

  • This was when there was a Public Ceremony, Gifts Exchanged etc.
    • It could last even 12months.
      • It was a time when only a Divorce could dissolve the Betrothal and Marriage.

Part 3 – The Wedding Banquet

  • This was when the Betrothal came to an end and the Marriage was Consummated and normally took place at the Brides Home.
    • Only after the Banquet did the Bride return to her Husband’s Home and the union was fully consummated.

We enter the story in the Parable at Part 3 and what a nightmare it is: –

  1. The Bridegroom arrives late.
    1. The Bridesmaids get Sleepy and their Lamps go Out.
    1. Half the Wedding Party miss the start of the Ceremony and end up getting banned from entry by the Bridegroom.

The story relates to a Bridegroom who was to return from his journey to take to his side 10 Virgins who would form his communal Bride. They were all espoused to the Bridegroom (Parts 1 & 2) – Engaged as it were.

However: –

  • They have no oil.
  • They have no light.
  • They have no life.

Each of the Virgins (all 10 of them) were originally captivated by the Bridegroom, he filled their entire gaze. Nothing was too much for him and they were outwardly totally committed to him. All of the Virgins had a Lamp, and this was fine in the beginning. However, the Bridegroom appeared to delay in his returning, and as he did the zeal of 5 of them began to wane and the Bible tells us “they became drowsy and fell asleep”. However, what stands in stark contract is that not only did they become drowsy and fell asleep, but they also had not any reserve oil for their lamps. “The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.” 

Why is this significant?

The significance is that the Oil is representative of the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that those who are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit are not saved. – “But you do not live in the flesh. You live in the Spirit, assuming, of course, that the Spirit of God lives inside of you. The truth is that anyone who does not have the Spirit of the Anointed living within does not belong to God.” – “Romans 8:9b” The Voice

Yes! It’s very true that they took Lamps, but Lamps without Oil are of no use. It’s sad to say today that there are many who sit in Church week after week, perhaps even years who are just like the five foolish virgins. They are not saved. All they have is an empty profession an “empty lamp. They are called Brother or Sister and may even be involved in many Church activities.

It could be said that their Lamps were a picture of their Outward Identity and the Lack of Oil reveals that they were Never Saved in the First Place (their faith / oil did not persevere until the end). As “1 John 2:19”reveals to us “They went out because they were never of us

Multitudes of church members are going to be surprised, when they find out that church membership is not a ticket to heaven.

Why? Because: –

  • They have no oil.
  • They have no light.
  • They have no life.

When Christ comes for His own, they will be left behind, because they have never been born again.

Notice will you that we are told that they “slept instead of making preparation.” There is a significant degree of apathy today in the Church. People are spiritually asleep and are not looking for His coming.

Who’s to blame?

Unfortunately, the blame must be firmly laid at the feet of many leaders and Pastors because they have neglected to be Preachers of Plain Truth and the result has for some been large Churches seemingly successful Churches but filled with Religious Disciples rather than Born Again Disciples (Wise & Foolish Virgins). – The Bible say, “Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; those of high rank will die of hunger and the common people will be parched with thirst.” – “Isaiah 5:13” NIV

Anyone with a smattering of Bible knowledge, and any experience at all within the Church, is aware of the fact that the church of today is facing a time of great crisis. We have many in the Church who have a pathetically low regard for the concept of Bible Inspiration and Authority.

Many people are very fuzzy on what constitutes a Christian. They think the Church is but another Denomination. Basic truth has been thrown to the wind for the sake of Win All.

Why are things in such a state of chaos? Ignorance, Ignorance, Ignorance. There probably has not been a time in this century when Bible knowledge among the Lord’s people has sunk to such a low level.

It is no longer the case that the average person in the pew is a good Bible Student.

The days are gone when God’s people were known as a “Bible-Toting, Bible-Quoting, Bible-Living” people. Many members of the Church never carry a Bible to worship, and they could not cite scriptural references on the most basic doctrinal issues. Sure, Smart Devices have multiple Bibles, but the ignorance continues.

The five foolish virgins made the mistake of: –

  1. Thinking They Could Borrow Oil
  2. Leaving the Provision of Oil to the Last Minute
  3. Leaving the Purchase of Oil to Works Done

Thinking They Could Borrow Oil

The five foolish virgins of our Parable thought they could go out and borrow oil for their lamps. What does that say to us? Well! There are many Men or Women who are attempting to hang onto their Husband or Wives’ religion or their Church Connections even their Reputations.

We speak to people about salvation, and when we asked if they are saved, they start talking about how faithful their Father or Mother had been in some Church or they were always “brought up as a Christian” etc.

YOU CANNOT GET TO HEAVEN ON BORROWED SALVATION

Leaving the Provision of Oil to the Last Minute

We really don’t know how long our life span will be. We are in good health today but could be dead tomorrow or we may live to a ripe old age. The five foolish virgins thought they could get oil at the last minute.

People tend to think that they have plenty of time. Some are planning to be saved on their death beds, but the majority will end up in hell either because they left it too late or they do not have the mental capacity.

Leaving the Purchase of Oil to Works Done

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.” – “Matthew 25: 8-12

What a sad day it will be for many, when they face the Lord unprepared. In “Matthew 7:21-23” we read – “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” NIV

Salvation is: –

  • By Grace Alone
  • Through Faith Alone
  • In Christ Alone
  • We Must Have our Lives and Conduct Founded Upon the Principles of God’s Word to be Prepared.

The thought that the Lord Jesus Christ may return at any moment should be an event that stimulates from the Inside Out and not The Outside In. We may say that we love God, but do we keep His commandments or are we living like the foolish virgins – sleeping our way through life?

In “Luke 21:34-36” we read “But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.” The Voice

The last thing we want to do is find ourselves in a situation on the return of Jesus to collect us is to present Him with an un-holy Bride hence the 2nd Coming of Christ is a purifying hope. In “1 John 3:3” – “All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.” The Message

If you are a Child of God today and you believe that Christ could come for His people at any time, then it should be a Separated and Dedicated Life that is being lived. This doctrine, if truly believed, will cause us to be a Holy People and that will prevent us from being a people Ashamed People at His coming “I John 2:28” – “And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we’ll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives” The Message

  • We Must Have our Work in Place to be Prepared.

It is clear from Scripture that We Are Saved to Serve we may not know at the beginning what the work is but there are“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Ephesians 2:10.” 

Every Christian has assigned work. “Mark 13:34-37” – “gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work” – The work is different but one particular task has been assigned to everyone and it is the work of evangelism. Jesus commanded, The Bridegroom Commands the Bride to “…. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you….” – “Matthew 28:18-20

If you say – “Lord, I don’t have any skills to serve you with” then the principle of the Parable of the Talents comes into play from “Matthew 25:14-30.” Christians who are not using their: –

  • Money
  • Time
  • Opportunities
  • God given Talent

are not really ready for the Coming of Christ.

Conclusion: –

What I’ve had to say today is I know not easy to accept. It may go against the grain of out attitudes, thinking, culture even our inner desires. However, that does not change the situation in which we all find ourselves.

Jesus will come as a thief in the night and catch away both the – Living and the Dead – believers in Him.

  • Jesus Promised It.
  • The Angels Promised It.
  • The Apostle Paul Promised It.
  • The Signs around us Promise It.
    • Falling Away and Apostasy
    • Backslidings from the Faith
    • Itching Ears
    • Perilous Times
    • Return of Israel to their homeland
    • The Building of One World Church
      • This Church will be composed of the Roman Catholic Church and an Apostate Protestant Church which will include Islam.
        • Everywhere we turn today, we find ecumenicalism being promoted.

He’s coming Like it or Not

So lets be World Changers as we live for Christ and yearn for His Return.

Are you ready for the Second Coming of Christ?

Let me conclude with a short example after which I’m going to challenge you to re-commit to staying alert and looking afresh for His return.

Why Doesn’t He Keep His Word?

Mark Guy Pearse tells an interesting story of a poor old woman in Scotland, whose son had come to America and was doing well. He wrote home to the widowed mother to tell her that now she would not have any troubles anymore. As long as she lived, he would send her money for her rent.

The mother was overjoyed, and carefully put his letters in an old broken teapot on the dresser and almost every night she took them out and read them with eyes filled with tears of joy. But day after day the time drew nearer for the payment of her rent. As sweet as the words of her son were, still it took more than pleasant words to satisfy her landlord. At first, she was angry with herself for the fears that whispered within her. Her son had promised and promised again in every letter he wrote. But what good were the promises if the money did not come?

At last the rent day came. Surely the postman would bring the money today. It was just like her son to calculate everything exactly, and to send it just when it was due…but to her disappointment the postman went his way and there was nothing for her. The mother tried to stay positive; there was some delay somewhere, but it was all right, tomorrow would explain it all and the landlord could wait until the next day. But day after day went by with no money from her son. The day came where the landlord could wait no longer. The money had to be paid or she must go.

Once more she put on her glasses and went through the letters. There she read it again as plain as plain could be. Her son had promised to help her.  What could have happened? Oh, if her son only knew that the very next day all her possessions would be sold to pay for her rent!

That afternoon a friend that had heard of her trouble came in to see her. “I thought your son promised to pay your rent?” said the friend. – “He did!” said the old lady, shaking her head very mournfully. “He did and I don’t understand why he hasn’t kept his word.”

“Will you let me see the letters?” asked the friend. – “Yes,” said the old woman, and she took down the broken teapot from the dresser and took them out.

The friend read them through. “Was there nothing in this letter?” – “Yes,” said the old woman, “there was a strip of paper.  I think it was some advertisement or something, but no money.”

“Where is it?” urged the friend. There it was in the depths of the teapot. – “Why, it is a cashier’s cheque!” said the friend. “This is more than enough to pay for all your rent.”

They went to the bank as quickly as they could. There was some difficulty at first because the time limit for the cheque had passed, but after the matter was explained, the cheque was cashed. The poor old widow’s troubles had come to an end.

It is the same with all these precious promises in God’s Word.  They are useless to you unless you “cash” them as cheques in a bank. Consider the promise, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”. It has power to save every poor sinner in the world, yet it will never save you unless you come to the Lord Jesus Christ.