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THE "CHURCH" THAT WILL BE LEFT BEHIND

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, March 25, 2001


"I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" (Revelation 3:16-17).

Many who think they are Christians will be left behind at the rapture. A shocking number of churches will go right on as they are now. Many ministers will continue preaching - some of them on national television. People will think, at first, that the rapture couldn't have happened at all. Then the Antichrist, the final world dictator, will be revealed. Then will…"that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (II Thessalonians 2:3). Only at that time will many church members realize that they have been left behind. They will then awaken and many will be converted.

Consider two main points:


1. The identity of the "church" that will be left behind.

2. The awakening and conversion of many in the "church" who have been left behind.

I. The identity of the "church" that will be left behind

Turn with me to II Timothy 3:1-13,

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (II Timothy 3:1-13).

First, the false "church" that will be left behind will be made up of people with unconverted hearts. These people are described in II Timothy 3:1-5,

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (II Timothy 3:1-5).

They will have "a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof" (II Timothy 3:5). Their unconverted characters are described in verses two through four. Galatians 5:19-21 also describes those who live in "the flesh," having never been converted:

"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21).

Are you living like that? If you are, you "shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (verse 21). If these verses describe you, it indicates that you will be left behind. You "shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

We are told in II Corinthians 5:17,

"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).

When a person is truly converted, there is a new direction in the life. The converted person loves things that he disliked before, and hates the things he once loved.

A person who doesn't love being in church at every opportunity has never been converted. A person who doesn't hate his old way of loose living has never been converted. After the rapture, people who love to sin and live loose lives will suddenly realize what fools they have been. How about you?

Second, the "church" that is left behind will be made up of people who resist the truth.

"For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith" (II Timothy 3:6-8).

Jannes and Jambres were the two Egyptian magicians and priests who were against Moses in Pharaoh's court, in Egypt. These men refused to listen to Moses and rejected God. Those in the church that is left behind are like them, "So do these also resist the truth" (II Timothy 3:8).

Do you "resist the truth" that you need Jesus Christ to save you? Do you "resist the truth" that you need to have your sins cleansed by the Blood of Christ? Do you "resist the truth" that you need to be converted and come into the local church and be there every time the door is open, as a true believer in Christ, and true follower of His teachings? If you "resist" these great Bible truths you are no more "saved" than those two wicked Egyptian magicians in Pharaoh's palace long ago. You are part of the false "church." When the rapture comes, you will be left behind.

Third, the "church" that will be left behind gets increasingly worse as this age draws to a close:

"But evil men and seducers shall wax (i.e. grow) worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (II Timothy 3:13).

We now see so-called "Christians" doing things, and believing things, that no one thought a Christian would do or believe when I was a little boy over a half-century ago. Many older Christians I talk to are constantly shocked and dismayed at what they see and hear today from those who claim to be saved. And the Bible tells us that it will get "worse and worse" as the rapture draws near (II Timothy 3:13). These people may think they are saved, but they are actually part of the false "church" that will be left behind. What about you?

Fourth, the "church" that will be left behind does not put up with sound doctrine:

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (II Timothy 4:2-4).

People who are part of the false "church" don't want to hear preaching that contains reproof, rebuking and exhortation (II Timothy 4:2). Such people have "itching ears" (verse 3). They want to have their ears tickled with "positive thinking," pop-psychology, or novel ideas - even novel ideas about Bible prophecy. They don't want to hear old-fashioned preaching, like I remember from fifty years ago!

How about you? If you want a smiling preacher with a "positive" message, to make you feel better, I think you will be part of the false "church" that is left behind.

Fifth, the "church" that is left behind will have its folly manifested to everyone:

"But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men…" (II Timothy 3:9).

The word "folly" here means "madness" according to Strong's Concordance.

Many of the things so-called "Christians" love in their "churches" are absolute madness! They will tell you that it's all "up to date," modern, and successful. But it is really madness.

God says,

"Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:16).

God will spit the false "church" out of His mouth because of the "madness" of lukewarm, so-called, "Christianity."

The folly and madness of the false "church" will be seen by all, because it will be left behind at the rapture. How about you? Will the madness of your life show that you are not a real Christian in that day?

II. The awakening and conversion of many in the false "church" that will be left behind.

In Matthew 25:1-13 we have the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins. Arno C. Gaebelein, Wilbur M. Smith, and other well-known Bible scholars taught that this passage refers to Christians in this age. I am convinced they were correct. Therefore, verses ten through twelve refer to the rapture, and what will happen directly after the rapture:

"And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not" (Matthew 25:10-12).

Those who are truly converted "went in with him (Christ) to the marriage." That means they are raptured, to meet the Lord in the air (cf. I Thessalonians 4:16-17). After the rapture, the false "Christians" (foolish virgins) say to Christ, "Lord, Lord, open to us" (verse eleven). They realize that they have been left behind. But Christ replies, "Verily I say unto you, I know you not" (verse twelve).

I believe strongly, with Dr. Wilbur M. Smith and other scholars I have mentioned, that this is the way you will feel when you realize that you have missed the rapture. This will terrify you, and some of you will then begin to seek Christ earnestly for the first time in your life.

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13).

When you seek Christ with all your heart you will find Him - even in the Tribulation period.

In Revelation 7:4-14 we read about 144,000 Jewish people and "a great multitude, which no man could number," of Gentiles, who will be converted in a short period of time. This will be the third of the greatest revivals in history, and the greatest one of all.

Between about 30 AD and 96 AD the first great revival swept hundreds of thousands of people into salvation. This revival began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47) and continued for about sixty-five years.

The second of the greatest revivals of history was the Reformation. Beginning with Luther's posting of the Ninety-Five Theses on the church door at Wittenberg, and continuing through the death of John Calvin in 1564, the Reformation was supremely a revival:

The Reformation was a great and general revival of religion during which tens of thousands of souls were born again. This gracious spiritual awakening profoundly affected Germany, Switzerland, France, Holland, and Great Britain; also to a considerable degree Spain and Italy. The saving truths of the Word of God became so widespread and deeply rooted in the hearts of the people, that the Church of Rome tried in vain to halt its progress by kindling the fires of persecution. Without doubt the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century was the greatest revival of religion that the church witnessed since the days of the Apostles (Gilbert Egerton, Flame of God, Ambassador Publications, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1987).

The third of these greatest revivals in history will be the awakening of the Tribulation period, recorded, as I said, in Revelation 7:4-14. We read:

"These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14).

The revival of the first century lasted about sixty years, from c. 30 AD to c. 96 AD. It took Christianity from a tiny group of converted Jews to a world-wide religion. The Reformation revival lasted about forty-seven years, from 1517 to 1564. It spread genuine Christian conversion throughout the world. The third and greatest revival of all time, in the Tribulation period, will sweep millions of Jews and Gentiles into the Kingdom of God.

But before you get too ecstatic, remember that each of these revivals comes during great persecution. In the first century, the Emperor Nero executed both the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul, plus thousands of others - merely because they were Christians. At the end of this revival, the Emperor Domitian once again persecuted the Christians. Historian Earle E. Cairns writes:

Nero had the dubious distinction of being the first major persecutor of the Christian Church. Tacitus recorded the rumor that Nero had ordered the fire that destroyed part of the city of Rome. This rumor was so widespread that Nero had to find a scapegoat. He diverted feelings against himself to the Christians by accusing them of arson and by engaging in (the) destruction of the Christians. Peter and Paul died in this period.
          Persecution broke out again in 95 (AD) during the reign of the despotic Domitian. The Jews had refused to pay a poll tax that had been levied for the support of Capitolinus Jupiter (an idol). Because the Christians continued to be associated with the Jews, they also suffered the effects of the emperor's wrath. It was during this persecution that the Apostle John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation (Earle E. Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries, Zondervan, 1981, p. 91).

During the Reformation revival, horrible persecution against true Christians was also wide spread. Dr. Cairns writes:

The Roman church had two weapons of coercion to back up the propaganda of the Jesuits. These were the Inquisition and the Index. The…Roman Inquisition was proclaimed by a Papal bull of Paul III in 1542 as an instrument to deal with heresy anywhere until it was abolished in 1854. Those accused were always presumed guilty till they proved their innocence; they were never confronted with their accusers; they could be made to testify against themselves; and they could be tortured to extract a confession. If sentenced, they were punished by loss of property, imprisonment, or burning at the stake, unless they confessed and recanted. These punishments were carried out by the secular authorities under the watchful eye of the inquisitors (Earle E. Cairns, op. cit., p. 348).

During the Reformation revival thousands of people were executed for their faith in Jesus Christ. In 1572, virtually every Protestant in France was murdered on St. Bartholomew's Day, in one great bloody slaughter.

Before you think you should wait until after the rapture, to be converted during the Tribulation revival, remember that it will cost you persecution and execution. Here's what will happen among those who are not Christians at that time:

"And they worshipped the dragon (Satan) which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast (the Antichrist), saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear" (Revelation 13:4-9).

The "beast" in verse four is the Antichrist, the coming world-ruler. The "forty and two months" of verse five is the last three-and-a-half years of the Tribulation. "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them" (Revelation 13:7).

The Antichrist will overcome and kill every Christian who is saved in the Tribulation revival.

"And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast (the Antichrist), neither his image…" (Revelation 20:4).

Remember that the French used the guillotine during their revolution until the streets of Paris ran red with the blood of those who were beheaded. This will happen again, to those who become Christians during the Tribulation.

I wouldn't wait to be saved until after the rapture if I were you. I would seek Christ now, while it is so much easier.

Man and wife asleep in bed,
She hears a noise, and turns her head - he's gone.
I wish we'd all been ready.
Two men walking up a hill,
One disappears and one's left standing still.
I wish we'd all been ready.

There's no time to change your mind,
How could you have been so blind?
The Father spoke, the demons dined,
The Son has come, and you've been left behind.
                "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" by Larry Norman.


Scripture Read Before Sermon: Revelation 3:14-19.

Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" by Larry Norman.


You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

 
 

THE OUTLINE OF

THE "CHURCH" THAT WILL BE LEFT BEHIND

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" (Revelation 3:16-17).

I.   The identity of the "church" that will be left behind, II Timothy 3:1-13.
1. It is made up of people with unconverted hearts,
          II Timothy 3:1-5; Galatians 5:19-21;
          II Corinthians 5:17.
2. It is made up of people who resist the truth,
          II Timothy 3:6-8.
3. It is increasingly worse as the age draws to a close,
          II Timothy 3:13.
4. It does not endure sound preaching, II Timothy 4:2-4.
5. Its folly shall be manifested to all men, II Timothy 3:9;
          Revelation 3:16.

II.  The awakening and conversion of many in the "church" that will
    be left behind, Matthew 25:10-12; Jeremiah 29:13;
    Revelation 7:4-14; Revelation 13:4-9; Revelation 20:4.