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REVIVAL AMID APOSTASY,
Jesus told us to beware of setting an exact time for the end of the world as we know it. He said:
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Matthew 24:36).
But Christ also told us that we could know the general time of the end. He said:
"But as the days of Noe (Noah) were, so shall
also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before
the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,
until the day that Noe (Noah) entered into the ark, And knew not until the
flood came, and took them all away; shall also the coming of the Son of
That is the way people are right now, today. They are living just the way people lived in the time of Noah, recorded in Genesis, chapters four through seven. Millions of them had called on the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26). But these so-called "believers" never entered Noah's Ark.
"And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation" (Genesis 7:1).
"And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark" (Genesis 7:7).
"And all flesh died that moved upon the earth…All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land died…and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark" (Genesis 7:21-23).
"(God) spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly" (II Peter 2:5).
The so-called "godly line of Seth" was drowned in the Flood. They had called on the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26), but they were judged by the Flood. And the Bible calls them "the ungodly" (II Peter 2:5). They were religious, but they were lost. They were like millions of so-called "Christians" today. They were not prepared for Judgment. How about you?
Jesus said, in Matthew 24:37-39, that people would be caught unprepared for judgment in the last days, just as they were unprepared in Noah's time. Jesus continued by saying:
"Then shall two be in the field; the one
shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the
mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye
know not what hour your Lord doth come"
I am convinced that this refers to the rapture of true Christians from the world:
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not
all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of
an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall
be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed"
"And the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them
in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…"
The great Tribulation will then come to the earth, a time of judgment, as God sent judgment in Noah's day.
Now, tonight, I want to deal with this subject
under three headings.
1. Where we are right now.
2. What will happen next.
3. How revival, followed by great
persecution, will then come to those on earth.
I. First, where we are right now.
Turn with me in your Bible to II Thessalonians 2:3. Here we read:
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (II Thessalonians 2:3).
Dr. W. A. Criswell said of this verse:
The phrase "a falling away" may be translated "the apostasy." The use of the article (the) indicates that Paul has in mind a specific apostasy. The implication is that before "the day of the Lord" there will occur a marked falling away of professed believers (The Criswell Study Bible, note on II Thessalonians 2:3).
I am convinced that we are living in that period right now. We are now in the Great Apostasy. The "man of sin," the Antichrist, will be "revealed" in the future, during the Tribulation. But the "falling away" has been going on for well over a hundred years, since the days of Charles G. Finney. This man, Finney, and those who copied his methods, filled our churches with lost people, who "called on the name of the Lord," as they did in the days of Noah, but were not truly saved by entering into the Ark of salvation (a type of Christ). As a result of adopting Finney's methods of "decisionism," the churches were filled with unconverted people. The Congregationalists fell into apostasy first. Then the Methodists became apostate; then the Presbyterians; and then most of the Baptist groups. Liberalism did not cause the apostasy. The apostasy was caused by decisionism. Liberalism was a result of decisionism, as I have shown in my book, Today's Apostasy (Hearthstone, 1999).
Today, as Dr. A. W. Tozer said, probably less than one out of ten evangelicals "knows anything experientially about the new birth" (quoted in Getting Evangelicals Saved, Bethany House Publishers, 1989, p. 46).
That is the reason so many evangelicals miss church, live loose lives, and hold false doctrines. Decisionism has filled our churches with lost people who know nothing about the new birth and conversion. Millions of them cling to a false hope, but they are not in Christ. They are not in the ark of salvation.
II. Then, secondly, the Bible tells us what will happen next.
The rapture will come (I Thessalonians 4:16-17). Then those who are converted will be taken suddenly to be with Christ. But if A. W. Tozer's estimate is close to being correct, over ninety percent of those who think they are saved will be left behind! They will not be raptured!
"But as the days of Noe (Noah) were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be…(They) knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matthew 24:37-42).
Then, in the following parable, Jesus said:
"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" (Matthew 25:10).
I know that there are several fancy theories about what this means. But they don't convince me. The plain statement shows that many will not be ready for the rapture!
"…the bridegroom (Jesus) came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut" (Matthew 25:10).
What will happen then? Jesus said:
"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. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 25:11-13).
Even if you disagree with my view of the above verses, you must admit (if you think about it) that many who think they are saved now will be left behind at the rapture because they are not truly converted. Logic, as well as Scripture, demands that this will happen. Jesus said:
"Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:21-23).
This passage presents such a clear picture that I don't see how anyone can disagree with my basic position: Many people who think they are saved will actually be unprepared for the rapture because they are not truly converted! How about you? As the old song puts it,
Oh, can we say we are ready, brother?
Many of you will not be ready for "the soul's bright home" when the rapture comes! You will be left behind!
III. Thirdly, let us spend a little time thinking about
how revival will
Yes, there will be a great revival in the Tribulation, after the rapture. Dr. John R. Rice said:
After every saved person shall be taken away with Jesus, and when the Antichrist himself will rule on the earth, will come the Great Tribulation. The Antichrist will refuse people who do not take his mark the right to buy and sell. Those who get converted under these conditions will surely risk their lives for Christ. And yet, the Bible tells us plainly that in the Great Tribulation there will come the most marvelous revival…In the first part of this chapter (Revelation 7), we have a discussion of 144,000 Israelites who will be converted during this time of the Great Tribulation…But aside from the Israelites, here is "a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues" who are saved. These will come out of the Great Tribulation…What a revival God will give in the tribulation time! (We Can Have Revival Now, Sword of the Lord, 1950, pp. 30-33).
We are told that 144,000 Jews will be saved in the short period of the Tribulation (Revelation 7:4-8). Then we are told that a "multitude, which no man could number," of all races on earth, will be truly converted in this remarkable Tribulation revival (Revelation 7:9-17).
"And he said to me, 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).
Remember, according to the figures given in Revelation 7:4-17, this will be the greatest revival in all of history. Millions will be truly converted in a few months, including tens of thousands of Jewish people!
How can it be? Of course, revival comes from God. But what human event will He use to awaken people from the sleep of death in lifeless churches and synagogues? I believe that God could use the rapture itself to trigger this greatest-of-all revivals.
"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 25:11-12).
Imagine the horror that millions would have when they realize that the rapture has come and they have been left behind! They would say:
"Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied (preached and witnessed) in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" (Matthew 7:22).
Great fear then grips them as they see the events they knew about developing quickly on the world scene. Millions know about these events from Hal Lindsey's best-seller, The Late Great Planet Earth. Millions more know about the Tribulation from Dr. Tim LaHaye's best-selling Left Behind series of books. Suddenly, they will be confronted with the horrible truth. They will quake and tremble, and cry out, I'VE BEEN LEFT BEHIND!
The horror of this knowledge will awaken literally millions of people, in my judgment. God will use it to awaken them from dead religion.
When you are left behind, you will then realize that you were never converted at all. You will realize that you made a "decision," but you never saw your sin and you never knew Christ in reality. You will be horror-stricken, filled with bone-shaking terror!
Oh, how I wish you would examine yourself now!
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the
If you did not come to the end of yourself, you are still lost. If you rested in the fact that you "changed your way of living," you are still lost. If you comforted yourself because you believed the facts of the gospel, you are still as lost as the Devil, who believes all of the "Roman Road" and the "plan of salvation." If you are trusting the fact that you made a decision or said a "sinner's prayer," you are still lost. If you think you are saved because you confessed sin or "asked Jesus into your heart," you are still lost! Oh, I beg you to give up your false salvation! Don't be left behind at the Rapture! Don't go to Hell when you die! Give up your false conversion, and seek Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Messiah, the Deliverer, the mediator between God and man! Seek Jesus until you find Him and are washed from your sins by His Blood!
"It is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you" (Hosea 10:12).
"Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:24-25).
But, someone says, "I can wait and be saved later, in the Great Tribulation." Ah, what a clever "twister" the Devil is! True, you may be saved later, but think of the horror you will have to go through! It will be even worse than the terrible persecution people must go through in China or Viet Nam to be real Christians today. They are experiencing revival amid great persecution right now. It will be even worse than that then, in the Tribulation.
The Antichrist will "overcome" Christians in the Tribulation (Revelation 13:7). The government will behead many for "the witness of Jesus" then (Revelation 20:4). Those who become Christians then will be "slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held" (Revelation 6:9).
Do not wait! Do not be left behind! Do not
tarry until you are tortured, imprisoned and beheaded if you become a
Christian! Turn to Jesus Christ fully - now!
Scripture Read Before Sermon: Matthew 24:36-42.
Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "Will Jesus
Find Us Watching?" by Fanny J. Crosby/"I Wish We'd All Been Ready" by Larry
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the
THE OUTLINE OF
REVIVAL AMID APOSTASY,
I. Where we are right now, I Thessalonians 2:3.
II. What will happen next, I Thessalonians
III. How revival, followed by great persecution, will then come, Revelation 7:4-17; Matthew 25:11-12; Matthew 7:22; II Corinthians 13:5; Hosea 10:12; Romans 3:24-25; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 20:4; Revelation 6:9.