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by Dr. C. L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, January 17, 2016

“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).

In China, in Africa, in other parts of the Third World, millions are trusting Christ. Revival is being poured out from Heaven. But in America and in the West, the churches are cold and there is no revival.

In Europe and America we have turned away from God. In 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States made abortion on demand legal. For forty-three years we have allowed babies by the millions to be killed without raising a hand to stop it. Fifty-eight million American babies have been murdered by abortion in their mother’s womb. Our country has killed more than nine times as many people as Hitler. This nation is under the judgment of God. Even the so-called conservatives will not take a stand against abortion. The Republican Congress passed a budget that gives huge sums of your tax money to Planned Parenthood, which sells baby parts for experiments. Shame on the Republicans! Thank God Franklin Graham dropped out of the Republican Party! Thank God that he said, “I have no hope in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, or [the] Tea Party to do what is best for America” ( And let me make it very clear that the Democratic Party is even worse than the Republican. There is no hope in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, or in any form of politics. The only true hope is in Christ! Christ said, “I will come again.” And there are many signs of His coming all around us.

I am convinced that the sin we see in our churches and in our nation is a sign that the Second Coming of Christ is near. But there is another sign as well. The Jewish people are returning to their land. God told the Jewish people He will “gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:24). God said to them, “I will...bring you into the land of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:12). That prophecy began to be fulfilled in 1948 when the nation of Israel was established. As Israel returns to their land – we know the end is near! We see this in our lifetime. We are now living near the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ.

Today I want to look at the Second Coming of Christ in more detail. The Bible says that His coming will be in two parts. First, He will come in the air. Later He will come to the earth.

I. First, what will happen when Christ comes in the air.

Christ will come in the air and take the Christians up to Heaven with Him. The Bible says,

“The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: 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: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

This is called the “rapture.” The English word “rapture” comes from a Latin word which means to “carry off” or “catch up.” The Bible says “the dead in Christ shall rise first,” resurrected from the dead and raised to meet Christ. Then the Christians who are alive on earth will be “caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” All the Christians will receive immortal resurrection bodies. The Bible says,

“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” (I Corinthians 15:51-52).

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” believers will receive bodies that will never die. We will meet the Lord Jesus in the air and be caught up to Heaven with Him.

When will this happen? No one knows the day, for Christ said, “Of that day and hour knoweth no man” (Matthew 24:36). Anyone who gives a date for Christ’s return is a false prophet! But we can know the general period of time. With sign after sign being fulfilled, we know that we are living in the last days.

Many Americans have the idea they will enjoy life with their money and fun and three-day weekends – and one day they’ll be raptured from the beach or the mountains without suffering at all. That would sound strange to the Christians in North Korea, where they suffer prison, starvation and death for believing in Jesus. That would puzzle the Christians in Iran and Iraq and Syria, where the Muslims cut off their heads if they trust the Son of God. There is no reason why poverty, persecution and death cannot come to America before Christ comes in the air. In a country that kills its unborn babies, I’d be surprised if God’s judgment did not fall.

And many of you will be left behind. Christ told a parable about ten virgins. The “virgins” were not worldly unbelievers, but religious people. Five of them were saved, but the other five were lost. Then the bridegroom, who is Christ, came. “They that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut” (Matthew 25:10). The five who were saved went to meet Christ. The other five were left behind. “The door was shut.” They cried, “Lord, Lord, open to us” (Matthew 25:11). But the Lord answered, “I know you not” (Matthew 25:12).

Why won’t Christ know you? Because you refused to know Him! You did not trust Him! Your sin was not washed away by Christ’s Blood. Your sin was not paid for by His death on the Cross. You did not receive life from His resurrection. In the passage of Scripture Mr. Prudhomme read, Jesus said, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). You did not trust Jesus, so you cannot be with God. When the rapture comes, you’ll be left behind!

II. Second, what will happen after Christ comes in the air.

At the rapture Christ will come in the air and the Christians will be raised to meet Him there. Christ will take His people to Heaven. What will happen to them?

In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, Christ spoke of Himself as the bridegroom. He said, “The bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage” (Matthew 25:10). The true Christians are the bride of Christ, and they will marry Him in Heaven after the rapture, at the marriage of the Lamb. The Bible prophesies,

“The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7-9).

Christ is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). His wife is the Christians of all the ages, clothed in “the righteousness of saints.” Jesus has waited a long time for His wedding. And what a time it will be! “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

Something else will happen in Heaven before the Christians return to earth with their Lord. That is the judgment of believers and the giving of rewards. This is called the “bēma judgment.” The Greek word “bēma” means “judgment seat.” The Apostle Paul wrote, “We must all appear before the judgment seat [bēma] of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Corinthians 5:10).

This is not the Last Judgment of the Unsaved Dead, when unbelievers will be judged for their sins and sent to the lake of fire. This is a judgment of Christians for what they have done on earth. It is only for Christians, for the Bible says, “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 3:11). Without the foundation of Christ, you are lost and going to Hell. But if you have Christ, you will be judged on what you did for Him. The Bible says, “If any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it” (I Corinthians 3:12-13). If a Christian builds a life of “gold, silver, precious stones...he shall receive a reward” (I Corinthians 3:12, 14). But if you waste your time with “wood, hay, stubble,” your “work shall be burned” and you will have no reward in His Kingdom (I Corinthians 3:15).

What rewards will Christ give, and why? Jesus has not forgotten you. If you are His faithful servant, He will give you a high position in His Kingdom. He will say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21, 23). To one He will say, “Be thou...over five cities” (Luke 19:19). To another He will say, “Have thou authority over ten cities” (Luke 19:17). Faithful Christians will reign with Christ over the earth in His Kingdom for a thousand years.

Christians will be rewarded for their suffering. The Bible says, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (II Timothy 2:12). Those who die for Jesus as martyrs will be given a reward. Christ said, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

There will be rewards for Christians who win souls. The Bible says, “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). What does it mean to turn someone to righteousness? Why, to win a soul to Christ!

When you go to Heaven to meet Christ, it won’t matter what kind of car you had, or how much money you had, or how many trips you took. But it will matter if you won souls! The only thing you can take to Heaven with you are the souls you win to Christ! Get busy with the work of soul winning! Bring in names from evangelism! Bring people to hear the Gospel yourself! May Christ give you the soul-winner’s crown!

But if you are not converted, you won’t be at this judgment. You would not trust Christ, who died to pay for your sin. You would not trust Christ, who gave His Blood to cleanse you from sin. So you will be left behind on earth to suffer burning and pain and blood and death in the Great Tribulation. When you die, you will go to Hell. At the Last Judgment, you will be cast into the lake of fire. That’s what will happen to you.

III. Third, what will happen when Christ comes to the earth.

First, Jesus will come in the air to take the Christians to Heaven with Him. Then He will come all the way down to earth with the Christians to set up His Kingdom. Christ ascended to Heaven from the Mount of Olives, just east of the city of Jerusalem. As the Disciples saw Him rise, two angels said to them,

“This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

Jesus went up from the Mount of Olives and He will come down in the same way, physically, to the Mount of Olives – and the Christians will come back with Him. The Bible says, “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives... and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (Zechariah 14:4-5). In the rapture, Christ will come in the air, for the Christians. Later He will come to the earth, with the Christians. These are the two parts of the Second Coming. When He comes to earth, Christ will set up His Kingdom and rule for a thousand years. The Bible says the Christians “lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).

But if you are not converted, none of this is for you! You’ll miss it all. What will happen to you? Judgment, pain, torment, and fire! You will be left behind at the rapture. The wrath of God will be poured out on you. You will suffer pain upon pain during the Great Tribulation. When you die you will be cast into Hell and be “tormented in...flame” (Luke 16:24). At the Last Judgment, you will be dragged out of Hell, and forced to hear your sins read from God’s books. Then you will be “cast into the lake of fire” to burn forever and ever (Revelation 20:15).

If you are not converted, there will be no rapture, no rewards, no Heaven, no Kingdom for you! You refused to trust Christ. You would not have your sin paid for by His death. You would not have your sin cleansed by His Blood! So you must suffer yourself for your own sin. For you there will be “no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26), but a “fearful looking for of judgment” (Hebrews 10:27). Judgment! The fire of Hell! For you, for you, for you! Oh, may it not be so. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: John 14:1-6.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Miss Julie Sivilay:
“In Times Like These” (by Ruth Caye Jones, 1902-1972).



by Dr. C. L. Cagan

“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).

(Ezekiel 36:24; 37:12)

I.   First, what will happen when Christ comes in the air,
I Thessalonians 4:16-17; I Corinthians 15:51-52; Matthew 24:36;
Matthew 25:10, 11, 12; John 14:6.

II.  Second, what will happen after Christ comes in the air,
Matthew 25:10; Revelation 19:7-9; John 1:29; II Corinthians 5:10;
I Corinthians 3:11-15; Matthew 25:21, 23; Luke 19:19, 17;
II Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:10; Daniel 12:3.

III. Third, what will happen when Christ comes to the earth, Acts 1:11;
Zechariah 14:4-5; Revelation 20:4; Luke 16:24; Revelation 20:15;
Hebrews 10:26, 27.