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THE RAPTURE!

A sermon written by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
and preached by Rev. John Samuel Cagan
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, September 16, 2018

“For 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:16-18).


How near is the end of the world? That is a question that has plagued mankind for generations. The Disciples asked Jesus, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3). The Disciples asked Jesus for a sign that would show how near we are to the end of the world as we know it.

On two different occasions Christ cautioned them against guessing about the exact time (Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7). But He did give them a number of signs that indicate the approach of the end. He said,

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

All of the signs Christ gave are now visible on the world scene. It therefore appears that we are now moving rapidly toward the end of history and the close of this present age. Here are six of the most important signs that we are nearing the end of the world, the end of this age:

1.  The reestablishing of Israel in 1948, with the Jewish
      people returning to their God-given homeland (Luke
      v21:24; Matthew 24:32-34; Ezekiel 37:21; 38:8).

2.  The rise of the “common market,” a coalition of
     European nations moving toward union (Daniel 2:40-45;
     Revelation 17:12).

3.  The increase of worldwide persecution against Christians
     and Jews (Matthew 24:9-10; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1).

4.  The increase of worldwide famines, imbalanced ecology,
     pestilences like the AIDS epidemic, and an increase of
     monster storms and earthquakes (Matthew 24:7).

5.  The rise of apostasy in Christianity (II Thessalonians 2:3;
     Matthew 24:11-12).

6.  The return of mankind to conditions like those that
     happened in the days of Noah, before the great Flood
     that destroyed the world (Matthew 24:37-39).

When Dr. Billy Graham received the Congressional Gold Medal from the United States Congress, he said this:

We are a society poised on the brink of self-destruction. Our culture is plagued with crime and violence, drug abuse, racial and ethnic tension, broken families and corruption.

In his book, The Vanishing Ministry, Dr. Woodrow Kroll said that between 3,500 and 4,000 churches close their doors forever each year in the United States. Dr. Hymers spoke with a young man from the Hmong tribe in Cambodia on the telephone a few years ago. People in the Hmong tribe are experiencing tremendous revival in Cambodia and Viet Nam. But this young man was an exchange student here in the United States, in one of our eastern colleges. He had heard about Dr. Hymers’ book, Today’s Apostasy. He phoned Dr. Hymers to ask about it. He said that he has sensed that something is wrong in our country, that the so-called Christians here seem lifeless and dead, compared to the revival he has experienced first-hand in the jungles of Cambodia. Dr. Hymers had to agree with him. These are dark and frightening days for many Christians in America. The Southern Baptists now lose 200,000 members every year.

Each year over twenty-five thousand people run half naked through the streets of Los Angeles during the traditional hour of Christian worship, in the annual marathon. As these wild neo-pagans ran through our city streets, we huddle here in church. Only a small number of people are real Christians at this dark and pagan hour of world history.

Is there any hope? Is there any way out of the darkness? I have to give a resounding “yes” to those questions. Yes, there is hope! But it will not come from man. Our hope is in the second coming of Christ, and in the rapture of true Christians! And I will speak about the rapture this morning.

I. First, the events of the rapture.

First let us consider the great events surrounding the occurrence of “the rapture.” Our text this morning tells us a great deal about it.

1.  Christ will descend from Heaven.

      “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven
        with a shout…”

2.  But He will not come all the way down
     to earth at that time. The text says:

       “to meet the Lord in the air…”

3.  There will be a loud “shout,” and a
     trumpet will blow as Christ comes down above the earth.

       “with the voice of the archangel, and with the
         (trumpet) of God…”

4.  Those true Christians who have already
     died will be resurrected and lifted up in the sky (raptured
     to meet the Lord in the air above the earth).

       “And the dead in Christ shall rise first…”

5.  Then the true Christians who are living
     will be raptured also, lifted up in the air to meet Jesus:

       “Then we which are alive and remain shall be
         caught up together with them in the clouds, to
         meet the Lord in the air…”

These are the five truths about the rapture. That is the hope of real Christians. Our hope lies in the rapture, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus said:

“I go to prepare a place for you. And…I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).

II. Then, secondly, think about the comfort of the rapture.

Our text concludes by saying:

“Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:18).

For the truly converted Christian, there is great comfort and encouragement in this promise of the rapture.

Think how horrible it is for lost people who are not real Christians when a family member dies. They look at the dead body. They think, “I will never see my loved one again.” Their hearts ache with bitter hopelessness. They watch the coffin lowered into a black hole in the ground. They hear the dirt falling on the coffin. They think about the body rotting, full of worms, under the ground. They think about their own body being buried like that. They are filled with horror, hopelessness and helplessness. The Bible speaks of them as “others which have no hope” (I Thessalonians 4:13). The Bible speaks of lost people as “having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

How about you? Do you have the hope of eternal life? Do you have the hope of certain resurrection? Do you have assurance that your dead body will rise and be raptured to meet Christ in the air? If you don’t believe those facts, you “have no hope.” There is “no hope” for you! (ref. I Thessalonians 4:13; Ephesians 2:12).

That’s why you need to turn to Christ fully and wholeheartedly today. Only Christ can give you hope. And turning to Christ begins by you being in this church every Sunday. And it isn’t enough to come once in a while, when it’s convenient. That won’t help you at all. You need to make a commitment to be here every Sunday and never miss – no matter what comes up. That’s the only thing that will help you to be converted. You see, if you don’t come back here, you’re not going to get saved. That other church you went to didn’t do you any good. Come back here! And do it every Sunday. Then you’ll have a wonderful chance of getting saved!

And then examine yourself inwardly. See how wicked and sinful your heart is. Come to distrust your own heart and hate the evil in your sinful nature. Give up all trust in yourself. Stop trusting your own feelings and thoughts. Come to the place of hating your own sinful heart.

And then throw yourself on Jesus Christ. Christ is the Son of God. Christ died on the Cross so your filthiness could be cleansed, so your sins could be washed away in His Blood. And He is alive in Heaven now, at the right side of God. Come to Jesus, and believe in Him fully, and your sins will be washed away, and you’ll be ready for the rapture!

III. But, thirdly, there is a warning in the rapture.

And the warning is this: When Christ comes in the air, if you are not converted, you will be left behind! Dr. Tim LaHaye wrote several books on the New York Times bestseller list on that subject, “Left Behind.” More people read the “Left Behind” books than any other books in America.

How about you? Will you be left behind when the rapture comes? This will not be a pleasant world after the rapture. God’s bowl judgments will be poured out in wrath and judgment. The world will be under a curse and under great judgment. The world will be a thousand times more frightening than it is now. I would not want to be left behind if I were you!

People will have incurable sores on their bodies. They will wander about seeking water, but the world’s water supply will be poisoned. And many other horrors will come to Los Angeles, and to the whole world, right after the rapture (ref. Revelation 16:1-21).

I would not want to be here when God pours out His judgment on this world. I would want to be raptured if I were you. I would want to have my sins washed away in Christ’s Blood so I could go to Heaven if I were you. Come back at 6:15 tonight and Dr. Hymers will tell you how to be ready for the rapture! Stand and sing hymn number 3, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.”

Life was filled with guns and war,
   And everyone got trampled on the floor,
I wish we’d all been ready.
   Children died, the days grew cold,
A piece of bread would buy a bag of gold,
   I wish we’d all been ready.
There’s no time to change your mind,
   How could you have been so blind?
The Saviour called, but you declined,
   The Son has come and you’ve been left behind,
You’ve been left behind,
   You’ve been left behind.

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 Saviour called, but you declined,
   The Son has come and you’ve been left behind,
You’ve been left behind,
   You’ve been left behind.
(“I Wish We’d All Been Ready” by Larry Norman, 1947-2008;
       chorus altered by the Pastor).


WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

(END OF SERMON)
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These sermon manuscripts are not copyrighted. You may use them without Dr. Hymers’
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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“I Wish We’d All Been Ready” (by Larry Norman, 1947-2008).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE RAPTURE!

A sermon written by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
and preached by Rev. John Samuel Cagan

“For 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:16-18).

I.    First, the events of the rapture, I Thessalonians 4:16-17; John 14:2-3.

II.   Second, the comfort of the rapture, I Thessalonians 4:18;
I Thessalonians 4:13; Ephesians 2:12.

III.  Third, the warning in the rapture, Revelation 16:1-21.