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by Dr. Christopher L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, August 25, 2019

“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; p. 1227 Scofield).

The Bible says the Christian dead will be raised to life, along with the Christians who are alive then. It will happen “at the last trump.” Both the dead and the living Christians will be changed, raised incorruptible in resurrected bodies which will never die.

Some of those bodies – even just the bones, or just a particle – have been there for centuries, slowly hardening. If Jesus were to postpone His return to earth, they would stay there for uncounted years. Someone might find the bones as fossils!

But the bones of dead Christians won’t stay there forever, slowly hardening, slowly decaying. God will raise the dead in immortal resurrected bodies. The Bible says, “The dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (I Corinthians 15:52).

How long will it take to raise the dead? Millions of years? Seventy or eighty years, the span of a human life? No, it will happen “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (I Corinthians 15:52).

Why so quick? Because it is God who will do it! In the time it takes to blink, all the Christian dead will be raised, and all the living Christians changed, taken up to Heaven with Christ at the rapture in resurrected bodies, forever changed. In the smallest moment, God can do infinitely more than nature or man can do in many years. I call this sermon, “God’s Moment Beats Man’s Lifetimes,” and so it is. I want to tell you more about what God does in a very short time, and then apply it to our church.

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Man can stumble along in sin and error for decades, or centuries, or millennia. What else could a child of Adam do? But God can intervene in a very short time – in judgment or in grace. I have already given you the example of the resurrection of the Christian dead. Let me give you more.

After Adam and Eve sinned and were put out of the Garden of Eden, their descendants went on for more than 1,600 years. The climate then was much better than it is now. People lived much longer then than they do today. They had many children. The human race grew to millions.

But they were all depraved sinners. They inherited their sin nature from Adam their ancestor. Adam sinned and ruined his own nature. That sin nature passed on to all his descendants, to the whole human race, even to you and me today.

The descendants of Adam acted out their sin nature. They committed violence. They committed sexual sin. Demons worked their evil in the human race. Finally “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5; p. 13). He decided to judge the human race with a flood. God warned Noah and told him to build an ark. It took Noah and his family 120 years to do that. Noah preached righteousness and judgment. But the others didn’t listen to him, because judgment had not come yet. Finally God did send judgment. Man had been sinning for one thousand six hundred years and more. But God moved in judgment in a very short time, starting on one specific day. Turn to Genesis chapter 7, verse 11. It’s on page 14 of the Scofield Study Bible.

“In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened” (Genesis 7:11).

The Flood didn’t happen slowly over a thousand or a hundred years. There would have been no need for an ark! God’s flood came on a definite day. Soon the whole earth was covered with water. All human beings perished except Noah and his family, the eight people who took refuge in the ark. Very quickly and very powerfully, God judged sixteen centuries of the sin of millions of men. God’s single day beat man’s centuries. That glorified God. It showed He is greater than man.

That’s the way God works. I could give you many examples, but I’ll just give you one more. The human race has lived on earth for a little over six thousand years, since the time of Adam. In that time empires have risen and fallen. In that time the earth and all living things have been damaged by man’s destruction. Scientists tell us that the burning of fossil fuels like coal and gasoline will destroy the earth’s climate forever and make it almost impossible to live. Man has murdered his fellow man by the millions in war. Man has done horrible wickedness. This has gone on for six thousand years. It will keep going on, getting worse until Jesus comes back. Finally man’s sin will reach its peak in a period of seven years called the Tribulation. During that time the whole earth will be ruled by a cruel dictator called the Antichrist. Things will be so bad that if God didn’t step in, nobody would be alive. Jesus said, “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matthew 24:22; p. 1033). That’s what sinful man does.

But praise God, those days will be shortened! At the end of the seven years, Jesus will come back to set up His Kingdom and rule over the earth. Turn to Revelation, chapter 19, verses 11 to 16. It’s on page 1348 in the Scofield Study Bible. The Apostle John said,

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16).

Who is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords? That’s the Lord Jesus Christ, coming back to Earth from Heaven! Now look at verse 20.

“And the beast [the Antichrist] was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20; p. 1349).

How long will it take Christ to come back from Heaven? How long will it take Him to condemn the Antichrist? A hundred years? One year? No, Christ will return on a single day! On that one day, in a very short time, Christ will undo what the Antichrist did in seven years and what the whole human race took six thousand years to do. Man may do his worst, but Christ will overturn it all with a single word!

Yes, when all is lost, Jesus will come back on a single day to rule over the earth. When it is impossible for man to restore the world, Christ will do it. On a single day, “The kingdoms of this world [shall] become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15; p. 1340).

I could go on, but the point is clear. God can do in a day, in a moment, what we could not do even if we had endless ages. God’s moment beats man’s lifetimes.

Now let me apply this truth to you who are here. Our church has wandered in the wilderness of the inner city and its culture for more than forty years. We have worked hard to win souls and build a church. Only a few stayed and trusted Christ. We have tried and we have failed.

We are going to start a new church in the San Gabriel Valley. Thanks to the vision of our founding pastor, Dr. Hymers, we will build the new church in new ways. We will work with Oriental people – Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. We will do evangelism in a different way. You will bring a person yourself. Stay with him and take care of him until he is saved. If you will win one soul, you will do something that very few Christians ever do.

Building this new church will take a lot of work and prayer. No doubt about it! But should it take 40 years or more to get that church going? The Bible says it doesn’t have to be that way. We saw it with the resurrection of the dead, with the Flood and with the Second Coming of Christ. God’s moment beats man’s lifetimes.

I do not say that victory will be instant. Certainly it won’t be automatic. This is not a time for overconfidence. But don’t count out God. It may take one or two or a few years – but God can grant fruit. God can overcome human weakness. Why spend thirty or forty years? Why do we have to fail? We don’t, you know. Brothers and sisters, let’s look forward to the new church. Pray for it. Think about it. When the pastors tell you about a new method, do that with all your might. Work to win a soul. Do your part to make that church a success. And, with God’s help, that’s exactly what it will be!

Some of you are not converted. You have not trusted Jesus. You can go on for weeks or months or years and still be lost. You have spent your lifetime in sin. But I tell you that God’s moment beats your lifetime. If you will turn to Jesus and trust Him, you will be saved in a single moment. All your sin and failure will be forever forgotten. I can remember the second or two when I trusted Christ and He saved me. The Bible says, “Look unto me, and be ye saved” (Isaiah 45:22; p. 754). If you are burdened and weary for your sin, look to Jesus. It only takes a moment to trust Him. If you will trust Jesus for a moment, He will forgive your sin and wash it away forever. If you would like to speak with us about trusting Christ, please come and stand at the front of the room now. Amen.