The Rapture of the Church

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The Rapture of the Church is a textual sermon by Earl White.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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."

Some people do not believe in the rapture of the church. They believe in a general resurrection at the end of this age when the Lord will come to judge and set up His eternal kingdom. One of their points is that the word "rapture" is not found in the Bible. I confess the word rapture is not found in the Bible but the words “caught up” are. Let’s examine this passage.

I. Those Who Are Sleeping.

First of all, Paul removes our ignorance concerning those who are asleep. This is a reference concerning the bodies of those saints who have died before the rapture. The church of Thessalonica was concerned about their dying loved ones. This passage answers that concern. The catching up of the church includes those who are dead in Christ who go first.

II. Those Who Are Saved.

Second, he makes it clear as to the qualifying conditions of those who are caught up together. Paul says, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” Believing that Jesus died and rose again is the definition of the gospel (See 1 Cor 15:1-4). If they believed, they were saved, and are included in those that will be caught up. They will follow the dead in Christ in this event of the church.

III. Those Who Hear the Shout.

Third, the catching up of the church will not take the living before the dead in Christ. 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.

You will notice that the living, “shall be caught up together with them in the clouds and so shall we ever be with the Lord." This is a union that will never be broken: “And so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

IV. Those Who Are Solaced.

Fourth, this truth as presented by Paul answers a lot of questions. He says, “wherefore comfort one another with these words.” Will we see our loved ones again? Yes, definitely; and this is a great comfort to those of us who have had loved ones from whom we have been separated by death. The teaching of the second coming and the catching up of the church should be a great comfort to those who love the Lord.

Conclusion:

The rapture of the church will definitely take place. Let’s comfort ourselves with this truth.


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