22 Feb 2017 – The Rapture is Your Blessed Hope in Dark Times – Pastor Joseph Prince Sermon Notes Online – New Creation Church Midweek Service Sermon Notes Online
22 Feb 2017 – The Rapture is Your Blessed Hope in Dark Times – Pastor Joseph Prince Sermon Notes Online – New Creation Church Midweek Service Sermon Notes Online
Taste and see that the Lord is good. It is for us to experience and enjoy.
It’s not just a concept, it’s a reality.
God’s goodness will lead us to repentance. His goodness, if experienced first, will bring us to victory.
Under the Old Covenant you have to repent before you see God’s goodness. Today, God says “Take as much as you can”.
Even the capacity to receive His goodness, is goodness itself. Take God’s goodness first and you will repent without realizing it.
The devil is outplaying his hand – By causing the focus to be on Israel in these last days, he is actually fulfilling Bible prophecy.
Jesus said “your house is left to you desolate”.
About 40 years after that, the Romans came in, destroyed the temple, and the Jews were scattered to the four corners of the earth.
The Bible says that the Jews will come back again as a nation. We have seen Israel come back as a nation in our generation.
God wants us to realize and to be alerted to the fact that we are in the last days.
The Lord is our Bridegroom and He is coming back for us (His bride). Before the worst happens, the Lord will come back for us.
The Great Tribulation is coming. It is also called the time of Jacob’s trouble.
Many people are confused as to whether the Rapture will happen pre-Trib, mid-Trib or post-Trib.
Some people say that they are “pan-Trib” – what does that mean? It means it will all pan out. That shows ignorance. The Lord doesn’t want us to be ignorant about His coming.
After Jesus died, Mary Magdalene didn’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead, but she loved Him.
Like Mary, we got to have a heart of love for Jesus. It’s better to have a heart full of love without having perfectly correct doctrine, than a mind full of Bible knowledge but with a heart as cold as ice.
King Herod asked the Chief Priests and the Scribes where the Messiah will be born.
They told the king that the Prophet Nahum said that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem Ephratah.
They used Bible knowledge to come against the Lord.
Why do we want Bible knowledge? To tell our friends that we have more information than them? That’s pride. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.
The Lord can teach those with a heart of love and take care of their doctrine.
Matthew 24 – Matthew 24 is not for the church. Matthew 24 is spoken to the Jewish believers who are saved during the days of the Great Tribulation after the Rapture.
The entire chapter of Matthew 24, Jesus talks about His coming and the signs of His coming (at the end of the Great Tribulation, not about the Rapture).
If it wasn’t important, why would Jesus speak so much about it? Some people who are Preterists say that Matthew 24 has already happened and that it was fulfilled in AD 70.
That cannot be because the Abomination of Desolation has not been set up in the holy place yet.
In the Rapture, Jesus comes FOR us. In the Second Coming, Jesus comes WITH us.
In the Second Coming, Jesus comes back for Israel.
In the Rapture, Jesus’ feet doesn’t touch the earth. He calls us up to meet Him in the air.
The word “Rapture” doesn’t occur in the Bible. Neither does “Trinity”. But the truth does - Triune God.
In Greek, the Rapture is “harpazo” which means “a catching away”.
Matthew Henry, a famous Bible commentator, lived before the 18th Century and he talked about the “Rapture”.
Nearly 1 out of 21 verses of the New Testament talks about the Second Coming of the Lord.
The church thinks that preaching about it is not practical and not helpful.
If you don’t preach about the Rapture, the people will be robbed of their Blessed Hope.
They will hold on to the things of the world with such a tight fist.
Yes we are to occupy until He comes, but the Rapture is the hope that purifies.
Look at the parable that Jesus says about a servant who says “My lord delays his coming”.
Look at the result of this wrong believing: The next thing you know, he is beating up the man-servants and the maid-servants.
If you don’t believe in the imminency of Jesus’ coming, you will end up coming against the new commandment which is “Love one another”.
“Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:1-51 NKJV)
I John 3:2-3 – Why is the church not more pure than it really is – purity in our life and actions and all that?
It’s because the church has been robbed of the Blessed Hope.
The very mockery that you see happening in the last days about the Rapture is a fulfillment of the Bible itself.
Scoffers will come in the last days and ask where is the sign of His coming.
Some people in the church say that looking forward to the Rapture is having an ‘escape-mentality’.
Thank God that Noah believed in the escape. That’s how he escaped the flood.
What about Abraham? God told him about Sodom and Gomorrah. Aren’t you glad that he was outside of Sodom and Gomorrah? Didn’t he escape?
Enoch walked with God and he was translated before the flood. He escaped. If God gives us a way of escape, take it!
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (I John 3:2-3 NKJV)
Some people in the church say that looking forward to the Rapture is having an ‘escape-mentality’. Thank God that Noah believed in the escape. That’s how he escaped the flood. What about Abraham? God told him about Sodom and Gomorrah. Aren’t you glad that he was outside of Sodom and Gomorrah? Didn’t he escape? Enoch walked with God and he was translated before the flood. He escaped. If God gives us a way of escape, take it!
John 14:1-3 - You can’t find the Rapture in Matthew 24. Where do you find the Rapture?
Six hours after Jesus shared on the Mount of Olives, He was in the Upper Room. The truths shared by Jesus in the Upper Room are all church truths.
A few hours later Jesus was going to be betrayed.
You are about to find the key to having a heart that is not troubled -
Jesus said “In My Father’s house are many mansions”, not many ‘huts’. Jesus said “I go to prepare a place for you.” And “I will come again and receive you to Myself” – this is the Rapture.
For the first time, Jesus unveiled to them the Rapture. The Rapture is nothing more than us having our final inheritance – a brand-new glorified body.
The grace of God teaches us to look for the Blessed Hope, not for death. Death is not a scriptural posture – it’s not New Testament posture.
We are to look up and not down. Think about it, was it possible for the Anti-Christ to sign a peace treaty with Israel 100 years ago?
No, Israel wasn’t back in their land yet. But now they are. We are the generation that is seeing this happen.
There is no event that must happen first before the Rapture. It can happen anytime.
““Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 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 to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3 NKJV)
Revelation 22:12 - Jesus said “Behold I am coming quickly”. “Quickly” is “Tachu” in Greek. It’s not referring to time. It’s talking about the manner in which Jesus comes.
The Rapture will happen swiftly and suddenly – in the twinkling of an eye.
““And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” (Revelation 22:12 NKJV)
Titus 2:11-13 – Grace will teach us to look for the Blessed Hope. It’s part of the grace teaching for believers to look for the Blessed Hope.
Unbelievers will not be Raptured. Professing Christians (who don’t really believe in Jesus) will not be Raptured.
But ALL believers will be Raptured.
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” (Titus 2:11-13 NKJV)
I Thessalonians 1:9-10 – Almost every book in the Bible talks about the Rapture. The seven years of Great Tribulation is also called the day of God’s wrath.
In those seven years, God will pour His wrath upon those unbelievers who have broken His covenant and practice lawlessness.
Paul is writing to Christians that we will be delivered from the Great Tribulation (the wrath to come).
“For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” (I Thessalonians 1:9-10 NKJV)
I Thessalonians 5:9 – This is writing to Christians, talking about the salvation of our new bodies.
“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (I Thessalonians 5:9 NKJV)
I Thessalonians 4:13-18 - Whenever the Holy Sprit says He doesn’t want us to be ignorant, don’t be ignorant.
Believers don’t go through death. Jesus has already conquered death for us.
"Fallen asleep" is used to refer to believers who have passed on. They don’t die, they just fall asleep.
This is the word of the Lord, it’s not a figment of Paul’s imagination.
The Rapture is such that the world wont even notice that Jesus has come. We will hear Jesus’ voice, but the world won’t. They will only notice that we are gone.
The world is preparing movies like “Close Encounters with the Third Kind” and “The Invasion of the Bodysnatchers” to prepare an explanation for our sudden disappearance.
So many intelligent people believe in UFOs but not in God. The devil has prepared many apparitions in the skies to deceive people.
The Rapture will happen so fast that only those who are saved will be attuned to Jesus – it’s like how paperclips are attracts to a magnet.
Any size/shape/color of metal paperclip (true Christians) will be attracted, except for imitation paperclips (professing Christians) made of plastic.
Some people believe that only ‘faithful believers’ will be Raptured. But at what point is faithful considered faithful enough?
Some believers in Thessalonica were disorderly, lazy (not working), and busybodies.
Despite that, Paul said that the only requirement to be Raptured is that you are alive and remain – he didn’t say only those who are 'special overcomers' or those who are 'specially devoted' will be Raptured.
Usually that type of teaching is born out of pride, and usually they include themselves, saying that they will be saved but others will not.
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (I Thessalonians 4:13-18 NKJV)
Matthew 25:1-13 – Some believers think that the ten virgins is talking about the church.
No, the ten virgins only appear after Matthew 24 which is about the Jews.
The ten virgins are the bridesmaids, they are not the bride.
The bride is not there – the church is Raptured already!
““Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘ No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 25:1-13 NKJV)
You are about to find the key to having a heart that is not troubled - Jesus said “In My Father’s house are many mansions”, not many ‘huts’. Jesus said “I go to prepare a place for you.” And “I will come again and receive you to Myself” – this is the Rapture. For the first time, Jesus unveiled to them the Rapture. The Rapture is nothing more than us having our final inheritance – a brand-new glorified body.
I Corinthians 15:51-58 – The Rapture is a mystery. A mystery means you can’t find it in the Old Testament. Both Enoch and Elijah were Raptured bodily.
Many will repent when they see that we have disappeared after the Rapture.
During the seven years of Great Tribulation, 144,000 Jewish evangelists will preach the gospel of the kingdom.
The Christians in Corinthians were called “babies in Christ” by Paul. They were visiting temple prostitutes. They were suing one another in court. Yet they shall ALL be changed and Raptured.
Paul rebuked them, but he still rebuked them as how a father rebukes a child.
After the Rapture happens, we will not be like a spirit floating around. We will have a brand-new, incorruptible body.
In both sin and death, Christ has given us the victory.
Pastors and leaders, if we preach the Rapture, our people will be encouraged to work even harder for the Lord, because time is short.
The reason why we have people who have no heart for missions, no heart to win souls, is because the Blessed Hope has been removed from their sight.
“Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (I Corinthians 15:51-58 NKJV)
Leviticus 25:13-17 - These are instructions from God regarding buying property.
When you buy land from a neighbor, the more years until the next Jubilee, the higher the price.
The fewer years until the next Jubilee, the lower the price.
After all that person is selling you the land is actually selling you a number of harvests.
When Jubilee is determines the valuation of the land.
So how do we value the things that we are holding on to?
There’s nothing wrong with studying hard. The Bible says “Occupy till I come.” Your hand gotta be busy. Don’t be lazy and say “Jesus is coming back, I’m not going to work.”
Whatever you preach, there will always be lazy people. But you cannot judge a truth based on how a few people choose to live their lives.
When the Rapture happens, your children will never have to step into a hospital again. They will never die. They will have a brand-new body forever.
“‘In this Year of Jubilee, each of you shall return to his possession. And if you sell anything to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor’s hand, you shall not oppress one another. According to the number of years after the Jubilee you shall buy from your neighbor, and according to the number of years of crops he shall sell to you. According to the multitude of years you shall increase its price, and according to the fewer number of years you shall diminish its price; for he sells to you according to the number of the years of the crops. Therefore you shall not oppress one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 25:13-17 NKJV)
Philippians 3:20-21 – Our bodes will become like Jesus’ glorious resurrected body.
Every time Paul teaches about the Rapture, he teaches something practical. (Philippians 4:1 THEREFORE stand fast…).
If a pastor preaches about the Rapture, the Blessed Hope purifies the congregation.
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21 NKJV)
II Corinthians 5:9-11 - Who are we going to see when He comes? Jesus. There is no word for “judgment seat” in “judgment seat of Christ”.
The original word is “Bema”: the Bema Seat of Christ. We are not going to be standing before the White Throne of God to be judged for our sins.
We have passed from death to life. We have forgiven of sins. By Him we are justified of all things.
When you stand before Jesus at the Bema Seat of Christ, The Judge is your righteousness.
You will be standing before Him in your new glorious body. Jesus will not ask you then to go to hell.
Some people are not settled in their hearts in the gospel of grace.
Teaching the Blessed Hope does not produce lazy people. It produces people abounding in the work of the Lord – pure people, zealous for good works.
“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.” (II Corinthians 5:9-11 NKJV)
Hebrews 10:25 – As the final Jubilee comes closer and closer, let’s work hard, study hard, be involved in social outreach, be a blessing to mankind, but hold it lightly because Jesus is coming.
The Bridegroom is coming for His bride.
“not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25 NKJV)
Revelation 22:16-17 – This is final chapter of the entire Bible. The Root – something that produces. This is Jesus’ deity.
The Offspring – produced by David. This is Jesus’ humanity.
To the church, Jesus appears as the Bright and Morning Star.
In the final chapter of the Old Testament (in Malachi), the Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in His wings.
For Israel, Jesus comes as the Sun of Righteousness.
Which one comes first in the day? The sun or the bright and morning star? The bright and morning star comes first.
When the world is dark, get ready. He is coming. He will come for the church first.
When it becomes sunny, He will be dealing with Israel again. And He will come as the Sun.
We are already married to Jesus, but the celebration of the marriage will be when we see Jesus face to face.
We love Him whom we have not seen. He will sweep us off our feet.
For three times in the final chapter of the Bible, God says He is coming speedily/suddenly/swiftly. He must really be longing for us.
Are you longing for Him? We’re not for a head full of Bible knowledge.
We’re for a heart full of passion and love for the Lord because He first loved us.
The Lord is waiting for the Spirit and the Bride.
He is waiting for us to say “Come”. Some of us cannot say “come” because our hearts are too bound by the things of this world.
For us who have bridal affections for the Lord, who see His glorious beauty, we say “Come Lord Jesus” –
it’s the end of all suffering – no more tears, no more sorrow, no more pain, forever.
““I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:16-17 NKJV)
The Lord is waiting for the Spirit and the Bride. He is waiting for us to say “Come”. Some of us cannot say “come” because our hearts are too bound by the things of this world. For us who have bridal affections for the Lord, who see His glorious beauty, we say “Come Lord Jesus” – it’s the end of all suffering – no more tears, no more sorrow, no more pain, forever.
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