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See also: "Right With God or Left Behind?"
"Left Behind: On the Cutting Room Floor"
I’LL FLY AWAY
PSALMS 55:1-6; I Thess. 4:16-17
In these verses written by David, he is being oppressed by his enemies. He is tired of persecution and wickedness all around him. Thus, in his prayer to God, he says “I wish I could fly away to a place of rest and get away from it all.”
Have you ever felt like that? Well one day we will get away, for we will literally fly away. If it is in death, we fly away in our soul, to be later joined by our bodies at the rapture. If it is at the rapture, we fly away to heaven with the Lord in body and soul.
A farmer had an old clock that just about was gone. One night it struck 16 times. He woke up and said, wife get up, it is later than it ever has been before. IT IS TRUE TOO CONCERNING THE COMING THE LORD
[closer today than ever before in human history!][not looking for undertaker, but uppertaker! …I’d like to take that rapture flight!]
I-NOTICE THIS FLYING AWAY INVOLVES A LIFTING UP:
I THESS. 4:17 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.
D L Moody was asked, why did he look up when he prayed? He said, because heaven is up where my Jesus is.
Another man said, Heaven is not up, it is all around us.
[song: “Ooo, Heaven is a place on earth”?]
Wrong-for the Bible says: Gen. 3-God went up from Abraham, John 3- Jesus came down from Heaven, Acts 1-Jesus which is taken up from you unto Heaven. HEAVEN IS UP
[what’s up? Thankfully not gas prices, but heaven!]
A-THIS LIFTING UP TO HEAVEN INVOLVES A PEOPLE:
I THESS. 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren…
Jesus is coming after the saved, those who have made themselves alive in Him. He will not be coming for the lost, and those still dead in their sins.
Will you be among those lifted up that day? You say I hope so Preacher. That is like if I asked you if you are American? And you say, I hope so. Brother you know if you were born in America or not, and you know if you are born again by Jesus.
Did Job say, I guess my Redeemer liveth? No! He said, I KNOW. You either got Him or you don’t.
Christ isn’t returning for anyone who thinks they are saved, but for those who know it! [If you’re saved and you know it, clap your hands!]
B-THIS LIFTING UP TO HEAVEN INVOLVES A PERSON:
I THESS. 4:16 ‘THE LORD HIMSELF’
No one will make it to heaven on their own. None can climb that ladder…there is no stairway to heaven, or highway either!
Not you, yourself…but the Lord, Himself!
8 yrs. ago, Dale Earnhardt, “The Intimidator,"
was approaching the last turn of the last lap of the Daytona 500 when his car
was sent head-on into the wall at 180 mph. An autopsy revealed that he died from
the force of his head whipping back and forth on his neck, and by the force of
his chin hitting the steering wheel. It has been suggested by some that had he
been wearing a device designed to support the head and neck in a collision, he
may have survived. But Earnhardt, like many other NASCAR drivers, refused to
wear the device because it interfered with his ability to drive the car. That
choice cost him his life.
Those of you who have not placed your faith firmly and fully on Jesus Christ are headed for a terrible collision; a collision with God’s Judgment. A safety device is available—but you’ll have less control!
Like Dale Earnhardt and all the other NASCAR drivers, you must decide to make use of what God has offered in Jesus Christ, no matter what it may cost you. It may save your life!
[he went w/ the undertaker…but now here’s a man looking for the “uppertaker!”]
The late Roger Bennett wrote once in his daily online journal: “One word of encouragement to you, TRUST! Sometimes during this valley of mine I've tried so hard to "grab the wheel" so to speak and do the driving myself…always with terrible results. I've found that God is well aware of my needs and has both hands on the wheel. His vision reaches much farther down the road than mine ever could. So I'm letting go. This is not something that happens overnight. After a lifetime of trying to be the designated driver, it's difficult to let go, but time after time He has proven that He is a much more experienced driver than me. He knows the road of my life like the back of His hand so I've determined to sit back and enjoy the trip!” [What a trip Roger took]
It’s about the Lord Himself! If we let Him be
our tour guide we’ll enjoy the journey much more, esp. when we’re whisked thru
the air by “The Lord Himself!”
C-THIS LIFTING UP TO HEAVEN INVOLVES A POWER:
I THESS. 4:16-17 …and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds…
What power we see in these verses! Can you imagine a power so strong that it can cause all the dead in Christ to come forth from their graves? Not only in the cemetery, but from every place in the world…Such as the bottom of the sea, the dust of the earth, or from the highest mountain!
But not only will the dead in Christ rise, but those alive in Jesus will also rise up in the air.
So, how will it happen?
What's going to happen on this earth when the Rapture occurs? Maybe you'll be riding along in an automobile; you'll be the driver, perhaps; you're a Christian; there'll be several people in the automobile with you, maybe someone who is not a Christian. When the trumpet sounds, you and the other born-again Christians in that automobile will be instantly caught away, you'll disappear, leaving behind only your clothing and physical things that cannot inherit eternal life. That unsaved person or persons in the automobile will suddenly be startled to find that the car is moving along without a driver, and suddenly somewhere crashes. Those saved people in the car have disappeared. Other cars on the highway driven by believers will suddenly be out of control. Stark pandemonium will occur on that highway and on every highway in the world where Christians are caught away from the world. [planes, malls, offices, factories, classrooms, professional sporting events, churches!]
And all will have some left behind, scratching their heads…
I remember a story about a newspaper boy with no legs. He would push himself along the streets on a platform someone made for him. One day a man saw him waiting at the bus stop and wondered how he would board the bus when it came. As the bus came and the door opened, the boy lifted his hands up in the air, and the bus driver reached down and lifted him up onto the bus. (Amen!-Jesus will lift up the same way with his great power)
II-NOTICE THIS FLYING AWAY INVOLVES A LEAVING:
I THESS. 4:17 …to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Flight 777 now boarding! When we depart on flight "777", we will leave some things behind…
A-WE WILL LEAVE SIN BEHIND: [elaborate, imagine waving goodbye!]
REV. 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
This is the reason that some of you won’t make it. You love your sins so much you are unwilling to repent of them, and allow Jesus to save you. You fear you could never stop…truth is, YOU can’t, but He can help you!
And as long as you walk this earth, you’ll still struggle w/ sin, tho’ day by day He can help us get victory, we will still slip and fall, but on that day when He returns we will leave all sin behind.
Saved in past-penalty / present-power of sin /
future-presence of sin!
I read an article about the old air balloons, before they were raised and lowered by hot air--They were held to the ground by ropes and sand bags. When they wanted to rise in the air, they cut the ropes and if they wanted to go higher, they threw the sand bags overboard. (It should be the same with the saints of God. The closer we get to the coming of Jesus, we should be getting rids of our sins)
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about
with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin
which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set
B-WE WILL LEAVE SORROW BEHIND:
REV. 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Like a person in jail with no hope...with no chance of escape from sorrow.
We all have ups and downs, highs and
lows…little temporary escapes, but the great escape is yet to come!
At the turn of the last century, the nations of the world had a convention where they vowed never again would there be war among the nations. Yet several years later in 1918, every nation was involved in WW I. (sorrow like wars can’t be stopped, only the coming of the Prince of Peace can do the trick in this world)
C-WE WILL LEAVE SATAN BEHIND:
[this Boeing 777 will leave old 666 in the dust!]
REV.20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone…
John Wesley said, Give me a hundred men who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I will shake the world. I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; and such alone will overthrow the kingdom of Satan and build up the kingdom of God on earth.
A Christian counselor was questioning a little
girl who had recently received the Savior. Trying to prepare her for temptations
and the assaults of the evil one, the friend inquired, "What if the devil knocks
on your door to try to lead you astray?" She replied, "I’ll ask Jesus to answer
Satan will never leave us alone on earth, he will treat us like he treated Jesus after the three temptations--he will leave for a season but he will be back. But praise God he will not bother us in Heaven.
a lifting, a leaving…
III-NOTICE THIS FLYING AWAY INVOLVES A LANDING:
I THESS 4:17 …and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Every departure leads to an arrival. If you leave a place you will have to arrive at another place.
“Miracle on the Hudson” – even that flight led to an arrival.
Joke—it’s interesting: if a plane crashes today right on the border of the US and Mexico, do you know where they bury the survivors?
You don’t bury survivors!
Not all flight involves a safe arrival but this
A-THIS LANDING WILL INVOLVE NEW BODIES:
PHIL 3:20-21 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body…
We won’t have the same bodies we have on
earth, but we will have glorified bodies like Jesus.
In 1833 there was a great meteor shower in the northeast part of the United States. An old man ran down to the local cemetery, for he thought it was the coming of the Lord. Someone asked him why did he come to the cemetery? He said, “I want to see my dead friend in the grave go up in his new body. You see, in his earlier years, a tree fell on him causing him to lose his arm. I want to see him with his new arm.” (He might not have had it all correct, but one thing he WAS right about, Christians will get new bodies in heaven.)
How many are excited about that? Every BODY!
Ill.—I had a friend in MO who got a kidney
transplant from a lost person. I joked with him that at the rapture he would
rise but that organ would plop out on the couch! [Again, we don’t know exactly
how it all happens, just that it does.]
B-THIS LANDING WILL INVOLVE NEW BUDDIES:
MATT. 8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
You know the feeling of good fellowship? When you meet people with a kindred spirit? It is a special feeling. (I believe it will be the same feeling magnified a million times in Heaven as we meet new buddies!)
Just think, we will see and visit with Elijah the man who called fire down from Heaven, and went up to Heaven in a fiery chariot. We will see Samson, the strong man of the OT. We will see David, the one who killed the giant. We will see Noah, the ark builder. We will see Daniel, who walked around in a den of lions. We will see Paul the mightiest soul-winner of all time. (We have read about them on the pages of Holy Scriptures, but then we will fellowship with them)
C-THIS LANDING WILL INVOLVE A NEW BUILDING:
JOHN 14:2 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.
God has allowed mankind to build some great buildings down here on earth, but they will look like shanties comparied to what God has prepared in Heaven. [artist’s rendering attempts pale by comparison…]
I can only imagine…and my imagination can think of some awesome things, but not awesome enough:
1 Cor. 2:9
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor
ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath
prepared for them that love him.
I read about a woman who was dying in her home attended by the local Doctor. He asked the woman, who was very poor, how she could be so happy in death? She replied, because, I’m getting ready to go from the poor house to the mansion in the sky. One moment dirty floors, the next, golden streets, one moment cracked walls, the next-walls of Jasper.
(one step inside the pearly gates and we will say it was worth it all)
D-THIS LANDING WILL INVOLVE NEW BLESSINGS:
REV. 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it.
[in Eden / Paradise, the curse was planted, in
heaven it’s plucked!]
We have received many blessings down here, both material and spiritual. But our greatest blessings are yet to come in the future in Heaven. We will receive our rewards for our Godly deeds, we will see our loved ones who have gone on before us, but the greatest blessing will be to see Jesus, and fall on our knees, and cry Holy.
I heard about a little girl whose mother had died. When she was taken home by her father, she went from room to room crying out for her mother. The home had lost it’s attraction to her without her mother. (The same with Heaven if there was no Jesus there)
Conclusion: DL Moody taught a Bible study once on the west coast using the text, Matt. 6:19-20. (Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal):
He then got a blackboard and put two lists on it. One was our earthly treasures and the other our Heavenly treasures. Under earthly treasures, he put jewels, land, money, houses, fame, pleasures, clothes, and power. Under the Heavenly treasures, he put Jesus, friends of Christ, angels, Crowns, mansions, new songs, tree of life, purity, river of life. As the class compared them, the earthly treasures seemed mighty small, for what is the world, full of its treasures, compared to Heaven and Christ?!
When the rapture trumpet sounds, will you hear it and fly away with Christ to Heaven? You can be saved and know it, today!
This flying away involves a lifting: the lifting involves a people / a person / a power!
This flying away involves a leaving behind of sin, Satan, and sorrow.
And a landing w/ new bodies / buddies / building / blessings!