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Film: "Left Behind: World at War"
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Right with God, or Left Behind?
19Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.
hast seen—ch. 1—glimpse at glorified Christ, eternity past.
are—chs. 2-3—church age, the present age of Grace.
shall be hereafter—begins in 4:1, end of the world & eternity future.
v.1—last word= “hereafter”…the 3rd and final section of Rev. begins right here!
The church [born again believers] has had the center stage until now…as a matter of fact, the word church appears 19 times in chs. 2 & 3, but in Rev. 4:1, the church disappears! And is not seen again until ch. 19 when we find the church returning w/ Christ to earth at the battle of Armageddon!
To use radio language, we would say that in 4:1, the church goes “off the air”. Why does the church go off the air in 4:1? I’ll tell you why, because the church goes “in the air” in 4:1!! This verse is a picture of the rapture of the church! We can only imagine that glorious ride! Are you excited about making that trip? Are you watching for Him? Working? Witnessing?
The rapture is the next event on God’s prophetic time table. It won’t be long…it can’t be! All the prophecies have been fulfilled. There is nothing holding back the return of Jesus Christ, it is imminent, it could happen ANY moment…and though we do not know the day or the hour, right now, we are closer to the return of Christ than any humans have ever been in the history of the world! He’s almost at the door! He’ll open it and invite His children in!
v. 1 sounds like Paul’s description in I Thess. 4:
16For 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: 17Then 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.
The world scoffs at these things, just as they did in Noah’s day, but no one will be laughing on the day when millions, including all young children, suddenly vanish! [2 cartoons…]
6 Reasons for a Pre-tribulation Rapture:
1. Not one time is the church mentioned in a Bible text discussing the tribulation
2. In all the writings of Paul, the church is never mentioned in connection w/ the tribulation or wrath to come.
3. The church has already been judged at Calvary [purpose of trib. is judgment!]
4. The pictures of Enoch/Lot, etc. [all Bible types picture pre-trib]
5. Rev. 19 pictures church in Heaven during the tribulation.
6. The coming of Christ for His saints is always pictured as sudden and unexpected [imminent]
Right now, God is still striving w/ rebellious mankind…
…calling/convicting/convincing/saving sinners…but there’s coming a day very soon when God’s patience will give way to God’s wrath…and there will be an avalanche of God’s judgment poured down upon the world which rejects Christ. It will be a judgment so terrible, so severe, so beyond comprehension, that God will not allow His church to go thru it!
I Thess. 1:10 says we as God’s children are waiting for Christ’s return, and that we are not appointed unto wrath!
There’s a feeling in the air that the return of Christ is very soon. Why do so many feel that way? Certainly signs of the times are all around us. But think of it this way:
Many people in this room, in their lifetime, have seen mankind harness the atom, and develop capabilities to destroy the entire earth in less than 30 minutes/Israel established as a nation, and the dispersed Jews return to Israel by the hundreds of thousands (just as the Bible predicted would happen just before Christ returns)/Israel has become the hub, the hotbed of all that goes on in the world/Jews recapture the city of Jerusalem for the first time in 2000 years, in a war that took only 6 days/computers change the world…linked together w/ instant communication/the cashless society is nearly a done deal/heard of more earthquakes in your lifetime than the last 500 years put together/technology advance from airplanes to space shuttles!
If you are old enough to get a discount at restaurants, then you’ve seen in your lifetime the divorce rate go from 1 in 8 to what it is today when divorces outnumber marriages every year/crime rate increase by over 500%/birth of the church of Satan in 1969, which is now been granted tax exempt status by the US government/one-world government begin to be formed…the new world order/one-world church…ecumenical movement/unprecedented increases in famines, natural disasters, incurable diseases/there’s an intensity building up, an expectancy is in the air…
…but as believers, we need not run around w/ headline hysteria, we are to simply look up, for our redemption draweth nigh! We are to faithfully and patiently wait for our Savior, who will soon come bursting thru the blue w/ the sound of a trumpet, in the twinkling of an eye.
When the Bible says that, it means in a millisecond, in an instant…therefore, when the rapture occurs, if you’re not saved, there will not be time to get saved, it will be too late for you.
If you are a Christian, and not living for God, there will be no time to make it right. Your salvation is secure, but will you be ashamed when He comes? You won’t be able to ask Him to wait…
Wait, Lord, I want to win a soul for you! My brother, my father, my spouse, my kids, my friend, neighbor, my co-worker!
Wait, Lord, I want to obey you and be a tither/got bitterness in my heart toward someone/looking at porn right now, let me turn it off/(stamp foot) let me put this out!
The message of the rapture is “be ready”/do it now, for the Lord could come at any moment. Be watching…be ready!
Let’s pretend the rapture just happened, and we were whisked away. What would happen…what would you see…what would you hear?
v.2 Behold, a throne!
3 things we’ll see upon arrival in Heaven:
1. The Master on the Throne
V3 jasper and sardine stone=great in glory
Word translated jasper could mean diamond=radiance, beauty, infinitely pure. Then there’s the Sardine stone=deep red, symbolizing blood of Christ
In the OT, the high priest wore a breastplate…in it were 12 stones, representing the people of God, the 12 tribes of Israel. The 1st and last stones in that breastplate were these 2!
Not only great in glory, but great in grace.
Look at end of v. 3: rainbow
After God destroyed the world w/ a flood, He made a covenant w/ man, and put in the sky His symbol of that covenant…the rainbow, a picture of God’s grace.
Most rainbows are multi-colored, but this one is emerald green…the color of the earth. And us earth-dwellers, raptured away, will realize that once and for all, the storms of life are over! …in heaven, beholding the throne we realize, all the storms are over!
“It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus, life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase, so bravely run the race, ‘til we see Christ!”
Can you see Him on the throne? Great in glory, great in grace, and:
Great in government
v. 5 what a change! One moment we’re beholding the rainbow of peace, and the next the lightning’s flashing and the thunder’s crashing!
Tho’ the storms are over for us, down below the storms are brewing like never before as God’s righteous judgment goes forth upon the earth from His mighty Throne.
Time out! Where will you be when the rapture occurs? Will you be witnessing this scene we’re describing in heaven, or will you be left behind in the storm which originates from His throne?
There’s only the 2 choices: be raptured away by Jesus, or be left behind by Jesus…and what you do w/ Jesus now determines what He will do w/ you then!
We’ve seen the master on the throne, great in glory/grace/government…
2. The multitude before the throne
v. 4 who are these elders?
These are the redeemed, ch. 5 makes it clear.
v. 4 says: clothed in white raiment=righteousness of Christ
then it mentions the crowns we can win:
Runner’s crown (imperishable crown in I Cor. 9)
Given to the Christian who exhibits self-control, temperate in all things
Soulwinner’s crown (crown of joy) I Thess. 2
Given to those who win souls to Christ
Crown of righteousness (anticipator’s crown) II Tim. 4
Given to the christian who faithfully waits, and looks for the coming of Christ
Crown of life—Js. 1
Given to the Christian who endures suffering in a noble way (persecuted, suffering…or people like Joni Earickson Tada, paralyzed in a terrible accident…but who for a lifetime now have allowed the Lord to turn tragedy into triumph)
Crown of glory—I Peter 5—Minister’s crown, given to a faithful shepherd
These are the 5 crowns we can win…and what will we do w/ them? Parade around w/ them showing them off for eternity?
What is, “no!”
v. 10-11 Christian, will you have any crowns to cast at His feet?
We’ve seen the master on the throne/multitude before the throne
3. The majesty surrounding the throne
v. 6-8 Who are these 4 beasts at the foot of the throne? These 4 beasts represent all of creation praising the Lord.
In Gen. 9, after God destroyed the earth w/ flood, and saved Noah and family, He made a covenant w/ 4 specific categories of creation:
8And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, 9And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; 10And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you;
man/fowl/cattle/beasts of earth
With that in mind, read Rev. 4:7 again…
Lion—beasts of earth
God has made a covenant w/ all His creation. Don’t ever get the idea that God is finished w/ His creation. Don’t ever get the idea that the devil spoiled it and it’s all over w/ His creation. Not only did God redeem man, but all His creation will be ultimately redeemed. The Bible says if we don’t praise the Lord, the very rocks would have to cry out! Rom. 8:19-22 describe creation groaning for its redemption…when all of creation will bloom like the rose. Later in Rev. we will see the lion and the lamb lying down together, and the little toddler will play by the hole of the snake! And together, all of creation will praise God together, the Creator!
Look what the 24 elders say when they see the 4 beasts praising God…
v. 11 This world was created by Jesus, for Jesus, sustained thru Jesus, redeemed by Jesus, and it’s all coming back To Jesus!
We’ve described what we will see there? But what will it sound like? For one thing there will be singing…sing v. 11 w/ me.
There’s another sound we hear in this chapter…v. 8
Let’s imagine the sound of all creation…(chant: Holy, Holy, Holy continuously)…as it attempts unceasingly to describe how holy our God is!
What will happen to you at the rapture? Will you be right with God, or will you be left behind, preparing for the storm that will end your life, and begin an eternity separated from God in hell?
What you do w/ Jesus right now, will determine what Jesus will do w/ you then! Are you rapture-ready?
1. Appeal to the unsaved.
2. Christian, are you being left behind in this race of life? If the rapture occurred soon, would you be crying out, “wait!”?
By “right with God” we don’t mean perfect, but forgiven…your sin has been paid for and you have accepted the payment. If not, you’ll be left behind.
Some may be saved, but not right with God, and that’s different. You have a relationship with God…He’s your Father, you’re His child, and your eternity is secure, but you’re not in good fellowship with Him. You still have a relationship, it’s just a poor relationship, and in a way you’re being left behind…not experiencing the abundant life God wills for you.
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
You may view your salvation as more of an eternal thing…a “fire insurance” if you will, when it’s supposed to be a present possession that gives victory now. We all want to be saved from hell, but do you really want to be saved from sin now?
Make sure you’re Right with God, and not Left behind!
Right with God, or Left Behind?
In Rev. 4:1, the church d__________________! I Thess. 4:16-17
6 Reasons for a Pre-tribulation Rapture:
1. Not one time is the church mentioned in a Bible t______ discussing the tribulation
2. In all the writings of P______, the church is never mentioned in connection w/ the tribulation
3. The church has already been j__________ at Calvary
4. The pictures of E________/L____
5. Rev. ____ pictures church in Heaven during the tribulation
6. The coming of Christ for His saints is always pictured as s__________ and unexpected I Thess. 1:10, v.2
3 things we’ll see upon arrival in Heaven:
1. The M__________ on the Throne v.3
· Great in g________
· Great in g________ v.3
· Great in g__________________ v. 5
2. The m________________ before the throne v. 4
I Cor. 9, I Thess. 2, II Tim. 4, Js. 1, I Peter 5, v. 10-11
3. The m____________ surrounding the throne v. 6-8
Gen. 9:8-10, Rom. 8:19-22, v. 11, v. 8
All Sermons and Slideshow Presentations Copyright Jerry Shirley and Grace Notes Ministries unless otherwise credited.