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Rapture

 

Rapture

Martin Luther said he only had two days on his calendar-today and “that day”. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Rapture

The story is told of a generation ago when an old farmer brought his family to the big city for the very first time. They had never seen buildings so tall or sights so impressive. The farmer dropped his wife off at a department store and took his son with him to the bank-the tallest of all the buildings. As they walked into the lobby, they saw something else they had never seen before. Two steel doors opened. A rather large and elderly woman walked in, and the big doors closed behind her. The dial over the door swept to the right and then back to the left. The doors opened and a beautiful young lady came walking out. The farmer was amazed. He turned to his son and said, “You wait right here. I’m going to get your mother and run her through that thing.”

At the Rapture, we will be taken up. But we will be transformed and come back with resurrection bodies. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

RAPTURE

All over the Northeast, half a million Adventists -- disciples of New York evangelist William Miller -- awaited the end of the world on April 3, 1843. Journalists had a field day. Reportedly some disciples were on mountaintops, hoping for a head start to heaven. Others were in graveyards, planning to ascend in union with their departed loved ones. Some high society ladies clustered together outside town to avoid entering God's  holy kingdom amid the common herd. When April 4 dawned as usual, the Millerites were disillusioned, but they took heart. Their leader had predicted a range of dates for the end -- dates that have also come and gone. 

Today in the Word, April 28, 1993.


There's a man in yonder glory I have loved for many years,

He has cleared my guilty conscience and has banished all my fears.

He is coming in a moment in the twinkling of an eye,

And no time will be allotted for you to utter one good-bye.

No time to kiss the husband or embrace the loving wife,

If they are but united in the bonds of holy life.

Are you ready, Christian, ready, for shout and trump and voice?

Will His coming make you tremble or cause you to rejoice?

Are you walking, talking with Him daily, taking Him your care,

Do you live so close to heaven that a breath would waft you there? 

Quoted in Fairest of All, Herbert Lockyer, Eerdmans, 1936, p. 71.


The word "maranatha" is a Syriac expression that means: "our Lord comes." It was used as a greeting in the early church. When believers gathered or parted, they didn't say "hello" or "goodbye" but "Maranatha!" If we had the same upward look today, it would revolutionize the church. O that God's people had a deepening awareness of the imminent return of the Savior!

While on a South Pole expedition, British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton left a few men on Elephant Island, promising that he would return. Later, when he tried to go back, huge icebergs blocked the way. But suddenly, as if by a miracle, an avenue opened in the ice and Shackleton was able to get through. His men, ready and waiting, quickly scrambled aboard. No sooner had the ship cleared the island than the ice crashed together behind them. Contemplating their narrow escape, the explorer said to his men, "It was fortunate you were all packed and ready to go!" They replied, "We never gave up hope. Whenever the sea was clear of ice, we rolled up our sleeping bags and reminded each other, 'The boss may come today.'"

The hymn writer Horatius Bonar exhorted us "to be ready for the last moment by being ready at every moment...so attending to every duty that, let Him come when He may, He finds the house in perfect order, awaiting His return." The trump may sound anytime. How important for us as Christians to be "packed and ready to go!"

As you leave home today, don't say goodbye -- say "Maranatha!" 

Our Daily Bread.


Titus 2:13 - The believer's hope is an:

1. Encouraging hope. John 14:3 Spoken to discouraged disciples. Discouraged by Christ's departure, encouraged by His return.

2. Comforting hope. 1 Thess 4:13-18

3. Motivating hope. 1 Cor 15:50-58 Knowing that resurrection body will be obtained through death or translation, that labor isn't fruitless, be steadfast in commitment to Christ and diligent in service for Christ. (v. 58)

4. Purifying hope. 1 John 3:2-3 

K. Laney, Marching Orders, p. 57.


The effect it should have on us.

Be careful 1 John 3:1-2 Purity

Be considerate Phil 4:1-5

Be comforted 1 Thess 4:13-18 x@3

Be cheered Phil. 3:21 Transformation of our bodies, we'll be changed.

Be concerned for the lost. 

E.J. Underhill, Fourth Memorial, October 2, 1983.


At the height of WWII, Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was imprisoned for taking a stand against Hitler. Yet he continued to urge fellow believers to resist Nazi tyranny. A group of Christians, believing that Hitler was the Antichrist, asked Bonhoeffer, "Why do you expose yourself to all this danger? Jesus will return any day, and all your work and suffering will be for nothing." Bonhoeffer replied, 

"If Jesus returns tomorrow, then tomorrow I'll rest from my labor. But today I have work to do. I must continue the struggle until it's finished." 

Daily Bread, November 10, 1991.


After church, where she had been taught about the Second Coming, a little girl was quizzing her mother.

"Mommy, do you believe Jesus will come back?"

"Yes."

"Today?"

"yes."

"In a few minutes?"

"Yes, dear."

"Mommy, would you comb my hair?"

Don Hussong.


A rural housewife, Fay Inchfawn, who lived a generation ago, wrote these lines on her need and expectancy of God's presence which speak to us of the more sophisticated frustrations of our modern day:

Sometimes, when everything goes wrong;

When days are short and nights are long,

When wash day brings so dull a sky,

That not a single thing will dry.

And when the kitchen chimney smokes,

And when there's none so "old" as folks;

When friends deplore my faded youth,

And when the baby cuts a tooth

While John, the baby last but one,

Clings round my skirts till day is done;

And fat, good-natured Jane is glum

And butcher's man forgets to come.

Sometimes I say, on days like these

I get a sudden gleam of bliss.

Not on some sunny day of ease

He'll come...but on a day like this.

 

Source Unknown.