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The Rapture of the Church - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
January 31, 2024 5:00 am

The Rapture of the Church - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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January 31, 2024 5:00 am

Pastor Skip begins his message “The Rapture of the Church” and encourages you to hold fast to God’s promise to one day bring you home to Himself.

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Every command in the Bible comes with a capacity. God would never give you a command unless he gave you the power to follow that command. So, the pathway to comfort is to take control of your thoughts and remind yourself of God's promise.

If you want to be comforted, just practice that. Take control of your thoughts and focus on God's promise. Today on Connect with Skip Hitek, Pastor Skip begins his message, The Rapture of the Church, and encourages you to hold fast to God's promise to one day bring you home to himself. Now we want to tell you about a resource that will help you gain a better understanding of end times prophecy. Is the end near?

That's a question on many minds, and that's why Pastor Skip Hitek spent many months in 2023 presenting 26 full-length messages in his The End is Near series. The second coming of Jesus Christ dominates the Bible next to the subject of faith. The coming of Christ in the future is the most discussed topic in the book. To complement this excellent series, a study guide from Skip is now available. This study guide is over 100 pages in length and covers all 26 messages in the series. The End is Near study guide includes notes, summaries, and questions for group or personal study.

We need to understand the times, and this study guide will aid in this effort. With your gift of $50 or more to connect with Skip Hitek, you will receive a copy of The End is Near study guide from Skip's in-depth 26-part series. Your gift will support the production and expansion of the Connect with Skip broadcast. Call 1-800-922-1888 or go online to connectwithskip.com.

That's 1-800-922-1888 or connectwithskip.com. All right, now let's turn to John 14 as Skip gets started today. We are doing a study on the end times. We've been going into depth on some of these topics. I stated that my aim is to make you an expert in eschatology.

It still is my aim to do so. So we are looking this week at the glorious blessed hope of the church, the rapture of the church. And I'm going to have you turn to John 14, a passage that some people might think has nothing to do with the rapture, but the more I've studied it, the more I have to say it definitely has everything to do with the rapture.

In fact, it can really mean nothing else than being one of the first mentions or intimations of that in the New Testament, John chapter 14. So there was a man who was taking a walk. He walked over to a bridge over a river in his town and he noticed that there was a man, another man standing on that bridge, apparently looked like he was about to jump. So the first man who saw that walked over to him to save him and he said, why would you want to kill yourself?

The man replied, I have nothing to live for. The visitor said, do you believe in God? The man said, yes, I do.

The first guy said, the first guy said, what a coincidence, so do I. Are you a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian? He said, I'm a Christian.

What a coincidence, so am I. Are you a Protestant or a Catholic? The man said, I'm a Protestant.

The helper said, what a coincidence, so am I. Are you Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist? The man said, I'm a Baptist. The guy said, what a coincidence, so am I.

Are you a Southern Baptist or an Independent Baptist? He said, I'm a Southern Baptist. The man said, what a coincidence, so am I. Then he said, are you premillennial or amillennial? He said, I'm premillennial.

The man said, what a coincidence, so am I. And finally he said, are you pre-tribulation rapture or mid-tribulation rapture or post-tribulation rapture? The man said, I'm mid-tribulation rapture.

At that point, the would-be helper pushed the man off the bridge and said, die heretic, die. Now, there has been, over time, disagreement as to is there a rapture, is there not a rapture, when will the rapture happen, when will it not happen. There has been disagreement, sometimes very heated disagreements over the idea of the rapture, but we don't want to seek anyone harm in trying to understand it. When I first heard of the rapture, I was a new believer. This is way back, and I had been saved a few weeks, and somebody introduced the topic of the rapture of the church.

I said, the what? And he said, the rapture, you know, we're all going to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. And I said, you can't believe that. He said, absolutely, I believe it.

I said, that's nonsense. I mean, it just, it did not compute. I had never heard of it before growing up in the church in which I was raised. And I just was suspect of even believing that that could ever happen. Well, then I read 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 and John 14, among other texts. And I discovered not only will there be a rapture, I got pretty excited about the prospect that Jesus could come at any moment to take His church with Him.

But I also saw a misunderstanding develop among many of my friends. Some viewed the rapture as a way to escape responsibility. I mean, you know, if Jesus can come back at any moment, man, I can overdraw on my credit accounts and overcharge on my credit cards and do all sorts of irresponsible stuff because, hey, the Lord will come back and whisk me away. And so I even found myself praying for the Lord to return like right before a final exam or when I saw those lights in my rear view mirror pulling me over for speeding.

Lord, this would be a great time for you to come back right now. I even remember being terrified that I had missed the rapture. I went to a Bible study. It was in the evening.

It was in the summer. I walked into a living room. I walked in.

Nobody was there, but Bibles were on the floor in a circle, notebooks, pens, jackets, not a single person. I thought, I just missed the rapture of the church. And I panicked. They were just outside looking at something, and then they came in.

It was a matter of timing, but I panicked. I found this week an article. It says, Herbert Washington, whom coworkers at Significant Plastics Incorporated say was unduly concerned with the rapture and the second coming of Christ, suffered a serious heart attack when coworkers pretended that they had been caught away without him. Now, this is a cruel thing, and I know they didn't intend for that to happen, but the article said somebody, part of the coworker said, we didn't mean to scare him to death, said one woman. He's just always talking about it, so today we decided to turn the tables on him.

Well, Washington underwent bypass surgery and is recovering well, and he is digging into the Bible like never before, says his wife. What is the rapture? What is the rapture of the church? Where did that idea come from? Is it a new idea, as some purport? Is it something we should seriously consider, and if so, why should we? And then when will it happen exactly?

Well, those are questions we want to answer today and in the next couple of weeks. I'm taking you to John 14 because it's a very seminal passage in my view. It's a very important passage regarding this.

It's a promise Jesus gives. John 14 is called the Upper Room Discourse. It is the second longest sermon Jesus ever preached recorded in the Bible. First is the Sermon on the Mount. The second one is the Upper Room Discourse. It's called that because he gave the discourse in the upper room.

Very good. So this is the Last Supper. He is with his disciples.

It is a private session. His public ministry has ended. He has been rejected by the nation of Israel. He soon will be crucified, and his disciples are filled with anxiety and for a very good reason that I want to show you. And he turns to his troubled disciples and says, look, I'm leaving, but I'm coming back to get you and take you where I am.

So we're going to look at that. We're going to look at the first six verses of John chapter 14, and I'd like to show you four features about this rapture, this coming that he refers to. In verse 1, Jesus says to his disciples, Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house there 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. And where I go, you know, and the way you know. Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know where you are going, and how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

The first feature of this coming I want to draw your attention to is the comfort of it, the comfort of it. Let not your heart be troubled. Why on earth would Jesus say that to his disciples? Because they were troubled. They were troubled.

In fact, the anxiety among that group is rising minute by minute. Why? Because in this setting, in this supper, this Last Supper, the Upper Room Discourse, He has already announced that He is leaving. I want you to just look at that. Go back to chapter 13, just a few verses before this. In verse 33, John 13, 33, our Lord speaking, Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me. And as I said to the Jews, Where I am going, you cannot come, so I now say to you. Simon Peter said to him, Lord, where are you going? Jesus answered him, Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, but you shall follow me afterward. Peter said to him, Why can I not follow you now?

I will lay down my life for your sake. And then look over at chapter 16, same setting, same sermon, chapter 16, verse 6, Jesus notes, But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. They are confused when Jesus gives this promise in John 14.

Why? Because they've left everything. They've been following Him for three years, nonstop, 24-7.

They've given up everything. They're with Him. They're anticipating something to happen. And now He says to them, Bye, I'm going now.

I'm leaving now. This is not what they wanted to hear. It's not what they expected to hear. They are bewildered. They're confused.

They are troubled, filled with anxiety. And so He says to them, Let not your heart be troubled. Now that's a commandment.

It is in the original language in which the New Testament was written. It's a present passive imperative. It means it's a command, an imperative, so He's giving them a command.

But it's a present passive imperative, meaning stop an action already going on. He's not saying don't start worrying. He's saying you're already worried.

You're already freaking out. Stop it. Stop an action that is ongoing. So it would be better translated, Do not let your heart continue to be agitated. Now because it's a commandment, it shows me that our emotions can be controlled. How you feel can't necessarily be controlled, but what you do and how you react to how you feel can be controlled. Every command in the Bible comes with a capacity.

God would never give you a command unless He gave you the power to follow that command. So the pathway to comfort is to take control of your thoughts and remind yourself of God's promise. If you want to be comforted, just practice that. Take control of your thoughts and focus on God's promise. 2 Corinthians chapter 10, Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Romans chapter 12, Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. So He tells them, Stop freaking out. Stop worrying. He wants to comfort them. Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God? Believe also in Me. In My Father's house or many mansions, He continues to reinforce this comforting promise. There is nothing more comforting to those of us alive right now than the assurance that Jesus could come back at any moment for us.

That's a word of comfort. When Paul speaks about the rapture of the church, 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, he tells his audience, Use what I just told you to comfort one another. 1 Thessalonians 4, he says, 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. Listen, every tomorrow has two handles, the handle of anxiety and the handle of faith. You'll grab one or the other, the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.

If you always are grabbing the handle of anxiety, you will freak out. If you're always grabbing the handle of faith, you will chill out. And because the Bible has one fourth prophecy in it, 25, 26% of the Bible is prophetic, that's a lot of handles to have faith for the future. So he says, Let not your heart be troubled. Now in comforting them, he describes heaven to them. And I want you to notice this very quickly that he describes heaven in four ways. First, heaven is a real place.

I go to prepare a place for you. Heaven isn't a figment of your imagination. Heaven is not wishful thinking.

It's not a thought that you use to psych yourself out to get through this present life. It's an actual real place. Second, it's a relational place. Notice that Jesus calls heaven my Father's house. He doesn't use the generic term heaven. He calls it my Father's house.

Why? Because when you're there, you'll be with your heavenly Father, your Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. It's a relational place. You'll also be reunited with those believers who have died before you.

Paul will tell us in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. So it's a real place. It's a relational place.

Third thing to note about heaven, it's a diverse place. In my Father's house, there are many, what's the next word? Mansions.

That's an unfortunate translation in my opinion. Because when you hear the word mansions, I know you're thinking like Beverly Hills, Bel Air, some spread in Texas where you've got like 150 acres on either side and a mansion right in the middle. The actual word that he uses is the word monet and it simply means a staying or an abiding place, a dwelling place. It is sometimes translated room or apartment. In my Father's house are many rooms. In my Father's house are many apartments. So it sounds, instead of like Beverly Hills and Bel Air or Texas, it sounds more like it's one big house with a bunch of rooms added on.

And let me just throw this thought at you. I think it will help you to understand this passage better if you understood the background of an ancient Jewish wedding. So here's how it went. When a young man gets to be of age where he can get married, and it's time for him to get engaged, he enters into a formal contract of espousal or engagement. It lasts one year. Once he gets formally engaged, he goes back to his father's house and begins building a room onto that house that he and his bride will eventually live in.

By the way, that is still in practice today in Israel. You'll find a house and then rooms get added on and floors get added on because family members get married and move to their father's house. When it's time for the wedding to take place, the young man goes to his own father, gets permission to get his bride, then goes to the bride's house unannounced.

There's a time frame, a time parameter, so they have to get ready, but they have to get ready in advance and be ready at any time. When that young man gets to the town, a trumpet is blown. He shouts with his voice and calls her name, comes to the house, gets his bride to be, and the wedding party, and they go back to his father's house where there is a wedding, there's a wedding supper, and there's a feast that lasts typically for seven days. So in my father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, I would have told you I go to prepare a place for you. Now, just for fun, because I see a corollary, I want you to turn to Revelation 21. And let me show you, turn to Revelation 21.

Let me show you what I think at least in part is meant by my father's house, because we're given a description of your future home. Revelation 21, we won't read it all, though it's a fascinating chapter. But let me take you to verse two where we're told this. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice saying from heaven, behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people.

God himself will be with them and be their God. Go down to verse nine. Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, come, I will show you the bride, the lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.

Her light was like a most precious stone, like jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also, she had a great and high wall with 12 gates, 12 angels of the 12 gates, and the names written on them, which are the names of the 12 tribes of the children of Israel. Three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, three gates on the west. Now the wall of the city had 12 foundations, and on them were the names of the 12 apostles of the lamb. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, its wall.

The city is laid out as a square. Its length, get this, its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed, 12,000 furlongs.

Its length, breadth, and height are equal. Let me tell you where we're at in Revelation 21. The rapture is over. The tribulation is over. The second coming has happened. The thousand-year millennial kingdom has happened.

It's now over. God has destroyed the earth and the heavens and built a new heaven, a new earth. And with this new heaven, a new earth, John looks and sees the capital city of new heaven, a new earth, called New Jerusalem. And it says it descends from heaven downward toward the earth.

So it comes sort of like as a satellite from heaven down to the earth. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message. From the series, The End is Near, find the full message, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now, here's Skip to share how you can connect you and many others with the truth of God's word with a gift.

To keep these messages going out around the world through Connect with Skip Heitzig. You know, this ministry is really all about connecting you and others around the world with God's word. And we do that so that you'll be equipped, equipped to live abundantly in Christ Jesus. Now, I want to personally invite you to join in that life-changing work today.

Think of it as a partnership. Through your support, you can help others discover the unchanging truth of Scripture. And keep these teachings available to you wherever you listen. With your generosity, you can make these messages available on more stations in more major cities in the United States. So please partner with us through a generous gift today. Here's how you can give. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. Come back tomorrow as Skip concludes his message, The Rapture of the Church, with more solid biblical encouragement for your Christian walk. So it's a real place. It's a relational place. It's a diverse place. And finally, it's a personalized place. I go to prepare a place for you, for you. Think of it this way. There's a place in heaven, a space devoted with you and mine. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-20 07:04:45 / 2024-02-20 07:13:59 / 9

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