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The King Returns For Us

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
April 11, 2021 1:00 am

The King Returns For Us

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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April 11, 2021 1:00 am

The dead in Christ will rise first when Jesus returns to the earth. They will meet Jesus in the air and be joined by those who are alive at the time of His coming. Our bodies will become immortal when the King returns for us.

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The bodies of untold millions of believers in Jesus login graveyards all over the earth one day those graves will open the dead in Christ will rise. When Jesus returns to the earth.

He left so long ago.

They will join Jesus in the air just before those who are alive at the time of his coming.

In a moment more about a very special future day when our bodies will be made immortal. Stay with us from Chicago. We welcome you to The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin lutes are on this program we begin a 10 part look into the future. We're calling when he shall come later in our broadcast will learn about what happens when we meet him in the air, the Moody choir now opens our service of worship. Yes, he is all we want in Christ, we shall find in Christ. If we want little we shall find little if we want much, we shall find much but if in utter helplessness. We cast are all on Christ. He will be to us the whole treasury of God. May Jesus Christ be praised were so glad that you are worshiping with us today were going to pray together and continue to stand as we begin to sing and to give praise to him. Father from the depths of our hearts as best as we know how we give praise to Jesus, help us to seek much in him, and we shall find it. For those whose hearts today are distant from him draw them close for those who know him, but it brought sin in their hearts. We pray that that shall be cleansed and forsaken. Grant us the grace today to give him the honor that he deserves. And we thank you that when we have believed in him.

We are on solid foundation. His name and him and him and that we do not want you to be an informed brothers about those who are asleep, you may not grieve as others do who have no hope for since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so Jesus, God will bring with him those all sleep.

For this we declare to you my word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel with the sound of the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Then we who are alive are laugh will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord there is a bumper sticker that reads Jesus is coming back soon everybody look busy but Jesus may be coming back soon and I hope that if he does we don't only look busy, but that we will be busy doing his work need to tell you that prophecy has a bad name today for several different reasons. First of all because of false predictions, and I'm not just simply talking about the people who gather on a hilltop believing that Jesus is going to come that night on a certain day, we had enough of that in church history, I'm talking about goodness saying Bible teachers look at the Scriptures carefully and then have made predictions regarding how many years it's going to be our web very close to midnight and somehow midnight never comes one day at the Moody Bible Institute library. I checked out a book of a well-known Christian statesman who is in heaven today when the 40s wrote a book showing that Hitler was the Antichrist, miscellany was the false prophet and it really looked as if he had a case for what he believed, but he was wrong.

So in this series of messages were not going to speculate regarding time. I'm not going to be talking about who I think the Antichrist is and whether or not he's alive today and whether we can know in advance who he is. I'd like this series of messages to still be relevant even if Jesus doesn't come in the next 10 years of the next 20 years or beyond it because what I want to do is to share with you things that we know will happen, even though the timeframe is unknown to us. There's a second reason why it is that 10 people today are skeptical about prophecy and that is the controversy you know where you have to be introduced to some of these controversies you know is Jesus going to come before the tribulation after the tribulation. But even though these controversies are important and some of you may wonder why is it that you just can't all agree get everybody in the same room with the same Bible and then come up with a chart that we can depend on the reason that's difficult is because the Bible tells us what's going to happen but it doesn't lay out the sequences kind of left up to us as to figure out the sequence of events. That's part of the problem.

The other problem is that some people take the Scriptures more literally than others, and the more literally you take them if all into one camp or the other. Now in this series of messages will introduce you to these controversies but it is not at all.

My intention to try to prove one view over another or spend a lot of time trying to argue a point. What I'd like to do is to give you first of all, a sequence of events, and the sequence may not be entirely accurate but I want to speak about events that we know will take place.

They will happen even if when Jesus comes, we discover that our sequence may be needed some adjustment. Secondly, the purpose of these messages is for you to fall in love with Jesus all over again. The apostle Paul says it is time for me to be offered, that is, it is time for me to die and he says I fought a good fight. I've kept the faith.

Therefore there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me on that day and not to me only, but to all them also love his appearing as a result of these messages. I want you to love Jesus more and I want you to long for his appearing. Just like Paul did. And just like we should do, then the other reason is, of course, to be ready for Christ's return. John says that we should live in such a way as to not have shame at his coming.

The clear implication is some Christians are going to have shame at the coming of Jesus while now you say to me will pastor those are what if I lived without shame live a very good life. And then Jesus doesn't return in my lifetime.

What if I have to die.

You've lost nothing because those who die before Christ comes. They had no advantage at all, or disadvantage, as the case may be, as we shall show today from the Scriptures, and in this series of messages because I'm so anxious to see your life changed for out of the 10 messages are going to be about advance in which you will participate. Your alive at the coming of Jesus Christ, or whether you die. Either way, you will be there. One of the advances the message today on the rapture of the church next time were going to speak about the judgment seat of Jesus Christ were all believers will appear. What an event that is going to be and that's where some of us might experience shame at his coming, and then following that were going to talk about the marriage supper of the Lamb. All believers will be there as well.

And then of course we'll talk about geopolitical events will talk about the rise of antichrist. In this series but then we conclude by talking about Jesus Christ invitation for us to rule with him. Another event in which you will participate as a believer so you stay with us the intention his life changed. Peter says, in light of the fact that all these things are going to be destroyed, what manner of people we ought to be and all holiness and that's where this series is going were anxious to see your life changed that by way of introduction. Now we do have to introduce you to some terms, some expressions and some differences when we talk about prophecy. First of all I want to introduce you to what is known as pre-tribulation is pre-tribulation is in is the view that Jesus Christ's return is going to be into stages. First of all, he comes for his church and the church therefore is exempt from the great tribulation, which takes place after that 7+ years. It may be longer than seven years and then Jesus returns at the end of that. To establish his kingdom in the first coming. He comes for his saints. The next time he appears it is with his saints that is known as pre-tribulation is him. The church is exempt from the tribulation. Christ comes before the tribulation. And so the church that is us who are believers are in heaven. When the tribulation is going on on earth. There's also post-tribulation is imposed.

Tribulation says that Jesus has only one appearing and it's going to be after the tribulation so the church will go through the tribulation. There will be antichrist, etc. and then Jesus comes any comes to receive his church and to establish his kingdom all at the same time so the church goes through the tribulation, pre-tribulation is him post-tribulation is, you should become acquainted with those terms.

Now here at The Moody Church. I need to tell you that we do accept either view but for my purposes, I'm going to assume without going into detail why the pre-tribulation rapture of the church that is to say that the coming of Jesus is going to be in two stages.

Today I speak about what is known as the rapture of the church today.

I think of somebody this past week was that all your speaking on the rapture the word rapture doesn't even occur in the Bible. Now I have to smile at that point because if you have your Bibles as you want to have your Bibles I want you to turn with me to first Thessalonians chapter 4 first Thessalonians chapter 4 and if you didn't bring your Bible I think the Bible that you have there in that the seat in front of you is probably page 987 987 because that will be reading this passage, but I want to look at one expression in verse 17 it says then we who are alive, who are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air caught up together. The Latin word is wrapped euro from which we get the word rapture so it's true that the English translation does not have the word rapture but rapture is a thoroughly biblical term. Now you say will do both post-tribulation, NIST and pre-tribulation is believe in the rapture.

Absolutely. Here it is in God's word and both of them except as authoritative. The difference is this. And thank you for following along you'll notice that it says the dead in Christ. Verse 16 will rise first because I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture of the church. I take the dead in Christ to be only the church because the church was formed on the day of Pentecost and by the Holy Spirit.

We were baptized into Christ and so it's the dead in Christ. Abraham died, a believer, but he didn't die in Christ and he is going to be raised. I believe some time before the millennial kingdom begins and we'll talk about that at this is the bride of Christ.

It is the dead in Christ shall rise well with all of that is background. Now let's look at the sequence of events in this sequence is one that whether you are pretrip or post-trip you would agree with you would not necessarily agree with who is going to be raised, but the sequence in the Scripture is very clear now. Before we look at first as for in detail. I need to say that the background is this that whenever Paul planted a church you know you ask yourself the question.

Well I'm into church planting.

What would you teach the people Paul always taught the people about the return of Christ he taught them to look forward to the return of Christ. That's very clear he's there in Thessalonica and he is talking about but some Christians were confused because they were living in anticipation of Christ's return and some of their members had die. So there saying hey you know my friends they didn't live until the return of Christ through this. Those folks did neither Christ as income for 2000 years.

But the question they had in the back of their mind was a very good one, namely if people died before Christ returns. Are they at a disadvantage now to live when Christ returns seems so much better.

What about my uncle one about my wife, my husband, my child will they be at a disadvantage.

Paul's answers we shall see, is a resounding no.

Not at all. Would you be at a disadvantage. All right. With that background, let's look at the sequence now that Paul lays out of events, but we do not want you to be uninformed the brothers. This is verse 16 about those who are asleep and that is those who have died that you may not grieve as others who have no I need to pause here.

Cyprian, one of the earlier writers who lived in the year to hundreds in that era said that if it were not for the plagues. Christianity would've never swept North Africa. He said the plagues were what did it because the Christians died better.

The pagan side of the Christians. They carry their dead as if in triumph.

Where's all this hope coming from. We'd like to have hope to and so the Christians would witness to the saving grace of Jesus because Christians die differently so pulses grieve, but your grief isn't a hopeless grief.

More could be said about that verse 14 for since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and who are left until the coming of the Lord. We will not precede those fallen asleep stop there for a moment sequence number one is this Paul says that those who have died, who are believers, God through Jesus will bring with him to see when a person dies today this past week Rebecca and I were in Colorado Springs for the funeral of a dear friend who was a musician, died unexpectedly in his sleep and by the way, as a musician. He may have something still to do in heaven. I need to tell you that as a preacher of the gospel in heaven, I will be unofficially unemployed, they will not need me to preach the gospel. There, but you see, his body was laid tenderly in the ground and we were there at his grave and his soul went with God to God, and it took on the characteristics of the bodies of the people who died today. They can communicate they recognize one another. There, in the presence of Jesus enjoying him but they are still there permanent resurrection body has not yet been given to them. So the apostle Paul is saying that when Jesus comes in the rapture. Jesus brings with him all who have slept all who have died in Christ and oh so tempting to hurry over this, but let's not fall into that temptation.

You realize what this means. I'm thinking of my father who died at 106 years old.

I'm thinking of relatives, friends who are in heaven. Children whom we said goodbye to who are going to be up there who are there now with Jesus and they are going to return them and just imagine you got all of these souls of the dead. The Bible says coming back with Christ now souls are very much alive, but the first stage is Jesus comes back with those who have died. That's exactly what the text says so. Though God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

That's number one number two. Their bodies, their bodies will arise from the dead.

Now we have to pick up the text again. I'd like to begin here in verse 16 for the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God and that dead in Christ shall rise first. While their bodies are going to join their spirits the souls will now be close as the apostle Paul says because their bodies will rise from the dead, and it says the Lord will send with a shout of command.

He will say again that you've been dead long enough, and there they will be bodies will rise and connect with their souls something like the resurrection of Lazarus, Jesus is at the tomb of the dead man. You know when I was growing up we used to say at your making enough noise to raise the dead. Well, I'm sorry but you're not making enough noise to raise the dead is very difficult to raise the dead.

I've taken students to a cemetery to preach to the dead and they turned white. That is, the students did, but the graves were still close just but when Jesus stands at the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus says, come forth, Lazarus, come forth was Augustine who said thank God he said Lazarus come forth to be wouldn't have named him the whole cemetery would've come up from the dead.

That's exactly what the Bible teaches. It says that the day is coming when the dead shall hear his voice, and they shall be resurrected, some to the resurrection of life, and some onto the resurrection of damnation, but in the end. Every one bonds to the boys of Jesus. The shout of command and when he shouts that dad come out of their graves. Believe me, they will. And then it says the voice of the archangel, probably a reference to Gary Gabriel. I'm of the opinion that many angels are going to accompany this event, they were there when Jesus was born there going to be there when he returns.

In fact, some of the other texts talk about Jesus coming with the Angels and so they will be there to and with the trump of God.

What was the trumpet used for in Old Testament times.

The trumpet is signified, it's time to move. Remember when Israel was in those camps in the desert and that it was time for them to move and then they would blow the trumpet and you could imagine that people who are asleep. Even they would begin to move. I remember as a joke, someone who could blow the trumpet actually blew a trumpet in a bedroom where his friend was sleeping to wake him, and thankfully his friend awoke. The other option of course would've been to type a heart attack. Jesus will come with a blast of a trumpet, and the dead in Christ in Christ will rise first. They actually have an advantage. That's of the apostle Paul's teaching. If you think that it's a disadvantage to Diane not be present at the appearing of Jesus and they know you're wrong, Paul says here the dead in Christ shall rise first.

That's in verse 16. Well, what's the next sequence for sequence, the Lord returns with his saints of those who died. That is, he brings the souls of those who died with him.

Secondly, their bodies are raised from the dead. Thirdly, the living believers will be instantly transformed, they will be instantly changed.

They will get their bodies instantly. There permanent eternal bodies. Now look at what the text says verse 17 then we who are alive, who are left will be caught up together wrapped euro rapture with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord now, the apostle Paul taught that there was going to be a whole generation of Christian would be alive at the return of Jesus. Same event, spoken of in first Corinthians chapter 15 behold, I show you a mystery.

We shall not all sleep.

That means we shall not all die but we shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an I at the last trumpet. For the trumpet shall sound in the head in Christ shall be raised incorruptible, and it will happen in a twinkling of an online how long does it take for your eyes to twinkle.

Well actually I think I heard it's about 1/50 of the second.

Just like that there's going to be a whole generation of believers are going to go from this existence to their eternal bodies in a second after the dead in Christ had been raised to the apostle Paul says, probably a few seconds after that they will be raised and will be with Christ and it says he will come with the clouds together with them in the clouds, the appearing of Jesus is always associated with clouds that can be because clouds sometimes represent even human beings.

Maybe it's a reference to all the angels you know the Bible says that we are living with a cloud of witnesses, or it may be simply a natural event in the heavens as Jesus comes and now all these Christians go up and they are with the Lord in the clouds. I think that God decided to hide what takes place there from the eyes of the world because the world will have to come up with an explanation as to why so many people disappeared and so we will ever be with the Lord and that's number four in the sequence living believers. Number three will be instantly translated number 40. The groups meet the Lord in the air. You know that word meet actually as you sometimes were you have a delegation meeting, an important person so not to stretch it too much, but it's almost as if the people now who have been rapture joining as they do. Those who previously died and they of course have been translated and everybody who believes in Christ all those in Christ have their permanent bodies.

It's almost as if we are going to war Jesus in a procession and were saying, hail, King Jesus, thank you for coming for us.

Thank you for re-deeming us here. We are Jesus everlasting then pulses so shall we ever be with the Lord, always with the Lord as this translation says always means forever. Think about it where you go to be with the Lord pre-tribulation is in this correct were going to be with the Lord during the great tribulation on earth. We will be in heaven with the Lord matter what you believe about the future we will be with him when he returns in glory, to establish his kingdom will be with him during the thousand year millennial reign that we will talk about in this series and we will be with him while we reign with him for ever and ever and ever with him you don't, of course, is not only being with Jesus, oh how wonderful that is. But it's also being with all of our friends.

Clearly that's why the apostle Paul says encourage one another with these words, it isn't just that everybody is going to be with Jesus but everybody's going to be with everybody else that they knew on earth so that when somebody dies is a believer and we say that we shall see them again and we shall connect with them again. We actually mean that the departures on earth for Christians are never permanent, never permanent.

You never really say goodbye to say good night. You know the expression that those who sleep in Jesus. The imagery is that what you mothers you can relate to this. You have a little baby. You have fed the baby and now you have a low the baby to sleep when Christians die. It is as if Jesus in his arms has a low them to sleep and then of course they shall rise to be with him forever and ever with him so comfort one another, encourage one another with these words, we but not as those who have no hope. Now the implications of this for all of us I think are somewhat momentous, aren't they one of them is a an inspiration and motivation toward holiness. Listen to what John says is his beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Think about that for a moment, you'll be like Christ.

That is, you'll have a body like Jesus. I me were talking about. No doctor bills because no cancer, no aches, no pains, no need for sleep. We will be like him or we shall see him as he is and then as the New Testament always does. It doesn't give us these prophetic words just to satisfy our curiosity.

John goes on and says, and he who has this hope in him purifies himself, even as Christ is pure.

The motivation to holy living is always there.

It is always presented the return of Christ is presented to change us to change our priorities to say all the things in this world that I think are so I want to exchange success for significant I'll tell you the next message that I preach in this series is going to be very sobering because the next message is based on second Corinthians 510 words as we all speaking of Christian we all shall appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account for the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad. While, so it's a motivation to holiness. Secondly, obviously. It's also a motivation for preparedness.

Preparedness I don't know whether there is a word like preparedness, but let's just say there is now a word like that. I mean can you imagine a table with bits and pieces of plastic and would, but also some little bits of iron iron filings in a very strong powerful electromagnet just goes over them and you got all these little iron filings all being pulled up connecting to the magnet and everything else is left behind when Jesus returns.

The question I want to leave you with his will you be left behind.

Actually that might be a great title for a series of books, but people will be left behind. My question is whether or not it's you, you know dogs can be very loyal fact I think they all are.

There is a story about a man who had a very close relationship with his dog.

Then the man the old farmer died they took his body and they put it in a coffin in a box they put it on the train and according to the story that I heard his dog came to the train every single day when it came to the station. The dog always hoping it's master with return goddesses in the Old Testament, the donkeys know their owner cows know where the stalls are my people now I have to ask you a simple question today. Do you love Jesus to love his appearing and you love them for the right reason, the Parliament of world religions many years ago I met a woman and I asked her somehow.

I forget how the conversation began that I was asking her if she loved Jesus and she said oh yes I love them and she entered. She said I love him. I said why she said I love them because of all the miracles he did. I love him because he loved children I love them I love them I love my looks wherein taurine I said you also love him because he died on the cross as a sacrifice for sin so that we could be forgiven.

Know God, and she broke eye contact with me and said I never thought of that before you can even love Jesus for the wrong reasons, and I urge you today. If you've never trusted him as Savior.

He didn't die on the cross for our sins so that we could know him so that we could connect God and so that we could be what the New Testament calls in Christ, so that when the rapture happens, together with the Lord in the clouds face to face with Christ, my Savior face-to-face. What will it when, with whom rapture I behold him. Jesus Christ died only darkling now I see him with a darkling veil between but another day is coming when his glory shall be seen.

I hope that all of us will be ready. Let us pray father we pray that the momentous things that we spoke about today may grip us.

May those who know you come trembling in your presence willing to give up their sin. May all of us be willing to be pure even as Jesus is pure and may those who do not know Christ as Savior hurry to him is the only one who can save them that they too may die in Christ with nothing more to say, Lord, to you, except that we hope that you'll do a work in us that is permanent and lasting and we do love you and we do anticipate your return and we can hardly wait and we pray in your name that you to stand as we sing together is well with my soul and looking forward to that day when our faith shall be safe, let's sing oak on what happens when we meet him in the air. The first in a 10 part series on when he shall come next time don't miss part two when we appear at his judgment seat. This entire series is now a book by Dr. lutes or entitled the King is coming a company is waiting for you with our thanks for your gift of any amount to The Moody Church. Our just call us at 1-800-215-5001 when you call.

Mention the book the King is coming. Call 1-800-215-5001 or writes to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to moodyoffer.com that's moodyoffer.com join us next week for another Moody Church.

Our with Dr. Erwin lutes or in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church


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