17FEBRUARY 2016BODY OF CHRIST NEWS THE RAPTUREFor the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God. And 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. 1 Thessalonians 416-17 Many of us have watched the movie Left Behind. It is a graphic portrayal of those who are left behind when the rapture comes. Some who thought they should have been raptured find themselves left behind and questioning themselves as to why. They seemingly have done all they things required of them believed on the Lord Jesus Christ confessed Christ as Lord and Savior been baptized attended church prayer meeting and bible study. In other words they have exercised all the spiritual disci- plines which we as disciples are called to do. Yet they were left behind. Interestingly some of those left behind are preachers of the gospel. Somehow it would appear there is a difference between profess- ing and possessing a real faith in Jesus. The first event in the sequence of upcoming end- times events is the rapture of the church out of this world. What Is The Timing Of The Rapture For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God. The rapture will be an audible event. With a shout with the voice of an archangel and with a trumpet blast believers will be called to assembly in the air with Christ. The rapture precedes the tribulation. It is an emi- nent event meaning that it can occur at any time. It is an event to which no signs or indicators are attached. It can occur with no warning and no more preceding signs than presently exist. The rapture is a signless event. What is said of the second coming is also true of the rapture. Matthew 2436 declares But of that day and hour no one knows not even the angels of heaven but My Father only. The term rapture comes from the Latin word rapio which means a snatching away in the Latin. Christians who are alive at this time will be caught up to meet the Lord Jesus and will at that moment receive their glorified bodies. Those Christians who have died since the church began at Pentecost will also be involved in the rapture having their physical bodies raised from the dead and receive their resur- rected glorified bodies 1 Cor. 155153. What About Those Who Have Already Died And the dead in Christ will rise first. At the time of death 2 Corinthians 58 informs us as to the status of the deceased We are confident yes well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Although our bod- ies are consigned to the ground our souls go to be with the Lord in Heaven. Those believers who have died whose souls now dwell in the presence of God will at the time of the rapture have their bodies res- urrected and meet with Jesus in the air. Those of us who are alive will follow them in glorified bodies. First Corinthians 1550-53 gives us further insight into this change both for the dead and the living Now this I say brethren that flesh and blood can- not inherit the kingdom of God nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold I tell you a mystery We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changedin a moment in the twinkling of an eye at the last trum- pet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality. I am not sure exactly what a glorified body looks like but it would seem based on Jesus resurrection from the dead that it will be a recognizable body. A body that may bear some signs of living and dying as Jesus resurrected body still bore the nail prints in his hand but somehow it is described as a glorified body. One that in spite of having had earthly limita- tions now has none in the presence of God. The Corinthians had a similar concern and question. But some- one will say How are the dead raised up And with what body do they come 1 Corinthians 1535. Paul does not have a concise answer and relates the germination and death of a seed being required and necessary before there can be a plant. He says speaking of seed But God gives it a body as He pleases and to each seed its own body. vs. 38. In verses 42-44 he relates it to the change of the resurrected body So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishon- or it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body. The bottom line is that he did not know what a glorified body looked like but assumed that whatever form the resur- rected body took it would be different and immortal. However it starts out its maturity its glorification would be something different. The rapture will include living believers as well as believers who have died both be in some form of a glorified body to meet Jesus in the air. Who Of Those Living Will Be Raptured Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. The apostle Paul teaches that true believers in Christ 1 Thessalonians 41-12 will suddenly be caught up into the air by the power of Christ and will meet with him in the air. The people involved in the rapture are believers but more specifically they are said to be those who are in Christ 1 Thess. 416. Only those who are part of the church the body of Christ will be part of the rapture event for they are the only ones who are in Christ. The rapture will include all believers from the day of Pentecost to the rapture event itself. Those who are in Christ are the ones who have been placed into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit 1 Cor. 1213. This work of Spirit baptism did not begin until the day of Pentecost. It was on that day Acts 2 that the church of Jesus Christ began. Does true believers mean that only those who are perfect will be caught up The only way any of us can stand in a perfected state before Jesus Christ in that hour is through the merits of His shed blood. Second Corinthians 521 declares For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. This is our perfec- tion in addition the Bible states that ever believer is a member of the body of Christ 1 Corinthians 1212-13. If only those who meet a certain standard of spirituality be taken the body of Jesus Christ would be dismembered and disfigured. This is an impossibility. I am so glad that 1 Corinthians 1551 states Behold I tell you a mystery We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed. What Will Become Of Those Raptured And thus we shall always be with the Lord. John 141-3 is the first mention of the rapture event in the Scriptures. It is a famil- iar verse and often quoted at funer- als without the understanding of its significance in end-time events. Let not your heart be troubled you believe in God believe also in Me. In My Fathers house are many man- sions 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. Jesus promised a place where those who are in Christ will be with him. The rapture is a most important event for believers and the church because those who are raptured will not go through the tribulation. During the tribulation the wrath of God is poured out on unbelievers and focuses on sin and sinners. Since believers have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ there is no purpose for the church to endure it either for sal- vation or sanctification and therefore the church is removed from the earth during from the time of the tribulation. A few scriptures that assure us that the church will be raptured and not experience the Tribulation 1 Thessalonians 59 For God did not appoint us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ Revelation 310 Because you have kept My com- mand to persevere I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth. Therefore our goal as believers is to be part of the rapture What is to become of those raptured One result is that the promise of Christ to come back for His own is fulfilled. A second result of the rapture will be the completion of our salvation. Although Christ fully paid the redemption price for our salvation the reality is that we are not yet fully saved. Romans 823 reminds us that we are waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons the redemption of our body. A third result of the rapture will be the uniting of all believers. The truth of the rapture was given to bring comfort to those believers who have experienced separation from loved ones 1 Thessalonians 48. We also should be daily looking for anticipating Christs return. Keep the words of the Apostle in mind as he reflected on the second coming And do this knowing the time that now it is high time to awake out of sleep for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light Romans 1311-12. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day of forgiveness today is the day of life offered now through faith in the Son of God. He died because of your sin and He rose from the dead to make you right with the Father. Therefore the message we deliver to you is that which is found in the Letter to Roman Christians that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteous- ness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. That passage concludes with a glorious promisea promise which is for you if you will but receive it For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 109 10 13. Amen William T. Golson By Pastor William T. Golson SERMON The rapture is a most important event for believers and the church because those who are raptured will not go through the tribulation. During the tribulation the wrath of God is poured out on unbelievers and focuses on sin and sinners.