Vol. 38, No. 3 March, 2014
THE COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS IN THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH. (1Thess. 4:16-18)
By Pastor George Mills
“For 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. Then 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. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1Thess 4:16-18)
These words were meant to comfort the Thessalonian believers concerning their loved ones who had died. “What about them?” was the question upon their hearts. They died, and Christ had not returned. Was their faith in vain? Just as
these words were meant to comfort those early believers, they were meant to comfort Christians down through the ages. These are comforting words for us today. Of course, we have stated many times in the past, we state once again that we believe in the imminent return of Christ. “Imminent” meaning, “Ready to take place.” Christ could have returned
at any moment in past history. Christ can come TODAY if He chooses to do so. There is nothing to hinder His Coming, there has been nothing in the past to hinder His coming. There is nothing that has to be fulfilled, no prophesy, nothing to hinder the Rapture, except His own timing. That is something we cannot figure out, we cannot predict, and we will not try. Down through the ages, so many have set a date, a time, or a season for His return in the Rapture, and have been proven wrong. I have listened to several Preachers (Not Independent Baptists) recently and these have stated that these things MUST take place before Christ comes for His Church.
One preacher said, “Christ cannot return for the Church until the wealth of the world is given to the Church. The devil stole the wealth from you, and God
is going to give it back to you.” Of course, this is that “wealth gospel” which is being preached today. You cannot find that teaching in the Scriptures concerning the Church, no, not with a flashlight and crowbar. We are to “Rightly divide the Word” not “Chop it up.”
And another preacher said; “The Church must be without spot and
blemish before He returns for the Church.” But the Church is renewed every day. Every day, some saints die and go to be with the Lord, and every day, new Christians are born into the family of God. Every day the Church has mature Christians, some growing Christians, and some new Christians. It is true that Jesus will “present it to Himself a Glorious Church without spot or wrinkle.” (Eph 5:27) But the Glorious Church without spot or wrinkle will never happen down here. The Church, the Bride of Christ will be “Arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. This glorious event will take place at the Judgment seat of Christ. (Ro 14:10-12) (Rev 19:7-9) This is in no way an excuse for anybody who names the Name of Christ to do less than our very best. We should live holy, separated lives.
And another preacher said, “Before Christ returns for His Church, all differences between believers must be settled. We all must come together. There must be unity.” I believe that he meant “organizational unity” This teaching says that we must drop this doctrine, and that doctrine, and somehow come to some kind of unity. This cannot be done, that is, if we stay true to what the Bible (KJV) teaches. I do not know of one single Doctrine I can drop, or compromise with. HOWEVER, if we, like many are doing today, if we fall for these new “Versions” and not stay with the Bible God gave us, (KJV) there is no telling what we will compromise. Let us be faithful to the Inspired, Preserved Word of God. (Psa 12:6-7).
And another preacher said, “Before Christ returns for His Church. Elijah must first come and restore all things.” This is taken from Malachi 4:5-6, “Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” This question arose among the disciples and Jesus answered and told them that Elijah has already come. ( See Mt 11:8-14, Mt 17:10-13). We are not looking for Elijah, we are looking for The Saviour.
And another said, “The Gospel of the Kingdom must be preached among all nations, and then shall the end come.” His reference of course is Mt 24:14. We have shared with our readers on several occasions that we DO NOT preach the Gospel of the Kingdom in this age, we preach the Gospel of the Grace of God. These are NOT the same Gospel. A sinner who believes the Gospel of Grace, who receives the Gospel of Grace is saved from the penalty of sin, (Eph 2:8-9) (1Cor 15:1-4) The Gospel of the Kingdom was preached by John the Baptist, by Our Lord, by his 12 disciples, by the 70 disciples He sent out. The Gospel of the Kingdom was rejected, and the King was crucified. The Gospel of the Kingdom will call the Jews to their homeland during the Tribulation period on earth AFTER the Church has been taken out of here. Read Matthew 24 carefully. The Church is not in that passage. The events of Mt. 24 take place AFTER the Church is gone.
And so, we are not looking for someone other than Christ. We believe that He could come at any moment of any day. It is our prayer, “even so, come Lord Jesus.” Now, let me share some things with you about the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture is;
SECRET.. The coming of Christ is clearly revealed in two aspects. The first is called the RAPTURE, and the second is called the REVELATION. When Christ comes TO the earth in the REVELATION at the end of the Tribulation period, this event is known and seen by all. But the Rapture of the Church, the “Catching away” or “Caught up together” is SECRET. Paul says, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
(1Cor 15:51-58) Now, do not think that the last trumpet in 1Cor. 15:52 is the same as the last trump in Rev.11:15. These two do not fit together. We do much damage to the study of the last days if we try to place these at the same time. Again, the RAPTURE is SECRET. We know not the day or the hour of His coming for His Bride. The question is, are YOU ready for that wonderful event? You can be ready when you, by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour. And then, the Rapture is;
SILENT.. When Christ comes to the earth in the REVELATION at the end of the Tribulation period, When He stands upon the Mount of Olives, this event is seen and known by all, and will evidently be quite noisy. (See Mt 25:31-46, Joel 3:9-16, Zech 14:4-7. But the RAPTURE is SILENT. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” There will be no advertisement, no announcement, and no special notification. Christ said, “Be ye also ready.” At any moment there may be the SECRET, SILENT, catching away of His bride. And then, the Rapture is;
SUDDEN.. “In such an hour as Ye think not” “As a thief in the night” As a thief in the night, silently, unexpectedly, comes for the jewels and valuables in the household, Jesus will come SUDDENLY. Remember, it does not take long for God to do anything. It did not take Him long to create all things, and it will not take Him long to end all things.. And the Rapture is;
SELECTIVE. Christ is coming in the Rapture to receive only those who have received Him as Personal Saviour. When He comes in the Rapture, He will bring the ones who have died in the Lord with Him. His voice will penetrate the grave of every believer, their body will be resurrected, changed, and glorified for body and soul to be reunited in the air and living believers will be suddenly changed and glorified, and caught up (RAPTURED) to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. His coming will be selective…For His own, ONLY! And the Rapture is;
SURE..If the Bible (KJV) is true, and we know that it is. “ Every Word of God is Pure.” “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” Then the Rapture is SURE. It will happen in God’s own time. It WILL SURELY come to pass. Jesus said in Rev. 22:20, “SURELY I come quickly.” We join our prayer with the Apostle John who said in that verse, “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”
Our Blessed Lord Jesus said, “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 unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.” (Jn 14:1-6). At any moment of any day, without announcement, Christ will return for His own.
The story in Mt. 25:1-13 about the ten virgins teaches us a great lesson. Five were wise, and five were foolish…
They were all members of the same congregation.
They all were moral. (Virgins).
They all were waiting on the same thing.
They all had vessels, (lamps).
They all heard the same message.
But five of them had no oil!
Oil is the Biblical illustration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes into the life of the believer at the moment he/she receives Christ, (Eph 1:13, Ro. 8:9). Five of the virgins were everything but saved! They did not belong to Christ.
Many are like these today…Good, moral, church members, but not saved!Are you one of His own? If you are not, or if you are not real sure, please consider these things…
There are two “Receives” in the Gospel of John..
(A) “But as many as RECEIVED Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” How then, do I receive Him? The Bible says, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” Christ wants you to believe Him, that He died for your sin, that He was buried, and that He arose from the dead to be our Living Savour. Tell Him, in the best way you can, that you receive Him.
(B) “I will come again and RECEIVE you unto Myself.” Christ says, “If you receive Me, I will receive you. When He comes in the Rapture, He will come for you. Even so, come Lord Jesus
OUR LAMPS ARE GONE OUT
Pastor George Mills
Behold the Bridegroom comes so soon,
We must prepare to meet.
But is His coming morn, or noon,
To make His Bride complete?
Behold the Bridegroom tarries still,
And the hour is growing late.
Let us rest from the cold night chill,
The oil will have to wait.
Tomorrow on yon market square,
To the merchant we will go,
The oil is waiting for us there,
We are sure to find it so.
But then the sudden knock on the door,
“He’s here, just as He said.
But wait, our lamps, no oil in store,
We’ll rise up from our bed.”
“Give us some oil, we must prepare,
The Bridegroom now to meet.”
“Not so, for we have none to share,
Go to the merchant on the street.”
They only meant to sleep awhile,
And then their vessels trim,
And then to see the Bridegroom’s smile,
And with joy to welcome Him.
No time for them to go to buy,
Too late, there’s not a doubt.
“Give us your oil,” the useless cry,
“Our lamps are all gone out.”
Too late, too late, the Bridegroom came,
And when they went about,
To find the oil, but that was vain,
Their lamps had all gone out.
The lesson then is plain to see,
Prepare for Him, without doubt,
Lest when He comes, your cry will be,
“Our lamps are all gone out.”
By Pastor George Mills
(from the WILDERNESS, Sept. 2004)
“And straightway Jesus constrained His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray, and when the evening was come, He was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves, for the wind was contrary.” (Mt 14:22-36).
Three brief points I would like to share with you from this text as our Lord teaches His disciples by the storm.
1. Jesus sent His disciples on a journey to the other side. We are on a journey to the other side.
2. The disciples faced a violent storm. On our journey, we face storms.
3. Jesus was on the mountain praying for them. They were never out of His sight. As we journey, we are never out of His sight.
Three simple lessons to keep in mind as we face our storms. Florida has been hit by several hurricanes this season. First there was “Charlie” then “ Frances” and then “Ivan.” We offer our prayers, helps, and support to those who have suffered great loss. Here in North Florida we have received much rain and some strong winds, but nothing like our neighbors to the south of us. We thank God for bringing us safely through our storms. “The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind”(Na 1:3).
There are many lessons we can learn from the storms we face. In our text, Christ sent His disciples into a storm, not to place them in harm or possible loss. He sent them to teach them. And so it is with us as we face the storms of life. Now, in using the word “STORM” I do not necessarily mean a thunder storm, or tropical storm, or hurricane. By “storm” I mean when things are out of order. When things are not as they should be. When we feel as though we are sinking, with no help in sight. A sudden loss of a job may be just like a storm. A sudden illness, a sudden death of a loved one, a move to a distant city, a wayward child, a mate wants a divorce. On and on the list goes. When we face these things, it is not unlike the storm at sea with disciples that night. Let us see some things that we can find when we are in our storm.
(A) COURAGE. When Jesus saw His disciples struggling with the storm, He went to them walking on the water. Now, get the picture; a violent storm, rain wind, waves, the tiny ship was tossed about, and the disciples were afraid. Then they see Jesus walking on the sea. I am well aware of how we make fun of the apostle Peter as he takes his eyes off Christ and begins to sink. But Peter had the courage to ask the Lord to let him walk on the water. He alone did that. No other person other than our Lord has ever done that. Peter learned from that storm. Peter gained COURAGE to face other storms ahead. The other disciples learned also. And He will come to you in your storm, and give you courage, and bring you through your storm, and you will be stronger and bolder as you face more storms of life.
(B) CLEANSING. After one of the great storms passed through our town, I rode through some of the neighborhoods. Debris was everywhere. Downed trees, limbs, shrubbery. It looked like a war zone. One thing I did notice. Most of the trees and large limbs that were on the ground were diseased or very weak. I noticed that the center of many of these trees had a large hole in the middle. Large limbs were the same. Most of these were trees that should have been taken down. Some were in danger of having these fall, causing much damage. I could not but think of how our Lord has His way of cleansing His creation. Diseased wood, dead trees, have to be removed. Storms cleanse. Storms clean the air. Everything is fresh and clean after a storm. And when the storm comes in your life, in my life, this is a time for our cleansing. Time for us to get rid of so many things that make us “sickly, weak” Christians.
(C) CONCERN. As I read about the times the disciples were in a storm, I see their concern for one another. They labored together. They did what they could do to keep their ship afloat. Paul and the seamen in Acts labored together during a violent storm (Acts 27). They had concern for one another. They threw out their cargo, and worked to keep their vessel afloat. I am glad to see the great concern for others we have seen during our stormy season. I have faced many storms in my Christian life. One thing that is very clear, I am a stronger person, and I have concern for those who are facing their storm. I was not always like this. There was a time in life when I could not care any less, but in each storm, I have grown stronger in faith, and in my concern for others as they face their storm.
(D) COMMITMENT. After the storm in Mt 14:22-36, the disciples left the ship with a new commitment. “Then they that were in the ship came and worshiped Him, saying, of a truth, thou art the Son of God.” These disciples, in just a few years will “turn the world upside down.” They will die on foreign fields. They were committed to Christ. Each storm they faced made them more committed. And so it is with us. In our storms, we commit ourselves anew to our Lord. Oh, I know that many do not mean what they say during their storm, but many do. I have never heard anyone testify that they made their commitment to Christ when everything was going so good. I have not heard anyone say that “Life is so good, things are going so great, the sun is shining bright, there is not a cloud in the sky, so I think I’ll just commit my life to Christ today.” I suppose that has happened, but I have never heard anyone testify to that. I have heard many testify to the fact that during that great storm, (whatever that storm may have been) that’s when they made their commitment to Christ. It may be that today, you are going through that great storm. Remember the first three points of this message. Christ sent His disciples into a storm. They were never out of His sight. He was praying for them, and He came to them, in their storm. You are never out of His sight. He is in Heaven praying for us today, and He will land you safely on the other side. Let Him teach you by the storm. Commit your life to His care.
AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS.. It is no friend to the Christian. It is a stormy place. But there is shelter in the Rock of ages, there is peace in every storm, there is comfort in every gale, and the whisper of God in the violent winds that blow.
FROM MY HEART
By Mildred Mills
JUST DO IT!
“Whatsoever ye do, do all to the Glory of God.” (1Cor. 10:31). We, as born again believers are to be pleasing to Jesus in all our actions. We are not perfect and believe me, I am the first to confess that I am not pleasing to our Lord in all my actions! However, that should be the desire of our hearts, to please Him. Don’t worry about pleasing others, Just do what you do to glorify God. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”(Mt. 5:16). Love others, be honest, fight for the underdog, think big, and don’t let others tear you down or rob you of your joy. Help others and tell them about Jesus. Do all you do to the Glory of God. The following article is sad, but true, and good advise for us all:
DO IT ANYWAY!
“People are illogical, unreasonable and self centered, Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives, Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies, Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow, Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help them anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.”
GIVE THEM JESUS!
TEEN TALKS THAT MATTER
By Ashley Stevens
Young girls love wearing new clothes and those honest guys out there would also admit that they like new clothing that makes them look good. Go ahead and admit it! Nothing can replace that feeling you get when someone compliments you on your appearance.
In a way, we get to wear new clothes when we meet Jesus. We get our “spiritual clothes” when we accept Jesus into our lives and we begin to live our lives for Him. At that time we are given a new “outfit” and we are commanded to wear it. It is just like saying “out with the old and in with the new.” It is not going to be easy to change your style from your old self to new, but when you make the transition, you will be at rest. Your new style will make you feel right at home. The Lord has opened His arms and let you in. Now, all you have to do is put on that new outfit, the armor of God. Put it on every day and face the world. Go ditch those old clothes, you have a whole new wardrobe! So be sure to take off that ugly, sinful stained worldly dress called the flesh and put on the whole armor of Christianity.
May God Bless your life each and every day.
Until the next time, Ashley Stevens
THE WORD OF GOD
By Pastor George Mills
“Forever O Lord, Thy Word is settled in Heaven.”(Ps 119:89)
I continue to be amazed at the various attacks upon the authority of the Bible today. Even some “fundamentalists” have joined in. The question is, “Is the Bible the Inspired, Preserved Word of God? Or, is it not?” It cannot be both. This is where the battle of the ages rages. If the Bible has to be “corrected” from time to time, then something is wrong. My Bible is OK. I just love it and preach it. Of course, I use only the Authorized King James Version. Recently, a man in South Carolina wanted to carry on a debate with me about the Bible. I have nothing to debate. He could not understand why we fundamentalists are so combative on the issue of the Bible. My answer was, “I am not combative. I am just fine. I do alright until someone tries to tell me that something is wrong with my Bible, and then the battle begins.” When anyone takes the position that the Bible has to be corrected in various places, this is confusion. Some teachers refer to the “originals” when there are no originals. Some have the idea that some “Greek Lexicon,” or some bible dictionary is just as inspired as the Bible is. God has no problem in preserving His Word.
THY WORD IS TRUTH!