By the time you read this, it could be any day of the week. But I am writing this on a Sunday morning. As a matter of fact, it’s not long before Sunday school will begin, followed by the morning worship service at our church.
So, my question to you is this: What are you expecting this morning?
Unfortunately, so many people, particularly Christians, are not expecting anything. Oh, they are expecting to do something, maybe go somewhere, or maybe they’re just expecting a late breakfast in bed. But when it comes to worshipping their God in a congregation of believers, most don’t expect anything – they just go.
Why is that? Why is going to church on the Lord’s Day something to be taken for granted? Even more, why is it something to be taken so lightly that washing one’s car or pancakes are more important?
One big reason, like I just mentioned, is that they/we, for the most part – if not always – never expect anything to happen that hasn’t already happened week after week, year after year. Nothing.
Yet, when we go to church – WHEN we go to church – there is the distinct possibility to witness a genuine miracle, one that can directly affect each of us on an individual level. I’m not referring to “miraculous” healings or “manifestations;” I’m talking about being spoken to by the holy God of the universe.
Oh, you can stay home and watch TV or play with your kids, and those things are OK in and of themselves, but what you are going to miss is nothing less miraculous than the breaking of the loaves and fishes to feed 5,000. And you think catching a wide mouth bass is better than that?
I would encourage you to rethink your priorities, dear Christian. The God who saved you from hell is offering to you a special opportunity which cannot be duplicated or recreated afterwards. He wants you and the rest of His children to experience this together as a family.
Please, accept the invitation your Father is sending out. Accept it and expect to hear from Him.
Otherwise, do not expect much from God by way of joy and fulfillment when what you choose to do replaces a personal offer from Heaven.
There were two main objectives that needed to be accomplished when I went to Pakistan. Those two objectives were:
To verify all that I had been told about the work and ministry of Grace Charity Schools and Pastor Victor Sammuel was true.
To encourage local pastors and fellow believers with biblical teaching and preaching.
For several years I’ve been the funnel through which many people have given lots of money to support Brother Victor and the ministry in Pakistan. People send me money via PayPal or check, then I send it to Victor via MoneyGram or Western Union. And as you can imagine, each time I would do this there would be someone wondering in what fashion I was being scammed.
Let’s be honest, funding an overseas ministry you’ve never seen in person is risky enough. However, in this day and age when people are losing their life’s savings to scammers every day, it’s no wonder I’ve been thought of as naive, to say the least.
On a side note, we are still trying to get an updated “Memorandum of Understanding” from the Pakistani government, and that is all that remains before Grace Charity Schools can be vetted by an organization called CAFAmerica.org. Once that is done, no more Western Union transfers will be necessary. But until then, I’m stuck with the hand I’ve been dealt.
But, again, that is the main reason why I felt it necessary to travel to Toba Tek Singh for myself. I needed to see what was going on so that I could show everyone else. As the photos below will show, I made it to the school (both campuses) and can testify that the work is legitimate.
The second objective, that being to encourage local pastors and believers, was met in a huge way! Not only did I get to speak at two separate pastor conferences, but I got to speak at several other places, including to a small congregation of believers in a tent right next to a brick kiln.
There are so many other things, but I don’t have the time at this moment to share them with you. However, keep coming back for more insight into this part of the world. What I have to say may surprise you 😉
Stay tuned for more. There’s a lot left to discuss 🙂
If you read my last post you are now aware that my wife has COVID-19. I may or may not have it, but I’m not showing any symptoms so far.
But what I want to ask of you is something simple, something anybody can do, just as long as they don’t have COVID.
Would you go to church tomorrow?
I know, it’s a lot to ask for some of you. It’s almost an impossibility for others. And, like a few who leave friendly comments on this blog, it’s a request that falls on deaf ears and hard hearts.
However, from my perspective, I’m wishing I could leave the house. I would LOVE to go fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ in person, not over Facebook Live. There is such a difference.
You may be thinking, “Why go to church when you can get all the teaching you need online?”
Well, let me illustrate it with a story…
Do you remember the stories in the Bible where Jesus fed thousands and thousands of people with just a few fish and a few loaves of bread? Oh, what an awesome story of God’s provision! What a miracle! Every time I hear it I get goosebumps, particularly when I consider the expressions on the disciples’ faces as Jesus kept breaking the bread and giving it out!
And when you read it or hear the story told from the Bible, the inspired Word of God, is it not sufficient to speak to your soul and minister to your spirit? Of course it is!
The same truths that Jesus taught the disciples and all those he fed (although the crowd didn’t understand), are the same exact truths anyone of us can learn through a studious reading of the biblical text. The same Holy Spirit who was there on the hillside is the same Spirit of God who will illuminate the passages we read and strengthen our faith.
But there’s at least one thing – one HUGE thing – that we will NEVER understand from the Scripture and the preaching of the truths found therein.
Do you know what it is?
We will never know what the bread and the fish tasted like! On top of that, we will never know what it feels like to go from being hungry to being stuffed with bread and fish that miraculously fell from the hands of Jesus Christ!
For THOSE experiences one had TO BE THERE.
And that’s the difference between online church services and actually being in the same room where the Word of God is blessed, broken, and distributed to the hungry of heart.
I hope you all had a wonderful long weekend (here in America), because I sure did! Beside having a wonderful service Sunday morning, my family and I came together in Atlanta, GA, to attend a major-league baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins…and the Braves WON!…Twice in the same game!
Today, let us look at verse 4 in Ephesians 4. Keep in mind that the Body of Christ (the Church) may be one, but it contains individual parts, each part of an overall design, and each part performing a prescribed function. We will go deeper into that aspect a little later.
4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.
[There is] one body,
Here the Apostle Paul, speaking of the Church as the unified Body of Christ, begins the first point in “Seven Particulars”, the culmination of the last making up three different triads. The first triad is that of “one body…one Spirit…one hope of your calling.” See also 1 Corinthians 12:13.
The second triad is formed from “one Lord…one faith…one baptism.” The third triad is found in verse six where, when describing God the Father, the seventh “particular,” he declares that He is “above all…through all…in you all.”
Paul continues to use the analogy of the body to describe the importance of healthy unity. Unity in the body, especially peaceful unity (v.3) is critical for effectiveness. Although a human body be unified, all individual members working together for the common life of the body, if one member be sickly or “angry,” the rest of the body, however healthy, will ultimately be affected and the work of the body will be hindered. There are a great many truths associated with the Church being the Body of Christ on the earth, and here is no exception. But what Paul does in the next few verses is take both a wide-angle view and one that is microscopic: he speaks of the common unity we have as the Body, but he also stresses the importance of the individual member (v.7).
and one Spirit,
What is a body without life? What is a body without a spirit that animates it? Similarly, what is the Body of Christ without the life-giving, resurrecting power of the Holy Spirit? Not only are believers part of one body, but they are also empowered by the indwelling Pneuma (the Holy Spirit; the breath of God). “For by one Spirit (Pneumati) are we all baptized into one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
It must be understood that without the presence of the Spirit, the Church would not be the living Body, Jesus Christ being the Head. Therefore, as the Body is united, and as it works, individual members will have different responsibilities, such as feet help the body to stand while the fingers grip the hilt and the arm swings the sword. Yet, all will receive their strength from the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit that flows through one part of the Body is the same that flows through another whose Head is Jesus Christ. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9 KJV). See also 1 Corinthians 12:13.
even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
The unified, universal Church is one Body, has only one life-giving and empowering Spirit and only one hope: “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13 KJV). Those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ have a calling – a “vocation” – for which they have been called. Therefore, in everything we do, at home or at work or school, each believer has been issued a vocation in the Kingdom, and that is to point people to the only Hope of the World.
It must be noted, however, that a careful reading of this part of verse four shows that “even as ye are called in one hope of your calling” is a phrase which helps modify the previous “There is one body, and one Spirit.” Notice how that Paul says that there is one body and one Spirit, “even as…” Therefore, a comparison is being made between the two phrases, which could even lend to the argument that there is not really a triad in this section, only a couplet modified by a couplet.
So, what is really being said? How do we make the comparison between the two? The body needs a spirit to animate it, to make it alive; the “vocation” has only one “hope.”
 H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Ephesians, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 147.
Let’s jump back into the deep water this morning and look at Ephesians 4:3. It’s all part of a short commentary on Ephesians 4:1-16 entitled,
“The Edification of the Body of Christ by the Gifts Given by Jesus to the Church.”
But hey! When you are finished reading today’s study, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.
Tomorrow is the 4th of July, so I’ll be sharing a post relating to that subject, not this. But check back on Monday to pick it up again as we look at Ephesians 4:4.
4:3 “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Here the Apostle Paul uses a word that adds urgency to the “vocation.” To endeavour (σπουδάζω, spoudazō) is to use make haste to do what you need to do. Even more, the sense of urgency implies that one should do everything he can as soon as he can and not waste time.
Or, as the Pulpit Commentary described, “Σπουδάζοντες is stronger than the A. V. ‘endeavouring,’ and denotes an object to be carefully and earnestly watched for and promoted.” Consider how the same word is used in 2 Timothy 4:9 when Paul asked Timothy, “Do thy diligence (spoudazō) to come to me shortly.” And, again, in verse 21 of the same chapter, “Do thy diligence to come before winter…” We can sense the urgency. However, as much as the word could convey a sense of urgency, it can also point to great desire, like the heartfelt longing Paul expressed in 1 Thessalonians 2:17 where he said:
1 Thessalonians 2:17 KJV – But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured[G4704] the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
Considering how Paul used endeavoured in other places, it would be safe to conclude that the unity to which he is referring should not only be striven for with urgency, but with great desire.
To keep the unity of the Spirit
What does it mean to “keep” something? The word translated here can be used to describe keeping, watching over, or guarding something. It could also be used with the meaning of keeping something in a particular state or condition. However, what needs to be stressed is that unity is not something that happens naturally, at least not in the spiritual body. When we seek our own devices, we cause disunity, strife, and internal conflict. Therefore, we must “endeavor” to watch over and guard our unity. The Enemy seeks to divide and conquer, but we are stronger when we are unified.
In the bond
The word “bond” (σύνδεσμος sýndesmos, soon’-des-mos) is an important word to know, for used in the context of unity and the body, it refers to a joint or ligament that holds the individual members of the Body together. It is figurative language, yet it is fitting considering the Church is a living body, not simply a building. The joints are therefore flexible as well as strong, but like any other living tissue in a body, it must receive nourishment, and that must come from the life-giving Spirit.
The unity of the Spirit is kept by the bond of “peace.” As with the human body, the spiritual body, both of local congregations and of the Church, are complicated structures with many members which act symbiotically to maintain a container for life. The Church contains the Spirit, and it must endeavor to maintain unity, an unbroken body, in order to keep it (like trying to keep a physical body in one piece in order to maintain the life of the body). And what is it that keeps the body together and working? It is the bonds, the ligaments. And what are the bonds, the ligaments, in this spiritual entity? They are peace. Peace is the bond, the ligament, that binds together the individual members for the work which the body was designed to do.
Peace is the Greek word εἰρήνη (eirēnē) – Strongs G1515 – and can refer to either a “state of national tranquility” or “peace between individuals.” The effectual working of the Body of Christ (the Church) in the world desperately depends on healthy and strong bonds of peace, yet this unity is fragile and often neglected with most of the attention and energy directed members instead of what binds them.
“Unity is maintained by the Spirit. Unity is preserved as believers make peace with one another their major priority instead of acting selfishly for personal gain and honor. Our call is not to create spiritual unity but rather to manifest spiritual unity by relational unity. Paul calls for unity in the third verse and spends the next thirteen verses elaborating on it.”
 H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Ephesians, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 147.
Hey guys, I hope you all are having a wonderful and blessed weekend! I am!
First, I went to the doctor this week and he prescribed for me some medication to help me get my sleep back in rhythm. Today, after just two days of back-to-back 8+hours of sleep (the first in literally years) I feel great!
Amazing what sleep can do, right?
But besides that, I want to share this video I just made and posted several other places, particularly Facebook. It’s an invitation to come visit with us for Easter, either in person or online.
If you can’t visit with us in person, yet you want to be a part, check us out live on Facebook both at 7am and 11am Eastern on Facebook at @bethlehembaptistwarthen.
I appreciate all of you. Eventually I will get back to reading all of your posts, too! I miss them.
If you think the title for this post was long, get ready for some seriously beyond-the-normal word count 🙂
Up until this Sunday evening, I had never preached a sermon or taught the Bible straight from a manuscript. This was the first time.
The only reason I did this was because a shut-in lady requested that I send her written transcripts so that she could take the time to read what I was preaching and be able to make notes and take her time through it. She said that she was really interested in Ephesians and wanted to do more than just listen on Facebook.
So, it took a little while to write it up, but the process, as I expected, was not only refreshing and fun (yes, fun), but it did cause me to hone my focus and build a better foundation for other doctrines yet to be discussed.
So, what I’m going to do for you guys is post the written text of the sermon. However, should you want to actually watch the video on Facebook, you can go to our church’s Facebook page and watch it there. It is @BethlehemBaptistWarthen. Or, I guess I could just go ahead and post the link. Why make it difficult, right?
Sunday Evening, Feb. 28, 2021 Bethlehem Baptist, Warthen, GA Pastor Anthony Baker Ephesians 2, Pt. 1
I have not preached a sermon from this passage, yet. However, since I will be preaching it this coming Sunday night, I might as well do my best to write it down for you. I pray that it is a blessing and an encouragement.
As we begin looking at chapter two of Ephesians, note that it can be divided up into three or more, maybe even five different word pictures. In other words, the Apostle Paul uses words, he uses illustrations, he draws pictures in our minds with words to help us understand, a little better, at least, the deep mysteries of salvation and the work of the power of Christ in us.
The first section can be seen in verses 1-10. In these verses Paul paints the picture of dead bodies being raised to life, not of their own power, nor by anything good they could do, but by the grace of God.
The second section can be seen in verses 11 and 12, followed by a third in verses 13-18. The second section illustrates the division that Gentiles once had with the Jews and the covenants of God. He does this as he brings up the issue of circumcision. In the third section, Paul mixes metaphors as he illustrates the bringing in of Gentiles through the picture of the “middle wall” being torn down and the making of one body out of two which led to peace with God. We will get to these things in more detail in time.
Then, in a fourth section, Paul references citizenship, followed by comparing us to building blocks in a holy temple built on top of the foundations laid by the holy prophets, Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone.
In a sort of humorous kind of way we can almost laugh at the words of Paul in the beginning verses of chapter three when he says that because of all these previous descriptions of such a great mystery, previously hidden from those in other ages (3:5), he has become a “minister” (3:7) to us of the “unsearchable riches of Christ”! Well, hallelujah! I’m glad, Paul! Because a lot of us are already confused. Amen?
But it was important for you to know these things – what Paul is doing with his words – so that you don’t single out one illustration or metaphor and build a false doctrine around it. Again, this is why I always stress context, context, context! Without studying Scripture in the context of the whole connecting passage – in this case, from verse one of chapter two to verse seven of chapter three – we might miss the whole point that the author is trying to make and possibly make a major mountain out of a minor metaphor.
So, let’s now go to the first verse in chapter two:
Ephesians 2:1 KJV – And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Before we do any further reading, it will be very helpful to once again look at some words. If we misunderstand the words that are written here by Paul, but translated into English – and old English, at that – then we could easily misunderstand the meaning of the text and even fall prey to bad theology.
The first word we should look at is the word “quickened.”
Now, what is interesting is that if you are looking at a King James Version you will see that this word, actually several words, is in italics. The reason, as we have discussed before, is that the word is not in the original text, but the translators added it to help clarify the original text. What IS there is simply the Greek word ὤν (spelled “on” in English). All it means is that the “You” being spoken to “are.”
Yes, the Greek word on implies being, existence, and such. So, what Paul was really saying has been better translated in other versions such as the NIV, ESV, and CSB. The NIV reads: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.”
Of course, this is not changing the Bible; this is what the Bible originally said. What the translators of the King James Version did was try to clue us in to a truth that is mentioned farther down in Paul’s description of those who are saved. It is all the way down in verse 5 where he finally uses the word that is rightfully translated as “quicken.”
Ephesians 2:5 KJV – Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Back to the first verse, now. Paul, as we have already seen, is speaking to Christians. He is speaking to those who are “in Christ.” He is speaking to those who had been lost and now are saved. But it is in these verses where he describes what being lost is really like. What it really is.
The next word we will look at is the word “dead.”
Paul said that “you” (you could even apply that to us and say “we’) were DEAD in trespasses and sins. Yet, when we look at verse 2 we see something interesting. He says, that while we were dead, we “walked.” What? Dead people walk? That’s what he said!
Could it be that when Paul was talking about being dead, he didn’t mean it the same way we understand the word to mean, at least when we talk about dead people in the grave? I think it’s important that we think about this, for it makes a huge difference in how we look at other teachings of Paul, especially in the book of Romans, chapters eight and nine.
The Greek word Paul uses in verse two that is translated in English as “dead” is the word νεκρός (nekros). Have you ever heard of the word “necromancy”? Well, that’s what people do when they try to talk to the dead. Halloween kind of stuff. However, if you notice, necromancy comes from the word nekro, which means “corpse.” A necromancer is one who uses witchcraft to reanimate the dead, that is, to bring a dead corpse back to life as a zombie, or something, or to talk with them to discover the future. Paul is telling us that when we were still in sin, before we were saved, we were corpses – dead people – dead bodies. That is why it took the power of God to give us new life, to bring life to these dead bodies, and that’s what he meant when he said that we are “quickened” to new life.
And, by the way, God doesn’t need witchcraft to raise the dead. And I highly, highly doubt any necromancer ever pulled off a genuine Lazarus story.
But that brings me back to verse two, and even verse three… if we were nothing but lifeless corpses, how then did we “walk according to the course of this world” and have a “conversation in times past”?
What we need to understand before we go any further, which is why I bring up these words, is that Paul was using figurative speech. Paul was not trying to say that we were literally dead and lifeless like a dead body in a casket. Yes, he used the term, but it was meant to be a picture of a larger truth: that we were incapable of living the Christian life, the life of the Christ through the power of the Spirit, if we were “dead,” slaves to sin, full of the world’s filth, wanting nothing of the things of God.
Dead people don’t talk, walk, have conversations, or anything like that. A dead body just lies there and rots. Gross, isn’t it? Yet, still, it is only a picture. You and I weren’t dead bodies. However, we were “dead” in that we had not been transformed by the life of Jesus. And as dead people can’t do anything, not even dig themselves out of the ground, neither can the sinner who is “dead in trespasses and sins” work his way out of death into life.
But God… Ephesians 2:4 starts with two of the most beautiful words in all the Bible – “But God.” You see, we were lost and on our way to hell… but God! We were dead in our trespasses and sins… but God! We were rotting away in the filth of the world… BUT GOD, who is RICH IN MERCY, for His GREAT LOVE wherewith He loved us, QUICKENED us together with Christ (verse 5)!
Do you know the song “Love Lifted Me”?
I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore. Buried deeply, stained within, sinking to rise no more. But… But the Master of the Sea… But GOD!… heard my despairing cry! From the waters lifted me, now safe am I!
Love lifted me! Love lifted me! !When nothing else could help, Love lifted me!
Love lifted me! Love lifted me! When nothing else could help… when my works, my deadness, my lifeless separation from God, my sin, my dirty, dead self couldn’t help…Love! Grace! Mercy! Lifted me up to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus!
Love lifted me!
Before we close tonight’s study, I want to quickly move on to verses 8 and 9, some of the more famous verses we know.
Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Do you understand what these verses are saying? It amazes me that they can be so clear, so understandable, yet so many people in Christian churches teach that you have to earn, you have work for your salvation. In reality, that’s NOT Christian. That’s like every other religion in the world. If being saved had any need of us “doing” any work of any kind, other than simply placing our faith in Jesus and accepting the free gift of salvation which He bought with His blood, then we might as well say we could have been there with Jesus on the first day of Creation and said, God, let me help out the Word, because He is not sufficient to bring everything into existence by Himself, you know. He needs my help! What can I do? Do you want me to sell something? Do you want me to visit something? Do you want me to join something? Do you want me to help the Logos, the Word, Jesus with his faith in His own words?
C’mon, God, you know the Word can’t create the universe out of nothing and bring into being what isn’t unless I help! You do know that, don’t you?
Yes, I know that sounds silly, but please bear with me and consider just one more word for tonight: ποίημα (poiēma), pronounced poy’-ay-mah.
Notice in verse 10, “For we are his WORKMANSHIP…” That is the word poy’-ay-mah.
Paul only uses this word twice in all of his letters; here, and in Romans 1:20.
Romans 1:20 KJV – “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,[G4161] [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
Can I share with you one more passage?
John 1:1-3 KJV – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
God didn’t need us to create the universe and all that is in it. Neither does He need us to save ourselves – lest we boast. Amen!
And, OH, what God has done for us! He has set us up with Jesus in the heavenlies so we can have a high enough seat in the stands to view the entire display of God’s grace! But that parade alone will take ages! Hallelujah!
It is 1:27 in the morning, and I just finished preaching to the congregation in Pakistan. It was a sweet time of fellowship with brothers and sisters 10 time zones away.
This time I told Pastor Victor that I would provide to him a transcript from which I would preach so that he would be able to know exactly what I said. But that being said, having a transcript made things easier for me, too. As some of you may understand, it is not at all easy to preach through an interpreter.
So, doing the best I could with the little time I actually had – because a 10-minute sermon can take 15 minutes to translate – I preached a sermon on the Rapture. Honestly, it was a VERY SIMPLE sermon, one which was meant more to encourage the believer than convince the skeptic.
After all, how many unbelievers do you expect to show up to a Christian service in a 98% Muslim country?
I hope the following sermon transcript encourages you, too (even if you didn’t vote for Trump – LOL).
Good morning, brothers and sisters, I am so happy and honored to be worshipping with you today.
It is also my honor to have been asked by Bro Victor to preach to you each Sunday the rest of this month.
When Bro Victor asked me if I would preach each Sunday in February, I asked him what it was that he thought I should preach.
That is not something I normally do; I normally never ask another man what I should preach, only God.
But this time, because your pastor knows you better than I do, I wanted to hear what you needed or desired to hear from God’s Word.
So, today I am going to talk about something that should be an encouragement to all of us… to every Christian in every country… This morning I am going to talk to you about the Rapture of the Church.
I am going to ask Bro Victor to read to you my opening text…
1 Corinthians 15:51-53 – Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality.
This year in America we had a very controversial election. According to the numbers reported, this year more people voted than ever before – the most for a Republican candidate, the most for a Democrat candidate.
Unfortunately, many Americans just like myself think something was not right.
We look at the crowds President Trump had at his campaign rallies, then compare them with the tiny crowds Joe Biden had, and it’s very hard to believe that more people voted for Biden than Trump.
So, when people ask me, “Anthony, do you think the election results were manipulated?” I say, “Yes, I do.”
Now, the problem is that anyone who thinks like I do these days is laughed at and mocked. It is now being said by some people that those who voted for Trump should be sent away to re-education camps!
They even say that Trump voters are as crazy as Christians – and as dangerous – for believing in a “fairytale,” a “myth,” even a “lie.”
This should come as no surprise to us, for Jesus said that His followers would be hated by the same people that hated Him. Those who mock the name of Jesus will mock Christians, too.
But what do people think of you and me when they ask if we believe in the Rapture of the Church? Should we be surprised if they laugh at us?
Just like those of us in America who think something went wrong with the election, they will laugh at us and say, “Show us the evidence!”
But this is nothing new, for they have been saying the same thing for 2,000 years! Saint Peter wrote about these people…
2 Peter 3:3-4 – Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.
But let me tell you, dear church, that things have not always gone on the same from the day of creation. For one thing, everything changed when a Virgin gave birth to a Child and called His name Jesus!
The world went on like normal for thousands of years until the King of the Universe, the Living Word of God, became flesh!
John 1:1-2, 14 KJV – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
This was the First Coming of Jesus Christ! The fact that Jesus came to earth the first time is all the evidence I need that he will return again.
For you see, for thousands and thousands of years a Messiah was promised, even as far back as the Book of Genesis when Eve rejoiced at having a man child.
Throughout the Old Testament we read of One who would be our Kinsman Redeemer, our Great Shepherd, our Fountain in the wilderness, our Rock in the storm, and the Servant who would suffer for the sins of mankind (Isaiah 53).
The Messiah was promised, His birth, His life, and His death… especially His resurrection… were all prophesied, and it all happened just as we were told it would!
Acts 1:9-11 KJV – And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Did you hear that last part? This SAME JESUS shall so come!
Jesus told us that He would return. Do I believe Him? Yes, I do!
As the Apostle Paul said, one day a trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised, and we who are living will be caught up! We will be snatched up, like pulling a fish out of the water! We will be taken out, like pulling a cork out of a bottle!
In the blink of an eye, when the trump of the Lord shall sound, we shall be “caught up,” raptured to be with Jesus!
IF I can do nothing else this morning, dear church I want to encourage you!
You live in a world that hates you for what you believe, for you believe in grace, not works.
You believe in freedom, not slavery.
You believe that all men and women, boys and girls, are made in the image of God.
You believe that God became flesh, that Jesus died for our sins, and that He rose again.
You believe in Jesus, yet you are mocked, you are laughed at, you are hated.
But you and I have a HOPE! Our HOPE is not in our good deeds.
Our HOPE is not in how many times we pray or in what direction we pray.
Our HOPE is in Jesus! Our HOPE IS Jesus!
And one day, whether we live or die, one day He will receive us unto Himself!
Listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote to encourage the church at Thessalonica:
1 Thessalonians 4:13 – But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
Some people are full of sorrow and fear because they don’t know where they will go when they die, but you know! You have hope in Jesus!
1 Thessalonians 4:14-15 – For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
You see, Paul was trying to encourage the Church, for many thought that those who had already died would never see the return of Jesus. But Paul said that not even death would prevent the Christian from receiving a resurrected body!
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 – 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.
Did you hear that? Those are the words of COMFORT! That is TRULY encouraging! One day, we don’t know when, but one day a trumpet is going to sound…
Do you believe that?
One day the Lord Jesus is going to descend from heaven with a shout! Do you believe that?
One day we will be caught up, taken out of this world, and given a new body fit for eternity in heaven!! Do you believe that?
Then, church, be COMFORTED WITH THESE WORDS! HALLELUJAH!
Do I believe that Jesus is coming again? Yes, I do.
Do I believe that at any moment a trumpet could sound and I could be raptured out of this world to be with Jesus? Yes, I do!
And why do I believe that? Because God keeps His promises! If Jesus came the first time as promised, then I believe He will come again just as He promised.
The only thing is that none of us knows when, so we must always be ready to meet Him.
Are you ready to meet Jesus? Are you ready to meet God?
Please be sure you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, dear friend. For if the trumpet doesn’t sound, we are also promised something else, that it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgement (Heb. 9:27).
You could die today, even before the rapture, and you want to know your soul is right with God.
Brother Victor, I will now give the service back to you.