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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.
Today is Sunday, and many of you will be going to church somewhere (or watching online). So here is a question:
Does the “preaching” part of the service have anything to do with your decision?
There are many opinions as to what constitutes “good” preaching. Some prefer a preacher who spits and hollers, bangs the pulpit, and makes that little “huh” sound between every amplified phrase. Others prefer the professor/preacher who reads from a manuscript in a mono-tone, non-offensive, Winnie the Pooh-like voice.
Either way, what we are talking about is delivery, not substance.
Does delivery matter?
When Paul told Timothy to pay close attention to his doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16) and to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2), content was the issue. However, if a sermon is poorly delivered, the efforts of the preacher could be nullified. If the hearer is distracted, bored, offended, lulled to sleep, or has his ear drums wounded, what is the point?
In my opinion, good preaching is preaching that contains solid, biblical content, but also keeps the audience engaged. One should never discount the importance of the power of the Spirit working through the weakness of men (1 Cor. 2:4; 2 Cor. 12:9). But, as ambassadors of the King (2 Cor. 5:20) who have been charged by our Sovereign to “compel” (persuade) hungry souls to come to His table (Luke 14:23), shouldn’t how we say what we say be important?
It is reported that Abraham Lincoln preferred listening to preachers who looked like they were swatting at a swarm of bees. In a similar vein, I think it was Charles Wesley who said that a preacher should “put some fire in his sermon, or put his sermon in the fire.”
On the other hand, Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) is said to have read his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” with a steady, monotone voice, as the audience screamed in terror at the thought of falling into hell. So, delivery shouldn’t matter?
It would make sense that those entrusted with delivering sermons should do so in a manner befitting the “greatest story ever told,” but does delivery make a difference? After all, some of the greatest public speakers of all time were tyrants (Adolph Hitler).
Should delivery be an issue? Should we simply focus on truth?
What about you?
- What type of preaching style do you prefer?
- Has a particular style of sermon delivery ever caused you to tune out to what was being said?
- What suggestions would you like to offer to one just beginning public ministry?
Now, to be fair, below is a link to our church Facebook page and one of the last sermons I preached. It was Sunday morning, last week, on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.
The preaching starts at around the 11-minute mark.
In your objective opinion, how would you describe my style in this sermon? Did my delivery enhance or distract from the subject of the sermon?
Ultimately, no sermon, no matter how well it’s delivered, can change hearts and minds and lives without the power of the Holy Spirit. Even the worst preacher, filled with God’s power, can be the most effective. In reality, one’s supreme goal should be for God to be heard and the preacher to be forgotten.
Yet, we are human, aren’t we? We should always want to strive to do better. Even Elijah presided over a “prophet’s school” (1 Samuel 19:18-24).*
*Just be careful when you talk about my bald head 😉
“from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I” Psalm 61:2 Over the past few days, …When my heart is overwhelmed
To begin, let me first apologize for the horribly weak audio of me speaking. The video I’m attaching was recorded, as usual, on my iPhone, but for some reason the corded external microphone attached to the pulpit didn’t work!
Ironically, you can hear everyone else clearly.
But beyond the audio issue, I’m attaching this video from Sunday night in order to encourage you. You see, even preachers need preaching to.
Did you know God loves you? He does.
If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them. Either comment below or email me at email@example.com.
(Speaking to a friend about blogging, I said) We plant and water seeds of hope and love and joy and grace. We sow these seeds all over the world!
Rarely will we see a harvest, but the Holy Spirit knows how to take that divinely inspired “click” and turn it into new life.
It will be interesting, and wonderful, to one day see what God was able to do with the crazy medium of Christian blogging.
To HIM be the glory!
Let’s take a trip down memory lane – it’s four years long.
However, REGARDLESS who is finally confirmed as President when this whole debacle of over, He will be . . . MY PRESIDENT!
And because he will be my President, I will do what I’ve been commanded to do by an even higher Authority:
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:1-4 KJV
This is what I teach and preach, and this is what I will practice. I will NOT be a hypocrite; I will do exactly what I implore the rest of the country to do, nothing less.
It doesn’t mean I have to agree with him, like him, support his policies, or remain silent. However, when he walks in the room he will be my President. When he addresses my country, he will be my President. When he makes foreign policy or takes the stage on foreign soil, he will be MY President, for there will be no other at that time.
If he’s gonna be my President, then I’m going to pray that he performs his duties with honor and integrity; that he will be surrounded by wise, godly counsel; and that he will not be influenced by the interest of those who would destroy our republic and steal our freedom.
At the same time, however, I will not refrain from preaching truth: that sin is sin, that God is God, and that though we pray for him, our final Authority was never elected and will never cede His throne.
Now, more than ever, the Church must be the Church.
Bonus: Please click on the link below and listen to the brand new release from As Isaac. I’ve never heard a song that was more timely than this one.
When I Met “Superfoot”
I think it was in 1984, or maybe it was in ’83 or ’85, but somewhere along that timeframe I went to and competed in the Battle of Atlanta (a major Karate tournament). While there, I had the memorable experience of meeting the undefeated middleweight champion the world in full-contact kickboxing (PKA), Bill “Superfoot” Wallace.
If you are unaware of Bill Wallace, he was the kind of fighter that deserved respect, even from the great Chuck Norris. As a matter of fact, it was Bill Wallace who was tapped to be Norris’ enemy in the 1979 movie “A Force of One.”
Here is Wallace with a young Jackie Chan in the 1985 film “The Protector.”
Now, movies are one thing, but real fighting is something else. As some of you may know, Chuck Norris was a great fighter, but he never competed in full-contact professional matches. Yes, he was the 7x World Champion, but that was in “point” fighting. Jackie Chan is a great martial artist, but not a true fighter. Bill Wallace went 23-0 with half of those wins being by knockouts.
Check out this next video. It is a more recent interview in which Wallace explains his unique fighting style.
So, Bill Wallace was somewhat of a hero of mine back in the day. For a short time I became as flexible as he was, but I never won any fights by knocking out my opponents. Heck, after I had a car wreck back in 1988 and inhaled the horn of my 1967 Mustang, I didn’t want to get punched in the face anymore. That’s when I gave it up.
And that’s when I no longer tried to emulate any of my martial arts heroes.
When I Met Jesus
But it was back in the 1970’s when I met Someone who would literally change my life forever. His name was Jesus.
Unlike the fading effect Bill Wallace had on me, Jesus has been affecting every part of my life ever since I gave my life to Him (I never gave my life to Mr. Wallace). What’s even more awesome is the fact that the longer I’ve known Jesus, the more and more I have become like Him!
Knowing Bill Wallace all these years might have made me a better fighter, but age and injuries would have eventually caught up with me, the end result being lots of conversations about the “glory days” and little opportunity to do any full splits or kick opponents.
But man, having met Jesus, then maintaining a relationship with Him, means that no matter what the future holds I will always be in tip-top shape; the tools of my fighting art will never dull; and there will always be opponents over which to gain victory!
Meeting Bill Wallace had an effect with a limited shelf life. It’s the same with so many other things. But meeting Jesus has – in the present tense – an unlimited and eternal shelf life! It’s better than honey!
Who’s your hero? Has your life been changed forever because of that meeting? If you’d like, I could introduce you to Jesus. He’d love to spend time with you!
If you have the time, here’s one more video you can watch. It’s from this past Sunday morning at Bethlehem Baptist Church where I am the Pastor. The title of the sermon is “Encountering the Living Word.”
If I’ve preached it once, I’ve preached it more than 7 times (I can’t preach the same sermon over and over): “Whatever gift or talent you have, it can be used for the Lord.”
I was told that not just Saturdays, but even on Wednesdays there are vendors at the local courthouse square selling their wares (mostly vegetables and stuff).
But evidently not today! It’s just me!
That’s OK! I’ve already got to talk with people, even if I haven’t sold anything. And what did I talk about most? Church, ministry, evangelism, etc. And one college-age girl wanted to know when our services started Sunday morning (she is looking for a congregation in which to fit)!
But here I am in a parking lot on a cool day without the sun burning me up. I’ve got plenty of coffee, a chair, my Bible, and a full charge on my iPhone. I’m blessed.
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. – Colossians 3:17