What is this word you ask? Well, it's a Greek word for one of my most favorite events in the Bible, outside of Christ sheading of his blood for my sins. Cause without the first you won't experience the second. Harpazo, Paul uses this word to describe what we call the Rapture. Meaning to 'snatch up" to "quickly rescue or pull from destruction" to "seize with force". It is the Blessed Hope that we look forward to. Titus 2:13-14, The appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Jesus First announced this in red letter, in John 14:2-3 In My Father’s house are many mansions; 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.
1Thessalonians 4:15-17 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For 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.
I did a sermon on this "Hope in a new year" Were I tied in scripture from old and new testament of types of the rapture, such as Noah and Lot. That our Hope is not a fanciful wish NO. But a Trust in Jesus' Promise and Faithfulness.
However, we must realize Paul says also in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.
And this brings me to my second point and Why it is so important and is so strong upon my spirit That as pastors we are preparing our congregations that they be ready and looking for the soon appearing of our great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the clouds to "catch up his Bride". Yesterday at the end of a Great Sunday service Pastor gave an announcement. That we new was always a possibility and pastor has been preparing for. "Ok pause look what i just said and the tie-in to the Rapture. An announcement "trumpet" that according to scripture we know is goanna happen and we should have been preparing for so it doesn't catch us as a thief in the night". Ok back to yesterday. 15 years ago we moved into this church building that we hold services in now. " I've only been attending this church for going on 7 years" So I say "we" only because I feel as if I've always been with this church. Anyway 15 years ago when pastor moved into this church it was always understood that the Owner of the 10 acers and church building could sell it at anytime. "I should note here that the owner has always given us an amazing rent rate for our time in this church, he has been a great blessing to us". However the past couple of years has seen great growth in the area around the church. which really puts it in prime location. So a great offer has been made to buy the church. Amazingly the offer is from another church that has the money and want to make this there Church home. And we know that what God has for us will be exactly what we need for our church. We are a Discipling church, birthing many ministries and have a great desire to be the center point for our community were they come for help and love and truth and repentance from sin. " Not tickling of ears". We have big desires of our heart, and we know what God says about the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4-5 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
So as we sat and listened to pastor as he was making this announcement my mind instantly went to the rapture. Cause as we have always known this could happen at any time. It still caught many in the church off guard. As the rapture will catch many in the world and in the churches off guard. So as our time in this church comes to an end. So also is the time of the church in the world coming to an end. Which is why I say again we as pastors Must be teaching and speaking this to our congregations and the world helping them to be ready and to find salvation threw the blood of Jesus and him alone if they haven't already. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Romans 10:9-10 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 righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Let us not grow weary, being continually about our fathers business always ready and watching for our soon departure. Rather it be in this building or another that God has waiting for us. For the church is not the building but the people that make up the church the body of Christ. For those of our church that might read this and even those that are not I ask to please be in prayer that the Lord by the Holy Spirit lead our pastor right into that building he has waiting for us, and bless "as pastor said yesterday" those buying and selling our current church.
Thank you God bless you always
John Boyle A.P