Maranatha! That’s Aramaic for “Come, Lord Jesus!” We believers know that Jesus is coming back for us. I believe we are living in the last days! That’s what was going on back in 48-49 AD, when Paul was writing to the church in Thessalonica. The problem was that they were expecting Jesus at any moment. In chapter 4 of his first letter to the Thessalonians he tells them that they should be living holy lives while they wait…
1 Thessalonians 4
Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. 2 For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
3 God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. 4 Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— 5 not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. 6 Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. 7 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
9 But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. 10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.
11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
A problem Christians today have is that many non-believers consider us hypocrites because we don’t practice what we preach. A lot of Christian are “Sunday Morning Christians”. They go to church on Sunday, but then go back to living in the world Monday through Saturday. I used to be that way.
Do you live in a way that pleases God?
Would Jesus watch the TV shows or movies that you watch? How about the music you listen to? In my case, once the Holy Spirit was in my heart convicting me, I could no longer listen to secular music. I’m offended by most R-rated movies. I didn’t use to be!
Look at verses 11 and 12: “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.”
Do you think you could live that way?
The Hope of the Resurrection
13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
Life After Death
So, the instant I die, if it’s before the rapture, my soul will be with Jesus in heaven. My dead body will be cremated and my ashes scattered in the desert. At the moment of the rapture, all my ashes will unite and be raised to meet my soul and I’ll have an immortal body in heaven.
If I’m alive when Jesus comes back for His born-again believers, I’ll be “caught up” in the clouds to meet Him in the air! This is NOT the second coming. That’s after the great tribulation as explained in the Book of Revelation. No, this is the rapture when Jesus calls up His church — true believers — to be with Him in heaven.
You don’t want to be left behind!
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!