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August 6, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Resurrected First or Second Today

“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 not precede those who have fallen asleep.”

1 Thessalonians 4:15, Page 1849  

      Why should anyone believe what you say?  For many people, they rely upon their past experience to guide other people.  They may have had experience with illegal drugs, alcoholism, infidelity, homosexuality, or other sinful actions.  The Bible, however, does not present human experience as a reliable guide.  In fact, the wisdom of this world never lead anyone to faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 3:8, page 1784).  Instead, God gave us His word through His messengers to reveal His ways, which are not our ways, and His thoughts, which are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8, page 11158).

       In 1 Thessalonians 4:15, Paul boldly proclaims that he is speaking the word of the Lord.  As the Holy Spirit of God moves men, they speak for God (2 Peter 1:20-21).  We can rely always upon the Bible, for it records for us the inerrant revelation of God.  It does not contain any errors, and, properly interpreted, presents to us all that we need for life.  So, when Paul tells us that he is speaking the word of the Lord, we know God is revealing something very important to us that we would not have known otherwise.  In this case, Paul reveals to us the order of resurrection for the saints at the Rapture.

      First, all the saints who have died before the Rapture will be resurrected before all the saints who are still alive when Jesus returns in the clouds to resurrect the saints.   If the Rapture happened right now, I know my believing mother, who died years ago, would come with Jesus to the clouds, and she would receive her resurrected body before me.   In the same twinkling of an eye, I would then join Jesus in the clouds and receive a resurrected body.

       Second, some believers will remain and be alive when the Lord Jesus returns in the clouds to resurrect the saints.  Christianity is not some passing fad that time will defeat.  The Creator of this world, who became flesh and dwelt among men, suffered death on a cross and then took His life up again, and resurrected His body in glory, will return to earth.   The certainty of the enduring legacy of Christ’s promises to His own disciples thousands of years ago still warms our hearts with the knowledge that He will return to resurrect His saints.  We know that our loved ones in Christ live with Him right now, and they have first place in line for the day of resurrection.  Of course, all of us living will have the second spot.

         So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we listen to the Word of God leading us to love and live in Jesus Christ and His forgiveness.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when  we remember that the saints who have died before us are only asleep with Jesus, and live with Him even now.  He will resurrect them at the Rapture, and then all of us who remain alive in Christ.  

       ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we ignore the word of the Lord, and fail to live according to His promises of resurrection and eternal life.   

Application for Today

        Today, I want to remind my friends that the Word of the Lord tells us about the order of resurrection: asleep in Christ first, then those alive at the Rapture.  Are you ready for the Rapture today?

 

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