"Going Up?"


Date:  4 May, 2014

Text:  I Thessalonians 4:13-18

Title: Going Up?

Introduction:    What signs should we look for to know that the rapture of the church is drawing nigh? (Believer's Bible Commentary)


The details we see in our world just show God's sovereignty in world events. Christians we ought to be looking up because our redemption draws nigh. This ought not be a scary thing for believers. This is the day of the grand reunion.

Luke 21:28  And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

The believers had sorrow at the loss of their loved ones. But, Paul didn't want them to have ignorant sorrow that was hopeless like the world's sorrow.

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.


I. Because Jesus arose, believers will arise.

exp.  We just celebrated the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. We rejoice not only that our Lord is alive - but that because He is alive evermore we will live forevermore.

I Corinthians 15:17-19  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

exp. We might as well pack up and go home this morning if Jesus is not risen. But, because he is risen - WE WILL ARISE.

            A. Those who believe in Jesus have this hope.

14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,

exp.  Belief in the resurrection is fundamental to salvation. How can you trust God for His gift of everlasting life if you don't believe He has the power to give it?

John 11:25  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

question: Do you believe that Jesus died and rose again?

ill. Thomas had to see it to believe it. John 20:29  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

app. How can you believe that you or your departed loved ones will rise again, if you don't believe in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

            B. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

exp.  The soul's of those loved one are going to arrive with Jesus on that day to be united with their resurrected bodies. These believers are not in soul sleep. There is no such thing.

2Co 5:8  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

ill.  Rich Man and Lazarus

Luke 16: 19 ¶  There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

20  And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

21  And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

23  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

25  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

26  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

app.  When we die our soul will instantly be in Heaven or in Hell. Remember our passage this morning is written to comfort those whose believing loved ones had died. This is a precious reminder to them but it is sad when we have no comfort because our loved ones were not saved. (Then we must cast ourselves upon the wisdom and love of God. We must depend upon him for grace for us to let Him deal justly with them. It is our hope that perhaps they obeyed the Gospel and were saved.)


II. Death is no disadvantage to our reunion with the Lord.

exp. Jesus had departed into glory recently. They anticipated his soon return but some who loved the Lord had died. They were concerned for these/and themselves if they died, whether that would hinder their reunion with Jesus.

            A. Paul had this directly from Jesus.

15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,

exp. This is an emphasis of the authority of what he would share.

2 Timothy 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

note: Paul was saved by coming into contact with the ascended Lord. The Lord gave Paul direct revelation in Corinth. Paul was (we assume) given a revelation of Heaven or was perhaps taken bodily into Heaven. He didn't know.

2 Corinthians 12:2  I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

app. Make no mistake about it, this truth is from the Son of God.

            B. Living saints will not prevent dead saints from being raptured.

that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

exp.  Some believers will not die physically. Paul anticipated being one of those. He lived with the expectation of Jesus' return. They will be doing there normal days work or having their sleep and they will be taken away.

ill.  Lu 17:35-36  Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

exp.  The world believes in extra terrestrials. No doubt "science" will explain away what has taken place when believers depart. The judgment upon the world will begin with their departure.

app. question: Will you be left behind? You may say, "I don't believe in it." Is God going to say, "Well they don't believe I'm coming, so I'm not going to come?" He's still going to come get His church. Will you be a part of it?


III. Personality/ Individuality is not ended at death.

shall not prevent them which are asleep.

exp. Notice the personality continues after death. Death is not annihilation. Death is only separation of the soul and body until the resurrection to everlasting death or everlasting life.

ill.  We understand sleep. We go to bed and fall into a death like state (some more than others.) when we wake up we are alive like the resurrection. We don't get up as different people every day.

ill. Jesus was resurrected and recognized by his disciples - even from a distance.

John 21: 5  Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.

6  And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

7  Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord.

exp. He recognized his voice/ his stature.....

ill. I miss my grandma and grandpa Shore. But, I'm going to see them again. The only difference there will be in us will be that we will never sin. We will know each other and remember the goodness of the Lord Jesus in giving us family in Heaven.

app.  Your loved one who is in Heaven will be the same person you remember here accept they will not sin. Their body is sleeping but that body will be resurrected a glorified body that is eternal and sinless.

1Co 15:53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.


IV. Jesus will command the rapture of the church.

            A. He is returning as he said.

16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:

exp.  The everlasting Lord will command the church to join him at last in glory.

Acts 1: 9-11  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.

ill. Did you know that God's Word said that everyone would witness the return of Jesus? It said that before television, internet, smart phones, tablets, etc. How many there must have been who scoffed at this claim but now we know that the technology is there to broadcast it to the world.

Revelations 1:7  Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

app.  He's coming - just like He said that He would.

            B. This is the rapture of the church.

and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

exp. Our passage has already said, "those which sleep in Jesus...." and now, "the dead in Christ." This resurrection will not include OT saints. This is very specifically the rapture of the church.

Eph 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

app.  Believers how greatly do you anticipate His coming. Are you abiding in Him and anticipating His return? 1 John 2:28  And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.


V.  We reunite in the air.

song: "There is going to be a meeting in the air, in the sweet, sweet, by and by, I am going to meet you, greet you over there, in that land beyond the sky. Such singing we will hear, never heard by mortal ear, twill be glorious I do declare, and God's own Son, will be the leading One at that meeting in the air."

            A. We'll meet our our saved family and friends.

17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,

exp.  It makes no matter whether you had died or were alive when Jesus comes. All are assembled in the clouds. I can't imagine what that will be like but it will be glorious.

ill.  Coming back from our first baptism in North Berwick and seeing a glorious RAPTUROUS sunset.

app.  I imagine that there will be some hugs being passed around as believers rejoice at seeing those from whom they had been separated.

            B. We'll meet our Lord Jesus.

to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

exp. The glory of Heaven will be seen in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrected lamb of God.

ill. Dr. Bob Jr. preaching by recording at his own funeral crying out, "King of Kings and Lord of Lords!"

app.  Our eternity with Jesus physically will begin at this moment for those who were still alive on earth at the rapture.



18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

exp.  Our world tries to drown their horrible sorrow in drink or earthly pleasure. Some sadly seek escape from sorrow through death.  How much better to escape sorrow through life.


John 11:25  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:


1.) Are you part of His church by faith in His death and resurrection? Have you accepted His gift of everlasting life?


2.) There is REAL comfort in knowing that somene you love is REALLY with Jesus because they were born again by faith in Him.


3.)  Are you ready to see Jesus today? Unbeliever/ Believer