Grace in the Church Age

In Acts 2 we find the birth of the Church at Pentecost, and in 1 Thessalonians 4 we find the description of the Rapture of the Church. The entire period of time between these two events is the Church Age, and the Church Age is encompassed in its entirety by the Age of Grace. Extending from the Cross of Christ, to His Glorious Appearing at the Second Coming to establish His Millennial Reign, the Age of Grace is typified by God’s offer of Eternal Salvation through the shed Blood of Jesus Christ, to all who would trust in Him as their Lord and Savior.

The Church Age within the Age of Grace is the Age of the “ecclesia,” those who are “called out” as the Body of Christ. These “called out” ones, identified as Christ’s Church, exist for the purpose of revealing Christ to the world by carrying out His will as a revelation and example of His Grace. The command to the disciples by Christ in Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” is for them to be witnesses, to share with all mankind the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, within the Scriptures there is not one single passage which states that the whole world will be converted during this Age. In fact, Christ Himself shared this fact within the parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13. In Acts 15:7 -17, in the account of the Jerusalem Council, we find that God’s purpose for this Age is the calling out of a people for His Name which includes both Jew and Gentile. As the Church we are then told in 2 Corinthians 6:17, that because we are called out of the world, that we are to be separate from the world.

The first mission given to us as the “called out” followers of Christ, the Church, is the evangelization of the world, and not the conversion of the world. It then follows that the purpose of God for His Church in this Age is not the reformation of society, or the enrichment of the faithful, and it is certainly not the establishment of His Kingdom.

The Church is the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:17-23), which is joined together to serve one another as we serve God; the Church is the Bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-30), whose purpose is to glorify God; the Church on earth is the habitation of God (Ephesians 2:19-22); the Church is an example and illustration of the grace of God (Ephesians 2:5-7), which in fact is what gives unique character to this Age; and the Church is a royal priesthood (2 Peter 2:4-10), to serve God among men in this Age.

The second mission given to us as the “called out” followers of Jesus Christ, the Church, is to understand the promise that, for the cause of Christ, we will suffer and endure persecution (Matthew 5:12, John 15:20, Romans 12:14, Philippians 1:29, 2 Timothy 3:12, 1 Peter 3:14, 1 Peter 4:16, Revelation 2:10) because of the ever-increasing wickedness of the world in which we live. Yet the blessing in this promise is another promise, the promise of a great inheritance and reward (Matthew 5:12, Colossians 3:24, 1 Peter 1:3-5, Hebrews 11:6, Revelation 3:7-12) for having remained faithful to the calling.

I believe today that the “church” we see in the world has moved very far away from its calling, from the divine purpose for which it was intended. What most people today see as the “church,” has no real resemblance to the Church of Jesus Christ. Today’s “church” has failed to be separate from the world, a “called out” body for the purposes of God. In the “church” today we find that many have embraced socialism, humanism, environmentalism, hedonism, and the worship of Mammon. While in still other “churches” they endeavor to appropriate from Israel, the promises which God intended for Israel alone, which I believe has done more to turn the “church” from its appointed course than any other. This error alone causes the “church” to turn away from a literal interpretation of Scripture, which in turn creates a denial of prophetic truth. By embracing this false theology the “church” relegates itself to a place in the world and defines its mission as a responsibility to improve the world.

So the “church” today defines itself by building magnificent structures, acquiring earthly things, courting political power, embracing social and societal conventions, embracing tolerance, compromise and inclusiveness, in an effort to coexist with all religions. All of this is in direct opposition to the Word of God, and an appointed call to separation and holiness in anticipation of the return of Jesus Christ. The “church” which is most evident in the world today is certainly not the Church of Jesus Christ.

Yet there is still a remnant of believers, who are truly following the mission given by Jesus Christ, who comprise the True Church today, what we see as His Remnant Church of the Last Days. I believe it is the ministry and mission of the Church to be witnesses for Jesus Christ until He returns for His Church (1 Thessalonians 4), and that He alone can effect change in this world, and will do so when He sets up His Millennial Kingdom at His Second Coming (Revelation 19).

I believe the Rapture of the Church is imminent, we are living in a time when prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes. It is my prayer that in this last remnant of time before the “called out” Church is called up to meet our Savior, that a Holy Spirit inspired awakening will take place among mankind, and within the apostate church. It is my prayer that we will see souls saved, and the church restored to its original mission and calling. The end of days is at hand and;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

The Rapture and the Glorious Appearing

For reasons I must admit I do not completely understand, there continues to be much misunderstanding concerning the differences between the Rapture of the Church, and the Glorious Appearing or Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The only conclusion I can come to for this misunderstanding is that quite simply people are not following Paul’s admonishment to Timothy. In 2 Timothy 2:15 Paul wrote; “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” “Be diligent,” the King James Version says “study,” but unfortunately too many who call themselves Christians today never bother to open the Word of God, let alone study it. Today we will begin to do so.

First of all the Rapture is imminent, it can and may happen at any moment, there is no prophecy that yet has to be fulfilled before the Rapture of the Church takes place. Paul taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 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.”

Paul’s teaching here is for the Church, the Bride of Christ. Paul makes it very clear that he believed in the imminent return of Christ. In verse 15 of this chapter he says, “We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord.” Paul believed that the Lord Jesus Christ could come in his lifetime. He did not say or believe that He would come in his lifetime, but he said that He could come. Christians should have an expectant attitude toward the Rapture. Because it is imminent and could happen at any time believers should be continually looking forward to and waiting for that event.

There are three things that we can be sure of because we do not know the exact day or time of the Rapture of the Church.

• Because we don’t know what amount of time might transpire before the Rapture, we need to continually be prepared.
• We cannot say the Rapture will be soon, though it may happen soon it does not have to be soon in order to be imminent.
• Because it is imminent we cannot set a date for Christ to Rapture His Church.

Secondly we need to know that the Glorious Appearing or Second Coming of Christ happens after the Tribulation. This is described in Matthew 24:29&30 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

The description of Christ’s return is given in Revelation 19:11-16 “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”  Here in this passage, spelled out in language that is easy to understand, is a description of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with His Church in judgment on the world.

In the Rapture, Christ comes for His Church and at His Glorious Appearing or Second Coming, He comes with His Church. Notice verse 14: “and the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen white and clean, followed him on white horses.” By rightly dividing the Word we can know that these armies are those described in Revelation 19:7&8 as the Bride of Christ, His Church.

We will continue discerning the differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming as we continue this study. Until then, remember to be listening for the shout for Jesus to Rapture His Church because it is imminent, and the Tribulation will follow, because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

To preach the Word is to preach the Second Coming of Jesus!

If the man in the pulpit is God’s man, a preacher of the Word, his message will be well seasoned with the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The hope of this age is the return of the Lord to catch away His Church. I declare unto you on the authority of the Word that a man who does not believe in the return of the Lord is not saved! No, I am not judging. I am simply inspecting fruit in the light of the Bible: “For by grace are you saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8) “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13)

We are saved by grace, we are taught by grace… taught to deny the world, taught to live righteous lives, taught to look for Jesus! Therefore I declare under you that the person who is not looking for Jesus does not possess the grace of God.

The hope of this age, the hope of mankind, is the coming of the Lord Jesus. We will never have peace; we will never have lasting world order until Jesus comes. Man has tried everything in his power to bring about peace and world success; but as I write these lines, the world is in terrible chaos. Why? Sin is the answer… and sin will never be put down to stay until the Lord Jesus comes.
“Preach the Word!” My prayer today is that the Lord will help me to remain true to His Word and preach it in all its fullness and power until Jesus comes. God forbid that I should ever compromise with the world and the devil in my preaching. I trust as I send out this message that if you dear reader, have not met the Lord in a born-again experience you will do so today. Do not gamble with “religion.” Religion is no good unless it is the blood bought religion of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you have been attending a church where the pastor is a blood-denying preacher, then search the Scriptures and see if what I have told you in this message is not true. God has not changed His mind about sin. The wages of sin is death, as it always has been and always will be. The sins which damned men centuries ago will damn men today. Do not be led astray by every wind of doctrine, but stand for the blood-bought redemption of Calvary.  Stand by the Bible, live by the Bible, make sure you have had a born-again experience.

If you are not a Christian, I beg you to bow your head right now and let the Lord Jesus come into your heart. He is the way, the truth, and the life. There is no other way, no other door to heaven. “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9, 10).

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23).

Claim this promise made by our Savior: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

Excerpted from: “The Word Above All” by Oliver B. Green 1971

Words of Grace for Strength

What more can be said? What more should be said? As we continue to post these excerpts from the writings of great Teachers and Preachers of the Word from the past, I am continually amazed at the relevance of their words today. Truly as the Word of God itself says “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Just as the Word of God is relevant for today, so is the understanding and teaching of the prophetic Word from these authors.

The amazing truth, so simple and yet so deeply profound is that a never-changing Word of God is always relevant, always as if freshly written, for an ever-changing world. These authors have grasped that truth, and held to it steady. And so, their words live for us today.

In these Last Days, we need to be continually reminded that our “blessed hope” is the return of Jesus Christ for the redeemed, His Church. Unfortunately, for many “religion” has taken the place of True Christianity. The “prosperity gospel” or the “self-help gospel” or the “papal gospel” or one of a myriad of other cultic systems of religiosity has replaced the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These false religions focus on worldly pursuits and personal satisfaction in this life and not the eternal rewards to be gained by living a life in Christ; seeking to come up with something new and exciting, while all the time ignoring the eternal truth as written in the Word of God.

We would do well to remember the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Simply put, while we remain on this earth our lives should serve Jesus Christ, and should we face death before Jesus raptures His Church, we get to go be with Him. As Jesus has won the victory over sin, we cannot lose as we stand by His side.

Just as Oliver B. Green has done in his writing; if you truly have a relationship with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, we implore you to examine the “church” you attend to see if it is truly one which preaches and teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And, if you have never accepted Christ’s free gift of salvation through His shed blood at Calvary, there has never been a better time than now to make Him Lord of your life.

If you need more information, or would like to talk to someone, about accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please send us a message by filling out the form on the “about us” page here on our blog site. And, if you’re looking for a church to attend in your area which is still teaching the True Gospel of Jesus Christ, we may be able to help with that as well. Please contact us through the form and we will make every effort to help you find a place to worship and grow in Christ Jesus. Because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Biblical Prophecy ~ Part 2 ~ The Rapture

We resume our teaching on Biblical Prophecy with the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture of the Church will be the most shocking event to happen in all of human history. Millions will disappear in “the twinkling of an eye.” The most vivid description of the Rapture of the Church is given in Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians: “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 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

In an effort to cast doubt upon this soon-coming event, some have attempted to claim that “rapture” is not a Biblical term and, therefore, not a valid part of Bible Prophecy. According to Dr. John Walvoord; “The term rapture itself is derived from the Latin Vulgate version of I Thessalonians 4:17 where the expression ‘caught up’ is translated by the Latin word rapturo.” The Latin word “rapturo” is the English word “rapture” and is actually the one-word synonym that Believers use in place of the phrase “caught up.” In the original Greek text, the word used is “harpazo,” meaning to “to seize upon by force,” “to snatch up” and so, the English word “rapture” is an excellent translation for the Greek word “harpazo.”

The Rapture is spoken of by Paul in the Scriptures as a “mystery” referring to the fact that it was not revealed in the Old Testament, but is teaching for the Age of Grace. Paul states: “Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” I Corinthians 15:51-52. And Paul referred to the Rapture as the “Blessed Hope” of the church: “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” Titus 2:13. At the Rapture the Lord will return to resurrect the dead and translate those saints still living on the Earth, to meet the Lord in the air and return with Him to Heaven (John 14:1-3).

The Bible teaches the Rapture will occur before the Great Tribulation. Hand in hand with this is the doctrine of imminence, which emphasizes that the Lord can return any moment without regard to signs. All signs are for Israel and therefore relate to when He will come with the saints at the end of the tribulation period (Revelation 19:11-21).

Evidence of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture is found in these Scriptures; “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things (the Tribulation) that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36. “For God did not appoint us to wrath (the Tribulation), but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” I Thessalonians 5:9. “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains (the Holy Spirit in the Church) will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” II Thessalonians 2:7-8. “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial (the Tribulation) which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” Revelation 3:10. “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this” (after the Rapture of the Church) Revelation 4:1. John’s “come up here” is a picture of the Church being caught up at the Rapture. Revelation chapters 6-19 are the revelation of the seven-year tribulation. From this point (Revelation 4:1) on, the Church is not mentioned again until we come to Revelation 19:7, where we see the Church preparing for the “marriage of the Lamb” and her return to earth. While the Earth and those still upon it are going through the Great Tribulation, the raptured Saints of God will be simultaneously attending events in Heaven, namely, the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; II Corinthians 5:10) and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Matthew 26:29; Revelation 19:7-9).

The Rapture will take place seven years prior to the “Glorious Appearing” or the second stage of His coming. In the first stage, at the Rapture the Lord comes for His Church; whereas, at the end of the Tribulation period He comes back with His Church. At this event “every eye shall see him” although at the Rapture He will come “as a thief” and only believers will see Him (I John 3:1-3). Only those who have been born again by the blood of Christ will hear the “shout” that will complete the Church age and begin the Day of the Lord. Our bodies will be transformed like our Lord’s resurrection body, in that our glorified bodies will be spirit, empowered by the Holy Spirit, rather than physical. The Rapture of the Church will be a glorious time of reunion with our loved ones who have gone before us, and best of all, as John proclaimed we, “shall see His face,” Revelation 22:4. Is isn’t any wonder then that Paul described the Lord’s coming as the “blessed hope.”

Great confusion and fear will occupy the minds of those left behind after the Rapture, the terror on the earth in those days will be hard to imagine. Many explanations for the disappearance of those missing will be considered. And, out of this confusion, because of this incredible event, the world will be looking for leader to tell them what has happened, and at that point a man will step out onto the world stage with all the right answers. This man is the antichrist.

When will the Rapture occur? Jesus told His disciples: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” Matthew 24:36.

You will find no date setting in our teaching, but we believe the time is growing near, so keep listening for the “Shout” and the “Sound of the Trumpet” because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome