MP3: The Rapture Road Thru 1 Thessalonians 3
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
Since the first installment of The Truth Will Set You Free podcast series titled “The Rapture Road,” Vic Batista of Miami’s Calvary Chapel Broward and Nathan Jones of Lamb & Lion Ministries have been teaching through the Bible’s prophetic book of 1 Thessalonians in a verse-by-verse study. We will finish up chapter three by discovering an important proof concerning the timing of the Rapture of the Church.
Establish Your Hearts Blameless
Nathan Jones: We will now finish up 1 Thessalonians 3 before moving forward with the rest of Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica. Chapter three is a very short chapter, having only 13 verses. Let’s read the last three verses, 11-13.
“Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”
Vic Batista: Paul says Christ will return with all of His saints! Great theologians such as Charles Ryrie and Dwight Pentecost, who have died and gone home to be with the Lord, we are going to see them again.
Nathan Jones: This reference pertains to the very end of the prophesied seven-year Tribulation when Jesus Christ will return to this earth with all of His saints. Paul’s statement again clarifies that these saints — these Christians — will not be living on the earth during the Tribulation, but will already be in Heaven with Jesus. After all, you cannot come back with Jesus Christ if you are still alive and on the earth during the Tribulation. You would have had to already have left before the Tribulation, either by the Rapture or natural death, so that you could return with Jesus.
Revelation 19 portrays Jesus Christ returning at His Second Coming with all of His saints riding behind Him on white horses. As they return they get to witness Jesus all by Himself defeat the Antichrist, his False Prophet, and Satan. The returning saints then get to watch the King of Kings usher in His thousand year Kingdom.
So, yes, Dr. Ryrie will be riding back to the earth on a horse. You and I will be riding on horses as well. Anyone who has accepted Jesus Christ in this Church Age and was raptured will be returning with the King at His Second Coming.Nathan Jones: Anyone who has accepted #JesusChrist in this Church Age and was raptured will be returning with the King at His #SecondComing. Click To Tweet
Paul didn’t make this comment out of hand. The fact that Christians will not have to endure the Tribulation should provide great encouragement to all Christians, as it did particularly with the new church in Thessalonica which was enduring quite a lot of their own troubles. Our daily trials are as nothing compared to the glory that awaits Jesus Christ’s children.
Vic Batista: I’m glad Paul made that distinction, because there’s a vast difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming, and sometimes people get these two events mixed up as being one and the same event.
Nathan Jones: When we get into 1 Thessalonians 4, which is our next chapter, we are really going to dive into the topic of the Rapture of the Church. This concept teaches that Jesus Christ will be returning for His Church. He will meet us up in the clouds and then take us up to Heaven. The Rapture is not Christ’s actual Second Coming, rather His Second Coming will happen seven-plus years later after the Rapture. When Jesus does finally return with His saints, as it states so clearly here in 1 Thessalonians 3:13, we will accompany Jesus back to this earth. We will then watch Jesus win His great victory over Satan and the Antichrist. Then we will watch Jesus set up His Millennial Kingdom.
With this teaching about Christ’s return, Paul presents the Church with the big picture. We learn that life may be rough right now, but the big picture reveals there is glory ahead for those who are saved.
Vic Batista: Sometimes we can miss the simple messages inherent in these biblical passages that are often just skimmed over. Verse 13 also tells us how we should be living now, as it says, “so that He may establish your hearts…” I like the next few words, “…blameless in holiness before God.” Blameless describes how we Christians should live as we wait for our Savior to rapture us to Heaven.Vic Batista: Blameless describes how we Christians should live as we wait for our Savior to #rapture us to #Heaven. Click To Tweet
Nathan Jones: That begs the questions, “How should we live in these end times? How do we live knowing that Jesus Christ is coming soon?” Paul answers, telling us that our hearts should be blameless. In other words, we Christians should not be engaging in sinful activity. We should always be endeavoring to become Christ-like; to be holy like Christ. Will we actually achieve perfection in these earthly, sinful bodies? No, but we’ve got to at least be making an effort towards holiness.
It gets me when you see Christians living these carnal, worldly lives. They say living like this doesn’t matter because Jesus died to forgive them of their sins, and so they are saved. And yet, the command is given again and again in the Bible, that Christians should lead blameless and holy lives. We are to be “little Christs” so that when people look at us, they say, “Hey! There’s something different about these Christians. I want to know about this Jesus Christ they follow.” We live holy and blameless lives, in part, so that we can lead others to Jesus Christ, and so that in becoming more Christ-like we can grow in our relationship with our King.
Vic Batista: That is why we like to encourage people through biblical prophecy. Paul isn’t preaching sensationalism, but practical everyday living. If we believe that Jesus Christ can return at any moment, that fact should impact and effect that way we live.
Nathan Jones: It should, exactly. Once we become saved, the Bible says that we have become a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). In other words, the old sin nature, though still there, is silenced in part by the Holy Spirit now living within us. The Holy Spirit should drive us to behave blamelessly and to live holy before the Lord and others. We should also have this great desire to evangelize, to share the Gospel, in the short time that we have left before He returns.
Vic Batista: We cannot truly live holy and pure lives on our own; it has to be the work of the Holy Spirit. You must receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior in order to overcome your sin nature, for the Lord will give you a new nature attuned to Him.
Nathan Jones: Remember John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Ask yourself, “Do I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and my Savior?” If so, ask from your heart for the forgiveness of your sins. Pray something like, “Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Lord and Savior.” And, Jesus promises to do just that. He will forgive you of your sins. The guilt will be gone. And, you can now inherit eternal life with Him forever. All you have to do is surrender your life to Jesus Christ.
In the thirteenth part of our travels along the Rapture Road and our verse-by-verse study of 1 Thessalonians, we will move on into chapter four.