Almost Time for Roundup
I Thess. 4:13-18
JOKE: The Lone Ranger came up on Tonto lying flat on the ground on his stomach with his ear to the ground. “What can you tell me, Tonto?” he asked. “Covered wagon,” he says, “about two miles away. They have two horses, one brown, one white. Man, woman, child, household effects in wagon. Wagon is painted red with white cover. “Incredible!” says the Lone Ranger. Tonto looked up and says, “Not really. It ran over me about a half hour ago.”
JOKE: A cowboy rode into town and stopped at café to grab a bite to eat. Unfortunately, the locals always had a habit of picking on strangers, which he was. When he finished eating, he found his horse had been stolen. He went back into the cafe, handily flipped his gun into the air, caught it above his head without even looking and fired a shot into the ceiling. “Which one of you sidewinders stole my horse?!” he yelled with surprising forcefulness. No one answered. “Alright, I’m gonna have my dessert and if my horse ain’t back outside by the time I finish, I’m gonna do what I dun in Texas! And I don’t like to have to do what I dun in Texas!” Some of the locals shifted restlessly. The man, true to his word, had a piece of apple pie, walked outside, and his horse has been returned to the post. He saddled up and started to ride out of town. The bartender wandered out of the bar and asked, “Say partner, before you go… what happened in Texas?” The cowboy turned back and said, “I had to walk home.”
JOKE: The devout cowboy lost his favorite Bible while he was mending fences out on the range. Three weeks later, a donkey walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth. The cowboy couldn’t believe his eyes. He took the precious book out of the donkey’s mouth, raised his eyes heavenward and exclaimed, “It’s a miracle!” “Not really,” said the donkey. “Your name is written inside the cover.”
Intro: One of the most exciting times in the days of the Wild West was when the ranches would send out their cowboys on what was called “roundup”. They would saddle up, stock a chuck wagon with food and provisions, and they would scatter all over the country looking for their stock. Back before they started stringing up barbed wire and fencing off their respective ranches, all the herds would mix and mingle as they grazed all over the countryside. Each spring and fall they would have roundup and gather all their stock up to get a count and cut some out to take to market.
Roundup was exciting because the cowboys got to sleep out under the stars, sit around the campfires each night, search for and locate the strays. They got to lasso and ride and spend all day in the saddle. It was during round up when many times fights and range wars would break out over disputes and accusations of cattle rustling. Many western movies have been made based on the events that took place during roundup.
Well, there is a roundup that is about to happen. We call it the Rapture!
I. The Facts
A. The Definite Reality of the Rapture
The facts are – Jesus is coming back for his flock.
- 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.
- 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
Just like a rancher that had invested his money and time into a herd of cattle or a flock of sheep would not leave them to wander in the mountains and valleys, God is coming back to gather up His blood-bought saints!
Jesus promised his disciples that he would come back.
- John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Jesus warned his disciples in Matthew 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Paul mentioned the second coming over 50 times
B. The Different Responses to the Rapture
There are those that mock and scoff at the teaching of a rapture.
- II Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming?
Then there are those of us that believe and long for it!
- Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
- 2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
II. The Focus
In the old days, during roundup, the cowboys that were riding roundup had only one thing in mind – finding and rounding up all the animals that belonged to them.
That was why they had the branding system.
Each ranch had their own brand.
At roundup, they would only roundup their animals and any newborns that were with them.
It was an offence worthy of death if you were caught changing brands.
The focus on that day will be on those that are in Christ.
- 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
- 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
- 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:
There will be a reunion with the saints that have gone on to Heaven.
There will be a reunion with the saints from all over the world.
This is when we will meet the Lord for the first time.
Our faith will end in sight.
III. The Future
A. Of those that are Raptured
- 17c …and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Imagine – an eternity in Heaven!!
- Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
B. Of those that Remain
Those not taken in the rapture will have to contend with the antichrist.
They will be left here to endure the tribulation and all of its nightmares.
Those left behind will die in their sins and face an eternity in the lake of fire.
- 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
For those of us that are “in Christ”, there is a lot of comfort in these verses.
These verses remind us of the reunion with our love ones.
These verses remind us of our long-awaited face-to-face meeting with Christ.
These verses remind us of our anticipated eternity with God in Heaven.
These verses are comforting to us!
If you are not saved, please accept Christ today so that you can be caught up together with us!!