The Rapture vs. Witnessing
By Ron Graham
The end times are approaching and the signs spoken of by Jesus Christ in Matthew 24 are spilling out continually onto the scene today and are pointing dramatically to Christ’s soon return. Believers can see the signs if they are alert and watching. As Dr. Chuck Missler puts it “We must be well versed in the scriptures to accurately ascertain the time of the signs”. There is a preordained time that the signs are going to appear, and what we see happening all around us are the birth pangs that are so aptly spoken of in the scriptures.
I for one can’t imagine this world going on the way it has in the past. Signs that point to the end time when Jesus will return aren’t just subtlety appearing on the scene, they are exploding with a fierceness that’s unparalleled in mans history. We can watch this explosion on our television sets, radios, internet, newspapers, and from every other direction one can imagine. This was not the case even ten years ago; the birth pangs have arrived.
So just what are our options as believers now that we are beginning to witness a plethora of recurring signs which we are assured will occur just before Jesus return? We have many options. They include such things as witnessing fervently to our family and friends. Being in constant prayer is an admonishment from the Apostle Paul, maintaining a close relationship with our Church family. Create and maintain an atmosphere of love and support for those who are shut-ins and especially provide for those who lack provisions.
In these last days all Christians should be intent on always keeping abreast of whatever intrusions the enemy might devise against the brethren. In these last days Satan is going to hit hard against anyone who promotes the name of Jesus and diligently proclaims His message. The last thing any Christian will want is to be caught alone and off guard when the evil comes down, and it is coming. Solitude creates evil bedfellows. Continue in fellowship, the breaking of bread together, encouraging one another.
None of us know when Jesus is going to remove His Church from the wickedness this world offers. It could be within the next few days, weeks, or even years. I know what you’re going to say, “Well, if we are seeing the time of the signs as you’ve suggested could the Rapture of the Church still be years away”? Yes, but everything is lining up perfectly (prophetically speaking that is) and this gives us tremendous optimism that our remaining days here on earth are indeed few.
Here’s the rub. Believing the truth of the Rapture view and believing that the time for the Rapture is near has led some to become complacent in their duty to Christ. Believers should not ease up on witnessing. Complacency is of the devil, he would love it if those who are born again would all just sit back and relax and wait on the Rapture. In the meantime Satan will be hard at work convincing the lost that they are in good shape and not to worry or take seriously what those wacky Christians are promoting.
Satan knows the Rapture will occur at some point in time, but similarly to believers he hasn’t any idea of the exact moment when this will happen. God has kept it a mystery. More intense persecution of Christians on his part will become commonplace in the near future, which will attest to very fact that the Rapture is close at hand.
As believers we must combat the lies put forth by Satan and those who follow him. Jesus, at one point, speaking directly to the Apostle Peter said, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men”. Matthew 16:23. Whenever we hear someone spouting off against believers, and most importantly against our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we can know without a doubt that we are hearing Satan speak. I can tell you this, the Holy Spirit has a louder voice and can drown out Satan at every turn if Christians will only speak up.
Faithfulness is adhering to Jesus’ strict set of commandments in every aspect of our lives. As believers we all have our own miniature world to evangelize. You are a Christian and that means that no matter where you go you are to spread the Gospel of Christ. If you are out on a business trip to another state that doesn’t mean you leave your Christianity at home. When you’re on vacation or you’re just out watering the lawn, remember your Christianity. Our lives should reflect our faith in Christ. We never know when God’s going to ask us to step out in faith and talk to someone about their salvation.
You may feel you’re without sufficient resources or knowledge to speak to others about your faith. If this is the case, you’ve probably been neglecting a regular Bible study routine. Our boldness to witness is provided by the Holy Spirit through prayer and study. You receive more boldness as you become more familiar with God’s word. If you’re willing, know this, the Holy Spirit will move you into position to confront the next person that you encounter with the Gospel of Christ. If you’re not willing then you’re not following Christ’s commandments. “If ye love me, keep my commandments”. John 14:15. Do you love Him or are you just play acting?
The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was the most important event in history, and now we are rapidly approaching the second most important event in history, in the believer’s life, and that is the Rapture. Christians must step out in faith to follow Jesus’ commandment to spread His Gospel to the entire world. There is no doubt of the many extreme measures which will be coming against His Church. I believe some huge obstacles will be thrust directly into the lives of those Christians who are faithfully following through with Christ’s commandments. Satan isn’t just going to sit idly by whilst we take away his followers. Not at all, and you can take stock in the fact that you will be battered and bruised by his minions of evil. Like Paul, as he was being pummeled by the enemy over and over again, you too will feel the heat of battle.
Witnessing can be one of the most daunting tasks for believers especially now days when it seems people are so repulsed by and demonstrate such violent tendencies toward our Christian faith. Nevertheless we aren’t to shirk from our duty and keep silent. Paul was persecuted by a “thorn in the flesh” but still continued evangelizing. He prayed for relief, but didn’t let this “thorn” stop him. As you face the barriers that Satan has in store for you, you too can be comforted by Jesus’ words, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness,” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Non-believes are blind to the truth, they aren’t able to understand the consequences surrounding their decision to reject Jesus until those blinders come off. You and I can help remove those blinders.
God will be glorified by our witnessing efforts because He is certainly able to equip us with all we need to complete our task. If we use the strength of Christ as we confront the lost, the enemy won’t be much of a hindrance, but relying on our own strength will be our Achilles heel.
If we allow the current events we see going on around the world to affect our witness in that we become silent, we are allowing the enemy to get the upper hand. Can you just imagine what would have been the outcome of the Apostle’s ministry if they had simply gone about their pre-Jesus routine after the Lord had ascended into Heaven instead of spreading the good news of His Gospel as they were commanded to do? No Gospel proclaimed throughout the world, no Christian movement, and no Christian Church, just a world of lost sinners vying for whatever scraps of meaningless existence that could be grasped.
Today Christians are standing in the sandals of the disciples of yesterday. It’s our responsibility to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to all nations. We must not retreat from our assigned task. Think about this, someday we’ll stand before Jesus Christ face to face. How can we possibly explain to our Savior our apathy? “I was too sacred”, “I didn’t trust You to protect me”, “My faith was too small”, “I didn’t care about others just myself”. Which of those excuses will you use?
Certainly the Rapture of the Church is nigh, and we rejoice in knowing that soon we will be taken up to be forever with our Lord Jesus. We read and study our Bibles and those commentaries posted on various websites that all proclaim the end is in sight. Every day we grow more and more assured of what we believe about the times of the signs because of what we see happening around us. But if the majority of Christian believers continue in their stubborn refusal to spread the Gospel of Christ many of their family members and friends will be left behind to fend off the wiles of the devil without the help of the restrainer which is the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is removed hell will break lose on earth.
If your family is anything like mine, you have some relatives who, in their current state of mind, aren’t going to spend eternity with Jesus. They remain in unbelief. You’re okay though, you’re doing just fine. If that is your attitude you may very well be living in a false sense of security. As Charles Spurgeon puts it “If you have no heart for the lost you may not be saved yourself”, and you may find yourself spending eternity with your unbelieving family members after all.
Don’t let the ever nearing Rapture of the Church keep you from your assigned task. We should be witnessing now more fervently then ever before. Christians are to be salt and light to a lost world, but if that salt loses its saltiness then it’s absolutely worthless. Are you absolutely worthless? Say NO!
God bless you all,
"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up,
and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." Luke 21:28