Priority #7 : Jesus is Coming Again

Chapter 41 - Countdown

I've prepared a kind of a bible study for you tonight. I may just bracket some truths. If you have a pencil and paper you could follow along. But I do want to highlight God's particular message to you that are here. Not only what He says in the Word but what He says to you. There is possibly no greater controversy today among full gospel people, and I hate to use the word controversy but what else do you call it? If it's divided people it's a controversy. You know what Jesus said when He saw people divided? He said an enemy did this. He came to hurt and destroy and separate brethren. And so there has been a division because of different preferences of position. And usually a person will support a position that they may have been influenced in at the time they find God. With the help of the Lord I would like to turn us away from positions, from phrases, from things that cause barriers and let's just open up our hearts to God and say God have at it, whatever you in your great purpose have planned to do we want you to do it. Hallelujah. Just a little verse that comes to my heart right now and I feel that the Lord prompts me to share this verse with you. In Acts the fourth chapter, do you know that there were some controversies in the Bible days? Peter and Paul were both hot headed fellows. Can I use a truth as a picture of an elephant? They were both looking at the same elephant but one was looking at one end and one the other. And so they kind of fought over what the elephant looked like. One of them said the elephant is like a wall as he felt the broad side. The other one said no he's like a rope as he got a hold of the swinging tail. Remember those blind men, the story, another one got a hold of the leg and he said, "I knew you were crazy all the way along, but now you're proving it. The elephant isn't like a wall or a rope, he's like a tree. He hugged the elephant's big leg. This is what happens. And even Bible writers had a little problem with this. And Paul and Peter, the Word tells us, had to have a dispute that got so sharp that Paul said, "Well in order to be our best for God we should probably work different sides of the street here." They both loved God and they agreed to each do the ministry that God had placed within their hearts but tonight with the Lord's help, I want us to turn our minds away from phrases, from positions, from doctrines. Turn them back unto the Lord.


I just love what Peter said here, when he was so close to that outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts the fourth chapter. He was praying here and here's a little bit of the prayer that they made, I'm going to read this prayer, I feel that this is a kind of a prayer that we all ought to pray once in a while. Maybe we can make it our own tonight. It starts with the 24th verse. They had been whipped and a lot of trouble with the law and they went to their own company and they had this prayer meeting. Here's what they said, "when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord and they said, "Thou art God," we can have one accord on this, "Thou art God which has made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them." We're all in agreement right now aren't we? You see there's unity, and when we start looking to God first we can really have some unity here. He is our God. Then he said, "who by the mouth of thy servant David said, "why did the heathen rage and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou has anointed. Both Herod and Pilate with the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together. There was a unity even in opposition here. Then he said here's why they were gathered together. Oh I like this he's saying God your still in control. Listen to it. "For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." Boy I hear some wheels turning in there. Somebody's saying well pastor it sounds like you believe in predestination here. Well I was just reading something. Do you know something? I do believe in predestination. What's wrong with that? That's not a big bad word, it's used in the Bible, did you know that? Not for people but for events. People you see, God foreordains us to have a part in what He's doing. But He says I'm not going to make you like a little ole puppet because I would be violating my plan and my purpose, my promise to you. But I'm going to give you the right to choose. And here's what I've planned for you, if you choose this you're going to be blessed. But if you decide not to choose to have a part in the thing I have planned, you're not going to keep it from happening. Because I don't let somebody whose dragging their heels ruin my plans. There are some people who have such big egos. They think they're big enough to control God's plans. The heathen can rage you could do a whole lot of things, you're not going to change God. He's going to accomplish what He said He would accomplish as His hand and His council determined to be done. And He made some statements of things that were going to happen and this was one of those statements. That Jesus was going to suffer and was going to die. And these people who had set themselves against Christ were fulfilling and were a part of the great unfolding scheme of the gospel. It was determined beforehand. When God makes a statement, when He determines something to be done, and here I come to a definition, to a quote, I just love to quote this because it didn't come from my peanut brain, God said it. And here's what He said, "when He states that something will happen, an irreversible force is set in motion that nothing can stop. It has to happen." Do you believe that? And here's what he prayed now, God you're in control of things.


We had some ladies drive over from Washington recently, they visited with my wife and I and they said for about 3 years they have been learning how to accomplish things by the way they said certain things. By certain prayers they would pray, the way they would pray. They had it all worked out so beautifully and they said that we have it down and it's so terrific and we're even teaching other people how to do it. I said what are you accomplishing by it? Have the things happened that you have been wresting with to get done? Oh no nothing has happened but we have sure learned how to do it good. Do you know there are a lot of people learning how to do a lot of nothing? In an effort to try and get something done. God is not displeased with people when they try and accomplish something. But when all is said and done, we'll get a whole lot more done by looking up and recognizing who God is. In that faith and that love and resting back in His arms saying God I know you're righteous. The word righteous means His unfailing ability to always do the right thing by us. And that's exactly what Peter is saying here. God you did it and whatever you do is right and I can trust You for it. So these ladies at first felt like 3 years were wasted when they were talking to me. I didn't hurt them, I didn't even argue with them. I just said hey now let's look away from this stuff, I want you to look up. And I talked to them and they couldn't get enough. They talked with me for hours wanting to know all I knew about God. And their eyes gradually turned upward. And they left with a new look at God. And felt like now instead of trying to accomplish something by holding their mouth just right, by saying just the right word. Their prayer even had to say the very things, if they said the wrong thing that God would do that wrong thing. What kind of a God is He? He already knows, the Spirit already has to twist everything around we say to make it make sense anyway, you see. We're not going to influence God by what you say. If you tell God, hey God kill that person. God isn't going to listen to your prayer and kill that person. I know this is kind of shaking some people up by saying this because you're sure that the power of life and death is in the tongue. Because there's one verse that says that in the Bible. Well I tell you there's a whole lot more verses, your going to have to put that in a different perspective. There's a whole lot more verses that tell you that God is in control. And you can hurt a person by what you say but you're not going to change God and you're not going to change circumstances by what you say, you're just going to change you and how those people feel about you. "And now Lord behold their threats and grant unto thy servants that with all boldness they may speak thy word by stretching forth thy hand to heal. And that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed the place was shaken where they were all assembled together. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and they spoke the word of God with boldness."


When all is said and done, it isn't so much the position we take that counts. It's what is happening in our lives? Has the place been shaken? Are you speaking the word of God with boldness? I told somebody the other day; I have no bones to pick with someone that wants to create something with their lips and their words. If you have found the secret of making something happen. Don't you drop it, do it. God wants you to produce by it. But don't allow anger to come up in your heart towards someone who may not quite see it that way. For God wants us each one to feel the flow of His life. And He wants us to be in the main stream of His flow and if the Lord has led you a certain trail and His life is there and He's stretching forth his hands to heal and signs and wonders are happening. Hallelujah. Let's back up the person that's producing. Praise God. So the place was shaken and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and they spoke the word of God with boldness.


Now I said all that to say this. The important thing today is not so much what position you have taken. The important thing is, are you in fellowship with God? Is He moving in your heart and in your life? Is there excitement in your experience? Is His hand laid bare as you seek Him and look to Him? Are you making sure that nothing is keeping you from being in one accord with your brothers and sisters in the Lord, not allowing differences of ideas to separate? I had to say these things. Before I make some other statements, because immediately I might divide people into camps and I don't want you to be divided into camps. We're here together in one accord.


A tremendous excitement to the believers, the fact that the blueprint for every life and for the world was complete before the earth was made. This is not only positively stated in numerous places in the Word. Such as, "He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world." So many, many places. But it is proven by fulfilled predictions in many parts of the Word of God. I could go through over and over many, many fulfilled predictions to show that the thing that God knew happened just exactly as He said it would happen. That experience that I had in the throne room where God took me and allowed me to see the archives of heaven. And I saw the plan books of billions of lives. I couldn't see inside of them, but God let me know that they were planned in detail, just as clearly as those He did pull out and record in the Bible. I did have the privilege to see some of the Apostle Paul's plan book, God's beautiful plan for him. God allowed me to see some things that would happen in my own life. Just a little tiny fraction. He didn't let me see the book. But He let me see these things and they have happened in sequence because God doesn't fail. But He let me know this that those things that happened, 120 things took place one after the other. These things are no more reliable because I happened to see them. They are no more complete because I happened to see them, than what He has written for each one of your lives. It's complete. God has it all complete. Well you say do I have to ask God everyday now, God just what am I going to do here if all these details are complete? You know what God does with you? He gives you a renewed mind that helps you to think like He thinks. Hallelujah. And there are things that pop into your mind that you wouldn't have even thought of. And God steers you and guides you and directs you and moves you and so every day the thing that He wants you to do is to make sure that you're stuck to the vine. Our responsibility is staying hooked to the vine. Abiding in Him and all of these things will be taken care of.


The timeline as I mentioned this morning that God had was so complete. When He referred to Israel going into the land of Egypt, staying there 400 years, afterwards being brought out with great substance that they received from the Egyptians. The time that Noah was in the ark. The exact amount of time before the rain was going to start falling after he was in the ark 40 days and 40 nights, it was going to rain. And the amount of time that he was in the ark. It happened; God's timeline was so perfect, all the way through. God's timeline that He has, when we bring it down to the small minutest parts of each of our lives. That timeline just moves right along as we link arms with Him. If we miss Him on some turn of the road, His plan for us begins fresh everyday. Everyday is a complete orb of a plan of God for your life. And He doesn't want us crying and sweating about some bad turns we made back here. God says, "Let me have your life today. I have a complete plan for you." And each day we can begin fresh, because the mercies and the compassions of God are new every day. Hallelujah. So I want you to and God wants you to quit worrying about the turn you missed back there some place. Say ok God I want to be ready. And your beaming out signals, people are going to be meeting you tomorrow. You may not even say one word to them, but you're beaming out signals of hope and of faith. They're watching your life. Hallelujah. We're sowing seeds wherever we go. We're sending out messages. Then there are times when He gives us a chance to speak.


But we know that the coming of Jesus, the great plan of the ages is unfolding. It's unfolding day by day as the pages turn. And its tremendous interest to everyone is that great question. What will happen next? How clear is God's word on this subject? From a close look at what the Bible says about the present times we can present just a little flow chart of God's timeline. If you have a pencil and paper you might like to mark some of these things down. And this is not a flexible statement. There could be a lot of changes in clarifying happenings in these. But these are the mountain peeks the exact definition of what takes place. When you look back you could say hey that sure is plain now, it's funny I didn't see it before. But He has let us see a few mountain peeks. And here they are, here are six things that are going to happen in the days ahead. And this is in the order as near as we can tell from the Word of God. And this is not by divine inspiration; this is just a look from the Word.


I can tell you by divine message that the return of Jesus is very, very near. But these other things stand out as mountain peeks in the Word. The first one, probably very, very near. Just ahead is the gathering together of God's people to Himself. It's been called the rapture. A word that causes to thrill with excitement. It causes others to feel a deep thud because somehow there has been distaste for the word. But the word rapture merely means the extreme excitement or ecstasy. And I believe that it will be a day of real ecstasy, don't you? 1 Thessalonians 4:16, following that, just how soon will actually unfold and develop we do not know, but what looks to be for the people on earth a time called the great tribulation. There may be some saying well those things that are to happen there already happened under different individuals down through history. But there is nothing that has happened or that will happen that has not had a preliminary rehearsal of the thing. For example, the peace now between Israel and Egypt, there has been an uneasy peace at different times down through the years. But this does not mean that God's time clock has been slowed. There is an uneasy peace. I knew about this peace because God had given me this information long before I knew about the Camp David meeting that they had. Long before it ever happened. I had a definite statement from the Lord that this effort between the Arabs and the Israelites was a study in futility. But God honors efforts at peace, wants people to do what they can, God honors this and it pleases Him. But the outcome is a study in futility because God has other plans. You could mark that down, my neck isn't out here. I'm just passing on something that has been given to me. If there are arguments you can go to a higher source here for this. That will happen on the earth Matthew 24:21-22.


Then while the tribulation is going on down here there's going to be a time when the believers are going to hear those words from the Father, "well done thy good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord." A place that He has prepared. The books are going to be opened. The judgment seat of Christ that many, many people fear. And the word that was given on this is that this day is not a dark night through which the believer must pass before breaking out into that eternal day. But it is a day in which God has chosen to say thanks to His people. That day, is going to take awhile, it's going to last approximately 7 years. And it is listed by the month, and the day and the year. You see reference to this through the 13th chapter of Revelation. Then there's a little problem that people have with the return of Christ because there's actually a time when the Word says He's coming for His saints and He's coming with His saints. When He comes for His saints He will not come clear to the earth, we will be caught up to meet Him. Then when He comes after this great uniting with the Lord, He will come to the earth. And so this is the return of Christ with His people which will end the reign of the anti-Christ and the tribulation and will usher in a kingdom that he promised to David a long, long time ago.


Now the millennial reign is not God's eternal kingdom. It's a kingdom that has an end. This will be a kingdom upon David's throne. But God Himself is going to usher in a kingdom that will not only include the promise to David, but His kingdom will have no end. And He will reign forever, and ever and ever, and ever and ever. You might think well eternity is going to sure be boring if it's that long. But really eternity is neither long nor short. It's a beautiful big present. Hallelujah. Then references for the return of Christ with His people, Matthew 24:27-30, Revelation 19:11-16. Then the millennial reign of Christ will begin in Revelation 20 verse 4. You see some references to it, Isaiah 35, Zechariah 14.


Then following the millennial reign will be the great white throne judgment. And never pray that you'll be present at this great white throne judgment. For no believers will be there. This will be only for those who missed God. A time when the books will be opened and people will be judged from those books. Revelation 20:11-15. Then following that, God brings into being the new heavens and the new earth where in dwells righteousness. And it will last forever. Some may say where is heaven? It would be almost the same as saying light and heat could not dwell fairly close together. They're two different dimensions. Heaven is a different dimension then this earth. It could be a whole lot closer than you think. I believe that there is an atmosphere and that heaven is not very far away. Hallelujah. But it's a dimension that we can not see. But it's more real than this dimension. It's a place that's very, very real. I didn't want to spend a lot of time on that but just give you a little sketch of those things that are ahead. Now let me read another little brief mention of what actually we can expect and where we are now. And allow none of these terms that are here, some may say well Jesus will come before the tribulation, some say in the middle, some say afterwards, some say not at all, and some say there won't be a tribulation. There are so many different ideas. So what? Whatever God has determined in His foreknowledge and council is going to happen anyway. So whether you're right, whether your neighbor's wrong don't let it worry you. Just keep your heart open, be ready for whatever Jesus does. Hallelujah. Can you live with that? Praise God. Because He didn't ask us to make it happen anyway. He's going to take care of it.


The countdown for this world has begun. Something big is about to happen. Could it be that the end is in sight for our world as we know it? It has not been to many years since the idea of the world coming to an end seemed ridiculous. Only the naïve would accept this. But things have changed. Factors contributing to worldwide problems have snowballed. Limits to the population have been reached. Pollution is at dangerous levels. The energy sources are quickly being drained. Air and water have been contaminated. Fear and violence plague the world. Today it is not the preachers sorry to say or religious cranks that are spreading the alarm that the end is approaching. But educators and leaders and those in positions of authority are saying something big has to happen. Something has to give. Men who may be atheistic in their concepts are admitting the same. Something has to happen. But that something that they're talking about is a part of that great plan that God in His council determined to be done. I want you to know this regardless of what comes. Our God is in control. And the whole earth is still filled with His glory as He said. God is in control. Praise the name of the Lord. Jesus is coming. God in His true word gives us the sequence of events leading up to this time. And I'm not going to take the time tonight to go into each of the events that I'm sure were so well aware of that we've seen. But the hope of Jesus' return is still the only hope of a fear filled world, facing they know not what. We have a little ray of light to hold out to people. And Paul said we're holding forth to those in darkness, the light. Let's never drop it, let's not let it down. Let's point to the fact, cheer up, Jesus is coming. Comfort one another with these words. Jesus is coming. It's not all dark. Look up, there's light up there. The Son of righteousness is arising with healing for the world in His wings. Praise the name of the Lord.


God's plan for the ages speaks of the last days. His plan calls for an evacuation from this earth of millions of people before His judgment strikes. The key person in this great rescue operation is Jesus who will return and will take with Him those who are His. And you can find this so beautifully written in the word and John 14:3, Jesus said if I go and prepare a place for you, this old world has about had it, I'm preparing a place if I go you can be sure of it because I've never failed to do the right thing. I'm coming back and I'm going to receive you unto Myself, that where I am there you may be also. Jesus is coming. The angel said He would come. Acts 1:10-11, "this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as you've seen Him go into heaven." All of the apostles believed it. Listen to them here, Paul, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16. He said, "If we believed that Jesus died, and the world believes that. If you believe that He rose again, and we believe it, Easter, universal Easter told us that. He said you must also believe this. That Jesus is coming. Paul believed that He was coming.


You might ask John what do you say about it. 1 John 3:1-3 he said, "He shall appear brethren, He's coming. When He appears we will be like Him. For we will see Him as He is." James what do you have to say about it? James 5:7-8 he said, "have patience brethren, He's coming. He's coming. Have patience to the coming of the Lord for He is coming." As you read through the Word of God you find that every one of those who had a part in that early foundation of the church believed that Jesus is coming again. Some of it got lost but Jesus is coming. Praise God. His coming is literal not figural. Jesus made this statement in flat statements. He said if I go I will send. If that was figurative he wouldn't have been talking about going, He wouldn't have been talking about sending. But He said if I go I will send the Holy Spirit. Well He went and the Holy Spirit came saying that He meant just exactly what He said. Then in practically the same breath He said if I go I will come. So He finished that first part you could count on it. That he was speaking in literal terms. I am coming again. If he went I will send, He kept His promise He went and He's got another promise to keep. Jesus is coming. John 14:3. We don't have the day nor the hour but 2 Timothy 3:1-5 tells us a whole lot of things that there'd be a tremendous restlessness in the world and there's restlessness today that the world has never seen before. He said there would be coldness; natural affection would be at a low ebb. And I'm in a position to know that there are couples today by the multiplied hundreds who have lost feeling for one another. Parents have lost feeling for their children. Children for their parents. Natural affection, the very word natural affection would be at a low ebb. And it's happening, coldness love is warped. False accusers. People looking for some reason to sue somebody else. Crooked attorneys encouraging them to make this happen to find some reason to make a case to accuse. Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. We're seeing that happen where people would rather fulfill and worship the god of their own desires than to worship God. Forms of godliness. And I tell you the world is full of these forms of godliness but their denying the power of the Holy Ghost. He said this would happen. But He said when it happens, I didn't use to tell people this but I have to now because God so definitely emphasized it. From such turn away if they deny the power. He said that the days of Noah Luke 17:26-28 that they would be days of violence. You read it in Genesis 9:12-13. He said as it was in the days of Lot so will it be. That day when homosexuality was a way of life. So shall it be in the day when Jesus returns. We're seeing that. Somebody said well that's always been that way. It has never been accepted as a way of life since that time. And it's being accepted as a way of life. And there making laws to make sure that we have to accept it as a way of life. Is this right? You know it's the truth. You know what this is? It's another finger saying hey look up, Jesus is coming. Jesus is coming.


Another sign of the last days; Nations in turmoil, Luke 21:25-26 and there certainly is turmoil. Scoffers are in the world today. 2 Peter 3:3-4, saying hey it can't happen. People have been talking about that for a long time. I'll tell you they're just another finger pointing to His coming. Then the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that has never been seen as it has today. In the last days I will pout out of my Spirit upon on flesh, your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, the singing ambassadors can lift their hands towards heaven and a message in tongues and interpretation breaks out among them. The boys and girls experience the flow of the Holy Spirit. God is doing something. Hallelujah.


We're living in the greatest days of all of history. Jesus is coming, look up He's coming. When is He coming? It so excited me when I passed on this information in different places where I've been that people can quit being worried and quit trying to even figure out who the anti-Christ is and how they're going to get along in the tribulation. When I told them, by His own words that for His people to undergo the days of His wrath would be contrary to the character of God. That He has planned a rescue for us. In Thessalonians 5:9, everybody ought to mark this one down, because here He tells you that He did not appoint you to wrath. He appointed you to something else. He appointed you to salvation and to stand before the Son of Man at His coming. Hallelujah. But there are some who are not aware; it's been hard for them to see the great covering that the Lord has. And if we're covered isn't there something that He's going to do if we're going to live with Him. What about those faults and failures that we do have. Is He going to be able to take us to heaven with those within our lives?


I remember so well an evangelist was preaching in a church not too many miles from this church. And he seemed so frustrated and helpless when he said, "What are we going to do?" He said, "If none of us are without spot or wrinkle we're not ready, we're not perfect. God certainly isn't going to take time when He decides to come to take care of us and make us ready." And instead of lifting the people up with the good news, he was making them feel terrible. I remember that day, it happened to be at a fellowship meeting. I had over 30 people stop me and ask me instead of them eating lunch if I would talk with them and tell them what was really going to happen. So I talked with these people. And I was able to give them something that encouraged their hearts. One woman said, "I only feel like maybe when I'm praying, is the only time during the day I would be ready when Jesus comes, because there are thoughts that may come, there may be some little things that I forgot to tell the Lord. And even when I'm praying I'm not sure that I'm going to be ready." And so the Lord by revelation has given me some beautiful truth on this. That when Jesus comes, and listen I'm going to give you these verses, they will help you. 1 Peter 1:13. When Jesus comes in order to make us not only covered and we can live down here but to make us enough like Him, just like Him so He can take us. When He comes He is bringing along a special modifier. Some special dimension of divine grace. Peter knew all about it. And he said we're looking for the grace that shall be brought to you at the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. We're looking for grace, something special that is to come. You know what it's going to do? Paul spoke of it this way. It will change our vile bodies and those things that the Lord has had to cover with that great atonement but it will change them until we will be made like unto his own glorious body. The locks that hold us are going to be opened up and away we're going to go. And we're going to stand before the Son of Man spotless. Without one thing with which He could charge us. Hallelujah. You don't have to sweat and worry how in the world He's going to do it.


If you knew everything that God knew He wouldn't be a very big God, He wouldn't be very smart either. But we don't know how He's going to do all that He's going to do. But we do know this; we can trust Him to do it. He said He would do the right thing by us. Can you trust Him tonight? You need to get out with this message, will you if you can't buy one of these tapes, will you just ask for one and take it. Listen to it; share it with your friends. I believe everybody not only in the country but I believe our own community here needs to hear the message that you're hearing tonight. If you believe that I want you to say amen. Praise God. I thank you for that.


Now I think of those neighbors, the family members, some of them in your own family that are cowering with fear wondering what's going to happen. But when Jesus comes He's not so concerned about those little old quirks because He has special grace that is going to come and there's going to be a glow that starts within you, a dimming of those things that have been a part here, He's not going to remove anything that's good. All He's going to do is remove the things that can't survive in heaven. Praise God. And when we see Him we will be like Him for we will see Him as He is. Then over in Jude 24. Jude said, "Hey I can go along with these fellows, I'll agree with them 100%, no controversy here." He said now I have so much faith and confidence, "now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling," and then you Peter with your impetuous spirit and Thomas with your tendency to doubt and some of you other people with all of your weaknesses and problems and a bunch of you people that are here tonight that can't stand each other, those little old mannerisms and quirks and so on. He's able to present you, he didn't say sinless here that's already taken care of, but he said He's able to take care of all of those faults, and present you faultless. He's going to say, "Father, did you ever see anyone as perfect as this." Hallelujah. Present you to His Father. And you know He had to add a little word there. He didn't say, and there's going to be a smile that comes across his face. Oh no, he used a term that expressed somebody jumping up and down with joy. He said He's going to present you before the Father with exceeding joy. Hallelujah. There's going to be joy and laughter that's going to reverberate from one mountain peak of heaven to the other. It's going to circle all of eternity. The joy, the joy as the saints go marching in. Jesus is coming. Let's just stand and lift our hands towards heaven and let the spirit of the Lord that has already made us ready for His coming. Let it surge through you, share, already enter in, you've already had a taste of the earnest of our inheritance.