12 February 2023 AM – Matthew 24:36-39 – Rapture – Scott Childs
Introduction: On 6 February 2023, 4:14 a.m. Monday morning local time, a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, killing more than 20,000 people and injuring thousands more.
This tragic event is a reminder to all that we must be ready at all times to meet the Lord. That too will be a sudden, unexpected event.
Transition: This morning, I want us to consider seven parallels between the Flood and the coming Rapture. Read Matthew 24:36-39.
1. The Flood was Foretold
a. Matthew does not mention this, but Peter does.
1) (2 Peter 2:5) “And [God] spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;“
2) Noah clearly stated the prediction of the flood through his preaching. For years, people heard Noah preach as he worked at building the huge ark. During those long years, Noah’s warnings likely spread around the world.
b. The Bible clearly predicts the Rapture
1) Jesus predicted this (v.37).
2) Paul clearly wrote about Christ’s coming. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) “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: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.“
3) Like Noah, you and I must spread the news.
2. The Exact Time was Unknown
a. No one knew the day or hour (v.36)
1) While Noah was building, he knew the time was near, but did not know when.
2) Once Noah had completed the ark and the animals all came in, God told him to wait yet seven days, but he still did not know the hour (Gen 7:4).
b. The Lord will also come in an unknown moment.
1) We can see things lining up for the events of the Tribulation that will follow the Rapture.
2) God describes the last days for us (2Timothy 3:1-5).
3) Paul expected the Lord’s return during the first century. (Philippians 3:20) “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” Today, it is 1900 years closer.
3. The Flood Began Suddenly
a. Life continued as usual until the day (v.38)
1) After all his preaching, Noah had no converts outside his immediate family. People ignored his warnings and carried on life as usual.
2) Typical daily activities continued. Farming, gardening, eating, learning, trading, marrying, and committing all sorts of evil continued as it had for years. Then suddenly, for the first time in history, rain poured from the sky.
3) The earth likely shook as the fountains of the great deep broke open and spouted enormous amounts of hot water and lava into the atmosphere.
4) Rapidly, the increasing floodwater surrounded the ark.
b. The Lord’s return will be just as sudden.
1) Daily life will continue on earth right up until the moment that the trumpet sounds and the Lord calls his saints up to meet him in the air.
2) That moment will bring sudden worldwide fear, confusion and panic as all who truly know the Lord will suddenly disappear.
4. The Flood was Universal
a. The flood spanned the entire globe
1) (Genesis 6:13) “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (Genesis 7:19) “And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.“
2) This was not a local flood, but a global flood.
b. The Rapture will also span the global.
1) Because Jesus believe in a global flood, He used it to picture His coming global Rapture.
2) When Christ returns in the air to call home His saints, He will catch away every believer in the world.
3) A chorus that we sing says that Christ’s return may be morning, may be noon, may be evening, and may be soon. Because the rapture will be global, it will be either day or night depending on where one lives.
5. The Flood was Severe
a. All air-breathing life died
1) The flood was universally devastating. (Genesis 7:23) “And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.“
2) Henry Morris states, “The destructive effects of the Flood can still be seen today not only in the biblical record, but also in the abundant evidences of cataclysmic destruction in the rocks and fossil graveyards all over the world. To refuse this evidence, as do many modern intellectuals, can only be because they “willingly are ignorant,” as Peter said in referring to this testimony (2 Peter 3:5).”
3) Every human and billions of land and sea creatures lost their lives during Noah’s flood, except for those inside Noah’s ark.
b. The Rapture will also be severe
1) Those in God’s ‘ark of salvation’ will meet Him in the air. Noah’s ark is a great picture of God’s salvation. Those who trust Christ to save them enter into God’s protective care. All who neglect salvation or reject it will be left behind for all eternity.
2) Now is a good time to evaluate your own standing before God. Have you trusted Christ so that you are safely inside His Ark? Good intentions are not good enough. Good works cannot do what Christ alone has already done.
6. Only God’s True Followers Survived.
a. Only those in the ark were lifted up to safety
1) Interpretations differ regarding the phrase “took them all away” (v.39). The word literally means to lift up. It may refer to all the unbelievers swept away in the floodwaters. It could also refer to all those in the ark who were safely lifted up on top of the floodwaters (v.38).
2) Either way, only those in the ark survived. All the others were lost. (Genesis 7:21-22) “And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.“
b. The Rapture will be just as selective.
1) Many verses give this assurance to those who have placed their trust in Christ alone. (Colossians 3:4) “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.“
2) According to Jesus’ words, (John 3:3) “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” If you are not saved and miss the Rapture, you will never see God’s kingdom.
7. When God Closed the Ark, Opportunity Ended
a. Noah’s peers had no second chance
1) All who rejected Noah’s preaching and warning stood weeping in the rain as the water continued to get deeper.
2) When God shut the ark’s door, it could not be opened. It was too late. Their fate was sealed.
b. There will be no second chance at the Rapture.
1) For those who have neglected or rejected the Gospel, the Rapture ends all hope.
2) “Behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Conclusion: Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready for the Rapture? If not, trust Jesus today! [Explain] If you are a believer but not right with God, delay no longer. Get right with God this morning.