One day there will be a great moment when the people of Christ shall be gathered together with Him in His presence. But until then we can enjoy coming together to love, laugh, weep, and pray. (1 Thessalonian 4:15-19; Ephesians 2:19-21)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11255
7:30 PM on 5/3/2017
Here we stand; our hearts are yours – in the song. That’s good.
Tonight we’ll have a message on our gathering together.
2 Thes. 2. Have you ever been to a birthday party, Christmas, family get together? How many enjoy family get togethers? Talking, coffee, music, interaction with each other. Not every family is so functional that they have a good time. Those that didn’t raise you hand, maybe you fit in that category. There is a gathering together that is coming that is not on the earth. It’s just above the earth but seems to be in this atmosphere. 70 miles deep our atmosphere around the earth. Around the earth we gather, different places, conferences. P. Aedan is in Nepal tonight. Monday night a group of us fly to India and then Nepal. The gathering in the atmosphere, Chapter 2:1. What gathering that will be.
1 Cor 15. Tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer for the U.S. Abraham Lincoln asked that the last Thursday would be dedicated to repentance and thanksgiving. It became our Thanksgiving holiday. We hear very little about repentance.
1 Cor 15:51 he means our bodies in the graves. When we die, we leave our body and we fly away, Ps 90:10. Absent from the body, present with the Lord. He’s going to raise the body, those who have died and gone before us. Those bodies will not “sleep but we shall all be changed.” Changed in our mortal body, glorified. Our DNA written in a book. It will be you raised from the dead. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. For the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed.
1 Thes. 4:15, the Lord is coming. Isn’t that exciting! Wow! The kingdom is coming. Radical changes are coming. Maybe animals will be talking in the millennial. I don’t know. They won’t be eating each other.
Is 11. Peace on the earth. No war, no legislatures and president and judicial branches of government. This will change. Men will not be governing themselves as we know today. It will be Christ’s government on the earth delegated through his people and some will rule over five cities and some ten. Give a shout. I’ll take a little village down the road. It doesn’t matter. We are not lusting for authority or power. We just recognize a new age is coming. The first evidence of the change is him, Jesus raised from the dead. He ascended into heaven, ate food, walked through the wall, and disappeared. The saints of God will be like that.
1 Thes 4:15, the people that are in the grave already and are alive still. We don’t have to die for them to be raised from the dead. He would change us without having to die. We don’t have to die in order for him to come. We’re not going to be preventing this from happening.
1 Thes 4:16-17. Did Paul believe he would be alive at the time of the Rapture? Apparently. The Greek word where it talks about meeting him in the air is the mountain height and lower. He will come back close to the earth and we will meet him there. What kind of gathering will it be? Here’s our gathering tonight in Baltimore. What do we like about our gatherings? Why do we gather? What draws us to gather together? I made a short list for us.
vs. 17-18. How many worked 8 hours, ten hours today? Been on the highway. How many had a tough day of work yesterday? How many trials have you been in the last months, years? I’m so proud of our people when I see God manage their life through him. We are being prepared in God’s will and way to meet him in this great gathering. There are other gatherings. P. Steve mentioned the Ravens football but there isn’t a gathering when you and I gather and drink the same spirit.
1 Cor 12:13 when we gather in the name of Christ for his purpose to honor and glorify him. I love to meet with people. I love Christmas time. But it’s beautiful when we fear God and meet often one with another. We listen to what the Bible is saying. We take it to heart and tremble at his Word. We anticipate the great gathering in the air. These are mini gatherings. These are beautiful gatherings that we have.
Eph 2:19, we were outside the family of God. We were vagabonds and wanderers in the earth. We have all been this way in our life. We didn’t know where we belonged. Wandering around and looking for our place in life. You have a group of friends and kind of belong but maybe not. You got offended or hurt or they left you or kicked you out of their company. With God we were strangers and foreigners. We were without a home, a covenant, a promise.
That’s related to vs. 12. Do you remember when you were without Christ? I don’t remember my sin but I remember when I was without Christ. Do you remember when you were a slave in Egypt, when you didn’t know the name of God, no real comfort in your heart, and you didn’t know about eternal life? You stayed away from conversations about heaven or hell or death. We were without Christ. …having no hope and without God in the world. We went to this gathering over here, in that school, in the sixth grade, Boy Scouts.
You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets…vs. cornerstone. We are built like a house upon the foundation of God. God has built us on a foundation of doctrinal thinking, of God’s mind, Christ being the chief cornerstone. This prepares us for the great gathering, that one in the sky. These gatherings are like a spiritual birthday party. Then a car pulls up and takes one of our brothers like Camden. An angel comes out of the car and says I’m coming for Camden. I’m taking him to a bigger party. He leaves this world. He goes to a better gathering but it is like this one. There are similarities to this one that God says we are ambassadors in this one representing a far country. We have a message, and even a smell. Something about us resembles a far country that Christ came from and sent us into this world.
vs. 21. Fitly framed.
Eph 2:21. Locked in like those building blocks, Legos. Lincoln Log homes back in our days. It’s all fitly framed. That’s what this gathering is. God has framed us together. You might say I don’t see it or understand. Keep coming to church and you’ll get it. He’ll guide you in it. We are going to a great gathering. Then it says it grows. Usually buildings don’t grow but this one grows.
vs. 21. Ask your neighbor have you grown in the last year. I don’t mean physically. What’s the common answer? Yes, or could it also be I don’t know. I hope so. It’s hard to evaluate or judge it. If this is the Body of Christ and the Body grows, does the hand not grow? You have a man but a little hand. Is that normal? That’s abnormal. When we grow, all the parts are increasing with the increase of God. It would be a disease or sickness if the body grew but one part didn’t grow. We are all drinking the same spirit. I want to encourage everyone here. In this gathering where there isn’t any other like it, I don’t mean GG but gathering in J.C. name. It’s recorded in a book and he takes pleasure in each of us that show up and live this way.
vs. 22. Why am I so glad being with this group of people, this church? Why am I so happy being here with you? It’s a good question. Remember Thanksgiving times? Maybe you had this in your childhood. Mom and the turkey. People dress up a little bit. Turkey and a home and the atmosphere in the house. It’s a beautiful time. Preparation and purpose.
God has put us together not by accident. He has prepared something for us. He has something for us. He’s done it on purpose at great expense. He gave us his Son so we can be here. He says he loves us and gave us a new heart. We have David’s heart. How does it go? That’s enough. Give them a hand! Why do we enjoy this group of people? They have David’s heart. They have a heart after God. Where did you get it? You got it from God. Making God the center. That’s why I like to be with this group of people.
2) These people are tested. They have been through amazing trials. They have been tested like Abraham when he gave his son. He offered up his son and that was enough for God. God says he’s my friend. I’m able to gather together with the friends of God, who have been through the trials of fire. I have so much respect and love for them.
3) These are our friends. Friend are faithful and loyal. God has made them our friends.
Ex. 32. God was a friend to Abraham but when it came to Moses’ prayer, intercession he said this one statement.
vs. 10. God is going to destroy the Jewish people and Moses said no you can’t. God said let me alone that I might do that. Moses said no you can’t do it. Without explaining it theologically simply it means we have power with God. We are able to ask. It might be of such a nature that we are in the H.S. interceding and it’s God’s mind. By way of anthropopathism, he is telling us in human language his feelings. He is saying I’d like to destroy him but another part in Moses is saying no you can’t. God is saying leave me alone. Moses says I can’t. It would contradict your nature if you destroyed them. We are here on the earth interacting and weeping and caring and rejoicing. What is the value of these gatherings on the earth that are coming before that great gathering in heaven? It’s we would be friends of God and we would ask God and he would say yes. It might seem like there isn’t any answer. We would be persevering in prayer, pleading, asking and insisting. This is where God dwells.
4) Doctrinal thinking. We recognize what and where we have attained in life because we have chosen to think with God at the expense of our own lives. I could think a certain way but give it up to God and want God’s will. I have personal preferences but surrender to a higher purpose. I like Mexican food but we don’t eat it. What do I do? I surrender my preference, my right to something higher to God. Maybe I don’t get the Mexican food but get something greater. I surrender my personal preference to something true, noble, and valuable. The temple of God is our calling and purpose and preparing to meet him in the air.
5) We can listen together, talk together, and hear. We are social creatures. I’m not to be left alone in an apartment or TV. That’s what I’m missing tonight, my TV. My favorite programs! I’ve had the fortunate blessing of living for decades without a TV because of living in Europe where I don’t understand the language, but I don’t care about it. We can listen and talk with wisdom. We can cry together. We’ve had some teens go home early. The perfect will of God but early from our view. We gathered and all were weeping and embracing family. We cry together when we hear about broken hearts and bad news. Life is hard sometimes. We may go through firely trials. We also rejoice together. We are goofy together! We have liberty. We allow ourselves to be goofy. To have a good time. We are made to laugh and be social and be free. You really can’t make such great mistakes around us because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. If you sin or violate yourself or are rebellious, your sin will find you out. We are not happy about it. We are not policeman. We let people live their lives. If the H.S. will do his work with us and he will, if he will answer our prayers and do his deep work the H.S. will convict us of sin. What bar room would you go to and get convicted of sin? What family? What place could you go to like talking to the doctor? Is he your enemy? No. your aid, helper, counselor. He is the one that wants to have you live and grow and be normal. He says have any pains? No. You lie. Are you afraid of the doctor? Yes. How about your mother? Your heavenly Father? You go to the place where you can talk straight up and be honest. Some people’s prayers are prayers that are superficial and empty. They are not coming to God with an open heart. God, you know what is going on. I’m ripping angry at you, at them, at myself. You know about it. Let the doctor say you’re right. I put you through the CAT scan and see what is inside you. I’m the good physician and that’s what you need.
6) Family affection lies at the root of any well ordered society. We have dysfunctional more so now-a- days. Where will I learn to be loved? In the church. Where will I learn to be listened to? In the church. Where will I learn I can be forgiven? In the church. Words of exhortation and encouragement? In the church.
This is why we gather often and all the more as we see the day approaching. This gathering is the one birthday party and we go one by one to the bigger party. Until the trump happens and the voice of the archangel and the shout and we will go up in the twinkling of an eye and meet him in the air.
One great cause of backsliding is a lack of personal prayer, openness with God. Get in the habit of being open with God all the time. Let you do business with God. Replace a stony heart with a heart of flesh. When it comes to church, don’t hide anything. Make your confession known to God. Maybe sit in the parking lot before you come in. Maybe you need to do it, maybe not.
This is the gathering that counts. Every meeting is valuable. This is the gathering you are recording. This is preparing us for great big gathering in the sky. We go to heaven, don’t we? Then the earth goes through this terrible tribulation period and we return seven years later or so with Christ and his kingdom for the millennial reign.
One great cause of backsliding is when I don’t have a prayer life. Then I come and I have things in my heart that God has to deal with. I may not drink the same anointing. I may be under the chastening of God.
God is saying trust me, lean on me, confess your sin and immediately you are forgiven.
I’m so impressed with God’s people in this particular assembly. I think we have miles to go. We have a whole Thanksgiving dinner prepared by our heavenly Father, Lk 14, and come Lord Jesus come. We are ready to go.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.