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Preparing for the End Time Harvest - Sunday, December 4, 2016

The message today is both exciting and uncomfortable. We naturally want everything to
continue as we have experienced, but thats not what the Bible says will happen. The
Bible says that one day, everything will come to an end, and that there are only two
eternal destinies waiting for people.

Revelation 14:14-20
14
I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of
man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Then another angel came
out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, Take your
sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe. 16 So he
who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
17
Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle.18 Still another
angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had
the sharp sickle, Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earths vine,
because its grapes are ripe. 19 The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and
threw them into the great winepress of Gods wrath. 20 They were trampled in the
winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses bridles
for a distance of 1,600 stadia.

The Book of Revelation describes two great harvests that will take place just before Jesus
returns. I believe the first harvest here is a harvest of souls, when millions of people will
repent and come into the kingdom of God. This will be accompanied by rejoicing in
heaven just as the Israelites rejoiced at the Feast of Tabernacles in the Old Testament.
The second harvest is as horrible as the first is wonderful, as those who rejected God are
destroyed.

These verses make us uncomfortable for two reasons: 1) Because they point to the end of
the world. We like to think that everything will continue on as it has, and that nothing
will upset our peace and safety. This is unrealistic and illogical. We only have 30, 40, 50,
or 60 years experience on earth. This is an extremely limited view.

Its as though humanity is on a bus, travelling from one city to another. We are only
awake for a few hundred feet of that journey, and so assume that the bus always has been
and always will be driving down the road. But one day it will reach its destination.

The Bible says that the world we live in has a terminal illness. Its called sin or rebellion
against God. One day, this world will end. God will come to judge the earth, but Hes
waiting.

2 Peter 3:3-10
3
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following
their own evil desires. 4 They will say, Where is this coming he promised? Ever since our
ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. 5 But they
deliberately forget that long ago by Gods wordthe heavens came into being and the earth was
formed out of water and by water.6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and
destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for
the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and
a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some
understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone
to come to repentance.
10
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the
elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

2) The second reason these verses make us uncomfortable is because the Bible says that
there are only two destinies for people, and that many will be destroyed in the wrath of
God. I have a lot of questions about this myself, but know that God wants everyone to be
saved. And I agree with what Abraham Lincoln said at the end of the Civil War: The
judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

God has an important role for you!


What I want to tell you today, brothers and sisters, is that it is extremely important for us
to understand Gods purposes because He has a role for us to play. If we read something
in the Bible that makes us uncomfortable, then we ought to pay attention!

From the Scriptures we have read so far, what do we know about Gods plans? 2 Peter
3:9 says that God desires everyone to repent and be saved, and that He is delaying
judgment so that as many as possible will be saved.

This delay is not slowness as if God has forgotten. Neither is God simply waiting
passively, but He is actively working to see that as many as saved as possible. He is
working in His harvest field now! When Jesus was on earth, He showed us the heart of
God.

John 4:27-38

Jesus explained to His disciples that saving souls was more important to Him than
anything. He also compared the world to a harvest field. Elsewhere (Matthew 9:37-38),
Jesus said that His followers ought to work hard to save souls because the harvest is
plentiful but the workers are few. Paul says that we all have different roles to play in the
harvest, but that we are co-laborers together with God in the harvest.

The vital role of the Bride of Christ in the End Time harvest
All this should not be a surprise to you. But I want to share with you a vital part of Gods
plan that I dont think is well understood among Christians today.

Yes, before our Lord Jesus comes back, there will be a great End Time harvest. But God
is going to use the church to sow and reap that harvest. The Book of Revelation describes
a terrible time of persecution against believers, and Jesus Himself said it would be a time
of great distress or tribulation.
But in the midst of that darkness, the church will shine the brightest. Hasnt this always
been the case? That the church in distress becomes more itself? Perhaps it is because
circumstances prevent us from putting our hope in these things here on earth. Instead, we
stop trying to save our life but are more ready to lay it down for His sake.

Throughout history, it has often been this way, whether among the early church in the 2nd
and 3rd centuries, or even nearer our own time in the growth of the Chinese church during
the 20th century. When the church faces severe persecution, it clarifies things.

[The Hiding Place movie, chapter 29]

I dont know if there will be camps for Christians like in this movie, but I do know that
the Bible says we will be persecuted and serve as witnesses before many people.

Luke 21:10-19
10
Then he said to them: Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There
will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great
signs from heaven.
12
But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to
synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all
on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to
worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that
none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by
parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to
death.17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish.19 Stand
firm, and you will win life.

At this time, in this type of situation, our disagreements about doctrine will seem
insignificant. No one will care about which denomination you belong to, and no one will
boast about the name of their church. All that will matter is whether you love Jesus.

Our lives and how we respond to this persecution will serve as a testimony to many. As
Tertullian wrote: The more you mow us down, the more numerous we grow; the blood
of martyrs is seed. You see, in the great End Time harvest, revival will not happen in a
stadium with people listening to an evangelist, but it will happen behind closed doors or
in prison. As God gathers in His End Time harvest, Hes going to use you and me!

Revelation 19:6-7
6
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud
peals of thunder, shouting:
Hallelujah!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
7
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
The Bible frequently uses the illustration of an expectant bride and groom to explain the
relationship between the church and Jesus Christ. Why? 1) A bride loves her betrothed.
Read the Song of Songs to see what this love looks like. 2) A bride looks forward to her
wedding day with expectation. 3) A bride prepares herself for the groom so that she is
radiant and beautiful at the wedding.

Are you ready to work together with God to gather in His End Time harvest? I dont
know when this will happen, but I do know that God is waiting for His church to get
ready. He doesnt want anyone to perish, and so is working among His people and in the
world.

Here are the things you can do:


1. Build Gods church, using the gifts that He has given you! Our church vision is
To build glorious churches, holy and blameless, in our generation. The church
does something that no other organization can: makes disciples. If you read the
book of Acts, you will be see the strategy that the Holy Spirit wants to use to
fulfill the Great Commission, that is to make disciples of all nations. When we
participate in the church, the Holy Spirit works through us to build up one
another, as we each submit to Him and respect the gifts of the Spirit working
through other people. Also, this is excellent training for the End Time harvest!
2. Welcome the Holy Spirit into your life. Learn to listen to Him and be led by Him.
We cannot be good followers of Christ by ourselves.
3. Live for the next life, not this one. A bucket list is a nice idea, but so limited!
For Christians, our real life doesnt start until this one ends. Remember, a bride
looks forward to her wedding day where she meets the groom. When Jesus
returns, will you be sad or happy?

Revelation 22:17-21
17
The Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let the one who hears say, Come! Let the one
who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
18
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to
them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes
words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the
tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
20
He who testifies to these things says, Yes, I am coming soon.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with Gods people. Amen.