THE GREAT GATHERING

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2

 

I.Intro.

A.the words ”our gathering together” should find a response in every part of the world

1.man is by nature a social being; he does not like to be alone

2.wherever we go on earth, we would find that people generally like meeting together

B.some example of our gathering together

1.holidays and birthdays are a noted time when people gather together

2.in cities and in the country, among rich and among poor, from the palace to the home of the poor, parties are a universal experiences

3.we take vacations from our job to spend a week with our family or friends

4.students often rush home from school, and rejoice in the warmth and comfort of their parent's house

C.cold and hard is that philosophy which ridicules our gathering together; which frowns at them, and denounces them as wicked

1.family affection lies at the root of a well-ordered society

2.our gathering together is one of the few good things which has survived the fall, and prevent men and women from being mere devils

3.our gathering together is the secret oil on the wheels of our society, which keeps the whole machine going

D.earthly gatherings also have something about them that is sad and sorrowful

1.the happiest gatherings sometimes contain disagreeable members

2.the merriest parties last only for a short time

3.as the years roll on, the hand of death makes painful gaps in the family circle

E.there is a better "gathering" yet to come

1.there is a bright prospect on our horizon, of an assembly which will far outshine the assemblies of this world

2.an assembly in which there will be joy without sorrow, and merriment without tears

II.there is a "gathering" of true Christians which is yet to come

A.this gathering will take place at the end of the world

1.He went away in the clouds of heaven, and in the clouds of heaven He will return - 1 Thes 4:16-17

2.the very first thing that Christ will do is "gather" His people

B.the manner of this "gathering" is plainly revealed in Scripture

1.the dead saints will all be raised, and the living saints will all be changed - 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

2.when every member of Christ is found, and not one is left behind; when soul and body are reunited, then will be the great "gathering"

C.the object of this "gathering" is clearly revealed in Scripture, as well as its manner

1.it is partly for the final reward of Christ's people - Revelation 22:12

a)they will receive a crown of glory that will never fade away, and the kingdom prepared for them

b)they will be admitted publicly into the joy of their Lord

2.it is partly for the safety of Christ's people - Isaiah 26:20-21

a)when the last plagues are falling on the enemies of the Lord, they will be untouched

b)before the final crash begins, the saints will be hidden in the secret place of the Most High

D.this gathering will be a great one

1.all the children of God who have ever lived, from Adam down to the last born again when Jesus comes

2.everyone of every age, and nation, and people, and tongue; everyone will be gathered together

3.no one will be overlooked or forgotten; the weakest and feeblest will not be left behind

4.now true Christians seem like a little flock, but then when gathered, they will be found to be a multitude which no man can number

E.this gathering will be a wonderful one

1.the saints from distant lands, who never saw each other in the flesh, and could not understand each other's speech if they met, will all be brought together in one harmonious fellowship

2.the believers who died five thousand years ago, and whose bones are mere dust, will find their bodies raised and renewed as quickly as those who are alive when the trumpet sounds

3.the confusion of tongues will finally be reversed, and done away with

F.this gathering will be a humbling one

1.it will make an end of bigotry and pettiness forever

2.those Christians, who would neither pray together nor worship together, will discover to their shame that they must worship together for all eternity

3.this "gathering together unto him," is a mighty and wonderful gathering, which ought to be foremost in men's thoughts; it deserves consideration; it demands attention

III.why is this "gathering together” of true Christians a thing to be desired

A.Paul thought that the gathering at the last day was an object of great joy, which Christians should keep before their eyes

1.he saw it as one of those things that the believer should love and long for - 2 Timothy 4:8

2.he extols it as one of those good things that should animate the faith of every pilgrim, to walk the narrow path - Philippians 3:20

B.when all true Christians are gathered to Him, it will be a state totally unlike our present condition

1.to be scattered, seems to be the rule of man's existence now

a)of all the millions who are born into the world each year, how few continue together until they die

b)children who live their first days under the same roof, are sure to be separated as they grow up

2.the same law applies to the people of God; they are scattered and spread abroad in the world

a)this is for the good of the world, but it is a big trial for believers

b)there are many days when they feel desolate and alone; many times they long for a little more communion with their brethren, and a little more fellowship with those who love the Lord

c)they may look forward with hope and comfort, for the hour is coming when they will have no lack of companions

C.when all true Christians are gathered to Him, they will be an assembly entirely of one mind

1.there are no such assemblies now, for hypocrisy and false profession creep in everywhere

a)wherever there is wheat there are sure to be weeds; wherever there are wise virgins there are sure to be foolish ones too

b)there is no such thing as a perfect Church now; there is a Judas at every communion table, and a Demas who will desert because of his love for the world

c)wherever the sons of God come together, Satan is sure to appear among them

2.all this will come to an end; one day our Lord will present to the Father a perfect Church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish

a)how glorious such a Church will be

b)everyone we meet will be of one opinion and one judgment, and sees eye to eye

c)there will be no squabbling, nor discord, and every man will have complete holiness

d)all this will indeed be happiness; no wonder that Paul invites us to look forward

D.when all true Christians are gathered to Him, it will be a gathering in which none will be absent

1.the weakest lamb will not be left behind in the wilderness; the youngest babe that ever lived will not be overlooked or forgotten

2.we will once more see our beloved friends and relatives who fell asleep in Christ, and left us in sorrow

a)they will be better, brighter, more beautiful, and more pleasant than we ever found them on earth

3.we will hold communion with all the saints of God who have fought the good fight of faith before us, from the beginning of the world to the end

4.Patriarchs and Prophets, Apostles and Fathers, Martyrs and Missionaries, all the host of God's elect will be there; no wonder that Paul invites us to look forward

E.when all true Christians are gathered to Him, it will be a gathering without a parting

1.there are no such meetings now; we live in a time of endless hurry, and can hardly sit down and catch our breath before we are off again

2.the cares of this world, the necessary duties of life, the demands of our families, all make it impossible to have long quiet times of communion with God's people

3.it will not always be this way; the hour is coming and will soon be here, when "good-bye" and "farewell" will be words that are buried forever

IV.Conclusion

A.the man who sees nothing in the second coming of Christ and our gathering to Him; nothing happy, joyful, pleasant, or desirable; such a man has every reason to doubt that he is a true Christian

B.one thing is very certain, there will only be two groups of mankind at the last great day

1.those who are on the right hand of Christ, and those who are on the left; those who are counted righteous, and those who are wicked

2.those who are gathered like wheat into God's barn, and those who are left behind like weeds to be burned

3.what group will you belong too

4.your own heart, if you are honest with yourself, will tell you which group you belong to

C.if you want to know your chance of being gathered into God's home, then here is a simple way of testing the condition of your soul

1.ask yourself what kind of gatherings you like best here on earth

2.ask yourself whether you really love being gathered together with God's people

D.how could a man enjoy the meeting of true Christians in heaven who takes no pleasure in meeting with true Christians on earth

1.how can a heart which is completely focused on parties, entertainment, and worldly assemblies; and who thinks that earthly worship is a drag, have pleasure in the company of true Saint

2.it is impossible; it cannot be

E.never let it be forgotten, that our tastes on earth are a sure evidence of the state of our hearts; and the state of our hearts here is a sure indication of our eternal destiny

1.Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people

2.he that hopes to be gathered with the saints in heaven, while he only loves the gathering of sinners on earth is deceiving himself

F.if you are a true Christian, I exhort you to be frequently looking forward, good things are yet to come, your redemption is drawing near, the night is almost over