Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and author of over 100 books, booklets and Bible studies. The first African American to earn a doctorate of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, he has been named one of the 12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World by Baylor University. Dr. Evans holds the honor of writing and publishing the first full-Bible commentary and study Bible by an African American. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on over 1,400 radio outlets daily and in more than 130 countries. Dr. Evans’ sermons are also streamed and downloaded over 20,000,000 times annually.
I want to talk to you about Godliness and I would like to suggest to you that is our assignment. A lot of christians today are working on the wrong assignment we’re working hard, we’re putting in all the effort we think we can put in and it’s just not working. Everything is coming up f we’re failing in our lives were failing in, our priorities were failing in our families, we’re failing in our commitments were failing while working hard. And I’d like to suggest to you that is because much of what we’re doing is not tied to the assignment we’ve been given. He wants you to see him at a level. You’ve never seen it before. So the question on the floor is how bad do you want it today? I would just like to survey the prophetic calendar In Matthew 24 verse three the disciples asked a question. They said, what are the signs of your coming? What what what do we look to as a sign of your coming? Okay, Jesus then responded to them and he said to them, he says in verse six, you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened for those things must take place. But that is not yet. The end for nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom in various places. There will be famines which can be pestilence is and earthquakes, but all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs, God will not give us a date and time of his arrival. So let me start off by letting you know that I am not saying that what we are seeing today. If is proof positive, jesus is coming tomorrow. What I am saying is it could be right now. You are in what the Bible calls the church age. It’s called in Luke chapter 21 verse 20 for the times of the gentiles. The church age comes to a conclusion at the rapture. The reason why it is not the end yet is there is an event that will take place before the end. Time clock gets punched and that event is called the rapture. The rapture is when jesus christ does not come back to earth, he comes back to the clouds and we are raptured up to meet him. If jesus christ were to come today, everyone in this house who has trusted Jesus christ as their personal savior would leave this place. If Yeah, yes, if I’m gone and you’re still here, that’s because you’re not saved. Mm hmm. Yes. So before this service is over, we want to give you an opportunity to do that. But we want to make sure that you are part of the rapture. We come the dead in christ. Those have already gone ahead of us will come with him. Those who are dead will get new bodies. New glorified bodies. So the glorified bodies will meet the returning soul and spirit and we will have our glorified existence. We who are alive will be changed. Everything wrong with you in the rapture will be made right immediately. Yeah, In first Corinthians 15 we read these words behold, I tell you a mystery verse 51 says we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, Let me tell you what the twinkle of an eye is, a twinkle of an eye is faster than a blink. It’s the twitch of the eye, it’s faster than a blink. You will be changed and it says for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed. So the rapture takes place boom! In the twinkling of an eye. All of those who are believers in christ will be raptured up to meet the Lord. We will have reunion with those who have already gone before us and we will be taken to heaven for the judgment seat of christ. The judgment seat of christ will take place while in the event I’ll talk about in the moment is taking place on earth where believers are given their rewards for their faithfulness to the Lord between the time of their conversion and the time of their death or the rapture. So what God will be looking at when he raptures us is how faithful were you as a follower of christ faithfulness means consistency over time. When the rapture takes place, it inaugurates a seven year event That seven year event is called the tribulation. This time of tribulation, it’s called Jacob’s trouble christians, those have accepted christ are in the rapture. When the rapture happens, that opens up the day of the Lord, it’s called the Day of the Lord, because now it’s the day of Man. You say, how can there be a God who allows all these tragedies, all these difficulties, always paying all this, Because today is the day of man and he has allowed man to do things based on their decision making. Once the rapture happens, it is no longer the day of man. It is now the day of the Lord and he is going to take over completely. It is during this time of tribulation. This seven year period prophecies in the book of Daniel. It’s called the the 69th week leading to this, this time of uh of international upheaval where God will intervene directly, Satan will be released to a full order. Now you think satan is rough now you haven’t seen anything yet. Most of the book of Revelation is about this time of tribulation. This time of tribulation when there will be complete upheaval in the world. The tribulation revolves around a figure, there will be wars and rumors of wars, there’s going to be all this conflict and dr Jekyll and mr Hyde will show up. This will be an international figure who will purport to bring order to a world in chaos and his name is called the Antichrist. So there is a man who does not keep rules lawlessness, who will become manifested, who opposes and exalts himself above every so called God an object of worship so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. So the Antichrist will display himself as deity. Do you not remember when I was still with you? I was telling you these things and you know what restrains him now so that in his time he will be revealed. In other words we don’t know who he is yet because he’s being held back. He could be very much alive right now but not yet revealed, he says for the mystery of lawlessness it’s a secret is already at work. Only he who know now restraints will do so until he is taken out of the world. Okay when the Holy Spirit is removed, the restrain er you and I are removed. That’s the rapture because you and I are in dwelt with the Holy Spirit. If you’ve accepted christ, the Holy Spirit is the re strainer. So when the Holy Spirit, the restrain er is removed and he and dwells every believer, he takes the believers with them in the rapture. When he takes the believers with him in the rapture. Now the restrain er is gone when the restrain er is gone. Which means the saints who he and Welles is gone with him now the man of lawlessness will be revealed. Then the Lawless one verse eight will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of his mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of his coming. That is the one who is coming is in accord with the activity of satan and with power and signs and wonders why will he be believed? Because he’s gonna bring miracles with him, he’s going to bring miracles with him. What jesus is to to God. The Antichrist is to satan, Jesus is the incarnation of deity. The Antichrist is the incarnation of the devil. So that that helps you to understand, by the way, um If you look at revelation, chapter 13, revelation, chapter 13, you you you discover the unholy trinity. So we know about the holy trinity, but there is an unholy trinity. You’ve got in verse one, the dragon Which we’re told in Chapter 12 is the devil. Then you’ve got the beast in verse one and I saw a beast And they worshiped verse four The Dragon because he gave authority to the beast. So you’ve got three figures in chapter 13, you’ve got the dragon, the first Beast and second Beast That is you got satan the antichrist and the false prophet that explains verse 18, here is wisdom, let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man And his number is 666 666, Why is 666? Important as a trinity arian number six and six and six it is six is the number of man. Man was created six. Man was created six. There will be a trinity that will deal with man. God. The trinity wants to deal with man. Now the devil, the trinity, the devil, the Antichrist, false prophet. That trinity will deal with men during the tribulation period. So it is the number of man or the number of the unholy trinity dealing with the human race during this period of time. We call the tribulation period. But this is the Antichrist And the antichrist will bring Havoc verse 10 and with all deception of wickedness for those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth. So as to be saved. When you reject God, you open up to the devil. When you reject God’s word, you open up to the devil. There are only two words, Man’s word and God’s word. The question is whose word are you gonna believe? And the problem is he will be so tricky with his miracles tricky with his deception that you’re gonna believe his word just because he looks like he’s got some don’t believe every spirit. The bible says just because it’s a miracle doesn’t mean it came from God. This tribulation. This seven year period divided in the two halves. The first half and the second half. The second half is called the great tribulation because that’s when stuff gets worse, that’s when you see the Book of Revelation and feel free to read it. Uh that that will open up and you will see all hell break loose on earth, which is one of the reasons you want to try to win your family to christ now. So they don’t have to go through this because if they’re here, they’re going to face this and this will be death and destruction and because it’s God now making his final stand as we come to the end of the tribulation this seven year period, we come to an event that we all know Armageddon as we come to the end of the tribulation, we come to the Second Coming of jesus christ. Now this is very interesting because the Second Coming of christ coincides with the Battle of Armageddon. The Battle of Armageddon comes at the end of the tribulation, but we’re given some information where things right now could be being set up for them because remember there’s only a seven year gap, Let me take you back now to Ezekiel 38. And in executable 38 we have gog and magog God is a man made God is a land. So God is the head of May God, we’re told that God who leads a land called Magog is to the remotest part of the north of Israel. While there’s only one nation to the remotest part of the north of Israel that goes to the arctic sea. And that’s Russia. Russia is the remote ist part from Israel on on our map. So don’t be surprised that you see this movement of Russia that makes its way through conflict and here’s what you want to look for even now, although it won’t be fulfilled for at least seven years in its fullest expression, there will be a move that will bring the Middle East into the conflict. And the thing that will move Russia to bring the Middle East into the conflict is oil you think you got high gas prices now you ain’t seen nothing yet. Oil will become the dominant issue. And with oil being the issue and Middle East being in conflict with the oil bearing nations and Russia being coming down from the north, there will be a coming together of the Middle east of europe of Russia and it says God is going to arrange for them to collect themselves against Israel, he says against the mountain of Israel. Now this is the whole theology here, you can get the book the best is yet to come to go into it. But Israel was chosen by God to bring him the living word and the written word, It would be the nation that would give birth to the messiah and that the 10 commandments would come out of that. The scriptures would be birth through the Jews. So that became God, he calls it the apple of his eye. So everything revolves around the place of Israel when Jesus Christ comes back, he is coming back to Jerusalem And he’s coming back with us. Now let’s talk about the second coming. I like the way Matthew 24 puts it, that also describes his return Because it says verse 29, but immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from the sky and the powers of heaven will be shaken and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky and then all the tribes of earth will mourn and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds on the sky with power and great glory and he will send forth his angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together the elect from the four winds and uh and one end of the sky to the other. So jesus christ is going to come back at the end of the tribulation with the saints who have already been raptured when he comes back. According to revelation. Chapter one verse seven, every eye will see him and all the men on the face of the earth will shake at my presence verse 21 I will call for the sword against him on all my mountains, declares the Lord verse 22 with pestilence with blood, I will enter into judgment with him and I will reign on him and on his troops and on the many peoples who are with him and on the torrential rain and have and hailstones and fire and brimstone and I will magnify myself and sanctify myself and make myself known in the site of many nations and then they will know I am the Lord. They may not know it now, they may not believe it now, they may not acknowledge it now, but on that day there will be no question because that’s the day of the Lord. That’s what I’m calling the shots. When jesus christ comes back, it sets up the millennium chapter 20 verse one of revelation. Then I saw the angel come down from heaven holding the keys of the obits and a great chain. He laid hold of the dragon that is the serpent of old who is the devil and satan and bound him 1000 years. The millennium is 1000 bound him 1000 years verse three until the 1000 years were completed verse four and reign with christ for 1000 years verse six he says, and will reign with him for 1000 years, 1000 1000 1000. That means the millennium, jesus christ will set up the millennial kingdom and all what a kingdom it’s going to be. There will be nothing allowed to bring pain or hurt. The bible says a child will be a child at 100 years of age. Now we know this is not heaven yet because it still talks about people dying. So we’re not in heaven yet because in heaven nobody died. We’re in the golden years of mankind when jesus christ will rule from Jerusalem and the bible says he will rule with a rod of iron which means there will be no rebellion, allowed anything you mad about. You better keep to yourself because there will be no rebellion allowed in his holy mountain as he rules. When the millennium comes to a completion, it leads to the final courtroom of history which is the great white throne, judgment In Revelation chapter 20 In Revelation chapter 20 We read these words beginning in verse 11, Revelation 20, beginning in verse 11. I’m going through a lot of pages here. So mm hmm. So the 1000 years are completed. In verse seven, Satan will be released from his prison during the millennium, Satan is not allowed to allow to promote rebellion and jesus is ruling with Orion are around. So there’ll be no rebellion. But at the end of the millennium, it says verse seven, the 1000 years were completed, Satan was released and he came to deceive the nations because people who harbored rejection about God in their hearts When satan shows up will be allowed to release it to show what they’ve been harboring against God. When that happens Then verse 11, I saw a great white throne and him who sat on it from whose presence the earth and heaven fled away and no place found for them and I saw the dead and the great and the small standing before the throne and the books were opened and another book was opened which is the book of life and the dead were judged from the things that were written in the books according to their deeds and the sea gave up the dead which were in it and the dead in Hades gave up the dead which were in them and they were judged every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades was thrown into the Lake of fire. This is the second death, the Lake of fire and if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Here is the final courtroom in history where the final judge takes the white throne judgment. Please notice something in the white throne judgment. People were judged on their deeds. People were judged on their deeds. Why are they judged on their deeds? They’re judged on their deeds to determine their level of judgment. In the same way believers at the judgment seat of christ are judged for our level of reward. But everybody who goes to hell doesn’t go there equally. Some are in maximum security. The bottomless pit, minimum security and minimal security based on their deeds. And so we now in the millennium at the white throne judgment and that leads us to eternity verse chapter 21 of revelation. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth and the first heaven and the first earth passed away the un creation and there is no longer any seed and I saw the holy city new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, the place where you and I will go when we when we die or when we are raptured, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. Now this, I didn’t talk about it, but in chapter 19 verses 7 to 10 talks about the marriage supper of the lamb, which is 1000 year party which takes place in the millennium. But now we have been ushered into eternity, the eternal state where we will forever be with the Lord, where the earth and the whole universe will be filled with his glory. I have left out so much stuff. But I want to conclude, I want to conclude my time with you in all seriousness, You and I are to get ready because we’re expecting someone. We’re waiting for the rapture. We’re waiting for the opportunity to be with the Lord and it’s time now it’s time now to get busy for the Lord and his kingdom. I don’t know what your life, my life has been like, but since we’re still here, we still have some time to make it right to get right with God to get right with each other and to get busy for the Lord. This is not a time to play christians. This is not a time to just have it on your bumper sticker. This is the time to let it be known. I’m a visible verbal follower of jesus christ. I’m a kingdom disciple, I’m a representative of God. This is the time to get an act of kindness card, do a good act of kindness and say, by the way, if you died today, do you know where you would spend eternity and I’ve got some good news for you. The price has already been paid. So don’t be too cute to be a christian, don’t be too embarrassed to name jesus christ, don’t be too ashamed for people to know who you are because the word of God is true. Mhm. Godliness does not come about by chance or luck or happenstance. No Godliness has to be pursued in the same way we pursue our physical health. We try to eat right and we exercise because we are working towards a goal. If you have hazard lee, look at your physical life, then you’re not going to be healthy and fit as you may say you want to be. But if you want to be Godly, you have to discipline yourself for Godliness to decide to spend time in his presence, to decide to spend time in his word, to decide to be encouraged by other saints who can move you closer and more speedily toward Godliness. The means to get to Godliness is something you have to decide to do. You plan to do and purposely pursuit and as you do, you will find yourself being transformed from the inside out. Yeah. Mm hmm, mm hmm, mm hmm. I’m standing here in Alaska, one of the most glorious places in God’s great creation. And I want to invite you to join me in our urban alternative family for the Alaskan Cruise. We’re going to have a magnificent time in God’s word and in God’s creation, we’re going to enjoy great fellowship, great fun, great food. And I’m looking forward to meeting and greeting you on R. T U. A Alaskan Cruise Register to be there. Can’t wait to be with you.