2019 06 02 Lorna Laister THE ASCENSION
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The Ascension

Lorna Laister; 2 June 2019

Scripture reading Luke 24:50-53

The bible story tells us of God’s love for his people

At the end of the OT there seems to be a sudden stop. There seems to be no resolution to the injustice, or the failures of kings, judges, or prophets. When we read the Old Testament, WE CAN FIND manifestations/DISPLAYS; EXPRESSIONS; APPEARANCES of God’s presence and power,

The God who was hidden from their view, was to be made KNOWN in an amazing and unexpected way—in the person of an infant, born to a virgin, and placed in a manger.

When God personally entered the universe he created, he came in such a way that, even to the point of a cruel and horrific death at the hands of the humans he lovingly created. he experienced every part of our human experience

This God in human flesh, Jesus Christ, participated in our humanity by living as we live, shared in our death by taking on the death we deserved to die, and was buried in a tomb.

Even though Jesus tried to prepare them for Sunday morning, the disciples were still amazed to find him alive again after he rose from the grave.

Read Luke 24:44

In other words, “This is what I’ve been telling you all along.” The story of the Old Testament—this collection of law, prophets, and psalms—was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, in his life, death, resurrection, and ascension. The ascension was a critical part of the fulfilment of what was written long ago.

Read Luke 24:45-48

When the living Word came to earth to live as one of us, he made REAL; CONCRETE and UNDERSTANDABLE what God had spoken to his people about himself—that he was and is a loving, gracious, and faithful God.

Read Luke 24:49

Apart from the intervention of God himself, we cannot know or understand the truth about who God is and who we are in Christ

Read Luke 24:50-51

When Jesus ascended to heaven, he took all humanity with him—REMEMBER THE SCRIPTURE IN JOHN 12:32 –so that each of us is hidden with Christ in God. NOW WE ARE SEEING a distinctive forward and upward movement to each of our lives as we participate in Christ’s ascension.

NOW WE KNOW THAT THE REASON Jesus’ ASCENDED AND returned to the Father was to send the Holy Spirit, SO WE COULD BE EFFECTIVE WITNESSES TO THE GLORY AND GOODNESS OF GOD. The Holy Spirit—the promise of the Father—enables us to understand that Jesus is our Saviour and helps us to know the heart and will of our Abba, our Father in heaven, so we can bear witness to the truth about Abba and Jesus Christ

The Holy Spirit opens our minds and changes our hearts. The Spirit of God brings us to repentance and faith as we respond to his work in our hearts and minds, inspiring us to turn to Christ. AS WE GROW IN OUR PARTICIPATION IN CHRIST’S NATURE BY THE SPIRIT, we become more and more effective witnesses

Part of the fulfilment of all those things written about our Messiah Jesus Christ was that God’s word would go out into all the world, so that one day all people would know and worship God.

It’s important to note that our participation isn’t just observation

Jesus told his disciples they would be “clothed with power from on high” (v. 49). We don’t need power to simply observe, but we are given power to participate in this great story. We are included in Jesus’ ascension.

 

The apostle Paul longed for the people of God to understand this. To believers in Ephesus, Paul said his prayer was that:

Read Eph. 1:17-19

When we are filled with the Spirit, we are filled with God’s life and being—we are in unity with who we really are as God’s children, made in his image. There is power in the indwelling presence of God by the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul talked about the surpassing greatness of this power

Read Eph. 1:19-23

As you can see, the stories we read about in the Old Testament—which were fulfilled in Jesus Christ—opens out into a continuing story—a story that includes you and me in the plotline. Jesus has come, fulfilled all the Old Testament Law, Prophets, and Writings, and now, seated at the right hand of Abba in glory, is writing a brand-new story with new characters and plot twists. We participate in this great story as we trust in Christ, walk in the Spirit, in loving relationship with God and one another.

On this day, as we commemorate the Ascension, we look upward—seeing what the ascension means for us—and we look forward to the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise to return and restore all things. As participants in the already, not yet, of God’s kingdom, we look forward with hope and anticipation, while living with our eyes on Jesus, our ascended, glorified Lord and King.

Read Acts 1:1-11

Conclusion:

When Jesus came to earth – the incarnation – Jesus’ ministry on earth began

With the ascension Jesus’ ministry from heaven began

Same Lord, but different in manner Because now it is in the agency and power of the Holy Spirit

WE AER AFFIRMING THE LIFE AND MINISTRY OF THE RISEN CHRIST. THE CHURCH’S PRIMARY NINISTRY IS TO COMMUNICATE BY WORD AND DEED WHO JESUS IS

So here we find ourselves some 2000 years after the promises of Jesus and His ascension to heaven, and we are still waiting for His return.

1.But unlike those early disciples, we are not just standing idly gazing into the sky, we are busy at work for our Lord

  1. Several of the parables of Jesus point out the importance of carrying out the will of our Master in His absence.

3.Matthew 24:46 says, “It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.”

4.Jesus will say, “Well done my good and faithful servant…come and share in your master’s happiness.” (Mt. 25:21)

5.The key here is not perfection, but faithfulness; good stewardship.

6.God is pleased when we are busy employing our gifts and talents in the administration of His grace.

7.God is pleased when we make good choices as we invest our time and our finances for kingdom purposes.

8.And God is pleased when we love one another as He loved us, and as we love our neighbour as ourselves.

But I know it is not easy. I know that the battle is tough. I know that overcoming temptation is difficult. I know that many are facing the weariness of all kinds of troubles – disease and death, conflict and strife, layoffs and mounting bills. And this time of year, although filled with cheer for many, for others is a time of sadness, stress and depression. Let’s pay close attention to those around us who might be struggling this holiday season.

 



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