WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE ASCENSION. Grace, Mercy and Peace are yours through Jesus Christ the Savior, fellow redeemed.

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1 WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE ASCENSION OF JESUS CHRIST AND HOW DOES THAT ASCENSION AFFECT YOU TODAY. By: Vicar Ron York ACTS 1:1-11 May 16, 2010 Grace, Mercy and Peace are yours through Jesus Christ the Savior, fellow redeemed. What is the purpose of the Ascension of Jesus Christ and how does that ascension Affect you today as you sit here this morning? I think in order to answer that question, we Need to lay a bit of foundation first. Our text this morning is from the Book of Acts. The Book of Acts is a detailed account of the continued works of Jesus Christ through His church. St. Luke is writing this book as he did in his first Gospel account of Luke to Theophilus, who Was possibly one who helped Luke produce and publish his gospel. At best he was a fellow Believer in the Gospel of Christ. The Book of Acts is linked to Luke s Gospel in that it shows that Christ s work continues As the spirit works in and through the church. Well who is the church? Those who believe in Jesus Christ are the church. Those are Called the Christian Church who believe on Christ and who want to be saved through him and Not through their own works or so called merits. The church is none other than believers, for No one is or can be in the congregation of Christians or can be a member of Christendom unless He truly believes, that is that he is righteous and holy as stated in the Creed. I believe in the Holy Christian Church. The church is where God s grace is revealed. It is the Word of God that Makes the church. Wherever Baptism, The Sacrament of the Altar, and Absolution are

2 Administered, you should certainly believe and conclude that here is the house of God where Heaven stands open. It is the Word that makes the church, not the church that makes the Word. It is the promises of God that makes the church, not the church that makes the promises of God. God s Holy Word is superior to the Church all of the time. Who leads or directs the church? It is Jesus Christ alone who is the head of the church. Only Christ in Heaven is the head and he alone rules. It is no one else, not even Mary, or the Pope Himself, but only Jesus. What is not the church? The church is not necessarlily the building no matter how Magnifiscent that building may be, although we call this building Abundant Life Lutheran Church. The true church is not visible for the true church is of faith. The Church is not confined to any one place. The church is not in Rome or St. Louis. The Book of Acts is all about the Church of Jesus Christ, every bit of it. In this book it depicts the growth of The apostolic church as a consequence of Christ s life, death and resurrection. All of us I think would Readily agree, at least conceptually that growth in the Christian Church is necessary. In fact I would Go so far as to say conceptually the people in the Christian Church would agree that growth is Critical in order for the Christian Church to remain alive and not be dead. But what about reality? Is the confession of the critical need for growth being manifested in the real world of the Christian Church today, or at least here in the United States or even more specifically here at Abundant Life Lutheran Church? As I have mentioned before, various statistics reveal that this is not happening, at Least here in the United States. Why is that? Why is it that over 90% of Christian Churches in The United States today are dead and that the United States is the third largest mission field in the World? Could it be that we have failed to see the purpose and the significance of the Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? At least could that possibly be a major contributing factor? As we look at our text this morning, we see St. Luke giving his friend Theophilus another Account of the growth in the early Christian Church as a result of what Jesus did and taught while Living in this world. Notice if you will that St. Luke says that this was continuing until the day that

3 The Lord was taken up. That is his ascension. Growth in the Christian Church was continuing at The time of Jesus Ascension. Prior to Jesus Ascension, Jesus had presented himself to the apostles and had performed many Proofs attesting to his resurrection. Jesus now bore his divine nature as well as his human nature. Both being manifested at the same time. So we have the resurrected Jesus Christ about to return to Heaven, to once again retain all of his divine attributes, but he doesn t do this until something that Must take place first. He gives COMMANDS to his apostles or disciples. It is critical that we see where Jesus would not allow himself to ascend to Heaven until After he gave his final commands to his disciples. Our God is a tremendous God of order and thereare Good reasons for that. Jesus wanted nothing lacking before his departure. He wanted everything To be complete. Jesus was so insistant on this that he ordered his disciples not to flee from Jerusalem in fear or whatever, but instructed them to wait for the promise of the Father. That Promise was that the Holy Spirit would come and be poured out lavishly on the disciples. The Disciples were ordered by Jesus to wait for that to happen. That s how important that is. So what happens? In versus 6 through 8 of our text, we see where the disciples had come Together with the resurrected Christ and they ask Jesus if he is going to restore an earthly kingdom To Israel. To give the political nation of Israel superiority over the Holy Roman Empire. The Disciples still hadn t gotten it, that Jesus kingdom is not of this world, but they are no different from People and politicians today, for the political nation of Israel expects God s kingdom to be on earth. In fact there are Christian Entities that hold to that position and our United States Foreign Policy On the Middle East is predicated on that belief. Not a whole lot has changed has it? So are you Going to restore your kingdom to Israel in 2010 or 2012? What is Jesus response to that inquiry? Jesus says in so many words that its none of their Business as to when Jesus will return on his second coming to restore all of his creation on the Very last day. He pretty much silences those who want to be date setters and stir up the pot of peoples

4 Emotions on Eschatological events. Notice though what Jesus does say and promise. Jesus says That you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. This power is super human Strength to fulfill God s commands. For without this power, you would be incapable of fulfilling Jesus Command. What were the disciples to do with this power that they were going to receive? Jesus Commands them as to what they are to do with that power. Jesus says you will be my witnesses In Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. This power that the disciples Were going to receive was going to enable them with absolutely no inadequacies at all to be Living witnesses of Jesus Christ. That is to be verbally, physically and spiritually communicating The tremendous Gospel of Jesus Christ. Notice what Jesus doesn t do in this command. He Doesn t give his disciples the admonition or appearance of being able to refuse this command, for he says you will Be my witnesses. It is in the imperative tense. Well how does this effect us? We at our baptism have been filled with that same Holy Spirit. We have that same super human power and lack no inadequacy. If we are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we also have that same command, to be a living witness to the Gospel of Jesus, Verbally, physically, and spiritually. This super human power of the Holy Spirit, given to us, enables The church of Jesus Christ to fulfill God s command of being his witnesses. It was only after Jesus Gave this command that he was lifted up and taken out of their sight. Only then did he return to Heaven. Jesus returns to Heaven in all Of his divine nature, so that He is now not confined to time, places, or things and he can be at all Places at the same time. That is why he says Behold I am with you always, even unto the end of The age. A pretty awesome sight seeing our Lord going up back into heaven. No doubt a lot of Emotional feelings were being experienced by the disciples at this time as they see Jesus leaving them. Perhaps the emotion of fear and abandonment or maybe even complacency had set in, or to return to a Normal way of life that they had performed before being Jesus Disciples. A more simpler, easier, Leisurely lifestyle was warranted. What about us this morning? Are we afraid of being a witness For Jesus, or are we complacent with status quo? Don t rock the boat. We re comfortable with the

5 Way things are. Well notice what happens. Angels, not the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but the Angels from heaven arrive and tell the disciples that this same Jesus will return in like fashion as they Saw him depart. The angels were giving them words of comfort, you don t have to be afraid. But they were also telling them to do due Diligence in obeying Jesus command of being his witnesses, when they state Why are you standing Around looking into heaven? In other words get busy in being Jesus witnesses. Get busy there Is work to be done. Remember a Witness only tells what he sees, hears, and knows. Don t worry about what you don t know. So what is the purpose of the Ascension of Jesus Christ? Jesus says in John 16:7 that if he does Not go away the helper, the Holy Spirit will not come to the disciples. Jesus ascended in order to fulfill His command that he will be with us always even until the end of the age, since he is not bound to physical Places, persons, or things. Jesus Ascension provides for his advocacy on our behalf, where he makes Constant intersession for us before the Father. Jesus Ascension also solidifies his being equal with the Father, in that he sits at the right hand of God, meaning that he has all authority in Heaven and on earth. His ascension is also for us in order to be able to fulfill The command that Jesus Christ has given to the church and that is to be living witnesses to his Gospel. How does Jesus ascension affect us today? We have been equipped with nothing lacking To go out and share the Gospel message. Are we going to do that? Are we going to be willing to Use all of your gifts, talents, and treasures to reach this entire Tucson Estates Community with the Tremendous Gospel of Jesus and to do whatever its going to take to make that into a reality? Or are we Content and complacent to simply be looking up into heaven when there is work to be done? My prayer for each of us is That the Holy Spirit, his power will move within each of us, so that we will see ourselves as more Than just week end church attenders, and instead that the Holy Spirit will allow us to see ourselves As daily missionairies and messengers of Jesus. Now may the peace of God and the incredible fellowship power of the Holy Spirit guard Your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.

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