“Ascencial” Truth – Sermon
This weekend was the 24th of May Weekend – celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday in Canada. Our minister, Harry, spoke about kingship, and ascension to the throne. In the secular world there is much pomp given to the ascension of a king/queen. Gifts are given and received.
The Ascension of Jesus is the crowning of our Lord, Jesus Christ. In Acts 1 we get a different picture of His royalty. He lived as a carpenter, had no armies and spent his ministry in servanthood. He died for all of us. He rose from the grave. Then He returned to earth to reveal Himself for 40 days. Then He ascended. Then at Pentecost, He gave his disciples a gift – the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus had said, while on earth:
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:20 NIV).
Then He withdrew His visible presence. He went back to where He had started – with a view of humanity that connected us to God.
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8 NIV)!
In His ascension He took back what He originally had. And He went back with more.
That was the theological part – which I hope I got right.
Here are the real implications of the Ascension:
Jesus is now not limited to time or space.
While on earth He did have limits of time and space.
Jesus receives our prayers.
On Ascension, He took back the prerogative of God. He IS God! But now we can pray to Him.
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13 NIV).
Here is the Ascencial Truth (Harry made up the word ascencial) – Jesus opened the gates of Heaven – so we might enter in. (I love the song by Robin Mark. See it at the end of this post)
“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe” (Ephesians 4:7-10 NIV).
We were captives of Satan but Jesus freed us to be captivated by Him. We are His. We need to know Him and love Him. And He even took us to Heaven with Him.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6 NIV).
How cool is that! Wow! We are seated with Jesus. We are yet to see the whole fullness of this but we do get glimpses, don’t we?
Jesus Gave Gifts to Men
Just as in the temporal world when a new king is crowned there are new jobs opened to those who know the king. So, too, Jesus apportioned jobs to each of us. Paul lists some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians. We are to serve the body of Christ by using the gifts given to each of us.
Here is a list of the ones from Ephesians:
Apostles – those who have vision and entrepreneurial spirit for God.
Prophets – those who call us to account and are the balancers. They ask questions like, “are we right doing this?”
Evangelists – those whose love for Jesus makes them want to spread the Good News.
Pastors – shepherds who show concern and comfort for others. They are the encouragers.
Teachers – those who explain what is said in the Bible.
All of these only operate under the Holy Spirit. We cannot be followers of Christ without the Holy Spirit in us. It is impossible.