Ascension Sunday

by Duane Maust
Luke 24: 44-53
May 20, 2007

Here we are six weeks from Easter. That means today is Ascension Sunday and next Sunday is the day of Pentecost. On Easter we were thinking about Jesus’ death and resurrection. We remember how he tried to tell his disciples he was going to die. But he was telling them that he would be back in a couple of days. He did just that.

The next several weeks Jesus would just pop in and visit his disciples. He did this often enough that they knew he was not staying dead. He was alive.

I believe he didn’t stay in the grave. Several Sundays ago I talked about how Jesus was out telling the disciple how to fish. He just showed up on the shore of the lake.

Today we see Jesus returning to heaven.

So Jesus is talking to the disciples and is giving them a blessing. Jesus was telling his disciples to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit would come to them. Then He left them and was taken up into Heaven.

Here we have Jesus going back to heaven so the Holy Spirit can come into the world for us today. But Jesus will come one final time in the end.

We have a lot that has happened while Jesus was here his 33 years of life on this earth. Jesus spent 3 years teaching his disciples and then he dies and then comes back. He is resurrected.

After that He shows himself here and there to his friends. Now in the Luke 24 he goes back to heaven to stay till the second coming happens. That is a short life but full.

Acts 1:3-11 is a parallel passage to Luke 24. It gives some more details of the ascension.

Acts tells that Jesus was here after his resurrection for 40 days.

Read Acts 1:8-11

Reckon how the disciples felt about all this? Jesus just disappears in front of them.

Read John 16:5-16, tell story

But he sends his Holy Spirit. That is the beginning of the church. The book of Acts is full of the Holy Spirit’s work in the church. The Holy Spirit was doing great things.

We have the Holy Spirit here today. The Holy Spirit is still working with us. I know he is here. We can’t see him but we can see his works.

The New Testament church is started and growing. It is growing at a fast pace.

I pray that we allow the Holy Spirit to do this at Jubilee. “Holy Spirit, come, take and lead this church.”

This is the reason we renew the Jubilee Covenant next Sunday on Pentecost Sunday. It is a time that we can celebrate the church. We can stop and reflect on what makes and breaks a church.

I want to give us some time to think about some of this till next Sunday by taking a look at it today.

It has hit me in a new way how important to the health of the church some of the points are in the covenant.

Let’s just look at some of the key words in the covenant – love, forgive, patient, submit, pray, care, teach, share, speak well of, truthful welcoming.

I think we have a wonderful church. I just see how important it is to keep this covenant. We need to keep looking at ourselves and see how we are doing.

How are we doing? Are we speaking well of each other? Are we building up our church family by what we say? Are my jokes really jokes at someone else that can hurt them?

Read James 1: 19

We have to remember these words in this verse. Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to get ticked off. It is easy to do this in reverse! Isn’t it?

If we do this, James 1:9, think about what that does for getting along at home, work or at church.

We have God’s Holy Spirit here to help us accomplish this getting along. It is a God thing that helps us get along. With my own strength I don’t have much chance to pull this off.

If you want to study the covenant more and read the verses suggest by each point, you can find it on the web site for the church. If you want a hard copy, I have several with me.

This is on the back of the bulletin.

Leader: God of unity, hear our prayers…
People: We give ourselves to each other and pray that our humility will reveal faith to all we meet.
Leader: God of unity, hear our prayers…
People: we give ourselves to you and pray that our commitment will speak hope to all we meet.
Leader: God of unity, hear our prayers…
People: We give ourselves to our world and pray that our service will make known your love to all we meet.

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