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The Ascension of our Lord (CC)

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www.ziontorrance.info Sermon Text: Luke 24:44-53 Let us rise for the reading of this evening's sermon text recorded for us in Luke's Gospel where we read from Chapter 24, beginning with Verse 44: HE SAID TO THEM, "THIS IS WHAT I TOLD YOU WHILE I WAS STILL WITH YOU: EVERYTHING MUST BE FULFILLED THAT IS WRITTEN ABOUT ME IN THE LAW OF MOSES, THE PROPHETS AND THE PSALMS." THEN HE OPENED THEIR MINDS SO THEY COULD UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES. HE TOLD THEM, "THIS IS WHAT IS WRITTEN: THE CHRIST WILL SUFFER AND RISE FROM THE DEAD ON THE THIRD DAY, AND REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS WILL BE PREACHED IN HIS NAME TO ALL NATIONS, BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM. YOU ARE WITNESSES OF THESE THINGS. I AM GOING TO SEND YOU WHAT MY FATHER HAS PROMISED; BUT STAY IN THE CITY UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN CLOTHED WITH POWER FROM ON HIGH." WHEN HE HAD LED THEM OUT TO THE VICINITY OF BETHANY, HE LIFTED UP HIS HANDS AND BLESSED THEM. WHILE HE WAS BLESSING THEM, HE LEFT THEM AND WAS TAKEN UP INTO HEAVEN. THEN THEY WORSHIPED HIM AND RETURNED TO JERUSALEM WITH GREAT JOY. AND THEY STAYED CONTINUALLY AT THE TEMPLE, PRAISING GOD. This is the Word of our Lord. Let us pray: This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Amen. [Text taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, 1973, 1978, 1984, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers] Dear Followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ: As I was thinking of this evening's introduction, I had an idea in my head. That idea in my head is that there are a lot of television shows at this time of year that are ending up their season, coming up with that big cliffhanger. And I love a good cliffhanger. And as I sat and thought about that, I was thinking now ... What show am I gonna be able to relate to most of you here this evening? Because I'm not a great big television watcher. I mean the one that came to my mind was: Who shot J.R.? And that's a little dated, And now the other one that came to my mind probably is a little bit more obscure. Because I don't think that a lot of you are on pins and needles waiting to see whether it's going to be Ivy or Karen who gets to play the role in bombshell in the television show "Smash". See, it's difficult. But I think we all understand that concept of a good cliffhanger. That we're excited and interested and talk about that until we get to see the conclusion ... what the author had in mind. Because I think there's nothing as frustrating as one of those movies that just kind of ... ends. When you start watching a television show that's new and it's going really well and all of a sudden nobody else is watching it and they pull it from the air. It is gone. There's no period. There's no closing the book. You're kind of left just wondering. What would of been? What would happen? Have to make up the ending ourselves. How fortunate for us it is that Jesus Christ did not leave us with a cliffhanger or without an ending for us to make up what we were supposed to do. Jesus was very clear with His disciples. Even since the time of that Easter morning when He came to them to show them that He was alive. That He kept coming back to His disciples. Reassuring them that He was the resurrected Lord. He came back to them proving to them time and time again that He WAS alive. And He comforted them. He brought them peace. He prayed that God's peace would rest upon them. And He continued to encourage them that there was work to do. That they were going to be His witnesses. That they were going to wait for that outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And when that Holy Spirit was outpoured on them, they were going to be the ones who were going to tell the news. They were going to be the ones who were going to be Christ's witnesses in the world. Reporting to all of the things that they had heard and the things that they had seen. The fact that Jesus came to them time and time again in those 40 days reminding them that He was the Christ. That He had fulfilled what was written about the Savior of the world. What was written in the Law; what was written in Moses; what was written in the prophets; what was written in the Psalms. He came to fulfill those prophecies. And HE DID IT! And Jesus sat down with His disciples and He shared that information with them. Talked with them about His sacrifice. The sacrifice that He made for sin. The fact that that temple curtain had been torn in two. Realizing that people had access to God through Jesus Christ. There was no more a need for sacrificing animals for their sins. Because He had sacrificed HIMSELF! Once and for all. He forgave their sins. He came back to them time and time again with the comfort that He was alive. That He was still with them. We remember the disciples on that first Sunday after, after His death. Locked in that room. Huddled together. Because they were afraid. They had fear. But Jesus came to them. And calmed their fears. He brought them the reassurance that just as He lived, they too, would live. That He was not leaving them alone. That He was going to be with them. And that when He left them, He would send the Comforter. The Comforter to them, to remind them of all of those riches that He had laid out for them. Showing them that He was the One who fulfilled it. And He said to them: And NOW, now that the Christ has suffered and died, now that the Christ is raised from the dead, repentance and forgiveness of sin will be preached to the ends of the earth. And you are the ones who are going to do that. You who have been instructed. You who have been taught. You who have that knowledge of Scripture and understand what Christ means in your life. You are going to be the ones who go out into the world and preach repentance. That we turn to God for the forgiveness of our sins. That we can't erase the evil that is in us. We can't get rid of the sin that infects us that causes us to go and to be condemned to hell for all eternity. It is only Christ who has done that. And we come to Him with repentant hearts. With the reflective nature about who we are exactly and what we are. That we come to Christ, not boldly and confidently, saying: God look at me. I'm really pretty good. Or at least I'm better than the person sitting next to me tonight. Or better than all those people who weren't here. Look at me! And look at me with Your favor. That's not repentance. Repentance looks ... at our hearts. It goes over the thoughts that we had in our mind. It realizes how far they are from what is God-pleasing. From not putting God first. Not loving Him with our whole being. And not loving our neighbor. It's hard sometimes in any form at all. But we think about who and what we are. How dare we, come in parading to Christ with the sounds of trumpets about how wonderful we are. We crawl in, on our hands and our knees, being sorrowful for what we've done. Being ashamed that we act the way that we do. And we think the things that we think. And that's difficult for us. I mean it's difficult for us because when we look at the world in which we live, there is not much shame left. But we can't downplay that in our own lives. We know the Truth. We know why Christ came. We know what God's will is. And we know how It speaks to us. And it causes us to fall on repentant knees. Begging and pleading Christ to forgive us. And the great and wonderful news is: That He has! His ... work ... accomplished .. our salvation. It accomplished the forgiveness of sin. It is done. It IS complete and we CAN stand in God's presence through faith ... holy and blameless, not because of us, but because we have put on Christ's robe of righteousness. That we have taken His holiness and He has given it to us and we wear that as the children of God. That's the news that we tell. That's where we find our comfort. That's where we find our strength when our mind, our own sinful nature, wants to say that God couldn't forgive us. Or we haven't done enough because that's why God is treating us terribly because we're not living our life of faith. We come back to the knowledge that Christ has forgiven our sins totally and completely; washed them away from us. And we know that heaven is ours. That He IS our Lord and our Savior. That He IS in heaven interceding at God's right hand and praying for us. Getting our space ready. So that at the appointed hour and the appointed time, He will come and take us to that heavenly home. That is the treasure that is ours. That is the wonderful news that Christ shared with His disciples. And He said: You have this knowledge. You will be My witnesses. You are going to be the ones who tell that. Who teach that to your children. Who instill that in them. That it isn't what the world says what makes them popular. Or makes them special. It's what God has done. That we teach them not to live like the world. But to live as the children of God and we live that example for them. To tell and encourage each other to remain faithful to what God has done and to reach out to the people of this world who are lost and wandering without any hope, without any security that don't know the wonderful news that their sins have been forgiven in Jesus Christ. We ARE the witnesses to share that. We are the Church of God that proclaims that message. And just as Jesus said to His disciples: The Holy Spirit would come upon them and they would have power. That He would convict them. That He would instill in them and comfort them with strength and the ability to carry out the work. We know that that same Spirit has come to us. In our baptism, we use the power of God's Word with water to create faith. By His strength, and His power we are kept in that faith ... growing in our knowledge, understanding the pages of Scripture. So we too, can pour over what God said would happen and see that Jesus Christ accomplished this. That we continue to look at what is in store and ahead for us as the Church of God and as His children. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, each day to live in that faith. To find the strength and the commitment to live up to what we have been called to do. To witness. To tell others what we know. To tell them what we've seen. To share with them the joy that we have. The joy that the disciples had. Remember we left them on Easter evening all scared and huddled locked in a room. And Luke tells us that now the disciples went away filled with joy. They went to the temple. They rejoiced that God had accomplished salvation. That God was allowing them to tell His story. Using them. Sending them out into the world to be His messengers so that people knew what God had done. That it wasn't left unfinished. That it wasn't left undone. That Jesus Christ accomplished our salvation. He ascended to the throne of God and He blessed His disciples. He told them to go; to go and make other disciples; to teach them; to baptize them; and He said: I will be with you to the very end of the age. You don't go alone. You don't stand alone in this world. Christ is with us. Christ is in us. The power of the Holy Spirit is at work in you and me to do God's will. To be the witnesses that He has called us to be. To simply tell the news. Amen. Amen. Now may the peace of God which goes beyond all of our understanding, keep your hearts and your minds and especially your lives in the one true faith unto life everlasting. Amen.

Video Details

Duration: 17 minutes and 41 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 57
Posted by: hischild on May 23, 2012

The story of Jesus continues with us as we listen to this evening's Ascension sermon based on Luke 24:44-53. Pastor Dave can be reached through visiting: www.ziontorrance.info

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