Five Reasons To Celebrate
Sermon shared by Jerry Kistler
Summary: Five great reasons the Ascension is such an important event in the life of Christ and for our redemption.
Audience: General adults
About Sermon Contributor
The Ascension of our Lord, 2009
The Rev. Jerry Kistler
St. Stephenís Reformed Episcopal Church
Five Reasons to Celebrate
Iíve said it so many times before that I think Iím starting to sound like a skipping CD, but tonight is the great Christian feast, the holy day of holy days, the climax of the Church Calendar, because the Ascension is the climax of Christís redemptive work on our behalf. Iíll say it again: if the Ascension didnít happen, Good Friday and Easter donít mean anything. I say this over and over because I still donít think the majority of Christians really get it. The Ascension is only a very minor holiday in most of the Church, and not celebrated at all in wide sections. So once Hallmark starts making Ascension cards, and the department stores start putting out Ascension decorations the day after Easter, weíll know weíve finally gotten our message through. But until then Iíll keep harping out my usual tune of how important the Ascension is in the whole scheme of our redemption.
You know, the usual way we talk in the Church about observing the feast days is that we celebrate the feasts, and Ascension is no different. Tonight I think we can identify from Scripture five great reasons to celebrate this very holy day.
The first great reason to celebrate tonight is that the Ascension means that Jesus truly is Lord. This is a truth the Ascension teaches us, but itís one that so much of the Church doesnít really believe anymore. They may confess it in the Creed, they may confess it as part of their theology, but they donít really believe it. They look around at the way things are going in the world, they read all the terrible news in the newspapers, and they conclude that Christís reign must be something that will only be accomplished in the future; it canít be a present reality. But the Scripture is clear on the point. Christ has ascended to take His throne at the right hand of His Father.
So what is He doing up there? Is He just sort of hanging His legs off the edge of eternity twiddling His thumbs, waiting for His Father to let Him reign? No! Jesus said just before He ascended, ďAll authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.Ē And St. Paul says ďHe must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. (1Cor. 15:25-26). Well, if the last enemy to be destroyed is death, and that happens, as Paul says, at Christ coming again with the resurrection of our bodies, then He is reigning now, and is currently in the process of bringing all things into subjection to Himself. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. Heís not waiting to become Lord. And thatís a real reason to celebrate, because that gives an optimistic view of whatís going on in the world, and an optimistic view of the progress of history. No matter how dark and dreary the world may seem to get, no mater how anti-God, anti-Christ our culture seems to be going, the reality is that Christ really is in charge; He really is in control, and He is bringing history to His appointed end. He rules in the kingdoms of men and gives them to whomever He will. He is reigning to restore all things; He is reigning to destroy all things that impede His perfect rule in this world. Thatís the great message of the book of Revelation. Christ is Lord now, and that is the number one reason
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