Summary: In this sermon the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven and Pentecost are intertwined in an attempt to reveal the full working of the Holy Trinity in the plan of salvation. Next Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, will be a follow up from the perspective of the birth of the Church.
Ascension And Pentecost 2020 - Acts 1:1-14
(This sermon is a shorter sermon due to being delivered via Facebook/Live during the Covid-19 shutdown)
Today we will be reading from Acts 1:1-14
This Thursday was a holiday. Well, actually NOT a holiday but the remembrance of a Holy Day. The remembrance of an event that took place 40 days after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
What was that event? It was the ascension of Jesus into heaven.
Curiously, we allow the government to set some holidays for us such as Memorial Day and Labor Day and then we as Christians are totally oblivious to true Holy Days such as Ascension Day and Pentecost Sunday.
Pentecost - ten days after the Ascension
The Holy Spirit given to all!
Let’s read Acts 1:1-14
(Prayer for help)
New Testament - Yahweh - the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob fully revealed -
Yahweh the Father, Yahweh the Son, Yahweh the Holy Spirit
What was it like in the Old Testament?
- Counselor = the law
o Ten Commandments
o Moral Law
o Ceremonial law
- Mediator = the priest
o Offering sacrifice for sin
? No acceptable sacrifice for some sins
• e.g., murder - adultery - serving false gods
- God - Creator, Judge, Guardian of Israel, still longing to be relational
What is our relationship with God now that we have the full revelation of the Godhead?
The incomprehensible Trinity
- Incomprehensible does not mean it is untrue, it just means that it is something we cannot comprehend - a mystery
- “We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Essence”
What is the advantage of the revelation and functions of the Trinity?
- O.T. -counselor the Law
o Rabbis and Scribes - teaching the law
o Pharisees - creating new laws (traditions) to reinforce the law
o N.T. - The Law now simplified (relational NOT legalistic) Matthew 22:37-40
- N.T. - Counselor = the Holy Spirit
o Present and working throughout the world
o Convicting us of sin
o Calling us to repentance and salvation
o Living within us after salvation
o Guiding and directing our thoughts and actions
o Leading us to live holy lives
- O.T. mediator - the priest
o Offering sacrifices for our sins
o No office of the priesthood found in the N.T.
? Prophets, apostles, evangelists, preachers, teachers, elders, deacons (Eph. 4:11 / 1 Tim. 5:17 / 1 Tim. 3:8)
? No need to go through a human priest (don’t exist)
o Jesus is the One and Only High Priest
o Jesus is the only Perfect Sacrifice
? No other sacrifice is needed or even possible
? No other sacrifice is acceptable
O.T. The God of Israel
- Shrouded in mystery
- Known only through the Torah
N.T. The God of Israel
- Revealed through Jesus
- Knowable through the Holy Spirit
- Loves you - John 3:16-18
- Wants to have a personal relationship with you
- Wants us to care for one another out of love in the same way that we love and care for ourselves - 1 Peter 3:8 (be of one mind)
- Believers are “in Christ” and belong to Him and to each other - Romans 12:4-5
- This was His plan from the beginning and it is being fulfilled through
o Sending His Son for our salvation
o The shedding of Jesus’ blood for our forgiveness
o His victory over death by the resurrection
o His ascension into heaven
o His mediation with the Father on our behalf - 1 Tim. 2:5
o Sending His Holy Spirit to indwell and guide us
We have access to all of this through faith in Jesus.
Return of Jesus “in the same way”
- Acts 1:11 - “Men of Galilee,” (the angels) said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 - “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
Are you ready for that?
Intro to communion - O The Blood