Summary: Every Christian is called to share their faith, and this explores how we can be active in sharing our faith by forgiving others.
Today we celebrate Ascension Day,
the day when Jesus physically left earth and ascended into heaven.
Ascension Day officially is celebrated 40 days after Easter Sunday which was Thursday.
For many Ascension Day ranks up there with Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.
And it is something that is important to our Christian faith.
Many people attend worship services on Thursdays.
It is mentioned in the two most common summaries of faith
the Apostles and the Nicene Creed
In a number of countries throughout the world including Finland, Germany and Indonesia is considered so important that it is a public holiday.
And importantly you can find details about Jesus’ ascension in a number of places in scripture including
Acts chapter 1 verse 9 we heard
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
In going to heaven Jesus has not just left us stranded here and gone on some holiday.
Sometimes I think that is what people believe.
Sometimes I even wonder this, but then God reminds me what He is up to.
In 1 Peter 3 verse 21 we are told that Jesus sits in heaven at the Father’s right hand with everything under His authority.
That is a good thing to keep in mind as we live our lives.
Everything is under Jesus’ authority.
Not just some things but everything.
Now that doesn’t mean everything is good or happening to how God wants it.
But it does mean that God is interested in everything and everyone.
It also means everything and everyone will be judged by Him.
But Jesus is also active for us.
He has gone to heaven before us to prepare our rooms for us
In John chapter 14 verse 2 we hear In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
And he is also concerned about us now, on earth
That we continue to follow him and continue His work on earth
Listen again to a number of verses from Acts 1
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
For our life now God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Next week we celebrate the church, God’s people receiving this gift.
It is important to remember that Jesus has not deserted us,
But through the Holy Spirit we continue to be in contact with Him.
We continue to receive an insight into our future with God,
But also important we receive instructions from Jesus on what we are to be doing as we live our lives now.
For a start God says to His followers, WAIT.
Wait until you receive the gift from God, before doing the next thing.
Because without the Holy Spirit we will have little effect.
Are you a good wait-er?
Do you have patience?
I am not.
I am a person who gets impatient if I have to wait too long.
I like to be active.
When I go to see a doctor, I know I must take a book.
I get frustrated with God when I think I am ready,
but he seems to be taking so long.
But waiting for God is not about doing nothing.
It involves preparation.
It involves being in situations and places that help you recognise God’s Spirit.
Think about this,
the disciples did not go and do their own thing whilst they waited for the Holy Spirit.
In the next few verses before the Holy Spirit is given to them
They continued to meet together.
They prayed together.
They found a replacement for Judas.
They prepared themselves for what God had promised.
Our congregation has said it is focussed on being an evangelising congregation.
A congregation that reaches out to people.
We believe this is what God is calling us to do.
To grow God’s church through growing our congregations.
The only way this will occur is by us relying on God’s gift of the Holy Spirit.