Summary: AN ASCENSION DAY SERMON
ASCENSION DAY MESSAGE
(Thursday- 1st May, 2008)
THE HOLY TRINITY CHURCH
(Mossford Green, Barkingside- London, United Kingdom)
REV EGERTON GBONDA
(Anglican Diocese of Bo- Sierra Leone, Church of the Province of West Africa)
Be a Witness, You’ve Got a Mansion, Be Ready to Go!
Acts Chapter 1 verses 1 to 11
The story is told of a mum who would take her son to nursery school, kiss him good bye and would always say to him ‘darling I’m leaving you in good hands, OK?’ She will do this every day she takes her son to school. When the son was of age and mum was quite old now and experiencing dementia, the son took his dear mum to a care home. As he said good bye, he remembered the words of his mum when he was quite young; he then kissed her and said ‘mum I’m leaving you in good hands’. His mum who could hardly remember things now because of dementia held on to his son’s hands and tears started streaming down her eyes; she remembered her own very words years ago.
We all know that today is Ascension Day. Before Jesus left His disciples he told them, in our reading this evening, he was going to send the Holy Spirit, who will give them power to carry out his work on earth. I therefore believe that we are in good hands, even though Jesus has ascended to heaven. This will form the basis of tonight’s talk. Why did Jesus ascend to heaven? I hope to throw light on this also. The words of the ‘two men dressed in white’ (as was read in the passage) would also be another focus of my message. For the next 13 minutes or so, I would be majoring on these three things; once again- what Jesus requires of us in his absence (I mean his physical absence on earth), what he said he was going to do for us in heaven (when he ascended) and what should we expect. These three topics are part of my theme which I have titled- Be a Witness, You’ve Got a Mansion, Be Ready to Go! And I will be using Acts chapter 1verses 1 to 11as our main reference or text.
Let us pray: Our Father in heaven we thank you for this Ascension Day service, we now ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to grasp great truth from tonight’s reading that would bless our lives; we ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord- Amen.
BE A WITNESS FOR CHRIST
Acts chapter 1 verse 8 tells us: ‘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’. These were the words of Jesus to his disciples before he said good bye to them and ascending to heaven. As usual Jesus played His own part- He fulfilled His promise- the Holy did come upon the disciples. Did they play their own part of being witnesses for Christ? I am sure we all know they did. Then who or what is a witness? If you check the dictionary meaning you may get the following:
• Attestation of a fact or event
• A testimony – giving evidence
• Someone present at a transaction- to testify to it having taken place
• Having personal knowledge of something or someone
• Public affirmation by word or example of what you believe.
Jesus telling his disciples to be a witness could imply all of the above meanings. They were even present at the transaction Jesus did for humankind- purchasing us with his precious blood by dying on the cross and they were witnesses. Now it’s left with us. Peter and others have done their bit. What about you and me? Are we being witnesses for Christ? We can only be witnesses for Him if we have a personal knowledge of Him and a testimony to share. Definitely you can not be a witness in a court of law if you did not witness the event or if you did not know the defendant, plaintiff or accused, as the case may be. I know Jesus- I can say that with certainty; why? Because I have accepted Him as my Lord and Saviour in my life and I continue to learn about Him by studying what was written about Him; through daily Bible Study (what I call my Quite Time), attending Christian programmes- church services, Christian meetings, etc). I talk to Him by praying. Therefore I believe I know Him. This means I ought to be His witness to friends and relatives- testifying about Him. If you know Jesus it is incumbent on all of us to be His witness wherever we find ourselves; it is not easy though but we need to make efforts. Loads of opportunities do come our way to be a witness for Him. Someone may say something- this could be an entry point to share what you know about Jesus, all we need to do is to be sensitive and ready to catch any opportunity to be a witness for Christ. I will give an example- someone you know could be calling Jesus’ Name unnecessarily; you may use that as an opportunity to wittily tell him/her what you know about Jesus. What about starting by saying- hmm you seem to be a religious guy? Wait for his or her response to know what else to say. Loads of occasions do arise for us to be Christ’s witness by what we say and do. May the Holy Spirit enable us to make use of those opportunities.