Summary: Sermon for Ascension Sunday, 2011
Luke 24: 44 – 53 / From Behind Closed Doors
Intro: The following item appeared in the Lewiston, Idaho Tribune – “The crossword puzzle which should have appeared in today’s Tribune appeared instead in yesterday’s together with the answer to the puzzle that should have been printed yesterday. Therefore, the puzzle that should have appeared yesterday is in today’s Tribune, together with the answer to Wednesday’s puzzle. The puzzle for today and the answer to the one that should have been printed yesterday are reprinted.” --- Are you confused yet?
I. This is surely the way the disciples felt. They were confused. The events of the recent past had their minds working overtime and they still couldn’t make sense of it all.
A. In Vs. 44, Jesus appears to the disciples in their confusion and tells them things written about him in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must b e fulfilled.
B. My 1st year in seminary I studied under Dr. Arnold B. Rhodes. I asked him one day over lunch, “Why is it so important for me to study the OT?” His answer – “So you will have a better understanding of the historical and biblical context of the ministry of Jesus.”
C. Silly me! I would have thought it would be more important for them to remember what Jesus had said and done; but, Dr. Rhodes was correct.
II. VS. 47 – 49 “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 Fahter has promised, but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
A. Equipped with the teachings of Jesus, supported by the teachings of Moses, the prophets and Psalms, the disciples would move from behind closed doors to all nations. The mission Jesus left his followers and us is to proclaim repentance and forgiveness in his name. To tell the world there is a better way to live and it is free for the taking.
B. During the 16th Century Protestant Reformation and again in the 18th Century, the church was vibrant and alive with purpose. It was directed and focused and great growth happened.
C. Today the relevancy of the church is questions. It is a good place for weddings and funerals; but, why on earth would anyone attend on a regular basis? What’s the point?
III. The point is, we have a message to share. Christ Jesus lived and died so we might know God. Our purpose is to share the message of Christ.
A. The disciples were locked away from the world. They had shut themselves away mostly out of fear and ignorance until Jesus comes to them and sets them free challenging them to move from behind their closed doors.
B. Centuries later we sit behind closed doors. We stick our thumbs in our ears and our fingers over our eyes and lock ourselves away from the world in our beautiful “sanctuary.”
C. We are confused and afraid, refusing to get involved. We believe we can’t because we are too old, too few, or too poor. None of that matters.
Conclu: The church is not a consumer based needs gratification center. It is not a glorified community Christian club. It is not a place to be coddled, served, catered to and entertained. The church is the arm of God called from behind closed doors to do battle with the sin and evil in our world. If we are not actively involved in the work of the kingdom of God every day, then we are AWOL: ABSENT WITH OUT LOVE! If not you and me; then who?