Summary: What Christ's ascension and glorification means for us today.
1. This Thursday is ascension today - a day on which we remember Christ’s ascension into heaven. Used to be a special service - still for some. Last year someone mentioned that I had not even mentioned or preached on ascension since I had been here. Made promise that I would do so this year. May have approached this as a task I was obligated to do, but as prepared, it became a labour of love.
2. Reminded of the great impact that the ascension has upon our lives every day. And so today, I hope you will be blessed as I have been in my preparation. And while we may just be scratching surface of this area, may we together dig deeper down the road in our journey together.
3. We have been going thru Apostles Creed. We are talking about what we believe and how what we believe renews our minds to conform not to pattern of worldly thing but to that of Godly thinking. As will see, ascension means our whole outlook to life should change.
1. We begin with the event itself. Had been 40 days since Jesus had risen from the dead. He had spent 40 days in desert before ministry and now spent 40 days with disciples after ministry completed.
2. For the disciples this event meant that Jesus was no longer there with them as he had been. Since it meant that they would begin the work, Jesus again reminded them of it. They would now carry out His work, but in the power of the Holy Spirit.
3. They were together when Jesus was taken up before there very eyes. It was a scene they would never forget. It was not a magic trick but the Father lifting His son back to His home. The time of God on earth as man was over.
4. Disciples stood watching.
a. Perhaps overwhelmed by the miracle they had just seen.
b. Perhaps hoping to catch a glimpse of him through a break in the clouds.
c. Perhaps just thinking back and remembering their time with Jesus.
d. Perhaps concerned about what lie ahead.
4. What was it that they had just experienced and how would it affect them?
5. Had Jesus not just promised in Mat 28:20 that he would be with them, to the close of the age?
6. To answer that we need to consider what the ascension means. Remember Jesus is God - always had been. He took on earthly flesh.
7. Does this now mean that Jesus shed His earthly flesh, his humanity and turned back to being God alone?
8. Remember as student working in bakery one summer. One man was named Alex. First time I saw him I figured He must have been owner or manager - dressed up in suit - looked more like a banker than a baker. Yet he went to locker near mine, took off suit and put on bakery pants, tshirt and apron. At end of day, he reversed the process. And this happened every day. Don’t know why, never asked, but seemed like he may have like he was a man of high position who took on role of lowly baker (like me) and then shed that role to go back home.
9. Jesus did no take off bakery clothes - his human flesh. He took His human flesh with Him into heaven.
10. Jesus is still man and God, but as man, Jesus is confined to heaven, since earthly flesh can only be in one place at a time. As God, Jesus remains with us in spirit. Does not mean Jesus is divided into 2 places, for as God He is everywhere. Body and spirit together but as God not limited to just being with the human nature - His risen body.
11. The implications for us - are first seen in His going to heaven - the act of the ascension. Paul refers to these implications in passage.
12. 1st (Eph 1:18) Paul prays that they may know the hope to which they have been called. (see also John 14:2-3)
a. This hope is not just something we wish for but an objective reality - something real. This hope is that we will experience - eternal life, a life that lifts us from the sin and the confines of this earth and lifts us to eternity in heaven with God.
b. Christ is the first man to ascend into heaven - not just talking about spirit but with a resurrected body. His body is in heaven - His flesh. We, as His body - the church - you and me - will ascend when Christ returns to get us.
c. This hope is something that changes how we view our life on earth and troubles etc. Temporary. Aliens in this world.