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Summary: Where are you headed? That's not only a question for high school seniors, but for all of us. A. Only faith in Jesus' words leads heavenward B. This faith confesses Jesus crucified and risen C. This faith is a living, busy, active, powerful thing in us

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Text: Luke 24:44-53

Theme: Jesus Leads Us Heavenward

A. Only faith in Jesus' words leads heavenward

B. This faith confesses Jesus crucified and risen

C. This faith is a living, busy, active, powerful thing in us

Season: Graduate Sunday - Ascension Day

Date: May 16, 2010

Web page: http://hancocklutheran.org/sermons/Jesus-Leads-Us-Heavenward-Luke24_44-53.html

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Holy Spirit points us to Jesus in these words from Luke 24:44-53.

"[Jesus] said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you while I was still with you that all the things that are written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. He said to them, "So it is written that the Christ suffers and rises from the dead on the third day and that repentance and the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending you what my Father promised. Stay in the city until you've been clothed with power from on high.

"He led them out to Bethany. Raising his hands, he blessed them. And it happened that while he was blessing them he parted from them and was taken up into heaven. When they had worshiped him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy and were always in the temple praising and blessing God." (Luke 24:44-53)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior, and especially you, our high school seniors for 2010:

Where are you headed? No doubt, you get that question a lot as high school seniors . Where are you headed? Into the work force or college or tech school? Are you staying at home or striking out on your own? Where are you headed? That's a question you've been wrestling with. Maybe you have a firm answer in mind. Maybe it's still all up in the air.

And I'm going to get on the bandwagon and ask you today as well: Where are you headed? But I'm not asking about this summer or next fall. I'm not asking about your career down the road or family plans. Where are you ultimately headed. For there are only two final destinations: Heaven or hell.

And as the rest of you here have already picked up, this isn't just a question for high school seniors. Where are the rest of you headed?

A. Only faith in Jesus' words leads heavenward

1. What lesson do we learn from Judas?

Jesus had picked twelve to be his close, intimate disciples. For three years they were his daily companions, his students, his protégés. But they weren't all headed for heaven? They weren't all there watching his ascension. Judas Iscariot thought his sin so bad that he despaired of God's forgiveness. All his tears and remorse could not save him, for although he knew Jesus well, he had no faith in Jesus. He did not trust Jesus as his dear Savior from sin and death. So he went out and hanged himself. He was not headed for heaven. He fell into the depths of hell.

What a warning for each of us who also know Jesus well! You've learned of him in Sunday school. You confessed your faith in him four years ago at confirmation. But now where are you headed? Knowing all about Jesus, as Judas did, doesn't mean you trust him. Faith is more than just knowledge.

2. Where does faith come from? What keeps it going?

The other disciples were far from perfect people. Peter had denied Jesus three times. Thomas at first refused to believe that Jesus had risen. They had all fled that night in dark Gethsemane. They all hid behind locked doors. They were slow to understand the Scriptures. But they trusted Jesus. They turned to him for forgiveness. They saw in him their life and salvation. Even as Thomas confessed, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28 NIV), when he saw the risen Jesus, so also each of their hearts believed this truth.

Where did this faith come from? What kept it going? Listen to the words from the text: Jesus "said to them, 'This is what I told you while I was still with you: Every thing must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.' Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:44, 45 NIV).

Where did their faith come from? What kept it going? The words of Jesus as revealed in the Scriptures. The Bible -- that's where their faith came from; that's what kept it going. When Jesus refers to the "Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms," those were the three divisions of what we call the Old Testament. Even those prophets whose names you stumbled over trying to recite in Catechism class -- even those prophets wrote what God gave them to write in order to point the disciple, and you and me, to Jesus.

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