Summary: Ascension is an important even after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We need to understand it, study the dynamics and experience the blessings of the day.
We celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in grand style. When it comes to Ascension and Pentecost, we seem to be slow on it. These events are at the heart of our Christian faith. The Ascension is clearly expressed in the Apostles’ Creed in the section that said “He ascended into heaven, and seated at the right hands of God the Father Almighty”. Pentecost is the remembrance of the empowerment of those who are called to go and preach the gospel. We must remember and celebrate them adequately.
“So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God” – Mark 16:19. Ascension signifies the day Jesus was taken up into heaven. The event has several implications and requires care to explain them. Let us look at seven of them in this message.
THE ASCENSION DAY IS A TIME TO:
1. Receive the blessings of God. He lifted His hands and blessed them as He was being taken to heaven. Imagine such a blessing! See Luke 24:50-51. It is a time to open your heart, your mind and your life and receive the blessings of God. It is a day of blessings.
2. Receive the Great Commission and become aware of it. He gave them the Great Commission after His resurrection and before His ascension. The preparations to GO out and preach the gospel began from the time He was taken up into heaven. The ascension reminds us that we need to plan to go out and preach. These plans must materialize in the near future and without delay. When He was taken away, in Luke 24:52-53, we are told that they worshipped Him. However, in Mark 16:20, they went out. We must GO out, right after Pentecost, which is usually a little more than just a week after the resurrection.
3. Right after the ascension, they returned to Jerusalem and were in constant prayer. It is time for you and your church or ministry to begin a period of waiting on God to receive the Holy Spirit powerfully. Pentecost is not this Sunday but next Sunday. We need the power of God upon our lives today like never before.
4. The Ascension reminds us of the importance of UNITY and be in constant prayer. They were united and stuck together. God responded to that unity in the Upper Room. And He can do it again if we pay attention to what is important and prioritize unity. He kept them together and they remained together, serving Him and fellowshipping together. May the Lord keep us together in the faith.
5. Manage and improve the leadership issues in your church and ministry. Peter emerged as a leader and they took time to replace Judas. Pay particular attention to leadership issues and set things in order in your ministry. Clarify leadership roles and responsibilities properly.
6. Receive the instructions and final words of Jesus. His words after His resurrection, from the Great Commission to the call to wait to receive power from God. Study those words thoroughly from all the four gospels. As you do, you will discover many things. His emphasis was clear. Indeed, we are sent out to preach but the gospel is not preached in human strength but in the power of the Holy Spirit. And He asked them to wait for this power, and they did. Study Mark 16:15-20, Luke 24:46-53, Acts 1:4-11 and Matthew 28:18-20.
7. The ascension reminds us that Jesus Christ will come back in the same manner as He was taken up into heaven. Jesus Christ will come again! See Acts 1:10-11.
PRAYER POINTS ON ASCENSION DAY
Spend lots of time in prayer using the following prayer points.
1. Have moments to worship and appreciate the Lord Jesus Christ, who is seated at the right hand of God. Mark 16:19.
2. Commit your life into the hands of God afresh. Let Him have every area of your life.
3. Pray for open heavens over your life, over your family and over Ghana.
4. Pray for unity among believers across the world. Pray for the church in Ghana to be united.
5. Ask God to clarify your ministry and areas in which you should serve Him. Then pray for grace to fulfill it.
6. Commit yourself to waiting on Him continually.