Summary: Ascension of Jesus to encourage our mission and witness for him
Acts 01:01-11 Basingstoke 20th May 2007 Where is Jesus Right now??
I expect you’ve seen the film, “Forrest Gump.” Where Tom Hanks plays a slow witted southern man by whose simplicity, good-heartedness, and good luck,
moves from an obscure childhood to become a millionaire shrimping tycoon.
Film takes us through the twists and turns of Forrest Gump’s life, meeting many whose problems in life contrast with the innocence of Forrest.
Remember “Lt. Dan” Gump’s glory hungry platoon leader who lost his legs in Vietnam?
He became a very bitter man. Forrest met him again several years after.
Lt. Dan cynically asks him from a wheel-chair, “So Forrest, have you found Jesus yet?” Forrest, in his southern drawl answers, “Well, Lt. Dan, I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him.” Lt. Dan rolls his eyes.
We might smile, but truth is we don’t literally need to find Jesus, do we? He’s not lost!
But where is He? We know He died, that He rose again…so where is Jesus now?
Question was put to a young theological student preparing for ordination.
“In our hearts.” He replies. “No! says the older man “where’s Jesus right now?”
Uncertain, the student offers another answer, “when we pray he is in our midst.” Again, came the answer, “No! Where is Jesus right now?”
The poor young man was flabbergasted and to break the tension blurts out
“I wish he were here right now!”
Elder says “Well, I don’t know what they teach in College today, but I learnt Jesus ascended into heaven & sits on the right hand of God the Father”
Last Thursday was in fact Ascension day – A day often missed because its midweek
Its importance for Christians is so often sadly overlooked!
There aren’t many days when we can go home from work and say to ourselves
I’ve finished all my work today – it’s all complete – nothing’s left over for tomorrow
But Jesus’ Ascension declares that all his work on earth was finished – It was all complete Nothing He came to do on earth was left outstanding – no pending tray outstanding
Turn with me please to Acts 1 as we look at the story of the Ascension together
1. ASCENSION ASSURES US OF A LIVING SAVIOUR
v3 says "After his suffering, Jesus showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. "
v8 tells us Jesus disciples were called to become witnesses to this living Saviour
A credible witness must have seen an event and be able to say what he’s actually seen.
It’s no good standing in Court saying "I didn’t actually see it my self but my friend did"
To be effective Witnesses the Disciples had know beyond doubt Jesus was alive.
They had to be certain Jesus really did rise again – that it wasn’t imagination!
They had to know his body wasn’t rotting in some hillside tomb
They had to be sure his body hadn’t been stolen away.
Luke tells us "Jesus gave them many convincing proofs he was alive"
If you look back at Luke 24 – you’ll see they needed a lot of convincing!
v11 Women bring news of resurrection & they didn’t believe them! Silly Nonsense!
v16 Two on Road to Emmaus didn’t recognise him when right in front of them!
v25 He rebuked them for being slow of heart – for not believing.
v38 When he appeared to the 12 he asked
"Why do doubts arise in your hearts and minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones as I have. While they still did not believe for joy and amazement, He asked, "Do you have anything to eat?" .. so they gave him broiled fish & he ate it before them.
To be His witnesses you need to know He’s not a dead Saviour but a living one!
You must first know yourself that it’s true if you’re to share it with anyone else!
Q? Let me ask you. Do you have personal experience of Jesus?
Q? Do you know from personal experience that He’s alive today?
Oh you may not physically see Him but are you convinced that He is the Son of God?
Q? Do you know that Jesus suffered on the cross and died to be your Saviour?
Q? Do you have peace with God - clear conscience knowing your past is forgiven?
Q? Have you ever stopped to ask Him to be your own Saviour?
Q? Have you asked Him to Forgive your sin - to change your life? Ask Him today!
Q? Do you know for certain that he rose from the dead - that He’s alive
Q? Do you know the presence of His life giving Spirit in your own life?