The celebrating of events that are on the traditional church calendar has been lost to many of the Protestant churches. It is too bad because the calendar is a great teaching tool. Today is 40 days after Easter and known as Ascension Day. There are several reasons we should rejoice on such a day as we contemplate the importance of Jesus ascending to the Father.
In his book The Work of Christ, R.C. Sproul explains how the disciples had come to understand why and where Jesus was going. From here he shows four great results of Christ’s ascension.
#1. Glorification. “When Jesus departed this world on the shekinah cloud, He was going back to the realm of glory. He was going to receive the glory that He enjoyed with the Father from all eternity. So, the ascension was a glorious thing. That is why, after He ascended, the disciples went back into Jerusalem and praised God in the temple. They understood that their Master was getting His glory back. His humiliation was over, and His exaltation had begun.”
#2. Coronation. “In the ascension, Jesus went up to His coronation. He did not go up simply to enter into His rest. He went up for His investiture service. He ascended to the throne, to the right hand of God, where He was given dominion, power, and authority over the whole earth. The Lamb who was slain became the Lion of Judah, who now reigns over the earth.”
#3. The Gift of the Comforter. “One of the most important reasons for Jesus’ ascension was that Pentecost might take place, that the Father and the Son might pour out the Spirit on the church to strengthen it and empower it for its earthly mission. As we all know, to witness for Christ in a corrupt world requires strength greater than our own. John Calvin said that the most important task of the church is to be the visible witness of the invisible kingdom, and for that we need the Holy Spirit.”
#4. The Ministry of the High Priest. “We have a great High Priest who offered a sacrifice for us on the cross once and for all—His own blood. That portion of His priestly ministry is finished. But His priestly work for us goes on as He intercedes for us. … Today, Jesus is in heaven, interceding for you and me, if indeed we belong to Him, and His prayers for us are equally effective. We should rejoice that He has taken up this priestly ministry on our behalf in the heavenly tabernacle.”
The ascension is often left out of the verbiage of the gospel but when you consider the importance of Christ ascending and the coming of the Holy Spirit, it comes down to no ascension – no salvation.
“He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he sall come to judge the quick and the dead” .. The Apostles’ Creed
HAPPY ASCENSION DAY
By Jonathan Threlfall
I’ve been reading Worship by the Book (edited by D. A. Carson). This morning I came across a valuable insight for parents who wish to teach their children about true worship:
Kids of that age [10-12 years, and presumably younger] do not absorb abstract ideas very easily unless they are lived out and identified. The Christian home, or the Christian parent who obviously delights in corporate worship, in thoughtful evangelism, in self-effacing and self-sacrificing decisions within the home, in sacrificial giving for the poor and the needy and the lost–and who then explains to the child that these decisions and actions are part of gratitude and worship to the sovereign God who has loved us so much that he gave his own Son to pay the price of our sin–will have far more impact on the child’s notion of genuine worship than all the lecturing and classroom instruction in the world. Somewhere along the line it is important not only to explain that genuine worship is nothing more than loving God with heart and soul and mind and strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves, but also to show what a statement like that means in the concrete decisions of life. How utterly different will that child’s thinking be than that of the child who is reared in a home where secularism rules all week but where people go to church on Sunday to “worship” for half an hour before the sermon.
I was struck by the fact that children learn what they see us do. What we do consistently and passionately they see as important. Conversely, what we do inconsistently or without passion, they see as unimportant. Not only that, but we must actively interpret our actions to them. We are going to church to worship with God’s people. We are giving this tithe because everything we have comes from God anyway.
Here are seven commitments with regard to teaching our children using concrete actions:
- If I will teach my children that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation, then not only will I explain the Gospel to them, but also they will see me sharing the Gospel with others. When they are old enough, they and I will share the Gospel together.
- If I will teach my children that God can be trusted to provide for us, then we will be generous in giving to needy people together.
- If I will teach my children that corporate worship is essential, then we will consistently gather with God’s people together.
- If I will teach my children that the Bible is the Word of God, then we will read it, sing it, and memorize it together.
- If I will teach my children that marriage is a wonderful gift from God, then my children will see my wife and me treating each other with love and respect.
- If I will teach my children that sin dishonors God and always brings sorrow, I will abhor sin myself, shield my children from undue exposure to sin, correct them when they commit sin, and humbly admit it when I commit sin against them.
- If I will teach my children that God loves them, then I will do my best to show love to them–not only by providing for their physical needs, but also by listening carefully when they speak, playing with them, and treating them with tenderness.