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Friday, May 26, 2017
"He Ascended Into Heaven"
Message summary: The Ascension is a vital element to the Gospel story. It answers the question "What happened next?" in the historical record.
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"So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19). "He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory" (1 Timothy 3:16).
Yesterday we began our chaplain calls bright and early as we do several times each week. However it wasn't really very bright since the early part of the day was rainy! When we drove through the eastern part of the County where the majority of the Amish, Mennonite and other "old-order" groups reside we saw a much larger volume of horse and buggy traffic and I thought, "Of course it's Ascension Day." These groups have services on Ascension Day.
In most of Christendom this day doesn't have nearly the emphasis as other notable events in our Lord's earthly life such as His birth, death, resurrection or Day of Pentecost which followed His Ascension by 10 days. I wonder how many readers even recalled that yesterday was Ascension Day prior to reading today's message?
The old order communities of faith in our area place great emphasis on this holy day. As we traveled through that part of the county yesterday we noted that many of the stores and businesses are closed on Ascension Day with special services being held.
Many Christians express their faith in creeds and a line in the Apostle's Creed states, "He ascended into heaven". Other churches have formal statements of doctrine and this truth is expressed as in a statement such as "in His ascension to the right hand of the Father".
We express our belief in the Ascension with a number of great hymns of the church such as "One Day" by J. Wilbur Chapman written over 100 years ago. Although we both recall singing it as an old hymn it has, in recent years been adapted by Casting Crowns and many people think it's a new song. Mark Hall, lead singer of Casting Crowns, calls it "the Gospel in a song" and we agree! This verse deals with the ascension.
One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
One day the stone rolled away from the door;
Then He arose, over death He had conquered;
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore!
The Ascension is a vital element to the Gospel story. It answers the question "What happened next?" in the historical record.
In Acts 1 we have the most complete record of the Ascension found in the Bible. Jesus had just reinforced the Great Commission, the church's primary mission, and then "He was taken up before their very eyes." This was important for the disciples to witness and is an essential part of the Biblical record. It reinforces that Jesus Christ is God and that He returned to His home in heaven 40 days after He was resurrected from the dead. An ancient creedal statement of the early church is found in 1 Timothy 3:16, He was ... "taken up in glory."
The Ascension sets up the promise of His return which is reinforced and elaborated on throughout the New Testament. Paul calls it the "blessed hope." One day, perhaps even today this glorious event will take place. In the meantime let us faithfully serve the Lord, who now sits at the right hand of the Father, until that great day!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, even as the Son of Man ascended into heaven He will come again, but this time we have the blessed hope of ascending with Him in the air and joining with those of like precious faith. Thank You for loved ones and witnesses of the truth who have repeated this glorious life-transforming message to us over the years preparing our hearts for this major event. May it be the resounding message from our lips as we anticipate the glorious moment when we will all be changed in the twinkling of an eye. Amen.
These young Amish men were getting a bit wet as they rode through Intercourse, PA following their Ascension Day morning service.
Yesterday the Val-Co company had an employee Pinewood Derby race after lunch. Since this company has many engineers this was a rather hi-tech event with one car having a tiny fan (disallowed for competition but used in a demo run and it was smokin fast!)
This car, made by Dylan who recently started a BBQ side business with his brothers, was not the fastest but won "best in show"!
Dylan, one of the smokin (BBQ) bros.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)" Video with lyrics Casting Crowns
"Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)" Video Casting Crowns Concert version We have enjoyed attending Casting Crowns concerts and first heard them when they were just getting started. They really lead in worship.
"Glorious Day" Video Story Behind The Song by Mark Hall of Casting Crowns He calls it the Gospel in a song and we agree!
"One Day" Video Congregational Singing (This is more like we recall singing it when we were in Bible College back in the seventies!)
"Wordwise Hymns" This blog does a great job of explaining the background and Biblical basis for many hymns. Here's the entry for "One Day".
"Song Scoops" Here's a background story to the hymn "One Day"
"What is Ascension Day?" The answer from the excellent teaching site "Got Questions" "The fact that Jesus was resurrected from the grave and ascended to the right hand of the Father is the source of our hope (1 Peter 1:3). We know that those who belong to Him by faith will one day be with Him in heaven."
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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