Sermons

Ascension

May 5, 2016
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!

HE RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

INI + AMEN.

Your Jesus lives. We’ve been celebrating it these past six weeks, and we’ve still got one Sunday to go! Now, on top of all that we have the Ascension, and, besides all the Bible texts that I just read that tell us about Jesus’ Ascension, we have this from the Gospel of Mark: ”After the Lord had spoken to [the disciples], He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” Your Jesus lives. He’s ascended. He’s at the right hand of God. He’s on the throne. Some Christians think that something else needs to take place for Jesus to reign: have the right leader, Jesus needs to come back. But that’s not the case at all. In fact, Jesus has always reigned, but in the Ascension He raised our human nature to the throne of eternal power and glory. Because of His resurrection we pray ”through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives”, but, because of His Ascension, there’s one more piece to how we pray. We pray, ”through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who live AND REIGNS.” That’s right!

JESUS, THE RESURRECTED ONE, REIGNS RIGHT NOW.

He reigns right now in two ways.

(I.) He reigns in a hidden way.

(II.) He reigns in a revealed way.

(I. He reigns in a hidden way.)

Now, what do I mean that Jesus reigns in a hidden way? Well, simply put: He reigns in the nations. He rules over the nations. That’s part of what Paul is talking about in Ephesians 1: that the Father has ”seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the coming one.” We doubt this. Especially this election cycle. We end up acting like little faithless chicken littles, running around, screaming, ”The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” The Lord Jesus doesn’t just reign in those countries where the leaders are believers. He’s the King of kings and Lord of lords. As the Psalmist says of your God Jesus, ”the shields of the earth belong to God; He is greatly exalted.” He’s Lord not just of Christian nations, or those with faithful rulers, but He’s Lord over those run by tyrants, despots, and ruthless, godless men. ”All things are under His feet,” as Paul says. What is Jesus doing then? What about the Father? You’re not given to know that. As Jesus says in Acts, ”It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” We want to be God and know when and how kingdoms rise and fall, but even if we did know, it only offers help in this life. The rising and falling of Kingdoms, the establishing of nations, the political rule of Jesus your God over all, offers no eternal help. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very good thing to have ”devout and faithful rulers, good government.” (SC III) They’re part of the “daily bread” we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer, but they don’t save. We need to repent of our workings, our power, our wants, our hopes and dreams that we place in political rulers.

Trust not in rulers; they are but mortal;

Earthborn they are and soon decay.

Vain are their counsels at life’s last portal,

When the dark grave engulfs its prey.

Since mortals can no help afford,

Place all your trust in Christ, our Lord. (LSB 797:2)

He’s risen! He’s ascended! He rules and reigns even now!

(II. He reigns in a revealed way.)

Yes, He rules the nations, but really that does us no good. I mean, in five years time we could be ruled by Russia or China, and Jesus would still be Lord of the nations. It’s all hidden, and He doesn’t reveal to us what He’s doing there. But Jesus does reign in a revealed way. It’s not out in the world or in nature, in our thoughts, experiences, or feelings. He reigned from His cross. The King who dies! Dies for you to save you from your worldly kings and hopes. What kind of reign is that? What King does that? Reigns from a cross, but that’s Jesus’ reign. From there He opens paradise to thieves and sinners, you and me included. Jesus now reigns in the Church. He reigns in the Gospel, in forgiving sinners. That’s it! As Paul says, ”[The Father] put all things under [Jesus’] feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Jesus Himself said, ”It was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” It’s in this way that Jesus rules and reigns in the Church. He reigns with blessing. As He departed from His Apostles then so He continues to work for you now. ”While He blessed them, He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.” As Luke tells us in Acts ”In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach.” ”Began to do…” For you see, a cloud only ”received Him out of their sight.” Jesus is still at work in blessing, in giving out eternal help and salvation to you in His Church.

JESUS, THE RESURRECTED ONE, REIGNS RIGHT NOW. He reigns veiled in the nations. He reigns revealed in the Church. Baptizing. Absolving. Giving out His body and blood. He calls and sends His men, the pastors and ministers of the Church, to go and preach this. It’s His blessing that does this. His Word of promise holds true. His resurrection proves that. His ascension guarantees it. You’re in His Kingdom of grace and blessing. This saves you. He saves you. You are saved.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!

HE RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

INI + AMEN.

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8 thoughts on “Ascension

  1. Pingback: Religious celebrations in May 2016 | From guestwriters

  2. We are weighing options, you know maybe dedication, oops was that you fainting and hitting your head? Just kidding. Lillian was born on Acension Day, and plans are for baptism on Pentecost, kind of neat!

  3. My brother Galen, grnd high potentate and pipe of all he can see in Lamar Mo. actually has a miter, they fold up so neatly. I am so jealous of him! Seriously, it is fun to contemplate Lillian’s upcoming baptism this Sunday. “You faithless generation demand a sign” and there it is for all to see!

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