I am preparing to teach this coming Sunday at our children’s worship service and the theme for the service is Jesus’ ascension. Since last Sunday was about Christ’s resurrection, this theme flows perfectly from what we just celebrated. Our text for the message comes form Acts 1:1-11. As we examine this passage, I would like take a look at the work of Christ and what He left for His disciples to do after His ascension.
Before we jump into the text, I would like to consider what we just celebrated, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- Christ’s Resurrection
- The daily importance of Christ’s Resurrection
- Seven says of Christ from the cross
Christ died on the cross to pay the eternal price for our sins. Christ died in our place. Three days later, Christ rose from the dead to destroy sin’s death grip over us. Now, what happens from the time of His resurrection, until His ascension? That is what I want to examine now.
I. Jesus’ Example
Luke is writing a continuation to what he began in his Gospel account of the life of Christ. He wrote the Gospel to evangelize a friend of his. Now he is writing to that same friend to explain the process of discipleship. Luke begins with a quick review. In verse 1, he explains the ministry of Christ; that He served and taught during His ministry. Jesus ministered from the time of His calling until He ascended to the Father in heaven. He ministered to people so that He could connect with them and teach them the Scriptures. He made disciples during the course of His ministry. He made disciples who would go on to make disciples and continue the process even until today, almost 2,000 years later. I am a result of this process and I am in the process of continuing the process of disciple-making. Jesus suffered for His ministry. He was taken to the cross because of His ministry and message. He taught the Word of God and the world hated Him for it. After suffering and being crucified, He rose from the dead and presented Himself to the believers over a 40 day period. After His resurrection, He continued to teach His disciples about the kingdom of God. If you would like to know what He actually taught them, take a look at what Luke wrote in his Gospel. Take a moment to read from Luke 24. Jesus taught from the Scriptures before His resurrection and He continued to teach from the Scriptures after His resurrection. Finally, before ascending, He gathered the disciples together for one last lesson. He commanded them to stay in Jerusalem and wait until He would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. It would happen after His ascension. What about the disciples, what is their calling and how is it tied together with the ascension of Christ?
II. Disciples’ Calling
In order to be able to go out and carry out Christ’s calling, the disciples needed to be equipped. Jesus did just that by teaching them the Scriptures and teaching them how to minister according to the Scriptures. They were well trained before being sent out. The next thing that we learn about them is that they were convinced of Jesus’ resurrection because they witnessed the resurrected Christ on several different occasions. They knew what they were supposed to do, that is, to wait in Jerusalem until they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Once filled with the Holy Spirit, they were to start carrying out their calling. Once receiving the Holy Spirit, they were to be living testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ. How were they to do that? They were to do exactly what Jesus did, serve the people around them and teach the Word of God, seeking to make disciples. They have the calling, they have the equipping, they have the supernatural power to be able to do what Christ did. In fact, they were to allow Christ to work in them and through them to do what He did when He ministered on this earth. They watched Jesus ascend to heaven and were told that He would one day return the same way. Upon His return, He would establish the earthly kingdom that they were concerned about. Until then, they have work to do, to go out and make disciples.
What about you, my dear friend, are you being trained to serve and teach others? Are you being discipled? Do you have the power of God, the Holy Spirit, living in you? Are you making disciples according to the power of God? May the Lord help us be discipled and disciple others to carry out the high calling that has been extended to us.