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The Ascension

Acts 1:9-11

 

Goodbyes aren’t easy, esp. if they will be gone long.

 

Ill—Babe Ruth said goodbye at Yankee Stadium, eaten up w/ cancer, and w/ tears he said goodbye.

 

Ill—Watergate hearings, goodbye to staff, walked across lawn, then said goodbye and waved again on Marine 1.

 

If you’ve ever said goodbye to a child, you know how bad goodbyes can be…or a spouse, sibling, parent!

 

In Acts 1 Jesus is saying goodbye to His disciples…for 3.5 years they’ve been intimately intertwined, thru good times and bad!  He had changed their lives!  They’d never be the same.

Saw Him deal w/ lepers who had no hope, and 1 touch healed them!/dealt w/ prostitutes/dishonest tax collectors/ demon possessed…watched as He died on cross, and all their dreams were shattered/3 days they hid behind closed doors, afraid, disappointment, anxiety about future/then they heard He was alive, and the roller coaster of emotions went back up, and they spent 40 incredible days together…and now it’s time to say goodbye, He’s leaving, He’s going home…and He tells them to do His work in the meanwhile (v. 8)

 

v. 9          This is real…as real as the virgin birth, perfect life, sacrificial death, burial, glorious resurrection…it was as real as if you’d seen it w/ your own eyes that day!

 

v. 10        He’ll return the same way He left, physically!

 

What are the reasons He left:

2:33        

The first reason is so He could keep His promise of sending the Holy Spirit.

Jn. 16:7—It is necessary for you that I go away, for if I don’t the Comforter won’t come!

 

Secondly, that He might serve as our High Priest.

 

Rev. 1:13—

13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

 

these are the garments of the high priest, in Exodus 28. 

 

Question:  What has Jesus been doing since He left this earth?  Resting? Twiddling His thumbs?  No!

        He’s busier today than He was while on earth…fulfilling the role of High Priest for you and for me.  3 jobs (ministries):

 

  1. Intercession

 

Heb. 7:25 

Hebrews 7    

7:25

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

I’m glad I’m “saved to the uttermost!”

 

…by the intercessory prayers of Jesus on my behalf!

 

I’m not only saved, I’m completely saved!  Eternal life began for me at the moment of salvation…and the way I got it is how I’m keeping it…by nothing other than the work of Christ!

 

This is good… turn to:

Heb. 6 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

 

In Bible days, ships were not motorized/operated by power of wind/when a big ship came into harbor, it was preferred that it be daylight hours/if it came in at night, they would ask it to wait ‘til the next day, before docking in the harbor…but they didn’t want to risk it drifting out to sea overnight either…so they would put the anchor onto a smaller boat, w/ a long rope attached to the ship/they would proceed to bring the anchor on in to the harbor, and drop it there…

…so the ship is outside of the harbor, but the anchor is in the harbor already/the anchor served as a forerunner…which guaranteed that tomorrow, the ship is coming in!

 

We should be excited tonite, because Jesus is our anchor of hope, Jesus…our forerunner…and when He left earth He ascended into heaven…he’s already there…and I’m tied to Him! (by the ropes of grace)

 

It’s not me holdin’ out, it’s Him holdin’ on!

 

Intercession…

 

  1. Intervention

 

Our Great High Priest, constantly in the holy place, applying His blood to our sins, now steps out of the holy place, and approaches the brazen laver, and there He washes the feet of those that belong to Him, on a daily basis.

 

It was John in his first epistle, 1:9, who said, “If we confess…”  That is not talking about salvation…but rather the daily confession, repentance, and forgiveness needed in the life of a believer.

 

Ill.remember when Jesus washes the apostles’ feet?  When He got to Peter, Peter said No, Lord, You’re not washing my feet.  The Lord said, if I don’t, you’ll have no part of me, no part of my ministry.  Peter said, if that’s the case, then give me a whole bath.  “You don’t need that.  You’ve already had a bath…you just need your feet washed.”

 

When a person is born again they get that once-and-for-all, all over bath called salvation.  But, as we walk thru this sin-cursed world, we need a daily foot washing.

 

(ministry of intercession, intervention)

 

  1. Inspection

In Rev. 1:13 Jesus, the high priest, is in the midst of the 7 golden candlesticks.  In 2:1, He’s walking around in between them.  What are they?  His churches!  He’s here…we read tonite that He left, bodily, but spiritually, He’s here!

 

What are the high priest’s duties in the OT as it pertains to the candlesticks in the temple?  2 things:

 

Pour in the oil/Trim the wicks

 

Nothing of any eternal value will ever be accomplished at FBC apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, represented in the Bible by “oil.”  Jesus is the one who pours in the oil.

 

“Trimming the wicks.”  This is Christ, the high priest, doing His job, purging us.  He purges us of sin.  Sometimes the wicks get burnt and spent, and the priest has to trim them, so they will burn more brightly.

        Personally—in the life of every believer

        Corporately—Christ purges churches

        Eventually—He will purge the world of sin, completely.

 

Ill.Refiner of Gold/puts it on the fire/dross comes to the surface, is scraped off

                Not only does Christ the High Priest

Pour in the oil/Trim the wicks…He also reserves the right to do 1 more thing:

 

Rev. 2:5   Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

 

Remove the candlestick completely.

He’s talking to a church, not an individual!

 

Troubled?  He’ll intercede for you!

        Burdened?  He’ll intervene on your behalf!

                Proficient?  He’s inspecting you, for your sake, that you might be all you can be for Him!

 

 

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