Suncook United Methodist Church
June 5, 2011
Acts 1:3-11 Gods Word Bible
Luke 24:44-53 the Message Bible
“I Promise. . . ”
The Lord be with you
And also with you
Let us pray. . .
Loving, Compassionate, God, we thank you for this day that we gather as a community to hear your word. May we have ears to hear your word, minds open to your direction and hearts set a flame by your Spirit. Thank you for your “love letter”, your word that gives us direction and reminds us of your goodness. May your word be heard though me or in-spite of me. May the meditations of our hearts and minds be pleasing to you our Rock and Refuge. . . amen?!
Have you ever had a promise made to you by someone and they were not able to fulfill that promise to you? Or, have you ever made a promise to someone and, because of situations out of your control. . . or in your control. . . you were not able to keep it? I know I have. How did that make you feel? Upset with that person. . . or at yourself. . . frustrated because you really wanted to keep the promise but were unable too? Why is it so hard to keep a promise at time? I know that “life gets in the way” at times but I think we all want to be a man or woman of our word. I am so happy that God is faithful to His promises it’s something I have come to truly rely on.
Throughout the bible we hear stories that give us encouragement that God’s promise is true. . . we hear stories about how faithful people believed in God’s promises and they were not let down. Some of these people of faith may not have seen the promise come true in their lifetime but they trusted that they would. They trusted God’s plan and in God’s goodness. Look at Abraham. . . God promised that Abraham would have more descendents that the grains of sand. Abraham never saw it but he trusted in God, that He would do what He said He’d do, and did as God asked him to do. . . heck even after God making that promise to him, giving him Isaac, God asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac he was going to do it. . . how would he have descendents if he sacrificed his own son? But he trusted in Gods promise. . . he knew God would make a way. . . he took him to a mountain top. . . and just as he was about to do it he was stopped. . . he trusted in Gods providence. . . God provided a ram instead. Moses led the Israelites through the desert to a place that God had promised. As they went through the desert Moses continued to believe in God’s promise...a land of milk and honey. . . and then after 40 years, they reached the “Promised Land.” There are many more of God’s promises throughout the bible that have come true. . . many promises.
Throughout the “Old Testament”, we read a lot about a savior. . . a Messiah. . . that would come and free God’s people. These messages of hope to the people were given through people who were known as the prophets of old. This promise of a Redeemer is what kept the people going. These scriptures about a Messiah were handed down from generation to generation. The stories about how faithful God had been were also handed down through the generations. The long awaited Messiah came through the life of a child born to a virgin named Mary. As a matter of fact Christ’s whole ministry, especially His death and resurrection, fulfilled the scriptures about the Messiah, even if the people couldn’t see it.
Today is Ascension Sunday, the day that our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, ascended into heaven. Jesus’ “earthly” ministry was concluded. He was going to heaven now to prepare a place for you and for me and begin His ministry as our Advocate in heaven. . . going to the Father on our behalf. We heard one story about that day in the Epistle reading from Acts this morning. Listen to the story about that day written in the Gospel of Luke. . . it is found in Luke 24 verses 44-53 (I’m reading from the Message Bible this morning)
Through Jesus’ ministry on earth and His Ascension into heaven forgiveness of sin is offered to ALL nations, the Holy Spirit was made available to the church, Jesus prepared a place for us, His own, in heaven, there is increased outreach through the church. . . the people filled with the Holy Spirit, forgiveness is available and glory not death is God’s final word! But in the resurrection, another of God’s promises is fulfilled. . . the promise of the Holy Spirit for all who believe. . . a spirit of power and might. . . a spirit of strength. . . a spirit of peace. . . a spirit of hope.
But the first disciples had to do one thing, they had to trust the promise and wait until it arrived. So. . . what did they do. . . how do we know they believed in the promise? They went to the temple, praising God and overjoyed, and worshipped continually in the temple. They realized God’s faithfulness in the past and trusted in God’s faithfulness in the present and future (remember. . . they had to wait).
The disciples were called to bear witness. . . as so are we. . . to what has been seen and experienced. . . A witness to the reality of the Risen Lord and forgiveness of sins. But in order for that, Christ needs to be a living reality in and through our lives. The first disciples were “eye-witnesses” of the events but we are the “I-witnesses” of the events in our lives. . . how God has been faithful in our lives. . . how God has fulfilled the promises He has made in our lives. Without our I-witness, without the reality of Christ seen in our lives. . . how can we fulfill the great commission we as believers have been given “to go out and make disciples of all nations”. . . how will the never ending story of God’s goodness continue if we don’t shout it from the roof tops for all to hear. We have a great and glorious God who is mighty to save! Come and see that the Lord is Good!