Acts 1:1-11 New International Version (NIV)
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Hebrews 1:1-4 New International Version (NIV)
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
Revelation 19:16 New International Version (NIV)
On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
king of kings and lord of lords.
Revelation 22:20 New International Version (NIV)
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Hide me behind your cross, Lord. Let the words I say be the thoughts of your heart articulated by my voice to your people. May they with the power of the Holy Spirit guide us into greater understanding, deeper faith, and abundant, fruitful lives that point only to you. To the glory of the father, the majesty of the son, and the power of the Holy Spirit be given all we offer. Amen
<<You may be seated>>
The Royal Wedding. Who is invited, who is not, who is wearing what…all of these things have captivated imaginations around the world through the centuries. Truthfully, while England/the United Kingdom has the most well-known royal family in the modern era, there have been kings and rulers and people in charge of countries and groups for thousands and thousands of years.
But the King we discuss today, King Jesus – is the King of Kings.
He rules all, he was and is and is to come. He is the Alpha and Omega.
He is the King who walked among us. And he is the King who sent us to keep doing his work.
The first text we read this morning tells us about the ascension of Jesus. We read in Luke’s words the message Jesus gave – it is the primary direction for the church and it is part of our mission here:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
You may have heard me talk about this verse before – because this is the core of what we are here at Momence First: Just as Jesus told the disciples to be witnesses in Jerusalem, the place where they already were – we carry that forward in our mission here, by knowing that Jesus has called us to be his witnesses HERE – in Momence, in Bourbonnais, in Bradley, in Manteno – the “heres” where we live and work and are actively invested in the people around us.
It is why we continue to call our church Momence FIRST – because even though some would call that archaic (why not Life or Compass or something along those lines?) or optimistic (are you planning a Momence SECOND Church of the Nazarene?) It is our intentional mission to think about our congregation in terms of a launching point of witnesses to tell about Jesus – who he is, what he’s about, what he’s done for us and what it looks like to live out his mission.
So – as King, Jesus has given us a command: Go and Tell and Live lives that are fruitful with my fruit, by the power of the Holy Spirit
In the next text, we read that Jesus has always been and will always be, and that after he came and did the work of God among us – he sat down at God’s right hand.
That phrasing brought to mind images of TV sitcom dads…you know the ones? The caricature from Married with Children, All in the Family, and even recently the Goldbergs – where the ‘man of the house’ comes in from a long day of hard work somewhere and plops down on the recliner, unbuttons his pants, and pops open a cold one…usually before he says anything to anyone – except maybe to holler “Hey honey, I’m home”. This is not the reality of what happens when Jesus gets home to the throne. We know he is interceding for us, that he speaks to the Father on our behalf, that he walks with us, that he speaks to us, and that he continues to work through us in the here and now. It is, in fact, a picture that reminds us that Jesus, who ascended into heaven, sat down only to show us that he has conquered sin and death. We don’t have to live in fear of those because he has defeated them – as much as the King commands, the King remains with us and reminds us that he is victorious. He lives and reigns. We serve a risen King, a King who lives, a King who
King Jesus is alive and reigning right now.
The final part of our text today is the reminder that King Jesus is coming again. One day we know that King Jesus will return. It is promised. We don’t know what that will look like exactly, but we do know he will come as King – as resurrected and living and victorious King. We know he will serve as judge, we know we, the Church universal, will be presented as his bride, and we will join together in a celebration supper. Just as we know Jesus lives now, just as we commemorate the death of Jesus with our communion supper – we also look forward to the coming King, the coming wedding supper of the Lamb – the King will come and reign victorious. All things will be made right. There will be no more war, no more tears, no more death. There will be no more hate, no more poverty, no more starvation. No more illness. This is why the prayer at the very end of scripture – the very last words are Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
We expect his coming. While we do, we live into the command he gives for us to be witnesses to his truth, to the lives he’s called us to live. We know he lives because his Kingdom – you and me and all Christians throughout time – continues to be. We are the Kingdom, the witnesses to it, the ones who live out its principles, and the ones who cry out Come Lord Jesus, we await the return of our King.