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May5ThuMay 5, 2016If you were following the Christian year you would see that today is the day of Ascension. “Ascension Day is officially celebrated on a Thursday on the 40th day of Easter (or 39 days after Easter Sunday) with Pentecost Sunday following on May 15th, the 50th day of Easter. Ascension Day is a day that celebrates the day on which the risen Christ, in the sight of His apostles, ascended bodily into Heaven.” Luke 24:50 “When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.” Mark 16:9 “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.” Psalm 47:1 “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of j joy. 2 For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth. 3 He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet. 4 He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved. 5 God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets. 6 Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. 7 For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. 8 God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne. 9 The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted.”To understand the power that is available to all who believe we need to go back and look at this power and how it was given. This day of ascension was the beginning of the gift of the Holy Spirit being given. This gift depended on obedience. 1 Corinthians 15:1 “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” So Jesus appeared to 500 disciples and yet 120 were in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came upon them. Unbelief was still present even after they had seen Jesus. Mark 16:14 “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.” Matthew 28:17 “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”Just before Jesus was taken up into heaven he gave these instructions that we must adhere to today. Acts 1:1 “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. (John 20:30 “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”) He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 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. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 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. 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Luke 24:45 “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” What makes you think you can carry out God’s mission without his power?Another question is, what makes you think that because they waited you don’t have too. Then to take it a step further they teach this power is not available like the early church. This is not from God. Jesus giving instructions through the Holy Spirit was one part of it just as John baptized with water but…. we need to be baptized by the Holy Spirit and clothed with power. You can read more about that by reading the book of Acts. That second part is missing form the church. Paul said earlier “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” Today there are a lot of people calling themselves Christians who are believing in vain and do not even know it. What has happened is that we have only been told one part of the gospel. We have all these people thinking they have everything they need but in the process have only a form of godliness and no power. They cannot figure out why every thing looks like the cursed side. They even fight against this power. Jesus himself said you would be clothed with power if you waited. Since we do not have this power, we must be naked. The Laodicean church was naked because they were lukewarm and were told to repent. Down through the years this empty way of life that has been taught has grieved the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 63:10 “Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.” God has turned His face from shining on us. We are asking that God will pnce again shine His face on us.In Isaiah 63:11 continues with the “people recalling the days of old, the days of Moses and his people— where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them, 12 who sent his glorious arm of power to be at Moses’ right hand, who divided the waters before them, to gain for himself everlasting renown, 13 who led them through the depths? Like a horse in open country, they did not stumble; 14 like cattle that go down to the plain, they were given rest by the Spirit of the Lord. This is how you guided your people to make for yourself a glorious name. Psalm 77:7 “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? 8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” 10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Isaiah 63:15 “Look down from heaven and see, from your lofty throne, holy and glorious. Where are your zeal and your might? Your tenderness and compassion are withheld from us. 17 Why, Lord, do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes that are your inheritance.” Isaiah 64:1 “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! 2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you!We have great hope that God will hear our cry. Why? Because he said he would if we would just humble ourselves before Him. 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Psalm 27:8 “My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Psalm 24:3 “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. 5 They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him who seek your face, God of Jacob.” We want to be that generation. Psalm 78:4 “We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.” Daniel 4:3 “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.” “Isaiah 64:3 “For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you. 4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. 5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways.” Hebrews 4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”Jesus taken up into heaven was the beginning of the church moving in the power of the Holy Spirit. The first step was to obey and wait to be clothed with power but some chose not to believe. The disciples that waited were filled with power and the Holy Spirit manifested Himself in them by distributing gifts as needed for the common good. Acts 2:41 “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Paul said in Ephesians 4:8 “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” 9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” I find it interesting that in this very passage the every wind of teaching and deceitful scheming says that there are no more apostles and prophets but preachers, teachers and evangelists are okay and there are no more manifestations of the Holy Spirit. You must understand that a New Testament prophet does not add to the word of God but speaks what needs to be spoken without fear. Having said that they also can Acts 11:28 “One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world.” Don’t buy into the demonic teachings that God no longer empowers His church just because you have not seen it. Believe the word of God and live by faith not sight. Would it not be amazing if the church would once again believe and not doubt and not be James 1:6 “like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”If the church would just believe what the word of God says, we would have revival. Lets believe again that Ephesians 4:12,13; 3:20 “Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature and to know the hope and riches of His glorious inheritance to which He has called us as His holy people, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, His incomparably great power for us who believe, the same power as the mighty strength He exerted when he raised Christ from the dead. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”When Jesus ascended that means His promise to be with us always went into affect. John 14:25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” We must be clothed with the Holy Spirit to do this.Are you prepared to wait on the Lord? Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Isaiah 40:8 “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”