“WHAT ELSE AFTER EASTER?”                     By Pastor Yau

Acts 1:6-11                                                                April 18, 2004

 

INTRODUCTION:  Most Christian churches celebrate two major events: Christmas which celebrates the birth of Jesus and Easter that celebrates His resurrection from the dead.  One may ask what else happened after Jesus was resurrected.  The resurrection and the empty tomb won’t be complete without the ascension and the promise of his return.  To know what did he do and say after Jesus rose from the dead and how did his disciples respond to His commands will certainly energize our faith and commitment to the Risen Christ. The ascension story appears in Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:6-11.

 

FINAL COMMANDS BEFORE HIS ASCENSION:  There are numerous words and acts Jesus did and said before He was taken into heaven. The following are some of the more important commandments given to His disciples and to us:

1)      To preach the message of “repentance and forgiveness of sin” (Luke 24:47) to all nations/peoples. (Matt.28:19) This is the foremost important commandment the Lord gave to his followers:  a) to preach the message, b) the message is “repentance and forgiveness of sin”, and c) preached to all people.

          Too many churches and even denominations claim to do the work of Jesus but do not preach this salvation message: repentance and forgiveness of sin.  So often, they turn the church into social/welfare institutions, doing things to meet men’s physical needs instead of spiritual needs as the Lord has commanded.  Meeting physical needs is only valid when it is rendered for the purpose of leading people to salvation.

2)      To baptize them into His church. (Matt. 28:19-20) This is meant for the true believers to demonstrate their commitment by public baptism.  It is a symbol of commitment and obedience, the first step of surrendering your life to the control of the Lord.   There are many who want the benefits of salvation, but refuse or reluctant to take a stand for the Lord by submitting to believers’ baptism.

3)      To teach them all that were commanded to His disciples. (Matt. 28:20) Teaching and learning the Bible, the word  of the Lord.  Through centuries, Christian churches have been faithful in teaching the Bible to non-believers to lead them to salvation and to believers to help them grow their spiritual life.  The whole procession of making disciples is more than just leading people to salvation. It is also the life long teaching and learning of the Word to maturity and service.

 

HOW DID THE DISCIPLES RESPOND TO HIS COMMANDS?

1)       In Acts 1:12-14,  after the disciples saw the ascension of Jesus, they returned to Jerusalem, went into the upper room, and all were in accord of prayer.  This is a sign of spiritual pursuit, seeking the power of the Holy spirit before they launched mission endeavor.

2)       Then in Luke 24:52-53, after they returned to Jerusalem, they went into the Temple to worship and praised God. This is worship, best in action. Prayer and worship are the two important signs of a Christian in determining his/her spiritual condition.  Christians who neglect prayer and worship will never grow in their spiritual strength and desire to live their lives as witnesses for the Lord.

3)       After they have grown in spiritual strength and desire, they went out to spread the message of salvation to all people. (Mark 16:20)  It is in the power of the Holy Spirit, they brought the message to all the people, and thousands were saved.  It is this commitment of thousands and millions thru the 2,000 years of Christian history, the church has grown from that handful into the worldwide movement of Christian faith today.

 

CONCLUSION:  In John 14:3, when Jesus foretold His disciples of His pending departure, He said: “When I go to prepare the pace, I will come back and bring you to be with me.”  This is about His pending return: JESUS SHALL RETURN to earth to bring all His people to heaven.  In Matt. 25 1-13, Jesus used a parable to teach a lesson of readiness to welcome the Lord.  It is up to us to be prepared. Too many, including some called themselves Christians, are not prepared. They live their lives as if the Lord will never come. Be prepared.