May 20, 2004
The coming of God
INTRODUCTION: The ascension of Jesus commemorates Jesus’ visible departure from earth and return to heaven. But despite His physical absence He has not left us. It is true, as He Himself observed, that He has finished the saving work He came to earth to do as He cried from the bloody cross “It is finished!”
But this does not mean that God is finished with us. Jesus Himself once informed His disciples that His leave –taking for heaven would be a signal for the Holy Spirit to come to them, a coming we have witnessed continually ever since the first Pentecost. Today’s Epistle is one more assurance that Jesus ascension is the signal not only for the Holy Spirit come to us but also for God the father and even Jesus Himself to come to us in unexpected ways.
I. The Holy Spirit comes to us
A. God the Father sends Him “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ...may give to you the Spirit of wisdom,” V.17
B. The Holy Spirit comes to us through the Gospel “revelation, so that you may know Him better,” (v.17)
C. He enlightens our understanding through that Gospel “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints” (18)
D. As a result we are strengthened in our hope and longing for heaven. “...and His incomparable great power for us who believe” (19)
II. God the Father comes to us.
A. We have already experienced His power in the faith he has given us. (v.19)
B. We are promised even more of His power “his incomparably great power”, the same powers of God that exalted Christ in His resurrection and ascension.
C. As a matter of fact, we receive more than His power – we receive Him. Jesus said in John 14:23 “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
III. Jesus comes to us.
A. He is over all things, yet, he is for the sake of, and for the benefit of, the church “for the church,” (v.22)
B. He fills all things; yet, the church completes His fullness just as a body completes the head to the body. To paraphrase vv.22-23 “In that body lives fully the One who fills the while wide universe.”
CONCLUSION: This is the destiny of man to be with God. Ultimately it is the Son of Man, Jesus Christ our Ascended Lord who rules over everything. He is over all things and in Him we live and reign.