(This is an edited version of the all-age Family Service talk at the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge)
One of the mums involved in our new older children’s group thought of a great name for it – the Ascenders. It fits in nicely with the name of our church, the Parish Church of the Ascension.
In the life of Jesus, the Ascension was when he went up into heaven, as told in the New Testament book of Acts. After he rose from the dead, he went back to his Father God in heaven. As God’s Son, he went back to where he’d come from. And Jesus’s friends saw him going up into heaven. Jesus’s apostles, men like Peter, James and John, who saw Jesus alive after he rose from the dead, then saw him go back into heaven.
Now before he went back into heaven, Jesus gave his friends a job to do. Their job was to tell everyone that Jesus is Lord. Jesus’s friends were to tell the world that the Lord Jesus is in charge. That’s what it means that Jesus is Lord – Jesus is in charge of everyone and of everything in the whole world and he’s in charge because he is the Son of God who died on the cross to forgive people so they can be friends with God. He is the Son of God who rose from the dead, came alive again out of his tomb proving that he really is in charge.
As God’s Son, he is stronger even than death itself and now he’s gone back into heaven to rule the universe at the right hand of his Father God in heaven. The Ascension says Jesus is Lord – Jesus is in charge. That means everyone in the world needs to believe in the Lord Jesus and to start doing what the Lord Jesus says.
Now I’m going to use a slightly long word as we think about this means for us and for the people we know but you’re smart enough to get on the end of it. The fact that Jesus is Lord is objective truth. Let me explain what objective truth is.
If I think I can put my hand in a fire and keep it there for more than a few seconds without getting my fingers burned, am I right or am I wrong? I’m wrong because it is objective truth that if anybody puts their hands in a fire they will get their fingers burned. That is truth outside of what I think. Whether or not I choose to believe it, it is objective truth and I need to get on the right side of it or I’m going to get my fingers burned.
‘Jesus is Lord’ is objective truth, whether or not anybody chooses to believe it.
So, when you learn about other religions apart from Christianity in school, those religions may have some nuggets of truth in them. But overall none of those religions can save anybody for eternity because none of those religions teaches the objective truth that Jesus Christ is Lord and that everybody in the world needs to believe in him to be friends with God.
The Ascension is objective truth and it tells us that we all need to believe in the Lord Jesus to be saved for ever and it also tells us that our job as Christians is to tell other people that Jesus is the Lord, that he is in charge of the whole universe. That’s our job as Ascenders – to tell people that our Lord Jesus is in charge and that everyone needs to believe in him to be friends with God.
So next time you hear the name of our church or our new children’s group, remember that Jesus’s Ascension means he is now in charge and that everyone needs to believe in the Lord Jesus. That’s what God commands them to do. ‘Jesus is Lord’ is objective truth.