Did I Hear Him Right? – Letters in Red

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I enjoyed the visual that was painted for us this weekend. In the book of Matthew 28:20, we read that Jesus shared these words with his disciples, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Then soon after, he left them as he ascended into heaven.

Imagine what they must have been thinking: “Did I hear him right?” “Didn’t he just say …?” “Okay, Jesus. Funny, come on back now.” We get a glimpse of what this looked like in the book of Acts which captures the steps of the early Christians after Jesus’ departure from them.

Acts 1:9-11
9 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. 10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

When I think of this story, I can’t help but think of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when Cousin Eddie arrives out of nowhere and joins the Griswald family as they are admiring Clark’s Christmas lights. In this case, two angels appear out of nowhere and join the disciples as they’re looking into the sky. I imagine them all standing around gazing upward for a while before the angels speak and bring the disciples’ attention back to earth.

As they snapped back to reality, they were reminded to focus on the words Jesus left with them.

Matthew 28:19-20
19 “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

As Lead Pastor Ben Snyder pointed out, these words clarified their purpose and reminded them of his presence. First, their purpose was given when Jesus told them to go and make disciples, to baptize them, and to teach them to obey his commandments.

Those words of purpose given to the disciples are also for us—they clarify our purpose as individuals and as a church, today. Here at CedarCreek, we say it this way, “We exist to introduce people to Jesus and the life-changing adventure he has for them.” This journey includes knowing God, finding freedom, discovering purpose, and making an eternal difference.

Additionally, Jesus promised his continual presence. But how was that promise kept if Jesus immediately left them? Ben shared that the answer to this is found in understanding the trinity. There is one God, but God is 3 in 1—Father, Son, and Spirit. The Spirit was sent soon after Jesus went back to heaven.

John 14:16-17
16 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”

The Spirit is always with us and lives in us. He is our advocate, and without him, it would be impossible to live out our purpose. For us to experience God, and accomplish all he has set out for us to do, it is essential for us to live full of the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18-19
18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.

To be filled with the Spirit, we need to let the Spirit control our lives. This begins when we are aware of him. Ben reminded us this week, “We don’t have to ask God to be with us. He already is.” When we live from this truth, we live our lives differently. Willing and available to live out his purpose for us.

Questions:
Read John 14:16-17, 26 and Acts 1:8. What role does the Holy Spirit play in the life of a Christian?

In what ways do you experience his presence in your life?

How would your life be different if you lived it believing and remembering God is always with you and will help you in every circumstance?

NextSteps:
Read Matthew 28:19-20 and John 14:16-17, and write the verses down on a 3 x 5 card. Keep it with you and allow it to remind you of the truth that God is with you wherever you go.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your Spirit that is in me. Thank you for always being with me and being my advocate who teaches and reminds me of the truth. Today, my prayer is not for you to be with me, because I know you already are. Instead, help me remember and live my life with that truth at the forefront of my mind. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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2 replies
  1. Julie Estep
    Julie Estep says:

    Live knowing God is with me. I like that. Thanks Ben. Today I pray that God sharpens my awareness of his presence.

  2. Amy Wiseley
    Amy Wiseley says:

    This post really spoke to me this morning. Beautifully written and heartfelt words. Thank you!

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