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The Ascension of Christ
The Ascension of Christ
Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus assembled with His disciples at the Mount of Olives and, after giving them some final instructions, the Bible says, "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9) Though we often summarize the foundational facts of the gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), the ascension is another crucial event in God’s scheme of redemption.
A. THE ASCENSION WAS AN ANSWER TO JESUS’ PRAYER
1. John 17:5 – "And now, O Father, glorify thou Me with Thine own Self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.”
2. Philippians 2:6 –" Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”
a. 2 Corinthians 8:9 – "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”
b. Jesus left all the splendor of Heaven to live as a lowly man upon the earth
3. At His ascension – He returned to His prior glory.
B. WITHOUT THE ASCENSION, THE "MYSTERY OF GODLINESS” WOULD BE INCOMPLETE.
1. 1 Timothy 3:16 – "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
2. A "mystery” in the biblical sense is something previously hidden, but now revealed (in the Bible).
3. Thus, the "mystery of godliness” is that system of religion, which God has revealed within His word.
4. Let’s look at the aspects of this "mystery of godliness”.
a. God was manifested in the flesh (incarnation)
b. Justified in the Spirit (vindication of His righteousness at the resurrection, by the power of the Holy Spirit)
c. Seen by angels (perhaps heavenly angels who witnessed His triumph; or angels in general sense of messengers, i.e. apostles and other witnesses)
d. Preached among the Gentiles (this was Paul’s special mission)
e. Believed on in the world (much positive response to the gospel)
f. Received up in glory (the ascension, with its accompanying exaltation)
C. THE ASCENSION WAS A VICTORY PROCESSION FOR CHRIST.
1. Colossians 2:15 – "And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” In the cross (and subsequent resurrection and ascension), Jesus triumphed over all the forces of evil and making "a public spectacle of them”
D. JESUS ASCENDED IN ORDER TO MAKE ATONEMENT.
1. Hebrews 9:24 – "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.”
2. Jesus entered into the true Holy of Holies to offer His own blood to God.
3. Having finished this priestly work, He "sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3) "Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” NOTE: priests always did their work standing.
E. JESUS ASCENDED TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR US.
1. John 14:2-3 – "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
2. If we would have that home, we must follow the "way”
a. Jesus is the way – John 14:4-6 – "And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
A. Did you realize that the Bible has so much to say about the ascension?
B. Because of the ascension, we may rest assured:
1. That Jesus made full atonement for our sins
2. That He is now reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords
3. That He is preparing a place for us
4. That He will come to take us back to that heavenly home.
C. Are you ready for that day?
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