The following notes are from this morning’s sermon for my church family. we are studying “What is the Gospel?” This morning’s sermon is on the ascension of Jesus Christ.
What Is the Gospel?
God’s Announcement of Good News Concerning His Son
God Has Highly Exalted Him – Ascension Truths
Review – Gospel
- Old English – “God spell” = “Good News” or “Good Story”
- Greek – Euangelion – Good News Announcement, typically from a king about himself or his kingdom
- Gospel of Jesus Christ = God’s announcement of Good News concerning His Son, Jesus Christ
The Heart of this Good News
Christ has died for our sins and has come back to life again – The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
ASCENSION OF JESUS
- God the Father seated Christ “at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:20-21)
- “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,” (Philippians 2:9)
What Is the Ascension?
- After Jesus died and came back to life, He visibly and publicly returned to heaven in His resurrected body.
- His body that was nailed to the cross was raised from the dead and glorified, and in that resurrected body Jesus went back to heaven.
- In this glorified and resurrected body, Jesus has taken His place of highest honor and authority at the Father’s right hand.
- This is the victory march of the risen Lord Jesus – after His redeeming work was accomplished He returned to heaven in victory and sat down at the Father’s right hand (Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 10:12)
Records of the Ascension
We will study nine ascension truths:
1. Jesus’ ascension was prophesied ahead of time
A. By God through David –
- Psalm 68:18 – quoted in Ephesians 4:8
- Psalm 110:1 – quoted in Acts 2:33-34
B. By Jesus (these are not all His prophecies regarding the ascension) –
- To the Jews and religious leaders – John 7:33-34 – Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.”
NOTICE THE CONTRAST BETWEEN JOHN 7:33-34 and JOHN 14:1-6
- To His followers – John 14:1-6 – I am going to prepare a place for you; I will come again; I will take you to be with me; you know the way to where I am going – I AM the Way
- John 16:4-11 – It is to you advantage that I go, because I will send the Helper (Holy Spirit)
- John 16:28 – “I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
2. Jesus’ ascension was literal and physical.
- Jesus’ resurrected, glorified body was literally taken up into heaven
- Luke 24:50-53 – He was lifting His hands – which they had touched (Luke 24:38-43)- to bless them, and He was carried away.
3. Jesus’ ascension was public, and it is verifiable, historical fact.
- Jesus did not just vanish from them never to be seen again
- Jesus’ victory march was not a secret event but a literal, visible, public event.
- He visibly and publicly went up into the clouds in the presence of eye witnesses (Acts 1:9 – “as they were looking on”; 1:10 “as they were gazing”; Acts 1:11 “as you saw Him go up”
- The crucifixion was public
- The resurrection was public
- The ascension was public
- The second coming will be public
4. Jesus’ ascension was to a literal place.
- Jesus literally went up to heaven
- He literally sat down at the Father’s right hand, in the place of highest honor
- Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:33; Acts 7:55-56; Ephesians 1:20-21; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 10:12
5. Jesus’ ascension was to an exalted position of authority and honor.
- Jesus’ going up was also to a position of honor and authority
- This was not Jesus taking up deity – HE NEVER STOPPED BEING GOD
- This was Jesus’ entrance into heaven and being sat down at the Father’s right hand for the first time as God AND Man.
- He came as the servant of all, to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45; Philippians 2:6-8)
- The Savior who humbled Himself, and became obedient to the point of death on the cross, has now been lifted up to the highest place of honor and authority (Philippians 2:9; Matthew 28:18)
- He is the ruler over all other rulers; He is Head of His Church (Ephesians 1:20-23)
- He is exalted as the Judge of this universe (Acts 17:30-31)
6. Jesus’ ascension is essential to our salvation.
- The apostle’s identify the ascension as part of the Gospel (Acts 2:33-34;Acts 3:19-21; Acts 5:30-32)
- The resurrection and ascension is the public testimony that Jesus’ redeeming work is accepted by God the Father – Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 10:11-14
- The ascension is God’s testimony that Jesus’ saving work is complete
- If Christ had not completed the work He had been sent to do, then He would not be welcomed to sit in the place of honor and authority – THE WORK IS COMPLETE!
7. Jesus’ ascension is essential to our identity and assurance.
- Just as Jesus has been lifted up to the Father’s right hand, we have also been lifted up with Him in our union to Him by faith (Ephesians 2:4-8; Colossians 3:1-4)
- By faith through the Scriptures we may look at Jesus seated at God’s right hand, and we may know that our salvation is complete and accomplished (Hebrews 10:11-14)
- By faith, we can look at the Scriptures and know that our identity and position is united to Jesus. We are as secure as God’s children as Jesus is, because we are united to Him in His death, resurrection, and ascension (Ephesians 2:4-8; Colossians 3:1-4)
8. Jesus’ ascension is essential to our practice/service.
- Next time, after Resurrection Sunday, we will study this further
- Jesus has sent the gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift of spiritual gifts, He intercedes on our behalf, He is serving as our Advocate, He is our Head (leader and life-source)
- We are alive in Him, given access to the Father because of Him, enabled by Him, able to pray because of Him (Hebrews 4:14-16)
9. Jesus’ ascension is essential for our future confidence.
- Acts 1:9-11: The angels make clear that the ascension is directly related to Jesus’ second coming – He will come again, just as you saw Him leave
- John 14:1-6: He has gone to prepare a place for us, and He will come again and receive us to Himself, so we can be with Him
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – We will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. We will always be with the Lord.
How do we respond?
- Rest in His position and our position united to Him
- By faith, we are to embrace our position in Christ. We are seated with Him in heavenly places. Our citizenship is in heaven now. We are dead to the world and sin, and we are alive in Christ who is our life (Ephesians 2:4-7; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 3:1-4).
- By faith, we estimate ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to God in Christ who is our life (Romans 6:11; Colossians 3:4).
- By faith, we pursue things of heaven and not the temporal things of earth, and we make war against sin (Colossians 3:1-17) – submission to the Lordship of Jesus (Philippians 2:9-11)
- By faith, we await our Savior to come again in the same way He went up (Acts 1:11; Philippians 3:20; Titus 2:13).
What must I do to be saved? To have Jesus as my life?
- Come to the Way – John 14:6 – no one can come to the Father except through Him, but all are invited to come to the Father through Him.
- John 1:12 “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,”
- Christ is our life – come to Him for eternal life – Trust in Him
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