Part of the We Preach Jesus Christ series, preached at a Sunday Evening service
SUNDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 18
Title: The Ascension of Jesus Christ
Text: “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).
Scripture Reading: Mark 16:19 - 20; Luke 24:50 - 53; Acts 1:1 - 11
The risen Christ remained on the earth forty days after his resurrection. He remained this long that he might establish his resurrection, give encouragement to fearful disciples, impart closing instructions to his disciples, and present larger teachings about the kingdom of God.
The ascension of Jesus Christ is recorded in two of the gospels and in the book of Acts. Numerous other references are found in the New Testament. The ascension took place on the Mount of Olives near Bethany. The place of the ascension was a Sabbath’s day’s journey, or two thousand cubits, from the city of Jerusalem. There on the Mount of Olives, Jesus Christ lifted up his hands and blessed the disciples. While he was blessing the disciples, he was received up in a cloud out of their sight. He was on his way to heaven from the world whose sin sent him to the cross.
The ascension of Jesus Christ was no optical illusion, no subjective vision, but a literal objective fact. We will consider this stupendous event in this sermon.
I. The ascension of Jesus Christ speaks of the fulfillment of Scripture, of the lordship of Christ.
Jesus Christ ascended into heaven in fulfillment of his promises. He promised he would go to the Father (John 14:28; 16:10, 28; 20:17). He said that he would ascend to heaven and one day descend to earth again (Matt. 26:64; Mark 14:62; John 6:62).
Jesus’ ascension also proclaims him as Lord. Paul said, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9?–?11).
As Lord he is at the right hand of the Father to rule over both the hosts of heaven and the vast company of true Christians scattered throughout the earth.
II. The ascension of Jesus Christ speaks of his glorious intercession at the right hand of the Father.
The psalmist wrote with prophetic insight when he called for the warder to open the everlasting doors and let the King of glory in (Ps. 24:7, 9). At the ascension of Jesus Christ, the King of glory entered into his glorious destination at the right hand of the Majesty on high to make intercession for us (1 Tim. 2:5?–?6; Heb. 2:9; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22; 1 John 2:1?–?2).
The Bible teaches that he ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25).
III. The ascension of Jesus Christ speaks of the coming of the Holy Spirit and his work (Luke 24:49; John 16:7; Acts 1:4?–?5).
The Holy Spirit came after our Lord was ascended to heaven. He came to reveal the living Christ and not to take the place of an absent Christ. He came that our Lord might work everywhere on earth.
What is the work of the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit witnesses to lost people concerning Christ (John 16:13?–?15). The Holy Spirit develops Christlike character (Rom. 5:5; 14:7; Gal. 5:22?–?23). The Holy Spirit strengthens (Eph. 3:16), leads (Acts 13:2?–?4; Rom. 8:14), comforts (John 14:16?–?17), teaches us how to pray (Rom. 8:26), gives assurance (Rom. 8:16; Gal. 4:6?–?7; Eph. 1:13; 4:30), gives boldness in testimony for Jesus Christ (Acts 4:31), inspires hope (Rom. 15:13), and brings liberty (2 Cor. 3:17).
IV. The ascension of Jesus Christ speaks of witnessing (Acts 1:8; Mark 16:20).
After the ascension of Jesus Christ, the disciples became flaming witnesses. His resurrection from the dead and his ascension into heaven had equipped them for witnessing.
Just before Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, he said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
We are witnesses to the fact that Jesus Christ can save a soul, change a life, and give purpose and meaning to life.
V. The ascension of Jesus Christ speaks of blessings, praise, worship, and joy (Luke 24:50?–?53).
The ascension of Jesus Christ was not sunset for the disciples; it was sunrise. It meant blessings for the disciples. What were those blessings? We are not told, but Jesus may have lifted up his hands and blessed them with the old priestly benediction of Israel: “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Num. 6:24?–?26).
The fact that we have a risen Lord at the right hand of the Father should bless us and cause us to worship and serve him with joy!
VI. The ascension of Jesus Christ speaks of his coming again (Matt. 26:64; Mark 14:62; John 6:62; Acts 1:8; Phil. 3:20).
The disciples stood awestruck as Jesus ascended into heaven. The inevitable question came: “Is he ever to come back to this earth again?” Two men in white apparel, heavenly messengers, stood by to give the answer to the question: “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
Jesus is coming again!
VII. The ascension of Jesus Christ speaks of his preparation of a heavenly home for his people (John 14:1?–?6; Phil. 3:20?–?21).
Heaven is the sure destination of God’s people. Heaven provides a perfect environment for perfect people, and Jesus is preparing a place for them there.
How will you respond to the ascended Savior? Let him come into your life today. He is a wonderful Savior and desires not only to save you but to bless you day by day!
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