The Ascension is the beginning of the church’s mission.
1. It is powered by the Spirit
2. It is a call to be witnesses
3. It is worldwide is scope
The Ascension holds the promise of Christ’s return.
WHAT? What Happened to Jesus.
A. He ascended to a place invisible to the mortal eye
1. Acts 1:9 “A cloud received him out of their sight”
2. He did not go up into some mountain that was covered with clouds as some men have speculated.
B. Luke 24:51 “And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.”
1. He is on the right hand of God
2. I Peter 3:22 “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him.”
Where is heaven ? When the early church confessed that Jesus had ascended into heaven, the emphasis was not so much on a place – the emphasis was on God’s immediate presence. The church was confessing that Jesus had entered into the divine glory – that the risen Jesus now dwelt in the immediate presence of God. This may explain the meaning of the phrase, "a cloud took him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9). Oftentimes in scripture, a cloud represents the shekinah glory of God, the sign of God’s presence (cf. Exo. 33:7-11; Mark 9:7).
A For Man’s Redemption
1. Christ died on the Cross on Golgotha. But he had to ascend to heaven before that death would be accepted as final payment for sin.
2. God required that there be a sacrifice made for our sin.
3. Under the Law of Moses the high priest went into the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle or temple, with the blood of animals for the sins of the people.
4. But under the priesthood of Christ, we have a superior system:
a. The blood of Christ is better, it has the power to completely remit sin
b. That blood was taken into the holy place called heaven
Heb 9:11-12 “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”
B. To be our Advocate
1. Christ went back to heaven to assist in keeping Christians saved
2. We are not sinless and perfect as Christians
a. I John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
b. I Jn. 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that you not sin.”
3. But we are not all lost and without hope if we sin as a Christian.
a. I Jn.2:1-2 “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
b. Advocate = intercessor – propitiation
c. Propitiation = atonement or to cover over and from the sight
d. Our sins are covered over and from God’s sight by the blood of Christ
e. I Jn. 1:7 “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
4. Jesus paid the price for sin. He went to heaven as one who had paid that price and now since He is in heaven, he serves as an advocate for the Christian.
C. So The Spirit Could Come
1. Jn. 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
a. Expedient = better, profitable “to your advantage”
b. Comforter = Holy Spirit
2. The Holy Spirit was to come and guide these apostles into all truth – but not as long as Jesus was on the earth
3. So the only way man could receive the full revelation of God’s truth was for Jesus to ascend back to the Father, which would allow the Holy Spirit to come in order to provide us with God’s perfect Word
The Holy Spirit had to come to reveal and confirm God’s word which enables men to understand what God in love, mercy, and grace has done to ransom our souls from sin, and what men must do in order to be saved from sin by God’s son.
It was a divine power to be received by faith to motivate the witness of believers.
"How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?" (Hebrews 2:3-4)
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” ( John 15:26-27)
Jn. 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
D. To Prepare a place for Us
1. Jesus left earth to go and prepare a place for those who by faithful obedience prepare for that place.
2. Jn. 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. 3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”