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THE IMPLICATIONS OF
THE ASCENSION Of JESUS
Intro: For the last 2 and one-half years, we have followed the Lord Jesus Christ. We have followed Him through the days of His earthly ministry. We have followed Him as He battled the religious leaders. We have followed Him as He trained His men. We have followed Him as He healed the sick, cast out devils and raised the dead. We have followed Him as He performed many great miracles.
We have followed Him through the desert, across the sea, over the mountains and through the valleys. We followed Him as He went to the cross to die for our sins. We followed His body as He was carried to the tomb and sealed inside. We followed His disciples as they ran to the tomb to investigate the rumors of His resurrection. We followed Him as He went to His disciples and let them know that He was alive and well.
Today, we follow Jesus and His men to the top of the Mount of Olives. Today, we will follow Him as far as we can for right now. Today, we will witness His ascension back into Heaven and learn what it means for us right now.
Mark’s Gospel closes with Jesus going back to Heaven to be with His Father. His ascension back into Heaven has implications that are far reaching. His ascension has implications for Him and for all those who follow Him. Today, I want to preach about The Implications Of The Ascension Of Jesus. I want you to see The Implications For The Savior and The Implications For The Saints.
I. v. 19 THE IMPLICATIONS
FOR THE SAVIOR
(Ill. Mark skips over forty days in one statement. He jumps all the way from day of the resurrection, past the day of Pentecost, all the way to the day Jesus ascended back into Heaven, Acts 1:9-11. We might think that the ascension of Jesus back into Heaven is a minor event with little importance for us. In truth, the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ back into Heaven is one of the most important components of our faith.
Let me share a few reasons why the ascension of Jesus into Heaven is so important.
· The Ascension Made The Lord’s Purposes Clear – While Jesus tarried with them, they still held to the hope of a temporal, earthly kingdom. When He left and sent the Spirit of God, they were made to see that Jesus came to save sinners and not sit upon and earthly throne.
· The Ascension Made The Lord’s Presence Real – When the Lord Jesus ascended back to Heaven the door was opened for the Spirit of God to descend to the earth, John 16:7. The coming of the Spirit made the spread of the Gospel possible and successful! Not only could the Spirit be with and in all at the same time; but He could work through all the saints at the same time, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Jesus in John 14:12.
· The Ascension Made The Lord’s Plan Understandable – It became clear that God’s plan of salvation involves all three members of the Godhead. The Father sent the Son. The Son gave His life and shed His blood on the cross. The Spirit was sent to take that message and apply it to the hearts of men, John 16:7-11.
· The Ascension Made The Lord’s Payment Complete – The work of the Son was not completely finished until the Son had ascended back to Heaven and sat down in glory, Heb. 10:11-17.
The ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ is an important event. When Jesus ascended into Heaven and took up His place at His Father’s right hand, He went there to continue His ministry on behalf of His people. Notice with me a few truths concerning the place Jesus occupies in Heaven today.
A. He Is The Crucified One - When Jesus returned to Heaven, He returned bearing in His body the marks of the cross, John 20:27; Rev. 5:6; Zech. 13:6. He went back to Heaven as the crucified Lamb of God. He returned having accomplished redemption on the cross for all who will believe in Him by faith. He returned with His Own blood to present in Heaven as the perfect, eternal, once for all atonement for sin - Heb. 10:12-13; Heb. 9:11-14.
(Ill. Dr. Claude Barlow was a medical missionary to Shaohsing, China, in the early part of the twentieth century. During his ministry there, a strange disease began killing people. He couldn't find a remedy. In search of a cure, he filled his notebook with observations of the peculiarities he had witnessed hundreds of cases.
Then, with a small vial of the germs, he sailed for the United States. Just before he arrived, he injected himself with the deadly disease and hurried to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University Hospital. He had become very sick and now depended on his former professors to find a cure.
They were able to save his life and send him back to China with a cure for this dreaded disease. In the process, a multitude of lives was spared.
In the midst of our epidemic called sin, Jesus went to the cross and injected himself with our deadly disease. He then committed himself to the Father's care and returned to Heaven with the cure. Praise God! Death and Hell are no longer our destiny, if we are trusting in Jesus for salvation.)
B. He Is The Conquering One - Lest we feel bad for the pain that Jesus bore for us on the cross, let us not forget that three days after He died, He arose from the grave in absolute victory! When He ascended back to Heaven, He ascended as a conquering general Who had invaded the territory of the enemy, ransacked his position, spoiled him and returned in victory to His Own city! This is exactly what the Bible says He did, Col. 2:13-15.
Imagine the scene in Heaven; Jesus has forever conquered sin and Satan at the cross. Then He ripped the bars out of death, hell and the grave in His resurrection. Then He gathered up those believers who had been imprisoned in the heart of the earth since Adam, Eph. 4:8, and marched back into Heaven as a conquering general. Imagine the rejoicing in Heaven as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords return in total triumph over all the enemies of God and God’s people!
(Ill. The Triumphus – Jesus returned to Heaven with Satan, sin, death and hell tied to His chariot wheels. He returned to Heaven as the mighty Conqueror!)
(Ill. After World War I when many French soldiers were returning from fighting the Germans in the trenches, they would approach the city of Paris. There on the Arc de Triumph, built by Napoleon was a robed choir. As the dirty, bloody soldiers approached, some helping their crippled and blind comrades, others still covered with the blood of their fallen friends, that choir would sing out: “What right have you to enter the Arc of Triumph?”
Those soldiers would stop before the choir, lift their voices together and cry, “We have been to Verdun! We have been to Verdun!”
Then, the soldiers would be given a hero’s welcome!
Imagine the scene in Heaven that day as Jesus made His way into the city. I can hear the angelic hosts crying out as one: “What right do you have to enter Heaven!”
Then, I can hear the answer rising from the throat of the One Who gave voice to the wind, “I have been to Calvary!”
Then I can see the angels bow before Him! I can see the Father rise to meet Him and I hear the Father say for the third time: “This is my beloved Son in Who I am well pleased!”)
C. He Is The Consoling One - When He returned to Heaven, He did not leave His people alone. He sent His Spirit into the world to indwell, fill, guide and comfort the people of the Lord, John 16:7. “Comforter” – “To be summoned, called to one's side, to give aid; one who pleads another's cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate; one who pleads another's cause with one, an intercessor; in the widest sense, a helper, succourer, aider, assistant.”
He sent the Holy Spirit, Who came bringing gifts for the people of God, Eph. 4:8; 1 Cor. 12. His gifts make our service to Him possible! The transformation in Peter between the night he denied Jesus 3 times to the Day of Pentecost when he preached in the power of the Holy Spirit and 3,000 people were saved can be traced to the power of the Holy Spirit on his life.
D. He Is The Confessing One - One of the most vital ministries the Lord provides for us is His ministry of intercession. According to the Bible, Jesus confesses us before the throne of God, Matt. 10:32. He is our Mediator, 1 Tim. 2:5, John 14:6. He is our Advocate, 1 John 2:2. He expresses our heart and our needs before the throne of grace, Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25. Thank God, there is always One praying for us! Even when I am not on praying ground, He always is! Because He perfectly fulfilled God’s plan of redemption, He sits in the presence of the Father as the guarantee of all the promises of the new covenant! His very presence in Heaven IS our intercession!
E. He Is The Confirming One - His presence in Heaven is the guarantee of our presence in Heaven some day, Eph. 2:6! Why? Because, when we were saved, we were placed in Him, 1 Cor. 12:13 and He was placed within us, Col. 1:27. His presence in us is God’s guarantee that He will finish His perfect work in us, Eph. 1:13-14. Our presence in Him means that even though we live on this earth tonight, as far as God is concerned, we are already home!
Jesus ascended back into Heaven as our “forerunner”, Heb. 6:18-20! The word “Forerunner” refers to “a scout, a trailblazer, one who charts the course others are to follow.” Jesus is our “Forerunner”! He has gone before His people and has set the anchor within the veil in Heaven! He has scouted the trail, and He has cleared the way and one of these days, the tide will come in and we will be able to sail straight into the Haven of Rest in glory!
F. He Is The Commanding One – When Jesus Christ ascended back to Heaven, He ascended as the risen Lord of Glory. He ascended as One Who is to be worshiped, served and loved. His sacrifice and His death on the cross are reason enough for Him to demand worship from those He has saved by His grace.
(Ill. In an African village, it had come time to select a new chief. Several men were in the running, among them a man by the name of Dazee. On the day of the election, each of the candidates made their speeches and attempted to influence the people to choose them.
When it came Dazee’s time to speak, he reminded the people of a day when a lion came into the village. He reminded them of the danger to the children and the village that came that day. Then, he reminded them how he had run toward that lion and had thrust his hand down the throat of that lion killing it.
Then, he held up his mangled arm and cried, “On the basis of my wounds, I demand the right to be your leader.”
When the people heard his words and saw the visible evidence of what Dazee had done for them; they shouted with one voice, “Dazee is our leader! Dazee is our leader!”
I would submit to you that on the basis of His wounds alone, Jesus is worthy to be worshipped, served and loved by all those Who know Him. Is He Lord of your life tonight? I would suggest to you that if Jesus is not Lord of all, then He is not really Lord at all, Acts 10:36.
G. He Is The Completing One – Jesus left us the promise that He was going to prepare a place for us in Heaven so that we could be there with Him throughout eternity, John 14:1-3. Just as a bridegroom prepares a place to His bride, Jesus has committed Himself to providing a place for us. And, what a place it is – Ill. Rev. 21-22. One day, we will join Him in that place He is making ready for us!
H. He Is The Coming One – While Jesus was here, He told His men that He would be going away. But, He also promised them that He would come again, John 14:1-3. This promised was confirmed by the angels who attended the Lord’s ascension, Acts 1:11. One day soon our Savior will appear in the clouds above the earth and He will call His people up to meet Him in the clouds, 1 Thes. 4:16-18. On that day, these sinful, vile bodies will be changed into His image, 1 Cor. 15:51-54. One day soon, we will be with Him and we will be like Him, 1 John 3:1-3.
I. The Implications For The Savior
II. v. 20 THE IMPLICATIONS
FOR THE SAINTS
(Ill. I think it is clear from the things I have just mentioned that the ascension of the Lord Jesus has some tremendous implications for the Savior. I think it is clear that Heaven has been altered by the ascension of Jesus. If it is possible, Heaven is better than it was before He left to come to the earth. Because Jesus Christ left Heaven, became a man, died on the cross for sin, rose from the dead and ascended back to Heaven, Heaven is, and forever will be, different. Because of what Jesus did, Heaven is no longer just the home of God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, and countless angels. The door of Heaven has been opened to every person who will trust Jesus by faith. The implications of the ascension of Jesus translate to some very special blessings for the saints of God as well.
While His ascension impacted Heaven, it also impacts those He left behind to do His work in the earth. The final verse in Mark shows us how the ascension affects the servants of the Lord today.)
A. Their Ministry – Ten days after Jesus ascended back in to Heaven, an amazing event took place. You can read about it in Acts 1-2. The disciples, which numbered about 120 at the time, were praying, in one perfect agreement, in a room in Jerusalem. While they prayed, the Spirit of Jesus promised to send to them fell on them and they were given His power to preach His message to a lost world, Acts 1:8.
On that day, they preached the Gospel in Jerusalem and 3,000 people from all over the known world were saved. The disciples and their new converts took the Gospel message far and wide. Everywhere they went they told everyone they met that “Jesus died for our sins according to the Scripture; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Many thousands of people heard this good news and came to faith in Jesus, and the Gospel continued to spread. So much so that the disciples were accused of “turning the world upside down”, Acts 17:6. What they were actually doing was just what the Lord told them to do in verse 15. They were simply sharing the Gospel.
(Ill. This will still work today! The Gospel message has not changed in over 2,000 years. We have the privilege of taking the same message the disciples preached to our world today.
All around us are the lost and dying and they need to hear that Jesus made a way for them to be saved. They need to know that someone loves them enough to tell them about the Lord Jesus Christ. That is His command, and that is our mission, Matt. 28:19-20.
Will they all listen to us? No! Will they all respond by coming to Jesus for salvation? No! While many won’t, some will! When Paul and Barnabas preached in Antioch, this is what the Spirit of God said about salvation there: “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed,” Acts 13:48.
Not everyone who hears the message will believe, but some will be! Thus, we should do like the disciples and preach it everywhere!)
B. Their Master – Jesus has already ascended back into Heaven, but we are told that He was “working with them”. The phrase means that he was “a partner in their labor.” How is that possible? He is in Heaven and they are upon the earth. How did Jesus work with His disciples?
First, He did it through His intercession. As He prayed for them in Heaven at the right hand of God, all the power they needed to accomplish their mission was given to them.
Second, He did it through the power of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit of God came, He did want Jesus was unable to do. While Jesus was here in a human body, He was limited to one geographic location at a time. If He was with you, He could not be with me. When the Spirit of God came, He entered into every single one of the Lord’s followers. He came into the disciples on the Day of Pentecost. He has entered into every saint of God, at the moment of their conversion, since that day, 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:9.
As we labor for the Lord in this day, we can be assured that He will ever be with us, Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20. We can also be certain that He will stand with us to empower us and use us for His glory. He still works with His people! I praise the Lord that I do not have to do what He has called me to do alone!
C. Their Motivator – As they preached, Jesus was ever “confirming the Word” with demonstrations of divine power. Some of the signs are those we talked about last time in verses 17-18. Those signs are no longer in force, but God is still busy confirming His Word.
He confirms His Word by touching a lost sinner’s heart. He draws them to Jesus and God saves them when they come in faith. He changes that life and confirms His Word through making them a “new creature”, 2 Cor. 5:17.
He confirms His Word by keeping His promises in His people’s life. He promised, they asked and He came through for them. Many of us have benefited from that kind of confirmation.
He confirms His Word by speaking to His people through His Word. It is like water to a thirsty soul. It is like food to a starving man. It is like a balm to a wounded spirit. Thank God He confirms His Word in a demonstration of power for His glory! That has been my experience many times down through the years!
Conc: The ascension of Jesus was an amazing event. It opened the door of that city for all the redeemed to follow. It allowed the Holy Spirit to descend to fill and thrill the saints of God. It put God’s people to work for God’s glory in the world. Thank God for the ascension.
Mark closes his book with the word “amen”. We often see that word and a word of finality. We close our prayers with it. We say it back with we have heard what we think is the final word on a matter.
Well, the word “amen” means “let it be; so be it and so it is.” When Mark uses it, he is not ending the story of the Lord Jesus or the church. When Mark says “amen” here, he is saying, “let it be and so it is!” In other words, Mark is saying, “There’s more to the story. It isn’t over yet!”
And, it still isn’t over yet. The Lord Jesus is still in Heaven. He is still seated at His Father’s right hand. He is still praying for the people if God as they serve Him in this world. The Spirit of God is still here confirming the preaching of the Word of God by saving lost souls and changing redeemed lives. The church is still here telling a lost world that Jesus saves.
And, you are still here. You are either a lost soul that needs to be saved, or you are a redeemed saint of God that should be telling a lost world about Jesus. What does His ascension mean for you?
If you are lost, it means that you need to come be saved. If you are saved, it means that you need to commit yourself to a life of service. If the Lord has spoken to your heart, you come as He calls!