Ascension Sunday Celebrates Jesus’ Promises

Ascension Sunday Celebrates Jesus’ Promises

Ascension Sunday celebrates Jesus’ promises that everything He taught us is true because He ascended into heaven just as He said, which is our confirmation.

Ascension Sunday Celebrates Jesus’ Promises

Ascension Sunday Celebrates Jesus’ Promises

A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church

1 June 2014

Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

John 17:1–11
Acts 1:9-14
Ephesians 1:15–23
James 2:18-20
1 Peter 4:12–19
1 Peter 5:1–11

Ascension Sunday celebrates Jesus’ promises that everything He taught us is true because He ascended into heaven just as He said, which is our confirmation.

Jesus came to save the world from its corrupted state by having people truly return to God and stop the falseness that was going on within the Temple and among the religious leaders.

Jesus’ ascension was the proof that what He said was true, and that we can have real peace on earth as it is in heaven if we follow His teachings.

Let’s take a look at what we are told in John 17:1-11…

1. These things Jesus spoke; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee,

2. even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life.

This is one of the main promises, which is given to all who truly believe.

And we know who these people are, for their belief is manifested in their everyday lives as loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God who live in the heavenly will of God, for the benefit of the whole of creation including every other human being and all the animals.

3. “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.

Note carefully that this verse is not saying that these people will know ABOUT God and Jesus; it is saying that they will know God and Jesus in an intimate and very personal way, even more so than we know our own human fathers and mothers.

4. “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do.

5. “And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.

6. “I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world; Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me, and they have kept Thy word.

These are the true believers.

7. “Now they have come to know that everything Thou hast given Me is from Thee;

8. for the words which Thou gavest Me I have given to them; and they received them, and truly understood that I came forth from Thee, and they believed that Thou didst send Me.

There are many people who claim these things, but show no fruit in their everyday lives; for if they truly believed, by faith it would be manifested in their lives as peacemaking children of God.

Let’s pause here for a moment, for we need to remember what James taught us in 2:18-20…

18. But someone may well say, “You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

This is the confirmation of what we are talking about, but James goes even further with a warning to those who are not true followers of Jesus.

19. You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

The tragedy is that many of these falsely claiming Christians don’t even shudder as they continue living according to the ways of the world.

20. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
NASB

This is a very important passage for all of us to meditate upon as we look at our own lives.

With this in mind, let’s return to our John passage.

9. “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine;

We all need to carefully recognize how Jesus makes the distinction between the true believers and everyone else.

10. and all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.

11. “And I am no more in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are.
NASB

This is all part of the promises that are confirmed by Jesus’ ascension, which we are told about in Acts 1:9-14…

9. And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

10. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them;

11. and they also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

This is another promise that is confirmed by Jesus’ ascension.

Jesus will come again!

12. Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.

13. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.

14. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
NASB

This shows us that in the early church, the women played a vital part in the ministry.

Jesus came to equally save the whole world: every human man, woman and child, and all the animals, from the evil corruption that most of our fellow human beings have brought upon God’s beautiful creation.

Let’s now take a look at what Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:15-23…

15. For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you, and your love for all the saints,

The saints are the true believers who follow the loving, compassionate, and peacemaking teaching of Jesus.

16. do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;

17. that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.

This is what happens when the Holy Spirit enters our lives and changes us from our former worldly ways into the loving, compassionate and peacemaking children of God who seek to free creation from its present corruption.

We seriously doubt the born again claims of any Christian who does not exhibit this kind of changed life.

18. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

19. and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might

20. which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

21. far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come.

Paul is telling us all that Jesus’ ascension is the confirmation of everything that Jesus taught us.

22. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,

23. which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.
NASB

This is also our calling.

We are to be like Jesus and continue to follow His teachings, and continually extend His influence to every part of the world, beginning in our own homes and towns.

But our ministry doesn’t end here; in fact, it should never end.

In 1 Peter 4:12-19, we are told some things about this continual ministry.

12. Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;

Sometimes it really seems like the devil is trying to destroy everything we try to do to free creation from its present corruption.

13. but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.

This may seem hard to do when we are suffering for our efforts to make this a better and kinder world, especially our peacefully working to end the horrible exploitation and suffering of the animals, and to end the indifference to this suffering by most people.

Most importantly, we are to always remain at peace, and to never resort to revenge or violence, for it only causes more violence and is a very bad witness to the world around us.

14. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

15. By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;

16. but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God.

17. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

It will be a lot worse for them, but this must always be left to God.

18. And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?

19. Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

This is all part of the truth confirmed in Jesus’ ascension.

Then Peter goes on and tells us how we are to present ourselves in1 Peter 5:1-11…

1. Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,

All of us who have been truly born again and are living in the heavenly will of God who do no harm to any part of God’s creation are called to be a part of a royal priesthood, which make us the people to whom Peter is speaking, and in this calling we are to…

2. shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;

3. nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.

In loving, compassionate, and peaceful ways we are to set the example of living as children of God, and encouraging others to also live in this peaceful way that causes no harm to any other human being or animal.

We are to help others feel the pain and suffering of creation, and help them return to God’s original heavenly intent of eating only plant foods which cause no harm to any other living being, and improves our own health in the process.

4. And when the Chief Shepherd [Jesus Christ] appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

5. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

And truly humble people do no harm to any other living being or to any other part of God’s creation, for destructiveness is a trait of the proud who think of themselves as being above others whom they can treat any way they want.

6. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,

7. casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

The proud and arrogant people of this world are the ones who follow the ways of the devil and cause millions of our fellow human beings and billions of other animals to suffer and die every year.

And, we are to take a peaceful stand against them.

8. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

9. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

10. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

11. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.
NASB

This is all part of Jesus’ ascension promises.

And, this should be our Amen, too.

Amen.

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