What I believe – Lesson 6

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Present Ministry of Christ

Acts 1:6-11

 

Acts 1:6–11 ESV “1:6 ¶ So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

1:7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.

1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

1:9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

1:10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,

1:11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”” 

 

Apostle Creed

“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and was buried. The third day He rose again from the dead;

He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.”

Wesley’s Article 3—Of the Resurrection of Christ – Christ did truly rise again from the dead, and took again his body, with all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth until he return to judge all men at the last day.

We believe that Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father and is waiting to return to the earth to set up His earthly kingdom.

Christ ascended to Heaven.

Acts 1:6–11 ESV “1:6 ¶ So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

1:7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.

1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

1:9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

1:10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,

1:11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.””

What does the ascension mean for the Christian?  Christ who was humiliated, suffered, and died on the cross, who spent 3 days in grave, ascended to heaven in exaltation.  

Philippians 2:8–11 ESV “2:8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

2:9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,

2:10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

2:11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

As He ascended, one day will will be caught up together with the Lord to be with Him throughout eternity.  Even though the present suffering we are experiencing in this life is nothing to be compared to the joy that awaits us in heaven.

Romans 8:18 ESV “¶ For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

“Failure, afflictions, persecutions, sickness, illness, handicaps, pain, heartbreak, disappointments – out of all that God picks His servants up and exalts them in His own time.”⁠1

The ascension of Christ is the hope of the believer that one day we will rise and be with Him in eternity.

Ascension of Christ as the High Priest who entered the Holy of Holies which is above and presented His blood as the sacrifice for the sins of the world.  He tore the veil into so we might come into the presence of God.

John 14:1–3 ESV “14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

14:2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” 

Christ at the right hand of the Father

What is Christ’s ministry now?  What is He doing in heaven as He waits to return to set up His Kingdom?

Romans 8:34 ESV “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”

Hebrews 7:25 ESV “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”

Christ is in heaven, at the right hand of the Father, interceding on behalf of the children of God.  He is our advocate.  In order for Him to intercede, he must be in the presence of the Father, speaking on our behalf (notice the verbs in the two Scriptures are present tense).

He is building His Church.

1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”

That one body is the church, the bride of Christ.

Ephesians 5:22–27 ESV “5:22 ¶ Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.

5:24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

5:25 ¶ Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

5:26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

5:27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”

He is giving Christians gifts for the ministry.

Ephesians 4:8, 11–13 ESV “4:8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,

4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,”

He is giving strength and nourishment to the Church

Ephesians 5:29–30 ESV “5:29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,

5:30 because we are members of his body.”

He is cleansing the Church.

Ephesians 5:25–27 ESV “5:25 ¶ Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

5:26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

5:27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”

He intercedes when fellowship is broken with the Father

1 John 2:1–2 ESV “2:1 ¶ My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

2:2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Word advocate is the Greek work ‘parakletos’ which means defense attorney.  He is the one who intercedes on behalf of another. 

Isaiah 59:2 ESV “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”

Psalm 66:18 ESV “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”

Sin separates us from the Lord in fellowship.  Jesus is our advocate between us and the Lord.  He intercedes on our behalf.

He is preparing a place for us.

John 14:1–6 ESV “14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

14:2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

14:4 And you know the way to where I am going.”

14:5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—” 

Revelation 21:10–27 ESV “21:10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,

21:11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

21:12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—

21:13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.

21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

21:15 ¶ And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls.

21:16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal.

21:17 He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement.

21:18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass.

21:19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,

21:20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.

21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

21:22 ¶ And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.

21:23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

21:24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,

21:25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.

21:26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.

21:27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” 

Christ is preparing a place for those who believe in Him.  He is preparing a place for eternal dwelling, the city of New Jerusalem.

Christ is working through our lives to produce fruit.

John 15:1–7 ESV “15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

15:2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

15:3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

15:6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

By the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, He is producing the fruit of the Spirit in us so we might become more like Him.

1 Timothy 2:1–2 ESV “2:1 ¶ First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,

2:2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” 

James 5:14–16 ESV “5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

5:15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

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1 Kennedy, D. James, He Ascended into Heaven,  Coral Ridge Ministries, Forth Lauderdale, FL,

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