“God, we begin, by asking that you would enable us to have a clear picture of who Jesus is. What he has done, where he is today. And what he is doing at present. For that happen we are going to study Scripture. And we’re asking God that you would send the Holy Spirit, you would send God, the Holy Spirit to teach us to instruct us, to convict us, to inform us, to empower us to enable us to see Jesus as he is, fully revealed in Scripture.
And so God, our hope is to know more about Jesus, today. To have hearts that love him. To have minds that trust him and have lives that obey him so that we ask that our time would be pleasing to you. That it would be profitable to us. And we ask that in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen”
Well again, we’re taking 12 weeks. And we’re, we’re asking the question this week, “Where is Jesus?” And you’re going to get a lot of answers to that question, depending on who you ask.
If you ask a Bahá’í , “Where is Jesus?” Well, they would say, “We’ll Jesus, body perhaps is in the ground but his soul is with the Lord. Because he was a Holy Man, he wasn’t God. And so like Holy Men do he went to heaven.”
If you ask, a Mormon, “Where is Jesus, they may tell you, “Well he was a man who became God, not God, and he got his own planet and a wife, who’s eternally pregnant, populating their planet.” That’s the Mormon vision of heaven, to which most women would say, “That’s sounds like hell, eternally pregnant. (Laughter) Yes, it does. I’ve seen it, up close and personal, second hand. It’s a lot of morning sickness.
If you ask a Jehovah’s Witness, “Where is Jesus today?” They would say, “He did not rise from death physically instead he just rose spiritually and that he actually returned to rule the earth in 1914, and he’s since been ruling on the earth through the Watch Towner Society, in Pittsburg.” So, Jesus is spiritually in Pittsburg. Which makes playing the Super Bowl (Laughter) – maybe Jesus had something to do with that.
If you ask a Muslim, Scholar, “Where is Jesus today?” You will get various answers. But as a general rule, probably the most common would be. “Maybe Jesus didn’t die on the cross instead he was taken up to heaven like Enoch or Elijah in the Old Testament. And though he is not God like, like Holy Men sometimes do, he did not die and rise he was simply taken into heaven.”
If you ask an Orthodox Jew, “Where is Jesus? “They would say, “Well he’s in the ground. He died and he never did rise and his bones are somewhere in the Middle East.”
And the two likely most prominent, responses to the question where is Jesus. Is the Christian position, which I will share with you in a moment. And that position said that Jesus just died he never did rise, he’s not alive, and his bones are somewhere in the dirt in the Middle East. And some would say that is in fact the case.
And this has a long history in America. For example Thomas Jefferson when he as our President. He said down at the White House with a copy of the Bible and a razor and he cut out the parts of the Bible that he thought were wrong. I guess he had a lot of self esteem, and when you’re the President, you have a high view of yourself. So, he’s cutting out whole sections of the Bible and he created something called the Philosophy of Jesus Christ.
And he took out all of the miracles including the resurrection. And only about a tenth of the New Testament text actually remained in the Bible. So, he says Jesus is dead, and in the grave and he never did rise, all he left for us was some good teachings. He was a good, moral, Holy Teacher, but he certainly wasn’t God. And he is not eternally alive in heaven of anything of that nature.
Following in that some sort of attitude was the Jesus Seminar, which was convened, in 1985. There were 30 “scholars,” I’ll use that in quotes. And 200 fellows that gathered together and they walked through the New Testament Gospels about Jesus and the voted on the words and the deeds attributed to Jesus and they decided what they thought should remain and should go. And they decided only about 18 percent of what we actually was said by Jesus, was actually said by him, including nothing from the Gospel of John. They rejected all of John, because Jesus keeps saying he’s God throughout the Gospel of John. And one of the “scholars” on that team said, “Jesus, died on the cross, his body was thrown in a ditch and was eaten by dogs, and so if you want to know where Jesus you got to find his bones, somewhere in a ditch in the Middle East.”
Those are the varying perspectives of where Jesus Christ is today, and if you saw the Di Vinci Code or read the book. You know that the myth there is that Jesus didn’t die and rise and that Jesus isn’t alive today, instead Jesus ran off to France. (Laughter)
I’m half French. I’m half Irish and half French. My Grandpa was Gauthier and the other was O’Driscoll. And, a, I continue to repent to the French half. I’m proud of the Irish half. Anyways,
Jesus you will be told in the Di Vinci Code ran off to France with his wife. Had a few kids, died and he’s buried somewhere, you know, no one knows, that his bones are just laying in the ground. Those are kind of the common perspectives.
We’ll, what I would like to do today, is ask the question. “Where is Jesus? And not just hear whatever one says about Jesus, but actually hear from Jesus what he would have to say about this. In the Scriptures he says in John 16:28, “That he came down from heaven and that he is doing the ministry on the earth and that he is going back to heaven.”
I’ll read it for you. And by way of correlation in your notes I’ve got, one, two, three, four, five, six, other places just in the Gospel of John where Jesus essentially says the same thing, “I’m eternal God, who lived in heaven. I am down into human history, to live without sin, to die and rise and I’m going back to heaven.”
He says this in John 16:28, Jesus says, “I came from the Father and entered the world and now I’m leaving the world and going back to the Father.” says, “I’m eternal God, live in heaven. I’ve come down to the earth for a mission, to save sinners through my death, burial and resurrection and then when I’m done with my mission I will turn back to heaven where I came from.”
So Jesus repeatedly answered the question, where he is today. He is in heaven, alive and well. He died, he rose, he ascended. We call this the Exaltation of Jesus. And there are two truths that I need you to keep in your mind. One is that, during Jesus life on the earth we saw him in his state of humble incarnation. And now that he is returned to heaven we must see him in his state of glorious exaltation.
And Jesus humble incarnation is our humble example of how to live our life. How to forgive our enemies, love people, feed the hungry, care for widows and orphans, do good deeds, love our neighbor, right, that is our example. But also it is imperative that when we think of Jesus, we think of Jesus, as the Scriptures completely, reveal him.
And my fear is that if we get our only picture of Jesus from the four Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We will only think of Jesus, as a humble, marginalized Galilean peasant, which in fact was the case during his humble incarnation on the earth. But, if we don’t keep reading Acts and the Book of Revelation, to see him in his state of glorious exaltation, we will miss the full breath of who Jesus is according to Scripture.
And so what I will do is I will tell you a little bit about Jesus from the Book of Revelation. Some of you say, “That’s a spooky book. I don’t like it.” It’s not a spooky book. Sometimes the dudes that teach it are a little spooky. I will concede that point to be sure. The Book of Revelation is a book about Jesus. The opening line of the book says, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.
So, it’s not a book about black hawk helicopters and getting a bar code on your head for the Anti Christ to scan you at Safeway. That’s not what it’s about, okay, though some would teach you that.
The book of Revelation is a book about Jesus. And it breaks into to scenes. There are earthly scenes with wars and conflict and issues on the earth. And there are heavenly scenes where Jesus Christ is revealed and seated in glory, ruling reigning as Lord God and King over all. And all worship proceeds to the thrown and all truth and judgment proceeds from the thrown of Jesus and therein we see Jesus.
So I’m going to read a section of Revelation 19, about Jesus. And if you have been here for any length of time, you may of heard this before. But I’ll read to the description of Jesus if we were to see him today, in heaven. You wouldn’t see humble, marginalized Galilean peasant. You would see this guy. Revelation 19:11, “I saw heaven standing open,” so John got a glimpse of heaven opened up. “And before me was a white horse.”
How many of you dudes grew up watching westerns? The good guy always rides the what, the white horse. You can tell. Here he comes, Jesus on a white horse. Western, by the way ripped off they and should pay a royalty to the Bible, ‘cause they ripped that off. Anyways, “whose rider is called Faithful and True.” Love that. “With justice he judges and makes war.” This is not pacified, hippy Jesus right. This is ultimate fighter, open the can
Jesus. That’s this Jesus. Love this guy.
“His eyes are like blazing fires, “– like that dude in that video, he does not blink and doesn’t miss anything. (Laughter) “And on his head were many crowns, king of all kings. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he, himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood.” Ha-ho, love that. Love that.
See before I was a Christian I was very disinterested in Jesus because I thought, “Why, give your life to a man you can beat up.” That’s what I thought. “Cause the pictures I all seen of Jesus, he had feathered hair, was wearing a dress, listening to Elton John, and I just didn’t think that I was going to give my life to him. Now this guy right here, I can’t take him, right? He’s got a robe dipped in blood. Any guy who has blood as an accessory is tough, right. (Laughter) And it ain’t his blood and that’s another point.
“And his name is the Word of God. And the armies of heaven were riding with him. “The saints and angels,” he got a posse – love that – “riding on white horses dressed in fine linen white and clean.” I’ve said it before but bears repeating, if you go to fight a guy and he shows up in white, you are dead. He is a very tough man. Any man, who shows up in fresh, pressed white linen for battle, is pretty sure he can take you. He doesn’t plan on getting dirty. That’s a scary man, run for your life, (Laughter) right.
“Out of his mouth comes a short sword.” My sons love this. They run around the house with a sword protruding from their mouth screaming Revelation 19, true story. (Laughter) We’re kind of an Old Testament family. “Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword which to strike down the nations.” This is, this is, this is a tough Jesus. “He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress with the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” The concept of the wine press is they would throw grapes in the press, they would stomp them under foot and the juice would flow, “So it will be at the Second Coming of Jesus that his enemies will be trampled under foot and their blood will flow.”
“On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written. King of Kings, Lord of Lord.” Tattooed down the leg of Jesus, right, this is tattooed up, white horse ridin, blazing eyes, all seeing, sword comin to slaughter the nations, robe dipped in blood Jesus. Love it. Love that guy, you know.
Some of you say, “I just struggle with my prayer life.” It may be that you don’t have a clear picture of Jesus. This guy could actually do something. He’s a good guy to pray, too. Some of you may say, “My worship is very uninspired. It may be because you have a very deficient picture of Jesus. You don’t think of Jesus as Scripture portrays him in his present state.
The result of this as well is a growing crisis in Christianity where men don’t think much of Jesus. Men are not inspired by Jesus. Men don’t participate in church life. And if they do they tend to be not the most manly. So, much so a statistician, George Barner has said, “That 60 percent of all American Christians are female, only 40 percent are male.
Again, we are glad that so many women love Jesus. But, the question needs to be answered, “Why would so many men be so unimpressed and uninspired and unmotivated by Jesus. It may be because all they know of is Jesus during his humble incarnation. They don’t have any accurate picture of him in his glorious exultation. Some of you single women are here and you love Jesus and you’re saying, “I would like to be married. I’m having a hard time meeting a good man.” That’s because the women are the ones predominately walking with Jesus not the men. And the odds are against them. There are between 11 and 13 million more female Christians, then male Christians. It’s just an issue.
Not only that, women tend to be far more committed to Jesus in ministry. They are 100 percent more likely to be involved in discipleship, 56 percent more likely to hold a church leadership position, and 54 percent more likely to participate in a small group. 46 percent more likely to disciple another person, 39 percent more likely to have a devotional or quite time, 33 percent more likely to volunteer for church, service 29 percent more likely to read their Bible, 29 percent more likely to attend church, 29 percent more likely to share their faith with another person, and 23 percent more likely to give money to their church.
Statistically most men are not impressed by Jesus. Statistically most men are not fearful of Jesus. Statistically most people who worship Jesus are female and those men who reject Jesus, I think it is often in part, that they have not wrong, but an only partial view of Jesus. All they see humble, marginalized, Galilean peasant. They don’t know that they are still alive. That his King, Lord, God, he’s triumphant, warrior, victor, he’s the kind of inspiring God that men should seek to be like to pray to, to worship as, exalted, glorious, risen, ascended, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
And so I think that one of the reasons there is such a deficiency in men and masculinity is incomplete portrait of Jesus. To help correct that, I want to take you from the resurrection of Jesus, which we examined in previous weeks. Where Jesus, rose physically, bodily, from death, he then appeared before 40 days proving to everyone that he was in fact alive and conquered sin and death. And then we’ll look at Acts and Revelation and other Scriptures say about what happened after the Gospels were written about the ensuing times in which the Book of Acts, in the New Testament Epistles were written.
We’ll start in Acts Chapter 1 and will look at the ascension of Jesus. “After he died, he rose, appeared for forty days, Jesus ascended into heaven.” It says this is Acts 1:9 through 11, “he was taken up before their very eyes and the cloud hit him from their side. They were looking intently, up in the sky as he was going.” Right, everybody’s hanging out with Jesus. And then he just starts going up, had to be an interesting moment, right. Where’s Jesus, op, right somebody put a string on him. “Where’s he going? What, what, where’s Jesus going? He’s going back up to heaven just like he said he would ”
“Then suddenly two men dressed in white, perhaps angels stood beside them, men of Galilee, they said, “why do you stand here looking to the sky?” “The same Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven will come back in the very same way you’ve seen him go into heaven.”
“They say, “Well, Jesus ascended back into heaven now. You guys go about your ministry. Tell the people about his resurrection and accession and when the appointed time comes he will descend back to the earth as you have seen him ascend in to heaven. That means that Jesus is alive today. That Jesus is in heaven today. And that Jesus continues to occupy a glorified resurrected physical body. He rose in a glorified, resurrected physical body. He ascended in that body and he will return in the same way that he went in a glorified, resurrected, physical body.
Second thing is, when he ascended he took Christians with him. Okay, some of you may have wondered, “Well, if Jesus is the one who died for sin and when he ascended into heaven, if he opened up heaven. What, what did God do with the Christians, the people who were trusting in Jesus, the Old Testament Jews who loved him and we’re waiting for him. What did he do with them if heaven wasn’t open and Jesus hadn’t open heaven, what happened to them?
Luke 16 records that, “They were taken to a place and there they were held.” It’s not purgatory, and it’s not hell.
Some people say that Jesus went to hell upon his death, but he didn’t. Remember what he said on the cross the thief, “Today, you will be with me,” where? “Paradise” – hell is not paradise, those are not synonyms. Detroit isn’t even paradise, right. I mean, it’s – Jesus said, “I’m going to Paradise.” Paradise is that place where the people who love Jesus and were waiting for his resurrection and his ascension to open heaven. That’s where they were waiting for Jesus, right. So Jesus went to that place and three days later he rose. 40 days after that he ascended into heaven and Ephesians 2, 4:8 rather, says, “When he ascended, on high, he lead captives in his train.” So, Jesus opened heaven with his ascension and all of the Old Testament saints who had been waiting for the forgiveness of sin, through the resurrection of Jesus and his ascension into heaven which, opened heaven. They all were taken with him.
“So, that today, if you die,” Paul says. To the Corinthians, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” So, if we die today we don’t go to purgatory, we don’t go to hell, if we know Jesus, and we don’t go to some middle holding place. Instead we go to heaven to be with Jesus, because he has opened heaven for us at his ascension.
So, Jesus has ascended into heaven. He took Old Testament saints with him and then he was seated at the right hand of God the Father. And this concept of the right hand in Scripture is very important. Because with your right hand you make treaties, pray over people, extend a hand of friendship, bless people, enter into covenants. And to be seated at the right hand of someone is the seat of authority and preeminence and prominence and respect it’s a glorious place to be seated.
Psalm, 110, verse 1, prophesized, that Jesus would be seated at the right hand of God the Father. It says it this way, “The Lord – that is God the Father – says to my Lord, – that is Jesus Christ, God the Son – sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for feet.” And the Jesus says, “That he in fact was ascending into heaven to fulfill that prophecy in Matthew 26:64, “Yes, it is as you say Jesus replied. But I say to all of you, in the future you will see the Son of Man speaking of himself, -with a Messianic title from Daniel 7, – sitting at the right hand of the mighty one and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
“The promise was given that God, the Son would sit at the right hand as equal in authority and glory and honor and power he would sit at the right hand of God the Father and Jesus says, “That promise is given about me. And when I finish my work and ascend into heaven, I will be seated at the right hand of God the Father.” So, Jesus is alive today. In a glorified resurrected body. He’s in his glorious exultation in heaven and he is seated at the right hand of God the Father. And he is seated Scripture says, “On the throne.” This is one of my favorite images in all of Scripture. This concept of the throne, or this image of the thrown sometimes refers to earthly rulers, often refers to God. It appears 196 times in Scripture. It appears roughly 135 times in the Old Testament, 61 times in the New Testament. Of the 61 New Testament occurrences, of the thrown, 45 are in the Book of Revelation, there it appears in 17 of 22 Chapters. The most packed Chapter on the thrown is Revelation, Chapter 4.
And what Revelation’s shows us repeatedly, when heaven opens up we see the heavenly scenes the centerpiece is the throne and seated on the throne is Jesus, ruling and reigning as King, Lord, God, Warrior and Savior.
And in that day when people sat on the floor, squatted and reclined, it was Kings that sat on thrones. It was presets that sat on thrones. It was triumphant, victorious, noble warriors who returned from battle, who were seated on thrones in places of honor, to be thanked and praised by those who loved so well, to Sacrifice their own life to save. And Jesus is all of those. He sits on our throne as our Priest, who mediates between us and God. As a King that rules over everyone and everything. And is a triumphant warrior and victorious warrior against sin and death, who has conquered Satan and has ascended into heaven and has been honored with the seat at the right hand of the Father, seated on the throne in heaven.
Why do I tell you this? What does this matter, because my fear is that so many of us have a deficient picture of Jesus. When we think of Jesus, we don’t think of anyone who is still alive. We don’t think of anyone who is in any authority, any power. We don’t think of anyone who can help us. Who can answer our prayer? Who can make any difference in our life? Who has rule or authority or jurisdiction over our world?
And the concept of Jesus high and exalted as eternal God, seated at the right hand of the Father on the throne in heaven. That’s a Jesus we can pray to. That’s a Jesus we can worship. That’s a Jesus that when we are told that we will stand before him at the end of our life and give an account for all that we have said and done and believe, that is a Jesus we should respect, right fear and give appropriate homage too.
Now regarding this, because Jesus throne is in heaven, it is over all creation. It is over human beings, and creatures, and beasts, and angels, it is over nations and Kingdoms. It extends over all creation, that is the concept of the exaltation of Jesus, that he is supreme, that he is over all people, times, places, circumstances, religions, perspectives, ideologies, preferences, and such.
I’ll read some examples to you about the absolute claims of Jesus as being unprecedented on his scope of rule and reign from him throne in glory. In Matthew in 11:27, he said, “All things have been committed to me by my Father.” What is under the jurisdiction of Jesus? All things!
It says in John 3:35, “Jesus says the Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.” What is in the hands of Jesus? Everything, nations, Kings, Kingdoms, philosophies, religion, times, places, tragedies. All are in the hands of Jesus. This is what we mean when we say that Jesus is Lord. That Jesus is sovereign. That’s what we mean. That nothing is beyond the control of his hand.
Ephesians, 1:28, 1:22 rather says, “That God placed all things under his feet, and appointed him to be the head over everything for the church.” Jesus is over everything. Jesus, rules over all things. And again this is not controversial. If we simply say Jesus rules over Christians. Jesus is my personal Savior. Jesus is my personal Lord. Jesus rules over my family. Jesus rules over my church. Where we get into trouble when we say Jesus rules over all people. Jesus rules over all religions. Jesus rules over all nations. Jesus rules over all circumstances, right.
This is what got the Old Testament saints in trouble. This is what got the New Testament saints martyred. You can every God you want. Any God you want. Just don’t say your God is above the other God. That your God is the only God and that your God rules and reigns, supreme over all peoples, times, places, circumstances, and perspectives. But that is exactly what Scripture says about Jesus. These are unparalleled claims.
Furthermore it says, Acts 10:36,” Jesus Christ is Lord over all.” all nations, all races, all cultures, all religions, all peoples, all times, all places. Colossians 1:15, “He, – Jesus – is the image of the invisible God the first born over all creation,” over all creation over all plants, over all animals, over all galaxies, over all countries, over all being, over everyone and everything,
And it says, in Colossians, 1:17 and 18, “He is before all things. That he is eternal before anything came into existence, and in him all things hold together, and he is the head of the body the Church, and he is the beginning of the first born among the dead, so that in everything he might have supremacy.”
This is a big Jesus. And one of the great deficiencies among Christians is to have a very, small, a very diminished Jesus, simply the Jesus of the humble incarnation, not the Jesus of the glorious exaltation. And again both are true. The incarnation of Jesus during his humble life on our earth, that is our example, but the exaltation, of Jesus that is the object of our worship.
If you were to see Jesus today you would see him on the throne, high and exalted, ruling and reigning over everyone and everything, from the right hand of the Father. And you would naturally be undone because you would acknowledge your sinfulness. You would naturally worship him because that is the reason that you were made, to worship that man, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And furthermore, what this means practically, and this is where Christianity becomes exceedingly contentious in the mind of some. Some of you say, “This sounds very exclusive.” And it is. It is also very inclusive and this is the paradox of Jesus. He is very exclusive in that “No one comes to the Father”, he says, “But through him.” Yet there is no God but him, There is no life, but him. There is no forgiveness of sin, but him, very exclusive, but very inclusive in that every nation, tribe, language, tongue, color, background, and sexual orientation are welcome to repent of sin and trust in him.
That Jesus is exclusive and he alone reigns as supreme, and the only God, but he is very inclusive, in that he invites everyone to taste of his grace, to be forgiven of their sin, and to spend forever with him. What this means, practically, and this is where there is conflict. This means that Jesus is supreme, the only God, ruling and reigning over homosexuals, heterosexuals, bi-sexual, young and old, rich and poor, black and white, those who are republican and democrat. Those who are wise and simple, those who live in the suburbs, those who live in the cities, those who live in the rural areas, those who live I n the past, those who live in the present, those who live the future, those who Jesus is the only God, ruling and reigning in authority over Buddhist, over Jews, over Muslins, over Bahá’í’s, over those who are into Jehovah’s Witness, Mormonism, and Christianity, that Jesus Christ rules over the healthy and the sick, all generations,
He rules over the living and the dead. He rules over all the nations, all the Kings, all the kingdoms, all the issues, all the ideologies, all the philosophies, and there is nothing above Jesus. He rules and reigns supreme over all, after his ascension, his glorious exaltation.
That is the Jesus we’re talking about when we speak of the Jesus of the Bible who is alive and well today, seated on his throne, in heaven at the right hand of the Father. [Applause]
Reload. This is the issue; people will not have any trouble if we say Jesus is the God of Christians. Jesus is the God of my family. Jesus is the God of my life, if we say, “No, there is not God but Jesus that is where the conflict comes. And again the early church was told can’t you worship Jesus and other God’s and also the Emperor? And Christians said, “No, the Emperor sits on a throne but we have someone who sits in a bigger throne. And his kingdom is bigger than that kingdom, ruled by the Emperor and we have allegiance to Jesus as our King and his kingdom above this King and his kingdom and that is the way if must be.”
And Christians were put to death on this every issue, the supremacy, the exaltation, the superiority, the authority, the rule, the sovereign Lordship, of this living, forever living Jesus. That being said, this has all kind of practical implications for you and me that are wonderful and glorious and good.
Is not only is Jesus alive and ruling and reigning and that kind of authority and power. That he loves us. And that he intercedes for us. And that Jesus Christ in his glorified, resurrected, exalted, body remains fully God, fully man, just like the Caledonian Creed that we studied some weeks ago.
First Timothy 2: 5, says, “That there’s, there’s one God,” first thing. “There is one God, and there is one mediator between human beings and God,” That is who? First Timothy 2: 5 says, “Man, Christ Jesus” – that means today, Jesus remains alive, as our mediator. He still exists in his glorified,
resurrected physical body. He is God who became a man to identify with men and women and that he ascended and he is still interceding for us. That means that our whole life now, for those of us who are Christian, is Trinitarian in nature, that the Spirit of God, God the Holy Spirit, lives in me and I pray by the power of the Spirit, through the mediator ship of Jesus to God the Father.
The reason that God the Father hears my prayers is that they are they are connected together to God the Father by Jesus Christ, God the Son. My worship is by the, enabling God the Holy Spirit, in me through Jesus Christ, my mediator, to God the Father and that is how our whole life is lived, Trinitarian in nature. By the power of the Spirit, through the mediator ship of Jesus to the glory of the Father are all things. And Jesus is our living mediator; because he’s alive we can talk to him. He hears, because he rules and reigns, he has the ability to answer prayer, to be involved in our lives, to have implications on the earth.
And when we pray to Jesus, we’re not just praying to someone that we hope is alive to hear us. But we’re praying to someone who we know is alive and alone cam mediate between us and the Father and see that our prayers are heard and answered.
Second, benefit that we have is that I know practically we’re seated here at Church. But, positionally we are seated with Jesus Christ in the heavens. That not only is Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father, that in love of us and in grace to us, nothing that we deserve, Jesus has seen fit to positional seat us with him so that we share in his authority. No so that we would be prone to triumphal arrogance but rather that we would have authority over Satan and demons and to live free lives. And he says it this way in Ephesians, 2:6,”God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. If Christ is in you and you are in Christ you are positionally seated with Jesus Christ in heaven, and Paul tells the Corinthians, that, “You will judge the angels, that includes the demons, and that by the authority of Jesus, the designated authority of Jesus you have the authority to tread on serpents or demons.”
You do not need to be harassed by evil spirits, by tormenting dreams, by demonic accusations, and strongholds in your life. We have the authority of Jesus. It’s not that we innately posses that kind of authority but by virtue of that fact that Jesus has seated us with him everything that is under the authority of Jesus is likewise, under the authority of the Christian who by God’s grace is positionally seated next to Jesus, in glory.
And then additionally, not only do we have these benefits during this life because of the accession of Jesus, back into heaven. “But he has gone there to prepare a place for us so that upon his coming or our death we shall be forever with him, in heaven.” He said this in John 14:2 and 3.
“And my Father’s house” – great metaphor –“are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you, I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go there to prepare a place for you I will come back and take you to be with me, so that you also may be where I am.”
Jesus lived the life we could not live. He died the death we should have died. He rose for our victory over Satan’s, sin and death. He appeared for 40 days, he ascended into heaven, in a glorified resurrected body. He has prepared a place for his people and all who die with in faith in him, following his wake and find himself in his kingdom where there is not sickness, there is not sin, there is no death, there is no evil, there is no justice, there is no Tierney The kingdom that God intended before sin corrupted everything that he made very good.
The only way that we have any possibility of eternal life that is good, is through Jesus, ascending and opening heaven and enabling us by his loving affection to follow in his wake. Those are the benefits and some practical implications of the accession of living, gloried, resurrected, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ in heaven, on the throne at the right hand of the Father over everyone and everything.
It is that Jesus who we will stand before at the end and be judged by and given an account too. And prior to his ascension, Jesus gave us the Church, some final commands that he intended for us to obey. He says them at the end of Matthew and essentially reiterates’ them at the beginning of the Book of Acts.
I’ll read from Matthew, 28: 18 through 20, it’s known as the great commission. The ascended Jesus, just before his accession, the words that he gave to us his people, was that he had some work for us to do. That he was retuning but that his ministry had to continue and that you and I in the power of the Holy Spirit would be blessed to partake in that work. He said in this way, again what would you say on your death bed? What would your final words be? If you knew that you were having some of your final conversations with those you love most dearly, what would you say? Here is what Jesus said and this is what weighted most strongly on his heart.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.” Okay, let’s not read that too, quickly. Let’s, let’s meditate on that briefly, all authority that is a strong claim. The essence of the post modern mood, and I believe that is a little more than that. Is that there is not authority. There is no one above human history. There is no objective point from which history can be seen or judged. And that no one has authority to say that something is right and something is wrong and something is true. And something is false. The result is a foggy world of despair that we’re trapped in.
Jesus says, “All authority has been given to me.” This is an unparalleled claim. “All authority, he says, in heaven and on the earth.” Right, this is the complete supremacy and utter ruler ship of Jesus. That he rules over heaven. That he rules over earth. He rules over everything. As exalted, ascend, Lord God and Savior. “All authority has been given to me,” and then he continues, “therefore as you go”, – as you go about your life your job, as you go to school, as you move around, as you spread throughout the nations of the earth – “make disciples of all nations.” You say, “But this nation already has their religion.” Jesus says, “That doesn’t matter. All authority has been given to me. I’m the only God. That religion that does not worship me, those people need to hear about me.”
But these people have their own degrees and their own opinions and their own ideologies and their own political issues and their own sexual
preferences and their own philosophical presuppositions. Jesus says, “Does not matter. All authority is given to me. When you meet them, tell them about me.” “All authority is been given on to me. Therefore as you go, make disciples of all nations.”
People who live disciplined lives, that’s what a disciple is. “Baptizing them in the Trinitarian name, of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jesus says, “That the earth is accountable to him.” And that every human being who lives on the earth, is under his authority. And that he they are to obey his commands, and that there is no authority beyond Jesus. And that if we continue to abide in him then he is with us, always.”
What that means practically is, Jesus is with us here, today. Scripture says elsewhere, “Though you do not see him, you love him and are filled with the glorious and inexpressible joy.” That Jesus is alive and he has not left us. And he is not forsaken us. He has not abandoned us orphans, that rather through the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit Jesus is with all of the Children of God and Jesus as Omniscient, all knowing, omnipresent, all present God, he knows everything and he is in a very real way with us even in our church service today.
“I’ll pray, “Lord Jesus, we thank you, I thank you for the picture of your glorious exultation of your ascension returning to your throne in heaven. Jesus, I pray that we would repent of deficient pictures of you, pictures that see you so solely in your humble incarnation, not seeing you also worthy of worship, and praise, and trust and obedience and your glories exaltation.
It is my prayer Lord God that you would light a fire in the hearts of our people. Not just that they would do more or be more but rather they would trust you, that they would live for your glory, which is the only means that they can have their joy. God for those pastors and leaders that are here from other churches and I know many of them, I pray for encouragement and conviction upon them as well Lord God. Perhaps the reason that many of them are here because they too are growing weary and loosing heart and their church has lost sight of Jesus and they are trying to recover that glorious picture to God on the throne. I pray for those God who are serving faithfully in their churches, who come here for encouragement. I pray that they will always feel welcome. And that they would take the Good News of Jesus back to their times and places of leadership. I pray for those Lord God who attend two, three, four churches, complain, consume that God they would come to repentance and realize that it is not a kingdom of consumers but a kingdom
of priests that you have called us to be, each with work to do, each with service to give, each with sacrifices to make.
And Lord Jesus I pray that our numbers would increase. Not just the number of people, but the number of people that meet you. I pray Lord God that some would go back to their church, plug in, give well, put their hand to the plow and make a difference. That some that you’ve called here would stick here and serve. We ask for that in your name, Amen.
Pastor Mark explains where Jesus is today, how he got there, what he’s doing now, and why that matters to us.