Acts Devotionals

Ascension Day

I spoke a few days ago about us going down to Charleston on South Carolina’s coast because some friends of ours were to dock there on Saturday past. Jenny and I have not seen these friends in a few years. The last was in 2015 when they were with us at Izapa Game Lodge. Our daughter has not seen them since the early 1990’s. We were really looking forward to meeting up, but then, due to all the tornadoes and sea currents, their ship’s company changed the routes resulting in us not seeing them. It was, for them and us a huge disappointment, though we understand safety comes first. We are hoping and praying they will be able to dock this Saturday. On the last day of Jesus’ physical presence on this earth, the disciples were told that he shall return. Will he? What if He does not? Was it said he would return just to bring calm and peace of mind to the disciples? Would tornadoes or sea currents have an influence in Jesus returning to our planet?

1) Jesus came on a Rescue Mission.

Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

This is the reason God became incarnate so that as Jesus, He could pay the sin price for the sin of all believers at Calvary.

2) Jesus said He needed to return to heaven.

Jn 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

In these verses Jesus says He will depart to the Father but will return as the Counselor … the Spirit of Truth. The text demonstrates that we have one God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Coming as the Holy Spirit (God) became a reality at Pentecost.

3) Jesus’ Ascension.

Ac 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Many like the Liberals deny an Ascension because they do not believe Jesus Himself to be God. If they deny the Virgin Birth, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, why would they believe in the Ascension? Yet the Bible is filled with proof of each of these, authenticating their reality. If the Bible is God’s Word … out breathed by Himself … inspired, inerrant, infallible and authoritative … we believe what the Bible says, not those who mask themselves as Christians, yet twist and distort Gods Word to push their evil agenda.

4) Jesus is coming again.

(1) He said He was going to return personally. Without getting lost in the text, Jesus says to Peter about John:

Jn 21:22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

By this Jesus is saying He will return to planet earth.

(2) The sudden appearance of men (angels) confirmed Jesus’ return.

Ac 1:10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Although we are told how He shall return, we are not told when. His coming again is the great hope of the Church. The Gospel will fail, as will the Christian Church be without hope if Jesus was not coming back to conduct the great court session, judging the wicked and the righteous followed by eternal death and eternal life. The climax of God’s redemptive work on earth is Jesus’ return followed by the consummation of the Kingdom.

5) What ought Christians to be doing as we wait Jesus’ return? We understand that it might not be in our lifetime. It might be many years into the future, yet it could happen today. We understand this. So while we speak of Jesus imminent return, hoping it shall be soon, we as the Christian Church remain busy about our Master’s business, that should He arrive most unexpectedly, we shall not be caught off guard or be embarrassed. Therefore we follow the apostles program …

(1) We pray.

Ac 1:14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

If you are like me, pray runs hot and cold. We need to learn that prayer is not just asking for our temporal or immediate needs. Prayer needs to be for the glory of God, seeking His presence, seeking His return, seeking His glory, seeking He save lost souls, etc.

(2) We evangelize. Few Christians Churches make a decisive effort to reach the lost and expand the kingdom … yet Jesus said:

Mt 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”

Ac 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

In whichever way we came to faith, we were evangelized in some way. Be it through a Sermon, Bible Study, book, podcast, testimony … in some way we were evangelized … and behind that evangelism, someone was praying. Whilst we wait we evangelize!

(3) We disciple. Our Churches are filled with infant Christians. The reason for this is that the Churches do not have a structured discipleship program. Sadly most Christians do not know the basic doctrines of the faith, nor do they know what their Church believes (constitution, statement of faith, etc.). Yet our Lord said:

Mt 28:20 “and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Disciples are made through submitting to the Gospel and then taught the whole counsel of God. Why do Churches reach their sell by date? There are many reasons, one of which is a lack of real discipleship. Too many focus on things like entertainment, social action and politics at the expense of teaching their members what the Bible says about God (Trinity), creation, salvation, ministry as in use of gifting and ministry, tithing, etc. Look at the flow and look at the neglect … prayer, evangelism and discipleship. Beloved … try to see why the Churches decay due to lacking these vital aspects that create a vibrant Church.

(4) Preparation for Jesus’ Return. The one single factor that shall keep the Church and believers on their spiritual toes is Jesus expected and anticipated return to this earth. When the first three (prayer, evangelism and discipleship) are in place, the Church will be preparing for Jesus’ return and not be like those five virgins who had lamps (orthodox Christianity) but lacked oil (true spirituality). Beloved, pray on this Ascension Day that God grant you a passionate desire to meet the Lord Jesus in all His glory. Pray that you will be ready for this meeting.

Dear God, thank You for the promise of Jesus’ return. Help us to use our time here on earth wisely preparing for this momentous event. Amen.

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