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Series Contents
Series Theme: Easter: Jesus Lifted Up

Title:   3. The Work of the Ascension


(The fact of the ascension establishing Jesus' right to rule over all things and over the end times, and to act as head of the church, his body in order to express the kingdom or will of God on the earth, and for us to be part of that.)


Jn 8:28  So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man , then you will know that I am the one I claim to be.”


Three Liftings in this series

1. In death – sacrificial love

2. In Resurrection – divine power

3. In Ascension - divine authority


What follows are the outline notes given at this seminar in Lent 2014


3. The Work of the Ascension


Jesus' death deals with our past and secures our future

Jesus' resurrection opens up a new life for us for the present and the future, with new hope for our years on this earth and in eternity.

Jesus ascension establishes his right to rule in the midst of his enemies and over the end times, to act as head of the church, his body to express the kingdom or will of God on the earth, and for us to be part of that.

... but corporate as well as individual...

”The very purpose of his self-giving on the cross was not just to save isolated individuals and so perpetrate their loneliness, but to create a new community whose members would belong to him, love one another, and eagerly serve the world.”

(John Stott)

or in another way:

In the Cross we saw God’s means of reconciling us to Himself.

In the resurrection we saw God’s power indwelling us to bring change and purpose and direction to our lives.

In the ascension we see that power in operation to express the will of God on the earth and in and through the Church.


1. Prologue: Glimmers of Authority


a) Jesus' Mandate on earth

Lk 4:18-21 - the prophetic mandate fulfilled

Matt 9:6-8 - authority to forgive sins AND heal people


b) Passed to his disciples

Luke 10:17-20 - authority passed to his disciples

Mt 28:18 - the Great Commission – do what I have been doing.



Jesus clearly had heaven's authority to forgive people and heal people, here on earth, and he passed that on to his disciples.



2. The Fact of Christ's Ascension Acts 1:9-11

a) Gone From: He has left but his activity on earth will continue, but now by his Spirit in his followers.

b) Gone To: He has gone back to heaven



3. Ascended to the Father's Right Hand 13 mentions!


Mark 16:19 / Acts 2:33 / Acts 5:31 / Acts 7:55 / Rom 8:34 / Ephes. 1:20 / Phil 2:9 / Col. 3:1 / Heb 1:3 / Heb 8:1 / Heb 10:12 / Heb 12:2 / 1 Pet 3:22


Note the things these verses say about Jesus in heaven. He:

- has a place of honour at the Father's right hand

- he is there as Prince and Saviour

- he pleads for us there

- he's been given a name above all others

- all angels and authorities bow before him



4. Jesus Ruling in heaven:


Psa 110:1,2

- there is a process whereby he is dealing with his enemies

- he rules despite them, or in the midst of them

Eph 1:19-23

- Jesus is above

- every other rule or authority

- every other great name

- everything has been put under his feet

- he is head over everything for the sake of the church

1 Cor 15:24-26

- again the process of dealing with his enemies

- he reigns in the midst of his enemies

1 Thess 4:16,17

- we will eventually join him there

Eph 2:6,7

- we are sharing NOW in his reign (by his spirit)

- we receive his grace and kindness



5. The Ways of the Kingdom (the ways he rules)

It is important that we face realistically the way life is as a Christian who is expressing the rule of God on the earth
Ex 33:13 - i.e. the ways God works are important for us to understand if we are to work with Him and please Him.

1. Death
- sometimes he saves people from death – Peter
- sometimes he allows death – Stephen, James

2. Health

- sometimes he heals miraculously

- sometimes he allows for NHS

3. Strength

- sometimes he gives great boldness – early apostles

- other times he allows complete weakness – Paul

4. Attacked

- sometimes gives word of authority

- sometimes simply says turn other cheek

5. Testing

- sometimes life is easy

- sometimes circumstances get difficult – times of testing

6. Satan

- some times we triumph and he has to flee (Jas 4:7)

- other times he hinders our activities (1 Thess 2:18)

7. Faith
- sometimes we are full of faith
- sometimes we lack faith
- learn to be self aware/God aware
- “faith comes from hearing” – go and listen


Note: God USES Satan

- To reveal men's hearts   1 Chron 21:1

- To bring judgement on unbelievers   Rev 9:11

- To bring discipline to believers   1 Cor 5:5

- To subjugate unbelievers   1 Jn 5:19b

- To maintain humility in our lives   2 Cor 12:7

- To develop faith & righteousness in our lives   1 Pet 1:7

- To bring about trials whereby we can be rewarded   Jas 1:12  

- To teach us how to fight   Jud 3:2

- To demonstrate God's power over the enemy   Eph 3:10

(see the pages on how God USES Satain in – Spiritual Warfare)



Rom 8:28 - God IS working in ALL things for our good


What is the good?

He may be teaching us

- to persevere (1 Pet 1:6)

- to pray (Mt 6:5-13)

- to take authority (Mt 16:19, 18:18)

- to mature (Eph 4:12,13)

- to remain faithful (Lk 18:8)


NB . Faithful means

- in attitudes, not becoming angry or cynical in test situations

- remaining pure in face of temptation and rest of world

- remaining loving when others get hostile

- etc.


Our call is to express the will of God as

- Individuals

- Jesus' body, the Church.