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“It’s critically important for us to believe in Jesus’ ascension and return because it gives us hope. If we don’t believe in those things it’s very difficult for our faith to be a living and hopeful faith. Our faith will be a dead faith. It will be like Karl Marx used to say, just an opiate or the opium of the people. It will just be about taking peoples’ minds away from their problems, without solving their problems.

If Jesus could defeat death, then one day he will come and restore his kingdom.

But if we believe in Jesus’ ascension into heaven – and I will explain what that means – and we believe that one day he will come back, our faith is not just a faith to distract people from their problems, it’s not just a faith which is like a coping mechanism. No! It’s a genuine faith that has a genuine historical basis and that one day will have a significant reward at the end: because Jesus will come. For if he could defeat death, then one day he will come and restore his kingdom.

So our faith is a living faith, it’s a hopeful faith, it’s not a dead faith, it’s not a survival faith.”

I Believe in Jesus’ Ascension & Return

Nic Kyalangalilwa delivers his fifth in a nine week sermon series unpacking the foundations of the Christian faith – working through the Apostles’ Creed, a statement of belief penned in the 4th Century AD.

The Apostles’ Creed is really the foundation of what a Christian believes.

“It’s really the foundation of what a Christian believes. This is what makes the difference between what we would call a Christian faith, and a non-Christian faith.”

This sermon looks at the fifth section which walks through Jesus’ ascension and return: what happened, what will happen, and why it’s important to all of us today.

What Is Jesus Doing Today?

In Acts 1:9 we read that Jesus went up into heaven – he ascended into the place where God is. I think the Bible is very clear about the position and influence that Jesus has. He is seated at the right hand of God – this is a position of incredible influence.

That then begs the question, what does he use this influence for? This is one of the most important things to understand about Jesus’ ascension – what he is doing up in heaven.

Well, he is using the position of power to influence God’s mind for his people. So you hear he says he is interceding for us. He is making intercession for us; he is praying for us; advocating for us; defending us.

He’s Got My Back

So Jesus is not in heaven eating chicken and fries. Jesus is not in heaven singing hallelujah. Jesus is not in heaving sleeping and saying “I had a really, really hard time on earth so now I’m going to sit down and sleep and get some rest. And then you will just remind me again when I need to get up and judge humanity”. No. He’s sitting there and he’s pleading with his father, he is interceding with his father, because he’s watching over his people.

I know Jesus has my back! He’s fighting for me, he’s interceding for me, he’s pleading with his father – for me.

So I wonder, why is it that Christians are too scared? Why is it that we’re too worried? How come? Because we have somebody who’s defending us from the place where all things come from.

This is why Jesus’ Ascension gives me so much comfort. I know Jesus has my back! He’s fighting for me, he’s interceding for me, he’s pleading with his father – for me.

Jesus Is Coming Back as Judge

But also, it’s scary to know that he’s coming back – which is our second point. Jesus will come back as a judge one day. He will come to judge the living and the dead. The Bible teaches that. Acts 1:11 says, “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.”

He went up as a risen saviour, but Jesus will come back as a judging king.

Because Jesus went up he will come down. But guess what, he went up as a risen saviour, Jesus will come back as a judging king.

Now I like to say Jesus is not coming back to save people. There won’t be any time for salvation. He’s coming to judge the rebels, he’s coming to judge the people who did not believe in him while they had the chance.

Are You Ready?

So the really big question is are you ready? Are you eager for him to come back and set all things right? Do you know he said he will come like a thief in the night – that we won’t know the day or the time?

“My job is really to plead with you. I’m here to beg you, cry and say, “Please! Please make sure you are reconciled with Jesus. Now. Because when King Jesus comes back you don’t want to be among those who are still rebels. You don’t want to be among those who reject him. You don’t.”

 

Find the other sermons in this series here:

  1. I Believe… In God, The Father Almighty
  2. I Believe… In God The Creator
  3. I Believe… In Jesus’ Incarnation
  4. I Believe… In Jesus’ Death & Resurrection
  5. I Believe… In Jesus’ Ascension & Return

 

Date preached: 8 May 2016

Text: Acts 1:1-11

Location: Le Phare Church, Bukhavu, DRC-Congo

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