#AscensionSeries14 Recap & Resources

We finished our #AscensionSeries14 and my hope is that encouraged you to consider how essential the ascension is for a complete gospel and for robust Christian living. Below are the articles in order of publication (click the photo banner to read) and also some further resources if you would like to read further and expand your horizon on the ascension.


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Essential for Worship and Life #AscensionSeries14

Evangelicalism, properly conceived, has been from the beginning cross and gospel centered. Even with the streams of pietism arising within certain circles, the historicity of the cross and resurrection have kept it grounded in the real world of God’s historical activity of redemption. More recently, evangelicals have paid more attention to the resurrection for the Christian life beyond just an apologetic Jesus’ crucifixion.  

But let us consider this question: in all this does the doctrine of the ascension get minimized or neglected in our evangelical theologizing? Even more, while the cross should be central to the devotional life of the Christian, what role, if any, does the ascension of Christ in the devotional and worship life of the believer? Does the average believer understand the significance of the ascension for the Christian life? Far too often, one cannot help by wonder if the doctrine of the ascension is relegated to a sort of “and Jesus lived happily ever after” ending to the story of redemption.

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Establishing the Kingdom #AscensionSeries14

As a father of two young children I am painfully aware of the necessity for ritual. Some might prefer the word “schedule” but I think this downplays the necessary participation of all parties and the genuine benefit derived from participating in the “schedule.” Pertinent to the subject of Christ’s ascension are the rituals surrounding my departure to and arrival from work. There are hugs and kisses as I walk out the door. There are awkward shouts and dances of exaltation when I walk in the door. It really is quite cute coming from children. They’re young and oblivious for thirty-seconds to whatever had been going on in their day. Everything stops. Dad is the main event.

Unfortunately for some Christians, the ascension and return of Jesus Christ is unintentionally similar to this. The results are not quite as cute. Christ’s disciples were sad and confused as He went up to the clouds. The questions about His kingdom continued to persist. The answers remained vague enough for the disciples to persist in their misunderstanding until Pentecost.

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“All Authority is Mine” #AscensionSeries2014

When God creates Adam, he says man and woman are made in His image. They are children of God and sub-creators. They are commanded to have dominion and multiply.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Gen 1:28

Adam’s first task is naming the animals and tending the Garden. Adam and Eve later start a family and begin filling the earth. This command from God is called the creation mandate.

As a Neo-Calvinist, this text is crucial in understanding our responsibility in our current fallen world to engage in culture making and also in viewing God's work in non-Christians as they create. This wasn’t a one time command. It didn’t stop when Adam and Eve sinned. It’s something that we should still be doing—with one caveat.

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The Full Circle Gospel #AscensionSeries14


Jesus wasn’t always in the flesh.

John 1:14 reminds us that "the Word became flesh." Becoming flesh means Jesus existed before His incarnation. In our quest to prove the veracity of God becoming man so that as a man, he could do what only God could do, we sometimes caper right past the beauty and mystery of one aspect of the incarnation’s import. Before it, Jesus didn’t have skin.

When John claims that “in the beginning was the Word . . . and the Word was God,” he is implying that Jesus had been around long before his earthly arrival. Before the God­-man was a God­-baby, he existed eternally in perfect community with the triune God outside of time and space.

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Ascension, Enthronement, and Daily Mission #AscensionSeries14

To say that the heart of the gospel is Christ crucified would not be wrong (1 Cor. 1:23; Gal, 6:14). To say that the heart of the gospel is the resurrection of Christ would not be wrong either, for by it our justification comes (Rom. 4:25; cf. 1 Tim. 3:16). To say that the heart of the gospel is the ascension of Christ would not be wrong, but you may receive a funny stare from a confused onlooker. The reason, of course, is that the ascension of Christ is an often overlooked element of the universally huge, wonderfully true, gospel of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you’ve glossed over this verse before: “And when [Jesus] had said these things, as [the disciples] were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). To give another perspective on this event, Mark shares that, “The Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to [the disciples], was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mk. 16:19).

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It Is Finished #AscensionSeries14

Christians, at some point in life, will stop and wonder whether or not they believe enough or have faith strong enough. What brings this on?

Life just hurts. Have you been in a place when you could swear there was a steady beeping sound just before a load of grief or stress was dumped on your head? During these times, we are prone to wonder where we had fallen short of God's expectations, searching high and low for to uncover the area of life that still is not sufficiently yielded.

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Jesus the Cowboy Hero: Western Adventure #AscensionSeries14

An isolated town is in trouble. Maybe it’s a gang of outlaws. Maybe it’s a greedy rancher, or a dictatorial mayor. In any case, bad men are having their way with the townsfolk. More importantly, there’s a beautiful woman in town and they’re after her too. She’s resisting tyranny—of course she is—while working to help the oppressed.

Then a cowboy rides into town. He’s tough. He’s quiet. He’s got a heart of gold. He’s drawn into the conflict. He shoots a bunch of bad people and works his way up to the chief bad guy himself. A showdown ensues—of course it does. The town is saved. The beautiful woman asks the cowboy to stay, but he can’t. He has to ride on, back into the wilderness. There are other good deeds waiting to be done.

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