Ascension Day (Special)
Thine is the Kingdom – Altar of Praise Chorale
Amen! Thank you, choir, for that wonderful declaration of truth! And thank you my friend for joining me today for The Voice of Hope. I’m J. Mark Horst, your friend and Bible teacher.
This program, The Voice of Hope, is produced by Heralds of Hope. We’re an international Gospel ministry using media to make disciples of Jesus Christ to accomplish the Great Commission in our lifetime. Now I know you might think that’s an audacious goal, but, really, let’s think about it.
This generation has access to technology and resources like no previous generation. And we believe God allowed mankind to develop these resources at this specific time in human history so the task of world evangelism can be completed. While we’re not exactly sure what all Jesus meant in Matthew 24:14, He did say that the Gospel would be proclaimed to all peoples before the end of human history.
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Now if you’re a regular listener, today’s program will be a bit different than usual as we focus on the ascension of our Lord Jesus. In less than a week we will commemorate Ascension Day, the day our Lord completed His earthly mission and returned to the presence of His Heavenly Father. Why is the ascension of Jesus important? And why is it not more widely acknowledged in the church today?
I urge you to stay tuned as we use Scripture and song to show the value and the benefits of this pivotal event in salvation history.
In John 16, just prior to His crucifixion, Jesus said to His disciples; “But now Igo away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going? ’But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
Crown Him with Many Crowns – Voice of Praise
“And being assembled together with them, Jesus commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Rise, Glorious Conqueror, Rise – Altar of Praise Chorale
As we think about the impact of Jesus’ ascension to the Father, listen to these words from Hebrews 8. “Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore, it is necessary that this One also have something to offer.For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law,who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.”
Standing on the Promises – Voice of Praise
In Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul sheds some additional light on a significant result of Jesus’ ascension. He writes, “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore, He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts [that is] the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
And He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.”
The Church’s One Foundation – Altar of Praise Chorale
Before Jesus ascended to His Father, He left His disciples and us with a mission. It is the mission of the Church today. It’s spelled out for us in Matthew 28:18 to 20. Here are His words; “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” How well are we fulfilling this mission?
My House is Full, but My Field is Empty – Dad and the Boys
The Scriptures also speak of the Church as the Bride of Christ. And some day, there’s going to be a wedding. Revelation 19:6 to 8 tells us; “And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thundering, saying, “Alleluia! For theLord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Thinking about this future wedding, Jesus told a parable in Matthew 22 about a wedding it seemed that few people wanted to attend. Finally, in desperation, the king told His servants to go out and get anyone they could to attend the wedding. And then we read.
“So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So, he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Are You Dressed for the Wedding? – Vision Quartet
The question of that song is of utmost importance my friend. Has your heart been cleansed from sin by the blood of Jesus? Have you become part of the Church, the Bride of the Christ? Are you walking in His righteousness? If not, then you will be like the man in the parable; he was relying on his own righteousness to make him worthy, but he was cast out into outer darkness, a picture of eternal judgment.
And that, my friend is too horrible for me to imagine. Just like we can’t imagine the beauty and glory of Heaven, we cannot possibly fathom the darkness and torment of eternal punishment. God never intended Hell for humans. It was for the Devil and his demons. But God has given us a choice, and our choices will decide our eternal destiny.
My friend, I hope you were blessed by this program. If so, we’d like to hear from you. You can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can call us toll free at 866-960-0292. Or mail your comments to The Voice of Hope, Box 3, Breezewood, Pennsylvania 15533.
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Thanks again for joining us for The Voice of Hope, and if this is the first time you’ve tuned in, we hope you’ll become a regular listener. As we close the program, remember to walk with Jesus!
The Holy Highway – Voice of Praise