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Winning is Not Stargazing

November 25th, 2009 No comments

I just finished teaching a class in our Living Stones College called, The Doctrine of Christ. We covered a lot of ground over the course of the month, beginning with the incarnation and ending with His ascension. In the class I argue that the ascension is one of the most under-rated and overlooked doctrines in the Word. We are getting ready for another big Christmas season where we celebrate Christ’s birth. Spring brings us to Easter where we rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus. And yet, forty days later, after teaching His disciples truths concerning the Kingdom of God, He ascended right before their eyes and took His rightful place at the Father’s right hand.

We read about this in Mark 16:19: ”So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.”

His ascension gives us insights into what it means for the Church to “define our win.” In Acts 1:9-11, we read, “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.”

If we fail to properly understand the exaltation and reign of Christ, we’ll miss our divinely appointed time in God’s unfolding redemptive history. For many Christians, the time line looks something like this: Jesus comes, he dies, he resurrects, he goes to heaven and now we wait around for him to come back and save us from this messed up world! So in the meantime, go to church, try not to sin too much and “hold the fort til Jesus comes.” Much of the Church is absorbed with getting raptured before things get too bad. Like the disciples mentioned above, we stand gazing at the heavens wondering when Christ will return instead of being busy doing what He commanded before He left. I still periodically receive ridiculous e-mails highlighting the most recent candidate for “Anti-Christ of the month” or questioning whether bar codes at the supermarket are going to be used as the mark of the beast! Jesus help us!

We should not allow ourselves to be endlessly preoccupied with end time speculations about Christ’s return. We have a sure promise – He will return in the same manner as He left. This confidence frees us to courageously be about our Father’s business until our Lord returns.