“He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty”

February 23, 2010

[Rita and Paul taught this to nine kids on Saturday February 27, 2010 — part 8 of 9]

Outline

  • breakfast snack
  • prayer
  • Singing Psalms and hymns — especially hymn 1A and hymn 2 from the augment
  • Hand out coloring [see materials]– helps keep the kids focused and in their seats during the lesson
  • Lesson
  • Break with small snack — shoes off
  • activity — will be two teams answering the review questions
  • Exercise books: Draw point 5 of 2wtl (last week we drew point 5 with a focus on resurrection): scripture beneath text will be: “Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us…” (Romans 8:34)
  • Singing Psalms and hymns
  • Closing prayer

Materials

  • name cards
  • exercise books
  • stickers for name cards / exercise books
  • snacks
  • our existing map of Jerusalem so we can show the Mount of Olives
  • coloring page(s) and felts: Stephen being murdered:

    8.5 x 11 -- Click for full size before printing

  • I also found a drawing of a bird escaping a cage here, and modified it as follows:

    8.5 x 11 ; 200 dpi -- click for full size

  • psalms and hymns from Genevan Psalter / Book of Praise
  • 4×6″ prints with photo/image and scripture; Note: We are printing 10 copies of this illustration (“Taken Up”), by Joseph Goode, with limited permission:

    4x6 at 200 dpi -- click for full size

Lesson — Narrative

Remember from last week that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and showed Himself to believers for 40 days, even eating with them.

When Christ died on the cross, He said, “It is finished.” He had completed His works of obedience unto death.

This week we will learn about how God’s work did not end after He raised Jesus from the dead. God then took Jesus up into heaven, where He is today at the right hand of God and rules as the King above all kings.

A shadow of this was when David was finally anointed and recognized as king over all of Israel. It was God’s plan all along, but it took time before it happened.

Today, we have a greater King than David, who is the last King, and the forever King, just as the prophets wrote about long ago.

a) He Ascended — Past

Jesus promised His students and followers that they would receive the Counselor, who is the Holy Spirit, when He left this earth. The Counselor speaks for God, and He teaches us truth, and helps us understand the things about Jesus Christ.

Jesus told His followers to stay in the city of Jerusalem until they had received this gift of the Holy Spirit. He told them that they would be His witnesses, starting in Jerusalem, and eventually to all the world. A witness is someone who tells others about the things they know and have seen. The witnesses of Jesus did not keep their mouths closed, or tuck away what they had learned to keep it secret.

Do not listen to people who blather about secret knowledge or special revelations that God has supposedly given to them. Even demons can tell people magical dreams that are just lies that make them feel special. Jesus taught openly, and the prophets and apostles did not invent clever tales and write them up in corners. Wisdom is not hiding from us.

After the Lord Jesus had finished talking to His students, He lead them to Bethany at the Mount of Olives [This coupling is scripturally accurate; see Mark 11:1], and lifted His arms up and blessed them. Then God took Jesus up into heaven. His disciples saw Him ascend into the sky, until He was hidden behind a cloud. Then, Jesus went to the right hand of God.

The disciples were still staring into the sky when “suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.

“`Men of Galilee,’ they said, `why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'”

The disciples obeyed Jesus: they worshipped Him, and returned to the city of Jerusalem, where they stayed at the temple.

As Jesus had promised, the Holy Spirit came to all the believers about ten days after He had ascended. (Acts 2.) They were “baptized” with the Holy Spirit, which means that they were washed clean, and received power from the Holy Spirit.

Five years later, there was a Christian named Stephen who was filled with the power of God. Some Jews told a lie about him, and an angry mob killed him with stones. But just before this happened, Stephen saw the ascended Jesus. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and [Jesus] standing at the right hand of God.”

If shepherds sang when He descended to this earth and was born as a human baby, let us much more sing to His glorious ascension!

a.1) [Time permitting] More about the Story of Stephen

During the time after the Christians had received the Holy Spirit, there was a godly man named Stephen who had been given much power by God. Stephen performed miracles among the people.

Certain Jews did not like what Stephen was teaching, and they argued with him, but they lost the argument because he had wisdom from God.

These Jews arranged for some other men to speak a lie about Stephen. The lie was this: “We have heard Stephen speak […] against Moses and against God.” Along with this lie, they worked to create a fuss among all of the important Jews. They grabbed Stephen and brought him before the court of the law makers. The liars came in to the court as witnesses, and said, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.

The people in the court looked at Stephen, and saw that his face looked like the face of an angel.

When the high priest of the Jews asked Stephen if it was true what the men were saying, Stephen answered by explaining all truth, beginning with Abraham, the story of Moses, and about David and David’s son Solomon. Then he explained to them that even as their fathers had killed the prophets, so they had killed Jesus, the very Son of God! He called them “stiff-necked people,” and said they “always resist the Holy Spirit.” The truth was difficult to hear: Stephen told them that they had betrayed and murdered righteous Jesus, and that they had not obeyed the law that was put into effect by angels.

This made many of the Jews very angry, and their hearts were full of murder. They were so angry that they were chomping their teeth. We can understand people by whether they show love or do not show love. It can show just who (or what) is their king. They did not have the power of the Holy Spirit– their hatred was in control of them.

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and [Jesus] standing at the right hand of God.” At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to [kill him with stones]. […] While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

b) He is King and is Conquering His Enemies — Present Age

Now that Jesus has ascended, He is finally anointed by God as the one and only King of kings, ruling over all the heavens and the earth.

What is He doing right now, while He is at the right hand of God?

One thing the Bible tells us is that Jesus is interceding for us. This means that He is continually talking to God about us, and asking God to keep us out of trouble. He is saving people and leading them to God, always talking to God about them. [Hebrews 2:25 — as the perfect high priest forever.]

He is also destroying His enemies, who are also the enemies of all those who believe on Him. Jesus is not using guns or bombs to kill people. People are not so much enemies as they are victims of evil powers and teachers. Jesus is fighting a war that is much more amazing than all the fireworks that silly men can blow off.

Jesus is even fighting a war inside our own hearts, destroying the parts of us that hate Him, so that only good will be left. He is doing this for us because He loves us. Jesus is even destroying death, which is the last enemy. We know that Jesus is the One who proved that He has power over death. He was risen from the dead. Who else has done this? Death rules and reigns as king over all people unless they are blessed by Jesus Christ.

The Bible says an amazing thing… that even in this present age that we live in, God can make us alive with Christ. Apostle Paul spoke about us already being ascended into heaven, just like Jesus is. He wrote: “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

In this, we can see that we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit because He is ascended, even as Jesus promised His disciples. Apostle Paul makes it very clear that we receive gifts because Jesus ascended. He writes:

Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us. As the Scriptures say, “When he [ascended], he […] gave gifts to people.” [… Jesus,] the one who went deep into the earth is the same one who went into the highest heaven, so that he would fill the whole universe. Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. This will continue until we are […] mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him. (From Ephesians 4; CEV)

If anybody says that God is not performing miracles on this earth any more, they are wrong. God is at work through Jesus Christ, uprooting other kings and causing men and women to be born again into new life in Jesus Christ, coming to knowledge of truth that will save them. What is left of Satan is being constantly hacked down. And it will soon be over. A great day is coming when Jesus will return to this earth, and every eye will see Him. Everyone will know that He is the true King, and that He has destroyed all of the enemies of God.

c) He will Return, Marking the End of This Age — Future

Jesus Christ is going to come back in the same way that He ascended into heaven. This means we will see Him appear from behind the clouds, and He will come back down to the earth. The Bible says, “He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.”

When Christ returns, He will not come to take away sin this time [Hebrews 9:28], but He will come to save those who are waiting for Him. Each believer, whether already in the grave or not, will rise to Him, and will ascend into heaven, even as He ascended. At this time, God will crush Satan under our feet.

“The Lord shall come, but not the same
As once in lowliness he came,
humble man before his foes,
A weary man, and full of woes.”

- Charles H. Spurgeon, 1884

Everything will change. God will finish putting all enemies under the feet of Jesus Christ our Lord. In this new age, Jesus Christ will still be King over everything, just as He is now. [Ephesians 1:21]

Christians who put their trust in the Lord will receive new and perfect bodies, they will understand everything clearly, and they will sit with Christ on the throne. [Scripture evidence for all of these things can be found in the section at the end.]

d) His New Kingdom — Future

The new and perfect kingdom, ruled by Jesus Christ, will be very different from any kingdom we know about. The Bible says this about the new kingdom of Jesus Christ:

[King Jesus will be honest and fair.] Leopards will lie down with young goats, and wolves will rest with lambs. Calves and lions will eat together and be cared for by little children. Cows and bears will share the same pasture; their young will rest side by side. Lions and oxen will both eat straw. Little children will play near snake holes. They will stick their hands into dens of poisonous snakes and never be hurt. Nothing harmful will take place on the LORD’s holy mountain. Just as water fills the sea, the land will be filled with people who know and honor the LORD. (Isaiah 11:5-9; CEV)

In heaven, God will be with His people. There will be no more crying, death, suffering, or pain. There will be a fountain of free life-giving water that never runs out. God’s people will eat from the tree of life that Adam and his wife first had in the garden of paradise.

But the unbelievers who lived as enemies of Jesus Christ will be risen from their graves only to die the second time, and to be thrown into a lake of fire.

The Bible says that God’s greatness will make heaven a bright place, that is “dazzling and crystal clear like a precious jasper stone.”

Those who love God will be there with God.

e) Conclusion: What does Christ’s Ascension mean for Us?

  1. That we have a hope of ascending into heaven, just like Jesus did;
  2. That our home country is heaven; we are citizens of heaven, where Jesus is; we are strangers/foreigners on this earth;
  3. That the Holy Spirit is here with us, guiding and teaching us everything that Jesus wants us to know, and giving us power;
  4. That Jesus is talking to God about us in heaven right now;
  5. That Jesus is busy preparing a place for us in God’s house;
  6. That Jesus is now the King over all the rulers and angels, and He is destroying all of His enemies until He alone will remain;
  7. Our desires are turned heavenward, as earth’s greatest “charm” has ascended;
  8. That Jesus has secured/possessed heaven, giving us the greater assurance;
  9. That Jesus is going to return to the earth in His body, coming with the clouds, to gather God’s people, and to show everyone in the world who He is and has always been; and
  10. That there is something much better coming; we need not be concerned about our present suffering.

“Bruised is the serpent’s head,
Hell is vanquished, death is dead,
And to Christ gone up on high,
Captive is captivity.

All his work and warfare done,
He into his heaven is gone,
And beside his Father’s throne,
Now is pleading for his own:

Sing, O heavens! O earth, rejoice!
Angel harp and human voice,
Round him, in his glory, raise
Your ascended Savior’s praise.”

- Charles H. Spurgeon, 1871

Review Questions

  1. When Jesus rose from the dead, He was with His followers on the earth for forty days. What are two things that the Bible says He did during that time?
    • (a) Called Samuel from the grave;
    • (b) Ate fish and bread;
    • (c) Climbed to the top of the temple;
    • (d) Gave some advice about which side of the boat to cast the fishing net.
  2. It was God’s plan for David to be the king over all of Israel. (a) Did this happen? (b) Is David still the king over Israel?
  3. Did Jesus come to the earth to take the throne of Herod the Great and become the king over Palestine, fighting the Romans off?
  4. Did people have power over Jesus, or did Jesus give His life by His own choice?
  5. Why did God send Jesus to die?
  6. Did Jesus stay in the grave?
  7. Why is it very good news for us that Jesus rose from the grave?
  8. What other very good thing happened forty days after Jesus rose?
  9. Was it the ghost of Jesus that rose and went to heaven, or was it His body?
  10. What did Jesus do when He went to heaven? [sat at the right hand of God.]
  11. When Jesus left this world, who came ten days later? [Holy Spirit / Counselor]
  12. Jesus told His students to stay in Jerusalem until the Counselor came. He told them that they would be His ‘witnesses’ starting in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. What does it mean to be a ‘witness’?
  13. What was one very important thing that they had witnessed with their eyes? [His miracles, His death, His resurrection, His ascension.]
  14. Who also spoke of the very same things that matched what the eye-witnesses of Jesus said? [the prophets] Hint: before Jesus ascended, He reminded His disciples that, “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.
  15. Are Christians known by others (a) because they have special dreams, or (b) by their love for one another?
  16. What happened when the disciples watched Jesus ascend into heaven until He was hidden behind a cloud? [Correct answers: Jesus went to the right hand of God and/or two men dressed in white appeared with the men and asked them why they were staring up into the sky.]
  17. Is Jesus going to come back?
  18. How will He come back? [In the same way the disciples saw Him go into heaven.]
  19. Ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven, the promised Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. They were washed clean in the Holy Spirit and received power from Him. What is the word for this? [Hint, it starts with a ‘B.’]
  20. When some angry Jews were about to kill the Christian named Stephen with stones, what did Stephen see? [“Heaven open and [Jesus] standing at the right hand of God.“]
  21. Is Jesus going to become the King over all kings, or is He already the King of kings?
  22. Some people hate, reject, and ignore this King Jesus. If all the world pretends hard enough, and lies enough, will that somehow make Him not the King anymore?
  23. What are some of the wars happening on the world right now? What is the most important war happening? Where is this war happening, or what is the battlegrounds for this war? [Human hearts.]
  24. Does Jesus want Christians to fight with swords, guns, or bombs? [At this point, can read from 2 Corinthians 10 “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds,” and mention some of the weapons spoken of in Ephesians 6, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.“]
  25. What is a greater miracle: (a) when a blind person can see, or (b) when person rises from the grave and his or her body ascends into heaven? [God is still performing miracles today; indeed, much greater miracles than the ones of old. Spiritually dead people are receiving life eternal, receiving eyesight, understanding, and all power to stand against evil in an evil world.]
  26. When will no person on this earth or in the grave be able to pretend that Jesus is not King? [When He returns and every eye sees Him.]
  27. Will there be sadness, sickness, or fighting in heaven?
  28. Will the enemies of God also raise from the dead?
  29. What is waiting for them when they are resurrected? [A lake of fire.]
  30. Write some good things about Jesus’ ascension that you can think of.

Activity

  • A team / group game with the review questions. One adult with each team to write the answers, the third adult asking the questions. Two points for correct answer; extra point for being the first team to deliver the answer.

<Material beneath this point is not part of the lesson for children, but provides much scriptural background for the lesson, a more in-depth investigation, and a brief exploration into the book of Revelation.>


<Material beneath this point is not part of the lesson for children, but provides much scriptural background for the lesson, a more in-depth investigation, and a brief exploration into the book of Revelation.>

Primary Scriptures

  • Psalm 68:18
  • Psalm 110:1 “The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’
  • Isaiah 11; 65:17-25
  • Matthew 28:18-20
  • Mark 16:19
  • Luke 24:49-51
  • Acts 1:1-13
  • Acts 7:55-58
  • Romans 8:34 “Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:24-27
  • Ephesians 1:20-23
  • Ephesians 2:6
  • Ephesians 4:7-16
  • Philippians 2:8-11
  • Hebrews 7:23-28; 9:24-25
  • 1 Peter 3:22
  • Revelation 21

– current location: Revelation 6.

Some Important Facts and Thoughts about His Ascension

  • Why did Christ ascend?
    • as the first ascended — the firstfruits — here we see hope of our own ascension (Psalm 68:18), as with our resurrection;
    • that we ARE raised up by God with Christ, and we are seated with God “in the heavenly realms”; (Ephesians 2:6); as we are raised up in Him, we have become citizens of heaven; (Philippians 3:20)
    • when Christ left, the Spirit came, as He promised;
    • to enter the true sanctuary as the Priest to end all priests (Hebrews 9:24-25), ever interceding for those who come to God through Him, maintaining His permanent priesthood; (Hebrews 7:24-25)
    • to prove that God set Him at the highest place / throne (Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 3:22) — God did this because Christ was obedient to death; (Philippians 2:8-11)
    • to give gifts to us (Ephesians 4:8);
    • and to do the things which He is now doing, until His return (see next);
  • what is the ascended Christ now doing, until His return?
    • Preparing a place for us in His Father’s house. (John 14:2)
    • He is with us (Matthew 28:20)
    • interceding for us (Hebrews 7:24-25)
    • at God’s right hand as King of kings, reigning today in all authority as the “ruler of the kings of the world” (Revelation 1:5), triumphing over His enemies; (Psalm 110:1; Matthew 28:18; 1 Corinthians 15:24-27; Ephesians 1:20-23; 1 Peter 3:22)
  • the Christian church paradoxically emerged when and where her founder left– He is not with us in the flesh; however, (1) He said it was good for us that He would leave, that the Counselor would come (John 16:7), and (2) He is still with us, at the very least through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:20; John 16:13-15).
  • He descended in the flesh; He ascended in the flesh; and He shall return in the flesh, “coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him” (Acts 1:11; Revelation 1:7);
  • Christ will return (Hebrews 9:28) as He left (Revelation 1:7), marking the beginning of the new age, judgment, and completion of the elimination of the enemies (Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:24-27).

Elaborations on the Lesson for the Children

[Working to find relevant scripture and arrange them under these headings.]

a) He Ascended — Past

b) He is King and is Conquering His Enemies — Present Age

After ascending, Jesus sent His Holy Spirit / Counselor. (Jeremiah 31:33-34; John 16:7). He is now at God’s right hand (Acts 5:31.). While wicked men were murdering Stephen, Stephen saw our ascended Lord.

[ who are His enemies? it is correct to say that one of His enemies is me (Romans 7:18). As the new creation in me, through the Holy Spirit, works to supplant my good works, which is all about the death of my flesh, I am a personal witness to the ongoing work of this conquering King. ]

During this present age, where Christ is King at God’s right hand, there remains rebellion, warfare, wretched conditions, suffering, testing on this earth, and a strong warning to repent:

  • Though condemned (John 16:11), driven out (John 12:31), and not having any hold on Christ (John 14:30), Satan, the prince of this world, still has a throne on this earth. (Revelation 2:9, 13.)
  • There are also liars in the “synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 3:9).
  • There is an hour of testing upon the world before He returns. (Revelation 3:10.)
  • Even as His kingdom is not of this world, so neither is His warfare to be compared to that which we see in this world. (Revelation 2:16; 3:16)
  • Even those who obey Christ may be low in strength. (Revelation 3:8.)
  • Others may be (unwittingly) wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. (Revelation 3:17.)

Yet during this present age, there remains many great opportunities and delights, only to explode when He returns:

  • We may buy from Christ gold refined by fire so that He can make us rich; white garments to cover our shameful nakedness; salve for our eyes so that we can see! (Revelation 3:18.)
  • The Spirit is with us.
  • Christ is interceding for us.
  • Christ is triumphing over the enemies.
  • We have hope of a glory that He will reveal in us, which the present sufferings are not worthy of comparing to. (Romans 8:18.)
  • Christ is reproving and disciplining those He loves. (Revelation 3:19.)
  • He is knocking at the door, and we may eat with Him. (Revelation 3:20.)

c) He will Return, Marking the End of This Age — Future

Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.
(Revelation 1:7)

At the beginning of this new age, judgment happens (Revelation 2:23.). Good news for those who have overcome:

  • God will crush Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20),
  • we will see all things clearly (1 Corinthians 13:12),
  • we will receive new and perfect bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42-54),
  • Christ will acknowledge us before the Father and His angels (Revelation 3:5),
  • we will have the right to sit with Christ on His throne. (Revelation 3:21.)

Victory is complete.

Bad new for those who have not overcome:

  • He will make those liars of the synagogue of Satan “fall down” at the feet of those whom He loves (Revelation 3:9),

Since He has won the victory, Christ the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, the Lamb appearing to have been killed, will be worthy to take the scroll with the seven seals from God’s right hand, and to open it. (Revelation 5:5-10.)

Angels will sing a new song. (Revelation 5:9-10.)

The Lamb will open the seven seals. (Revelation 6–>)

d) His New Kingdom — Future

There is elaborate worship of God and the Lamb who was slain, from every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth, etc. (Revelation 4; 5:11-14.)

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36)

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’ (Matthew 25:34)

In the kingdom of our Lord, those who have overcome will have the right to eat from the tree of life (which was available to Adam and Eve in the paradise of God). (Revelation 2:7.) There is no death in His kingdom. (Revelation 2:11.)

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.