TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
Regarding First Corinthians 15:1-8, William Godbey said, “This great Bible truth involves the conclusion that man inherited immortality from the creative decree appertaining to soul, mind and body. Hence the body is as immortal as the soul, only taking a nap in the dust, awaiting the mandate of God, revealed by the resurrection trumpet. It is very injudicious for us to speak of our departed loved ones as dead. We should look upon and speak of our departed friends as yet alive, and living in a better country than ever before.”
Today, we are continuing our series drawn from the Word of God, the Holy Bible, and a historical text based on the Word of God, the Holy Bible, that was passed down from the early church all the way to us today — the Nicene Creed. In this series, we are talking about the importance of the historical Christian faith that was passed down to us from the early church, how that we as Christians who are falling away from it ought to return to it, and how that the world ought to hear it so they can believe on Christ.
Regarding the purpose of the Nicene Creed, Anthony Costello said, “Regaining a knowledge of these core beliefs, handed down by the first witnesses, and later consolidated by Christ-followers into formal, and definitional statements, can provide a second mooring for understanding what we believe, why we believe it, and why we need to defend it.”
In this series, we have looked at the following factual statements from the Nicene Creed:
We believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made;
of the same essence as the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
and was made human.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered, died, and was buried.
The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.
He was seen alive by Mary Magdalene and the other women,
the disciples, and over five hundred other brethren;
Today, we will continue looking at the next section of the new Nicene Creed, which reads as follows:
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
From these words in the Nicene Creed, we see three important facts about the exaltation of Jesus Christ.
Mark 16:19 says, “After the Lord had spoken unto [the disciples], he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” If you have ever wondered where Jesus Christ is right now, this verse provides the answer. After He finished the work which He was sent to do on Earth, He sat down on His throne at the right hand of God in Heaven. After walking among men for 33 years, He picked up the glory that He had laid aside temporarily and ascended into Heaven. Philippians 2:9 says, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” Why is the exaltation of Christ so important?
FIRST, THE ASCENSION MARKS NOT AN ENDING, BUT A BEGINNING. Acts 1:1-2 says, “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up…” Notice the word “began.” Jesus’ ascension and exaltation was not a consummation but a commencement of the greatest work ever carried out on earth — the work of spreading the good news of salvation to every nation. You and I are blessed to be a part of that work today. Jesus is still working through His church by the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this task.
SECOND, THE ASCENSION MARKS THE BEGINNING OF THE FULFILLMENT OF CHRIST’S KINGDOM. Jesus “ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” When Stephen was being stoned for his faith, he declared, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” On the cross, Jesus Christ defeated Satan and thwarted his plan to rule on the earth. Because of His victory, Jesus’ kingdom has already begun. Right now He reigns in the hearts of millions of men and women across the globe, and one day, He will reign on Earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.
THIRD, THE ASCENSION MARKS JESUS’ RETURN TO THE FATHER. After His resurrection, Jesus tells Mary, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” When Jesus went back to Heaven, imagine the great homecoming celebration that awaited Him there. He had fulfilled the purpose for which He had been sent into the world. All of Heaven rejoiced as its Hero came home. But, Jesus did not just go back to Heaven to celebrate His victory. He went to Heaven to prepare a place for us and to begin His intercessory work for us before His Heavenly Father.
The ascension and exaltation of Jesus Christ is very important for our understanding of the church’s role in the world today. Walter Elwell said, “Clearly the greatest theological emphasis of the New Testament regarding the ascension is that Christ now regains the glory he had with the Father before the world began, is now able to send his powerful Spirit into the world, and reigns from heaven over every authority and power in heaven and earth.” We can be confident that while we are down here, Jesus Christ is up there interceding for us, overseeing His work through us, and preparing a place for us.
Charles Wesley wrote:
Hail the day that sees Him rise
To His throne above the skies
Christ, awhile to mortals given
Reascends His native heaven
There the glorious triumph waits
Lift your heads, eternal gates
Christ hath conquered death and sin
Take the King of glory in
Still for us His death He pleads
Prevalent He intercedes
Near Himself prepares our place
Harbinger of human race
Grant, though parted from our sight
Far above yon azure height
Grant our hearts may thither rise
Seeking Thee beyond the skies
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.