Blasphemous and Absurd

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Ascension Sunday 2024

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What we must learn how to stop doing is the bad habit of dividing the world up into separate compartments. Every aspect of our being—emotional, spiritual, psychological, mental—is occurring in the same created order, and all of it is woven together. All truths that we affirm, whether biological, or theological, or anthropological, are true or false within the context of the same created order. Christ remains your high priest, which means that He still has His resurrected and glorified body. That body is still within this created order, but because He has ascended, He is no longer under the sun. His authority is greater than that, and Heaven and earth are unified in Him.

One of the great problems that secularists have is that they pay no attention to the things they are saying. But this problem is matched and compounded by the fact that we Christians too often pay cursory attention to the implications of the truths that we confess. Remember that word implication.

The Text

“The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1).

Summary of the Text

The introduction to this psalm is quoted numerous times in the New Testament, and in ways that are not in any way ambiguous about what it means. In the gospel accounts, Jesus stumps His adversaries with the question of how David, ancestor of the Messiah, could possibly call his descendant Lord (Matt. 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42-43). This verse is also quoted to show the greatness of the Christ over all the angels (Heb. 1:13). And the whole glorious consummation is summed up in Acts 2:32-36. God raised Jesus up, and ensured there were eyewitnesses (v. 32). He was exalted to the right hand of the Father, where He received the Holy Spirit, which He then poured out (v. 33). David didn’t ascend into the heavens, but he did prophesy it—doing so with our text (v. 34). Christ will remain there in the heavens until His enemies are made His footstool (v. 35). Let all Israel know that this “same Jesus,” the crucified one, has been made both Lord and Christ (v. 36). 

The Central Implication

One of our central duties in this wicked generation is to set out various doctrines which we confess, lining them up on the table before us. Having done so, we need to stare straight at the central implication.

Jesus of Nazareth is fully God and fully man, a fact we celebrate at Christmas. This hypostatic union of God and man was miraculously accomplished in Him. In this incarnate body, He lived a perfect and sinless life, which He then offered up on the cross as a perfect sacrifice. God showed that the sacrifice was accepted when He raised Jesus from the dead, a fact we celebrate at Easter. Christ ascended into the heavenly places, and in doing this, He did not leave the Incarnation behind—He is still our high priest. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom. 8:34). He was there given universal dominion (Dan. 7:13-14). So a human being, our elder brother, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will remain there until all His enemies are subdued through the gospel, a fact we celebrate on Ascension Sunday. And last, He poured out His Spirit on Pentecost, which is what enables us to celebrate anything about any of this at all (Acts 2:3-4). This is what enables us to understand the earlier great works of God. Without this final anointing, the whole thing would remain opaque to us.

Now I have mentioned that word implications a few times. What are the implications of this? The implication is that the only principle of unity available to mankind in this world is a unity that is outside the world. The right hand of the Father is outside the world. This, and only this, is the death knell of anarchy, for tyranny, and for anarcho-tyranny. 

Secular Futility

Just as the secular mind oscillates between rationalism and irrationalism, so the secularists also veer back and forth between radical individualism and total statism. Not only so, but each bounce on their teeter-totter gives energy to the opposite reaction. When they discover that they cannot hold everything together, they give up and it all disintegrates. But then they discover that they cannot live in such a chaotic world, and so they begin to flail, looking for a principle of unity that is immanent, under the sun, under the control of man. It might be the church, it might be the state, it might be the tribe, it might be some ideology. Whatever they settle on, it is down here, within their reach. Unregenerate man wants a principle of unity that is within his reach, and is in principle under his control. But Christ is risen, and ascended, and the thing is impossible.

The idea that fallen and finite man can stretch out his arms far enough to encompass the world is an idea that dies hard . . . but it remains blasphemous and absurd. Christ is the only true Prince.

Tyrants want the locus of unity to be within the world, where they can control it. This pipe dream—seen clearly at Babel—was forever destroyed by the Ascension of the Lord Jesus into Heaven. What do we confess? We confess that there is only one possible locus of true unity, and that arche of unity is outside the world, at the right hand of the Father. 

“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.”

Ephesians 1:10 (KJV)

He ascended into Heaven, and all the yearning lusts of all despots down here (libido dominandi) were thwarted in principle.

The Lord told us plainly that His kingdom is not from this world (John 18:36). If it were, we would be trying to seize power the same way that the worldlings do.

But the fact that the Lord’s authority is not from here does not mean that it is somehow impotent here. No, our weapons are mighty for pulling down strongholds (2 Cor. 10:3-5).

The Declared Word

The fact that they are defeated does not mean that the secularist lords cannot still be conceited in their humiliation. They can still sneer at us. How many regiments do we have? How many nukes? How many flotillas can we assemble?

Our weapons look paltry to them, but that should not distress us at all. It should not even slow us down. The Word of God is not bound (2 Tim. 2:9), and the Word goes forth conquering and to conquer (Rev. 6:2). What do we have? We have word and water, bread and wine, and that is more than sufficient.

So what do we have? Christ died and rose, and He reigns from Heaven. Just as they taunted Him to come down from the cross, in the same way they taunt Him to come down from Heaven in order to prove He rose from the dead. But the place where His proofs were ultimately received was the throne room of the Ancient of Days, and that proof was declared sufficient. The risen Christ is Lord.   

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2 months ago


Steve Perry
Steve Perry
2 months ago

What a wonderful sermon that goes along with this post. Jesus is Lord. How we confess this is the real question and creates the implications. Pastor Wilson, is this sermon better summed up or can also be stated in the confession that “Christ is the head of every man?” Thank you.