The Victory is not Questionable

Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven. – Acts 1:11

“This same Jesus.” Why, that must have meant that He who is in heaven is the same Christ who was on earth, but it must also mean that He who is to come will be the same Jesus that went up into heaven... He will possess the same tenderness when He comes to judge, the same gentleness of heart when all the glories of heaven and earth shall gird His brow. Our eye shall see Him in that day, and we shall recognize Him not only by the nail-prints, but by the very look of His countenance, by the character that gleams from that marvellous face; and we shall say, “‘Tis He! ’tis He! the self-same Christ that went up from the top of Olivet from the midst of His disciples.”

Despisers tell us nowadays, “Your cause is done for! Christianity is spun out! Your divine Christ is gone; we have not seen a trace of His miracle-working hand, nor of that voice which no man could rival.” Here is our answer: We are not standing gazing up into heaven, we are not paralyzed because Jesus is away. He lives, the great Redeemer lives; and though it is our delight to lift up our eyes because we expect His coming, it is equally our delight to turn our heavenly gazing into an earthward watching, and to go down into the city, and there to tell that Jesus is risen, that men are to be saved by faith in Him, and that whosoever believeth in Him shall have everlasting life. We are not defeated; far from it: His ascension is not a retreat, but an advance. His tarrying is not for want of power, but because of the abundance of His long-suffering. The victory is not questionable. All things work for it; all the hosts of God are mustering for the final charge. This same Jesus is mounting His white horse to lead forth the armies of heaven, conquering and to conquer. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Jesus Lives

…this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. – Acts 1:11

Jesus is gone but He still exists. He has left us, but He is not dead; He has not dissolved into nothing like the mist of the morning. “This same Jesus” is gone up unto His Father’s throne, and He is there to-day as certainly as He once stood at Pilate’s bar. As surely as He did hang upon the cross, so surely does He, the self-same man, sit upon the throne of God and reign over creation. I like to think of the positive identity of the Christ in the seventh heaven with the Christ in the lowest deeps of agony. The Christ they spat upon is now the Christ whose name the cherubim and seraphim are hymning day without night. The Christ they scourged is He before whom principalities and powers delight to cast their crowns. Think of it and be glad this morning; and do not stand gazing up into heaven after a myth or a dream. Jesus lives; mind that you live also. Do not loiter as if you had nothing at all to do, or as if the kingdom of God had come to an end because Jesus is gone from the earth as to His bodily presence. It is not all over; He still lives, and He has given you a work to do till He comes. Therefore, go and do it.

“This same Jesus”-I love that word, for “Jesus” means a Savior. Oh, ye anxious sinners here present, the name of Him who has gone up into His glory is full of invitation to you! Will you not come to “this same Jesus”? This is He who opened the eyes of the blind and brought forth the prisoners out of the prison-house. He is doing the same thing today. Oh that your eyes may see His light! He that touched the lepers, and that raised the dead, is the same Jesus still, able to save to the uttermost. Oh that you may look and live! ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Concerning the Subject of Religious Selfishness

Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? – Acts 1:11

Religion never ought to become the subject of selfishness, and yet I fear some treat it as if its chief end was spiritual gratification. When a man’s religion all lies in his saving his own self, and in enjoying holy things for his own self; there is a disease upon him. When his judgment of a sermon is based upon the one question, “Did it feed me?” it is a swinish judgment. There is such a thing as getting a swinish religion in which you are yourself first, yourself second, yourself third, yourself to the utmost end. Did Jesus ever think or speak in that fashion? Contemplation of Christ Himself may be so carried out as to lead you away from Christ: the recluse meditates on Jesus, but he is as unlike the busy self-denying Jesus as well can be. Meditation unattended with active service in the spreading of the gospel among men, well deserves the rebuke of the angel, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”

Moreover, some are careful and anxious and deliriously impatient for some marvellous interposition. We get at times into a sad state of mind, because we do not see the kingdom of Christ advancing as we desire. I suppose it is with you as it is with me, I begin to fret, and I am deeply troubled, and I feel that there is good reason that I should be, for truth is fallen in the streets, and the days of blasphemy and rebuke are upon us. Then we pine; for the Master is away, and we cry, “When will He be back again? Oh, why are His chariots so long in coming? Why tarries He through the ages?” Our desires sour into impatience, and we commence gazing up into heaven, looking for His coming with a restlessness which does not allow us to discharge our duty as we should. Whenever anybody gets into that state, this is the word, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Our Chief Business Here Below

And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as He went up… – Acts 1:10

What they did we are very apt to imitate. “Oh,” say you, “I shall never stand gazing up into heaven.” I am not sure of that. Some Christians are very curious, but not obedient. Plain precepts are neglected, but difficult problems they seek to solve. I remember one who used always to be dwelling upon the vials and seals and trumpets. He was great at apocalyptic symbols; but he had seven children, and he had no family prayer. If he had left the vials and trumpets and minded his boys and girls, it would have been a deal better. I have known men marvellously great upon Daniel, and specially instructed in Ezekiel, but singularly forgetful of the twentieth of Exodus, and not very clear upon Romans the eighth. I do not speak with any blame of such folks for studying Daniel and Ezekiel, but quite the reverse; yet I wish they had been more zealous for the conversion of the sinners in their neighborhoods, and more careful to assist the poor saints….I would have you understand all mysteries, brethren, if you could; but do not forget that our chief business here below is to cry, “Behold the Lamb!” By all manner of means read and search till you know all that the Lord has revealed concerning things to come; but first of all see to it that your children are brought to the Savior’s feet, and that you are workers together with God in the upbuilding of His church. The dense mass of misery and ignorance and sin which is round about us on every side demands all our powers; and if you do not respond to the call, though I am not a man in white apparel, I shall venture to say to you, “Ye men of Christendom, why stand ye gazing up into the mysteries when so much is to be done for Jesus, and you are leaving it undone?” O ye who are curious but not obedient, I fear I speak to you in vain, but I have spoken. May the Holy Spirit also speak. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Serve the Lord in Some Way or Other

Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? – Acts 1:11

“Why gaze ye still? He told you ‘I go unto My Father.’ Why stand and gaze?” We may under the influence of great love, act unwisely. I remember well seeing the action of a woman whose only son was emigrating to a distant colony. I stood in the station, and I noticed her many tears and her frequent embraces of her boy; but the train came up and he entered the carriage. After the train had passed beyond the station, she was foolish enough to break away from friends who sought to detain her; she ran along the platform, leaped down upon the railroad and pursued the flying train. It was natural, but it had been better left undone. What was the use of it? We had better abstain from acts which serve no practical purpose; for in this life we have neither time nor strength to waste in fruitless action. The disciples would be wise to cease gazing, for nobody would be benefitted by it, and they would not themselves be blessed. What is the use of gazing when there is nothing to see. Well, then, did the angels ask, “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”

Serve the Lord in some way or other; serve Him always; serve Him intensely; serve Him more and more. Go tomorrow and serve the Lord at the counter, or in the workshop, or in the field. Go and serve the Lord by helping the poor and the needy, the widow and the fatherless; serve Him by teaching the children, especially by endeavoring to train your own children. Go and hold a temperance meeting, and show the drunkard that there is hope for him in Christ, or go to the midnight meeting and let the fallen woman know that Jesus can restore her. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Look Up!

Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? – Acts 1:11

Methinks, if Jesus were among us now we would fix our eyes upon Him, and never withdraw them. He is altogether lovely, and it would seem wicked to yield our eyesight to any inferior object so long as He was to be seen. When He ascended up into heaven it was the duty of His friends to look upon Him. It can never be wrong to look up; we are often bidden to do so, and it is even a holy saying of the Psalmist, “I will direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up”; and, again, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” If it be right to look up into heaven, it must be still more right to look up while Jesus rises to the place of His glory. Surely it had been wrong if they had looked anywhere else; it was due to the Lamb of God that they should behold Him as long as eyes could follow Him. He is the Sun: where should eyes be turned but to His light? He is the King; and where should courtiers within the palace gate turn their eyes but to their King as He ascends to His throne? The truth is, there was nothing wrong in their looking up into heaven; but they went a little further than looking; they stood “gazing.” A little excess in right may be faulty. It may be wise to look, but foolish to gaze. There is a very thin partition sometimes between that which is commendable and that which is censurable…When the person of Jesus was gone out of the azure vault above them, and the cloud had effectually concealed Him, why should they continue to gaze when God Himself had drawn the curtain? If infinite wisdom had withdrawn the object upon which they desired to gaze, what would their gazing be but a sort of reflection upon the wisdom which had removed their Lord? …A steadfast gaze into heaven may be to a devout soul a high order of worship, but if this filled up much of our working time it might become the idlest form of folly. ~ C.H. Spurgeon