Sermon #78                                              Mark Sermons


          Title:            “SO THEN…”

          Text:            Mark 16:19-20

          Subject:      The Lord’s Ascension

          Date:            Sunday Evening - March 21, 1999

          Tape #        V-18a

          Readings:    Office: Buddy Daugherty  Auditorium: Lindsay Campbell



Mark 16:19-20  "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."


          Every word in these two verses is of immense importance. We ought to read them with great care, praying that God the Holy Spirit will both teach us their meaning and seal them to our hearts.


Rather than giving you an outline to follow, tonight I will simply take our text, word by word, phrase by phrase by phrase, line by line, and seek, by the direction of God’s Spirit, to open the meaning of the text before you. May God be pleased to speak by me to your hearts, for your souls’ good and for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.


I.     “SO THEN…”


          That is a good way to wrap things up. Mark is here drawing his gospel narrative to a close. He is wrapping up his message. He is bringing his story to its conclusion. He is saying to us, This is the conclusion to the story of the earthly life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. What will the conclusion be? How will he finish the story? Read on…




          Notice how Mark speaks of the Master, the risen Christ. While on the earth, he wore the name of his humiliation, “Jesus.” But here Mark speaks of him as “the Lord.” That is more than a title of respect. It is a title of respect which identifies our Lord Jesus Christ as “the Lord,” not “a” Lord, not one Lord among many Lords, but “THE LORD.” Then he proceeds to describe his lordship. But I must not get ahead of myself.


NOTE: Let us ever speak with reverence when we speak of our God and Savior. To speak his name lightly, or without the intention of bringing honor to him is to take his name in vain. “Holy and reverend is his name!”


          What is Mark referring to when he says, after the Lord had spoken unto them?


A.  We know, of course, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the eternal WORD, the LOGOS, in and by whom God reveals himself to men.


          Without him, apart from him God cannot be known by man. Man’s quest for God, his search after God, is like a blind man groping about in a dark void. No man knows who God is until God is revealed in the Person and work of the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ.


John 1:1-3  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."


John 1:14  "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."


John 1:16-18  "And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."


Hebrews 1:1-3  "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."


2 Corinthians 4:6  "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."


          Christ is the living Word of whom the written Word speaks. Jesus Christ is God; and he alone is the Revelation of God. God does not speak to men, nor will he be spoken to by men, except through the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man, our Mediator.


B.  But John is here talking specifically about that which our Lord had spoken just before his ascension and exaltation.


          He is talking about the Lord’s commission to his church to go into all the world and preach the gospel, and the Lord’s promise to confirm them as his servants and give success to their labors, as well as his own unceasing companionship unto the end of time. He promised us…


·        His Presence.

·        His Protection.

·        His Power.


          We do not have to guess about this. The Holy Spirit tells us plainly that this is what he is referring to here (Acts 1:2-3).


Acts 1:1-3  "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."


          Now, read he next line of our text. When our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, had finished everything he came here to do…




          Oh, I cannot begin to tell you how that thrills my soul. He who is my Savior, he who came here to save me, who shed his blood to redeem me, who gave his Spirit to quicken and preserve me, has been received up into heaven! There’s a Man in Glory! What does that mean? That means men are welcome in Glory! If one man entered into the holy place, perhaps another can. If there’s a Man in Glory, maybe this man will be found there! Look at it word by word. I don’t want us to miss a thing.


A.  “He was received up into heaven.”


1.    Received as the God-man, our Mediator.

2.    Received as “the Lord our Righteousness.”

3.    Received as our sin-atoning Sacrifice and Substitute.

4.    Received as our Great High Priest and all-prevailing Advocate.

5.    Received as our Forerunner.


Luke 24:51  "And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven."


Acts 1:9  "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."


When our Lord Jesus Christ was received up into heaven, the angels of God watched him and worshipped him, Satan and the devils were led captive by him, and his Father crowned him!


B.  “He was received up into heaven, and sat down on the right hand of God.”


1.    He sat down because his work was done.

2.    He sat down on the right hand of God, the place of supreme dignity and power because he is the King of Glory!


John 17:2  "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him."


Romans 8:31-34  "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 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."


Hebrews 10:11-14  "And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."


Psalms 24  "The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. 2 For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. 3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. 7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah."


C. Children of God, here is a blessed cordial for our hearts and souls in this world of sorrow and woe.


          Christ sits upon the throne of grace, the throne of sovereign, universal power and dominion. He who loved us and gave himself for us is the absolute Monarch of the universe.


          Living in this evil world, in this world of trouble, care, and heartache, we are often cast down. Living in this world of sin and death, we are decaying, our bodies and minds are wearing away, as they must. We have before us the prospect of death, of judgment, of eternity. Here is our comfort - We lean back upon him who is our Lord and Savior, the King of Glory. We cast ourselves upon him. We fall into his omnipotent arms.


·        I am weak; but he is strong.

·        I grow weary and sleep; but he that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps!

·        I fall; but he never can!

·        I am dying; but he is Life!


          J.C. Ryle wrote, “Blessed indeed is this thought! Our Savior, though unseen, is a living person. We travel on towards a dwelling where our best Friend is gone to prepare a place for us John 14:2). The Forerunner has entered in and made all things ready”


          Once the Lord Jesus was received up into heaven, we are told…




A.  They went because they were sent. - “How can they preach, except they be sent?”


B.  They preached.


1.    That is the business of God’s Church.

2.    That is the business of God’s servants!


C.  They preached what they knew - THE GOSPEL - HIM.


NOTE: Preach, preached, preaching are used 37 times in the Book of Acts. Every time, the subject matter preached is Jesus and the Resurrection. Unless Christ is preached no preaching has been done, in the biblical sense of the word.


D.  They preached everywhere!


          That is the sphere of our labor. To the best of our ability, in the generation in which we live, it is our responsibility to preach the gospel to all men everywhere.


          Now, look at the next line…




          Oh, what a Companion in labor! But Christ is more than our co-laborer. We are the tools. He is the Worker. We are just hoes and hoses in his hands. He works with us, using us as he sees fit in his vineyard.


Romans 12:3  "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."


1 Corinthians 3:5-9  "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building."


          Would to God we could learn this! It would put an end to all jealousy, envy, strife, and division among God’s servants. The work is the Lord’s. He works with his tools as he sees fit, where he pleases, to accomplish his purpose. And he does it in such a way as to exalt himself and abase man, that no flesh should glory in his presence.


VI. "And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following."


          Read the Book of Acts, and you will see how this fact demonstrated time and again. Read the history of God’s church in this world, and you will see this Scripture emblazoned upon the pages of history.


          The Word of God is not bound. The Word of truth is not preached in vain. In spite of Satan’s rage, in spite of persecutions from popes and pagans, politicians and priests, the Word of God has flourished from land to land, from people to people, and from generation to generation. God has caused his little vine, sown in a dry, desert wilderness, to grow into a huge, fruitful tree.


          We have seen these words fulfilled for ourselves. Have we not? I ask you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, do you not see the confirmation of God’s power and grace upon us to do the work he has sent us to do? In these 19 years we have labored together, we have never yet…


·        Knocked at a door he did not open!

·        Come to a raging sea he did not divide before us!

·        Met an enemy he did not slay!

·        Had a need he did not supply!


          The Word of God by his prophet Isaiah (2:3) is fulfilled in our midst every day, even as it was in the apostolic era.


Isaiah 2:3  "And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem."


          These things were written for our learning, for our comfort, for our encouragement. The Word of God is never preached in vain. Our labor spent in the cause of Christ is never labor spent for nothing. We may never see the result of our work for Christ while we live in this world. If we did, our chests would burst with horrible pride. But in that day when God makes all things manifest, we will see that our labor was not in vain. Let us cast our bread upon the waters, and wait. After many days, it shall return!


Psalms 126:6  "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."


Isaiah 55:11  "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."


1 Corinthians 15:58  "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."


          There is one more word in our text. Don’t overlook it.




          That means - “So be it!” or “So it shall be!” Here Mark says…


A.  Amen, to all that Christ did. I do too.

B.  Amen, to all that Christ taught. I do too.

C.  Amen, to all that Christ sent us to do. I do too.

D.  Amen, to all that Christ promised to do with us. I do too!


          I say “AMEN” to the purpose of God in Christ, the revelation of God in Christ, the Word of God revealing Christ, and the work of God by Christ!