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Wonderful in Counsel and Excellent in Working

Isaiah 28:29 This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.

Ezek. 46:1 Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened.

Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Ezek. 46:6 And in the day of the new moon it shall be a young bullock without blemish, and six lambs, and a ram: they shall be without blemish.

Those who do much for God must do more.

Luke 12:48—But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

As Christ is holy, humble, faithful and without blemish we must be holy, humble, faithful and without blemish

The Lord's Great Commission

16:14-20) Introduction— Jesus Christ, Resurrection: this was the first appearance of Jesus to all the disciples. It is important to keep in mind that it was Sunday evening, the same day that Jesus had arisen from the dead. He had undergone an extremely busy day, encouraging those who had needed special attention and sending word of His resurrection to the disciples. They were hovered behind closed doors in fear of the Jews. Jesus needed to send word of His resurrection to them bit by bit so they would be prepared to see Him risen and in His resurrected body. The day included the following appearances.

⇒  The appearance to Mary Magdalene ([Mark 16:9-11](

⇒  The appearance to the women as they were going to tell the disciples ([Matthew 28:9](

⇒  The appearance to Peter, which probably was a long conference lasting for hours ([Luke 24:34](

⇒  The appearance to two disciples on the road to Emmaus ([Mark 16:12-13](

⇒  The appearance to the disciples mentioned in this passage ([Mark 16:14](; <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Luke 24:36</span>; <span style="text-decoration:underline;">John 20:19</span>)


Note what Mark stresses in this passage (this is the close of His gospel): he stresses the Great Commission.

The Great Commission is the whole focus of his attention.

<span style="text-decoration:underline;">1.  The two hindrances to the Great Commission (v.14).</span>

<span style="text-decoration:underline;">2.  The Great Commission: go—preach (v.15).</span>

<span style="text-decoration:underline;">3.  The reason for the Great Commission (v.16).</span>

<span style="text-decoration:underline;">4.  The promise to the believer as he carries out the Great Commission (v.17-18).</span>

<span style="text-decoration:underline;">5.  The confirmation of the Great Commission (v.19-20).</span>


**1. **(16:14) Unbelief— Heart, Hardness of: there are two major hindrances to the Great Commission—unbelief and hardness of heart. Standing before the apostles, Jesus upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart. The word "upbraid" (onedise) means to rebuke, reproach, reprove, scold.

Note three things.

1.  They deserved the rebuking and scolding. Their unbelief and hardness were inexcusable.

a.  They had witnessed Jesus' power, that is, God's power, throughout His ministry. They had seen His power over both nature and disease, and they had even witnessed His power over death when He raised up Jairus' daughter and a young man and Lazarus, and perhaps others of which there is no record.

b.  They had witnessed His life, His purity and holiness and sinlessness. And they had been taught that sin caused death, that is, that a man dies because of sin ([John 3:19](; [John 3:16-21](; [John 5:24-29](; [John 8:34-35]( Cp. [Romans 5:12](; [Romans 6:23]( Jesus was without sin; therefore, death could never hold Him and enforce its power over Him. They should have been able to reason and see this glorious fact, especially in light of the Scriptures.

"Neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption" (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27; Acts 13:35).

"Jesus Christ our Lord....declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:3-4).

    c.  They had been taught month after month that He was to die and be raised again.

d.  They had rejected the testimony of His resurrection. He had sent them word by Mary Magdalene and the other two disciples ([Mark 15:9-11](, [12-13](

2.  The disciples' unbelief and hardness of heart was very, very serious. Jesus' rebuke (and Mark's stress) of their unbelief and hardness show this ([Mark 15:11](, [13, 14]( 

It had to be dealt with if the Great Commission was to be carried out.

Jesus dealt with the matter of unbelief and hardness of heart. How much more should we!

When we begin to believe that souls are lost and doomed unless they hear and receive Jesus, then we will take the Great Commission seriously and preach the gospel to the whole world. It has now been two thousand years, and a place as small as our world has not even been reached. Unimaginable, when we have had the means of transportation and communication and the resources at our disposal to do the job.

3.  The _root cause_ of unbelief and hardness of heart was very simply the misinterpretation of Scripture and of Jesus' words. The disciples had been told that Jesus was to die and arise from the dead. Jesus had told them time and time again. 

But the disciples refused to believe the word of Christ, they...

•  refused to see the Messiah as a suffering Savior, choosing instead to think of a conquering King

([Luke 24:44-45](; [3:24-31]('S%20APPEARANCE,%203:1-4:15//D.%20The%20Genealogy%20of%20Jesus:%20The%20Roots%20of%20the%20Messiah,%203:23-38//2.%20Davidic%20heir:%20To%20be%20the%20Messianic%20King%20(v.24-31));  [7:21-23]('S%20ANNOUNCED%20MISSION%20AND%20PUBLIC%20MINISTRY,%204:16-9:17//O.%20Jesus%20Answers%20The%20Question%20of%20John%20the%20Baptist:%20Is%20Jesus%20the%20Messiah?%207:18-28//2.%20The%20ministry%20and%20message%20of%20Jesus%20proved%20He%20was%20the%20Messiah%20(v.21-23)).)

•  refused to see the Kingdom of God as a spiritual kingdom, choosing instead to think of a physical kingdom on earth.

•  refused to see the death and resurrection of Jesus as a literal fact, choosing instead to think of it in symbolic terms ([Matthew 20:20-21]('S%20TEACHINGS%20ON%20THE%20WAY%20TO%20JERUSALEM,%2019:1-20:34//H.%20The%20Price%20and%20Meaning%20of%20Greatness,%2020:20-28//1.%20The%20sin%20of%20false%20ambition--seeking%20personal%20greatness%20(v.20-21)//e.%20Misunderstands%20true%20greatness)).

Unbelief and hardness of heart are inexcusable within a believer.

"Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken" (Luke 24:25).

"Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing" (John 20:27).

**"But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened **

through the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:13).

"Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" (Hebrews 4:11).

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent" (Rev. 3:19).

"Happy is the man that feareth always: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief" (Proverbs 28:14).

"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy" (Proverbs 29:1).

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18).

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36).

"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24).

**2. **(16:15) Commission, Great— Ministry: the Great Commission is a straight-forward command. It is brief, yet forceful and uncompromising: go—preach.

Jesus made two critical points.

  1. It is the gospel that is to be preached. We are not to preach our own thoughts and ideas, humanistic and man-centered beliefs, world religions and philosophies. We are to preach the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the news which the world desperately needs to hear.

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

"The gospel of God (which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:1-4).


2.  The gospel is to be carried "into all the world" and preached "to every creature." The gospel is the news which everyone needs to hear. 

Note two simple facts.
  1. The Great Commission was given to the discilples for the whole church, to every believer. It is a permanent commission given to the church of every generation, not only to the first disciples. Note the words, "He that believeth" (Mark 16:16) and "them that believe" (Mark 16:17). After a person believes and is baptized, Jesus says the person goes forth with power and signs while he preaches the gospel (Mark 16:16-17). Every believer who is genuinely saved is to preach the gospel (Mark 16:16; cp. Matthew 28:19-20; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Tim. 2:2; 1 Peter 3:15).

  2. The Great Commission does not consider difficulties, dangers, or barriers to be reasons for not going. Jesus did not discuss excuses for not sharing the gospel. His command was an uncompromising demand. The issue of eternal life vs. eternal damnation is too critical an issue to allow anything to stop the gospel from going forth. The gospel has to be carried forth. No land is to be neglected, no people are to be ignored. The believer is to be undaunted and unswerved from the Great Commission. The believer is commanded: "Go ye into all the world" (Mark 16:15).


**3. **(16:16) Salvation— Belief: the reason for the Great Commission is twofold. Men are either saved or condemned. If the gospel is shared with them and they believe and are baptized, they shall be saved; but if they disbelieve, they shall be condemned.

1.  A man can now be saved. He no longer needs to walk about, wandering throughout life seeking and searching for fulfillment and completeness, questioning if there is really any purpose to life. Man can be saved and live eternally. He can be delivered...

•  from sin and its power ([Romans 6:6-7](

•  from death and its fear and corruption ([John 5:24](; [Hebrews 2:14-15](

•  from hell and its torture and separation from God; [     Hebrews 9:27](,%20GOD'S%20SON,%208:1-10:18//E.%20Christ%20is%20the%20Minister%20and%20Mediator%20of%20the%20Perfect%20Sacrifice%20for%20Sins%20(Part%20I),%209:23-28//DEEPER%20STUDIES//Deeper%20Study%201)).

The message that life is now available must be carried to the whole world.

2.  A man is lost and condemned if he disbelieves the gospel. The words "believeth not" (apistesas) mean to disbelieve. And the word "damned" (katakrithesetai) means to be condemned. The man who rejects Jesus Christ, who refuses to believe and follow Him, shall be condemned. Condemned to what?

⇒  To the power and enslavement of sin ([John 3:19](; [Romans 3:12](, [23](

⇒  To the fear and corruption of death ([Romans 5:12](; [Romans 6:23](

⇒  To the torture and separation of hell 

Therefore, the great motive for reaching the world is the desperate need of man to be saved: saved from sin, death, and hell—saved to the uttermost—saved to live forever in the presence of God Himself ([John 3:16](; [John 5:24-29]( 

**4. **(16:17-18) Power: the promise to the believer as he carries out the Great Commission is critical. The believer must have supernatural power as he goes forth throughout the world.

The world is a dangerous place. The believer will sometimes be called upon to face treacherous land, violent storms within nature, savage and poisonous animals, unbelieving and hostile men, spiritual evil of unbelievable force. The evil of men, of nature, and of spirits can be so threatening to the believer that the believer's witness would be stopped if God did not provide His strength and power.

This is the point of this passage. God does give power to the believer—all the power necessary to carry the gospel "into all the world" and "to every creature."

This, of course, does not mean that every believer will be delivered from every threat and from ever being martyred.

Some believers are persecuted and some even martyred.

As God wills, He teaches and touches lives and moves history and society itself through the persecution and martyrdom of believers. Things do not always run smoothly for believers.

But God does give power to believers—the power to walk through the difficulties in His confidence and peace, even through the fire of martyrdom if faced. It is often the witness of the God-given power, confidence, and peace that reaches others for Christ and that causes an enormous movement toward God.

As the believer carries out the Great Commission, God promises power, the power needed to get the task done.

Note the power or signs mentioned by Mark.

Such power will be present in the life of the believer (when needed) as he proclaims the gospel around the world.

⇒  Casting out devils (cp. [Acts 16:18](

⇒  Speaking with new tongues ( [Acts 2:4](,%202:1-7:60//A.%20The%20Day%20of%20Pentecost%20and%20The%20Coming%20of%20the%20Holy%20Spirit:%20The%20Church%20is%20Born,%202:1-13//DEEPER%20STUDIES//Deeper%20Study%204)).

⇒  Taking up serpents ([Acts 28:5](

⇒  Drinking any deadly thing ([Mark 16:18](

⇒  Laying hands on the sick and healing them ([Acts 28:7-8](


"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (1 Cor. 2:4).

"That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man" (Ephes. 3:16).

"For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance" (1 Thes. 1:5).

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God" (2 Tim. 1:7-8).

"But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin" (Micah 3:8).

"Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts" (Zech. 4:6).

**5. **([16:19-20]( **<span style="text-decoration:underline;">Commission, Great</span>**: the confirmation of the Great Commission is seen in two    acts.

1.  There is the Lord's ascension to the right hand of God, that is, the position of power

 ( [Luke 24:50-51](; [Acts 1:9-11](

The ascension assures (proves, confirms) that seven things are absolutely certain.

a.  The ascension assures us that God is and that He is alive. Christ could be raised from the dead and received up into heaven _only_ by the power of God. The fact that Christ was raised up from the dead and "carried up into heaven" ([Luke 24:51]( proves that God exists. Only God could do such a thing.

(1 Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 4:14; John 3:16. Acts 2:24, 32; Acts 3:15, 26; Acts 4:14; Acts 5:30; Acts 10:40; Acts 13:30, 33-34; Acts 17:31.)

b.  The ascension assures us that Christ is God's Son. The very fact that God raised up Christ and "received [Him] up into heaven" proves that Christ is God's Son ([Romans 1:3-4](; [Phil. 2:5-11](

c.  The ascension assures us that heaven is real.

Php 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: {conversation...: or, we live or conduct ourselves as citizens of heaven, or, for obtaining heaven}

 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

d.  The ascension assures us that the gospel is true. When God raised up Christ and received Him into heaven, God showed that the message of Christ is true. What Christ proclaimed and revealed is true. The problem with man is sin and death, a future of condemnation and separation from God. But man can be saved, saved by the cross of Christ ([Mark 16:16](; 

1Pe 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 

e.  The ascension assures us that the Great Commission is the call and mission of believers. Two things show this.

⇒  First, Christ has ascended into heaven. He is gone, He is no longer on earth. If the gospel is to be carried to the ends of the earth, believers have to do it. They are the ones left on earth to do it.

⇒  Second, it is the risen and ascended Lord who gave the Great Commission. As the ascended Lord, He demands that His commission be fulfilled 

f.  The ascension assures us that power is available to carry out the Great Commission Mat. 28:18-20; Mark 16:20).

g.  The ascension assures us that we have a very special Helper in heaven

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

The Great Commission is confirmed by the Lord working through the disciples' ministry.

The Great Commission is to be carried out.

The early disciples "went forth" immediately and "preached everywhere."

The believers of every generation are to go forth immediately and preach the gospel everywhere.

Two simple facts.

1.  "The Lord worked" with them.

2.  "The Lord...confirmed the Word of God with signs." Not just our word but His Word.

Acts 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Ezek. 46:6 And in the day of the new moon it shall be a young bullock without blemish, and six lambs, and a ram: they shall be without blemish.

I. That the place of worship was fixed, and rules were given concerning that, both to prince and people.

Eze 46:1 Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened.

  1. The east gate, which was kept shut at other times, was to be opened on the sabbath days, on the new moons (Eze 46:1), and whenever the prince offered a voluntary offering.

Eze 46:12 Now when the prince shall prepare a voluntary burnt offering or peace offerings voluntarily unto the LORD, one shall then open him the gate that looketh toward the east, and he shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, as he did on the sabbath day: then he shall go forth; and after his going forth one shall shut the gate.

Of the keeping of this gate ordinarily shut we read before Eze 44:2; whereas the other gates of the court were opened every day, this was opened only on high days and on special occasions, when it was opened for the prince, who was to go in by the way of the porch of that gate, Eze 46:2,8.

Eze 44:2 Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.

Eze 46:2 And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate, and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening.

Eze 46:8 And when the prince shall enter, he shall go in by the way of the porch of that gate, and he shall go forth by the way thereof.

The Prince did not go through the gate (as the glory of the Lord had done), though it was open, but he went by the way of the porch of the gate, stood at the post of the gate, and worshipped at the threshold of the gate (Eze 46:2), where he had a full view of the priests' performances at the altar, and signified his agreement in them, for himself and for the people of the land, that stood behind him at the door of that gate, Eze 46:3.

Every prince must show himself to be of David's mind, who would very willingly be a door-keeper in the house of his God, and, sit or lie at the threshold.

Ps 84:10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

The greatest of men are less than the least of the ordinances of God. Even princes themselves, when they draw near to God, must worship with reverence and godly fear, owning that even they are unworthy to approach to him. But Christ is our prince, whom God causes to draw near and approach to him.

Jer 30:21 And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD.