Summary: This is a Monologue about how God grew John Mark into a mighty effective minister for the Lord
HAMMERED HOME Acts 15:36-38; II Tim. 4:9-11
1. Read Scripture
2. Introduce the sermon by stating: “Imagine, if you would, a gathering of Roman believers. The time is A.D.63 or 64. Due to an increase in persecution they are meeting in secret. John Mark has arrived to encourage them in their faith.”
Grace and peace be yours in abundance. It is good to be with you. I do not take for granted any opportunity to speak of my Lord or to share what He has done for me.
I bring you greetings from Paul, Luke and Timothy - - Paul is holding up well even though he is under house arrest. Unless God intervenes, however, I’m afraid he may not be with us much longer. As you are aware - we meet like this - because those of us On The Way - Christians as we’ve been called - are not well received by my own people the Jews or our ruling government. Our Lord said to the twelve: “All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mk 13:13) I have come to encourage you to stand firm. How well I know the difficulty in doing so.
It humbles me to tell my story. Ten years ago I thought the story of my life was over – finished – had been written. I was at my lowest point. I was John Mark “The Quitter”! How would you like to be known by a similar title? How do you live something like that down? Well, I guess, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Where do I start? Oh, I could tell you:
• of those moments with Jesus Himself
• of being a part of His entry into Jerusalem
• of making arrangements for His last meal with His disciples in our own home
• of the tragic events of Jesus’ betrayal, trial, and crucifixion
• of how our home was a key meeting place after the Lord’s resurrection
• even of the day we were praying and the Spirit of God came to dwell in our lives.
Another time will have to do for all those wonderful events.
Those were exciting days as we saw God add daily to our number. I was caught up in the miracles, the growth, and of seeing God transform lives. Our beloved Paul – known then as Saul of Tarsus – was such a menace to us believers as he sought to persecute and kill any one who followed Jesus of Nazareth. Yet God turned his life around. My own cousin, Barnabas, became one of us.
It seemed like we were always in a prayer meeting, asking God to touch another life or open another door. It was during one of those meeting in our home that Peter was led out of prison by an angel, while we were praying for his protection and soon release. God was answering prayer long before we even expected Him to.
There is nothing like being where the action is. Yet being there does not guarantee that action is taking place in your own life. That was the way it was for me. God was bringing about victories all around me. What joy! Could it get any better? Yet I was not allowing Him to gain much territory – here – in me. The tragedy is that I didn’t realize what was happening at the time. So when I heard that Paul (known then as Saul) and my cousin Barnabas were launching out on a preaching mission, I needed to be right there with them. Front lines are where I wanted to be.
Wow, did I feel important. We were moving out into new territory. From Antioch of Syria we went to the island of Cyprus and then on to Pamphylia. Again God was blessing our every move. And then - excuse me - I still have trouble with this - I, I deserted the other two – quit – had enough!!
How can I best describe it? Even today I can’t tell you exactly why I did what I did. There were so many issues for me.
• Hardship for one – I grew up in a well-to-do family. My life was protected and one of ease. Even during those difficult early years of God building His Kingdom, it was always someone else feeling the hot breath of persecution. The mission trip, however, was the first time in my life when things didn’t always go the way I desired. It was WORK, and I wasn’t use to that.
• Jealousy played its part I guess – I mean it was my cousin who stood up for Saul after his conversion. In fact Saul would not have been in Antioch, to be sent out on the mission, if Barnabas had not invited him to come. But on the trip, day-by-day, it was Saul who was taking the lead and making the key decisions. And Barnabas was letting him do it.