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Summary: All God’s servants are entrusted with gifts and talents by God. God expects us to produce a spiritual profit. At His return He will reward those who increase His investment and punish those who fail to. John Mark was profitable.

PROFITABLE FOR THE MINISTRY

2 Tim. 4:11

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR (Pastor’s humor about inconsistent members)

1. In Minnesota three pastors got together. They discovered that all three of their churches had infestations of bats. They decided to compare notes of how they had dealt with the problem.

2. Pastor Johnson said, “I got so mad I took a shotgun and fired at them. It made holes in the ceiling but did nothing to the bats.”

3. Pastor Lindquist said, “I tried trapping them alive. After I got them in a cage, I drove them 50 miles and released them, but they flew back to the church before I got there!”

4. Pastor Stephens said, “I had no trouble getting rid of the bats.” The other two pastor sat up and exclaimed, “What in the world did you do?”

5. He replied, “I simply baptized them and got them to join the church, and I’ve never seen them since!”

B. TEXT

“Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with you: for he is profitable to me for the ministry” 2 Tim. 4:11.

C. THESIS

1. We’re going to look this morning at one of the greatest men in the N.T. He was so used by God he should be placed right after Paul, Peter, and John Zebedee. Yet he was not an apostle and very few people even know his name.

2. He also was a center of controversy, and split up the relationship of two prominent apostles.

3. Yet about this man was given a compliment that I wish we all could achieve – that he was profitable for the ministry of God’s Church. That is the title of this message.

I. GOD EXPECTS US TO BE PROFITABLE

A. YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO GENERATE A SPIRITUAL PROFIT

1. “Profitable” is defined as “yielding a profit or a financial gain.” If any business or endeavor is to survive, or even be worthy of existence, IT MUST PRODUCE SOMETHING!

2. Even faith, if it produces no positive effect on those who claim it, is said to be worthless by James (2:26).

3. So even in spiritual things, God wants all He invests in to produce a profit. Do you want evidence of this?

B. EXAMPLES WHERE GOD DEMANDS A PROFIT

1. In the Parable of the Talents (Mt. 25:14-29), all God’s servants were entrusted with gifts and talents by God. God likened it to giving them currency to invest. And when their Lord returned, He rewarded those who’d gotten a gain on His investment and punished those who’d failed to make a gain.

2. Parable of the Barren Fig Tree; Lk. 13:6-9, “Then he told this parable: “A man [representing God] had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’” The gardener did intercede for more time, but the Master still demanded that which used His soil must produce!

3. Another example? The Jewish leaders were told by Jesus they were like renters of a Vineyard (Mt. 21:43; Lk. 20:10, Mk. 12:2) who were expected to yearly pay a portion of the produce to the land owner. When they didn’t, Jesus declared, “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit” Mt. 21:43.

4. John the Baptist spoke for God when he said, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance….every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” Matt. 3:8,10 (Lk. 3:9) and taught by Jesus Himself as a definite truth in Matt. 7:19.

5. Q - SO DOES GOD EXPECT TO ‘PRODUCE’ SPIRITUALLY? The answer is yes!

II. JOHN MARK STARTED GOOD, BUT FALTERED

A. INVOLVEMENT IN THE EARLY CHURCH

1. This young man was an early disciple and was evidently nearby when Jesus was arrested, and his garment was pulled off of him by the soldiers (Mk. 14:52). Thus he was an eye-witness of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

2. It was to his family home that Peter came after the angel let him out of prison. His home was the nucleus of the early Christians where all-night prayer meetings were held (Acts 12:12). Barnabas, one of the first Apostles besides the 12, was Mark’s cousin (Col. 4:10).

3. He was chosen to go with Paul & Barnabas on a missionary tour, but returned prematurely (Acts 13:13). Paul refused to take him on the next missionary tour, so Barnabas took him and went to Cyprus while Paul & Silas went to Syria & Cilicia (Acts 15:36-41). So he went on 2 early missionary campaigns.

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