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Summary: verse by verse through Acts

Have you ever failed at something?

[TSTC Crusade story.]

But thank God that wasn’t my only chance to do something for the Lord. Thank God for second chances! [2] This morning we’re going to look at how we serve a God of second chances as we continue our studies through the book of Acts. We’re actually going to go back a couple chapters to Acts chapter twelve to get some background material on a young man named Mark. A man who started out well but who failed for all to see.

Colossians 4:10 shows us that Mark was actually the cousin of Barnabas. And as we’ve seen, Barnabas was a highly respected and effective leader in the early church. Barnabas was also Paul’s partner in the church’s first missionary endeavor. So Mark had a great and godly Uncle.

He also had a godly Mother as well. It was in her home that people were praying all night for Peter while he was in prison. It’s the first place that Peter went after the Lord delivered him from that prison.

[Read Acts 12:12.]

So Mark had a godly family that no doubt invested into his life. Mark also had the privilege to be a part of the first ever missionary journey with Paul and Barnabas.

[Read Acts 13:5.]

What an opportunity! He’s traveling with the great Apostle Paul and his loving Uncle Barnabas and is able to see first hand the power of God through their ministry. But halfway through their adventure something happened – Mark deserted the ministry.

[Read Acts 13:13.]

Now when you first read this, it just looks like he went back home for no apparent reason. Maybe he had something important to attend to? But when you see how the Apostle Paul in chapter fifteen referred to Mark’s departure as a desertion, you understand that Mark had simply given up and failed to persevere through the trip. Go to Acts 15 where two years have passed from their last missions trip, and Paul and Barnabas are making plans for their next trip.

[Read Acts 15:36-41.]

Look at the intense disagreement between Paul and Barnabas over whether or not Mark should go with them. Barnabas wanted to give Mark another chance, but Paul said, “No way! He deserted us the last time we went through this region and will probably do it again!”

You see, traveling in the ancient world was no easy task. Crowded ships, bad food, walking for miles, sleeping on the road sides. Just getting to where they wanted to go was a chore. And once they got there they never knew what the reaction of the people would be. Many people would come to know the Lord and revival would break out. But there was always the opposing Jews who would mistreat them something awful. There was always the very real chance that they would be killed for their faith while on this trip.

The pressure got to Mark and he simply quit on Paul and Barnabas and went back home where life was easier. Mark failed. And that [3] failure affected the lives of others. Look at what it did to Paul and Barnabas.

[Read Acts 15:37-40.]

Both Paul and Barnabas felt strongly about their position concerning Mark. Barnabas wanted to give Mark another chance and help him grow in his faith. Paul didn’t think he was ready for another trip of this magnitude. Neither one would budge. So they split up and each went their own ways.

Now this wasn’t the start of a life-long rift between Paul and Barnabas. Other Scriptures bear that out. But at least for now, this great missionary team had to go to plan B because of Mark’s failure.

You see, our failures almost always affect the lives of others. We rarely fail in a vacuum. Sooner or later our sins, our failures, will negatively affect the lives of others. And usually those others are the ones closest to us.

[Group Home examples.]

Our failures affect the lives of others.

If the quarterback of a football team fails to hold onto the ball, he could cost his team the game. If a man fails to be faithful to his wife, he could cost them their marriage. If an accountant fails to keep accurate records, he could cost his company their financial health. If a soldier fails to be where he’s supposed to be, it could cost his fellow soldiers their lives. Our failures affect the lives of others.

Along with that, [4] our failures affect our own lives as well.

Can you imagine what Mark must have felt like when he deserted Paul and Barnabas and went back home. All the awkward questions he’d have to answer from his family and his church. “How come you came back so soon? Where’s Paul and Barnabas? How will they manage without you? Was there anyone to take your place?”

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