📝 = Fill in the Blank on Bulletin
YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAY THERE
“After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.””
“Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work.”
“Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus.”
“Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care. Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there.”
The moment that the enemy separates believers is the moment that the enemy wins.
Anytime there’s fingerprints of division, that’s him. Anytime there’s fingerprints of sharp arguments to the point of separation, that’s him. Jesus said in Mark 3:24,
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. Mark 3:24
Satan understands the power of unity, and that’s why he doesn’t want God’s people in it.
This was a sad day for the faith community as onlookers watched on. But what started off as sad day ends up in powerful life lesson that we all can apply to our lives. With the fierceness of Paul’s tone, one could only imagine how intense this disagreement was. Acts 13:13 gives us a quick snapshot of what happened. It reads,
Paul and his companions then left Paphos by ship for Pamphylia, landing at the port town of Perga. There JOHN MARK LEFT THEM and returned to Jerusalem. Acts 13:13
Somewhere along the line, Mark dropped the ball. Mark lost his faith. One writer commented that the young missionary's heart had failed him in Pamphylia. It may have been that John Mark discovered there was more involved in being a missionary than he originally thought. The thoughts of home and loved ones seemed too strong for his spirit to carry on in the work, and it was there that JOHN MARK LEFT THEM and returned to Jerusalem.
But by the time we get to the book of Colossians we find some of the most heartfelt words in scripture. Colossians 4:10 says,
“My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does MARK, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, WELCOME HIM.)”
The one that once abandoned Paul & Barnabas, the one who dropped the ball, who’s heart had failed him, was back reunited with Paul. The one who Paul once said he didn’t want anything to do with, Paul is now instructing the believers to welcome him. But even deeper than that, in some of Paul’s final words he says to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:9,
“Timothy, please come as soon as you can. Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia.”
2 Timothy 4:9-10
“Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”
2 Timothy 4:11
At one point John Mark deserted them and went back home. Paul lost confidence in him and in the heat of the moment said, "I’m not taking him. I don’t want to have anything to do with him!” But now we have Paul saying some of the most sincere words penned in scripture. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. The one who was once deemed as a deserter by Paul himself, is now deemed as profitable, useful, by Paul himself. What a powerful testimony this is to the redeeming power of our God. John Mark’s life boldly cries out to us all—YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAY THERE. Regardless of what you did. Regardless of what happened to you. Regardless of how bad you may have missed it, YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAY THERE. In fact that’s out sermon title for today…
YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAY THERE
I know you’ve done somethings you’re not proud of. Maybe somethings happened to you that you wish not to share. If you’re like me you’ve dropped the ball more times than you can count, more times than you would like to admit. John Mark’s life is living proof to us all that no matter what you did, or what happened to you—YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAY THERE.
Just like us at one point in his life John Mark missed the mark, and we can all relate to that. Romans 3:23 says,
“for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
We all have fallen short of God’s glory, we’ve all missed the mark but you don’t have to stay there, and here’s why you don’t have to stay there…
📝 His MARKS are greater than our MARKS.
The marks that He took at the whipping post, the marks that He took at the cross, were all for our marks. He knew that we would miss the mark, so He took on our marks.
“Surely he took up OUR PAIN and bore OUR SUFFERING, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.”
“But HE WAS WOUNDED for our transgressions, HE WAS BRUISED for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with HIS STRIPES we are healed.”
Paul walked with Him so close to Jesus that that he said in Galatians 6:17,
“…I bear in my body THE MARKS of the Lord Jesus.”
His MARKS are greater than our MARKS.
This is why Mark was able to bounce back. This why Mark was able to get back in the fight. His MARKSare greater than our MARKS.
Psalm 37:23-24 says it like this,
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, HE SHALL NOT BE UTTERLY CAST DOWN; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.”
When this is over you’ll be able to boldly declare:
God my REDEEMER.
God my REBUILDER.
God my REWARDER.
God my RESTORER.
God my REFINER.
God my REPLENISHER.
God my REAR GUARD.
God my REFUGE.
God my RESTING PLACE.
God my RIGHTEOUSNESS.
He wouldn’t let me be utterly cast down. He upholds me with His hand!
Proverbs 24:16 says,
“for though the righteous fall seven times, THEY RISE AGAIN…
📝 I know you never DESIRED to be in this place, but you get to DECIDE how long you stay in this place.
Somewhere along the way, John Mark got back up again and so can you. Somewhere along the way, John Mark began to rise to the occasion and so can you. Somewhere along the way, John Mark decided that he wasn’t going to serve a mental life sentence, for one setback. He decided that he wasn’t going to stay there, and so can you.
Paul told Timothy, "Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”
The one who’s life was once deemed as LOST, was now deemed as PROFITABLE.
📝 You might’ve accrued some LOSSES in life but you’re still PROFITABLE. There’s still worth in you.
You might’ve made some wrong turns in life, but you’re still profitable. You might’ve missed the mark time after time as we all have, but you’re still profitable. Since you’re still profitable, I say to you what God said to Gideon in Judges 6:14,
The LORD turned to him and said, "GO IN THE STRENGTH YOU HAVE…” Judges 6:14
You might’ve lost some ROUNDS, but you’re still going to win the fight! There’s still worth in you. There’s still value in you. There’s still purpose in you. Regardless of the setback, there will be a comeback. Go in the strength you have. YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAY THERE!
You’re not damaged goods, you’re profitable.
You’re not a lost cost, you’re profitable!
The Apostle Paul was right. John Mark was profitable. John Mark, better known to us as Mark would go on to write the gospel according to Mark, which many believe was the first gospel written that Matthew & Luke drew their accounts from. As powerful as that is, 1 Peter 5:13 is even more powerful. It reads,
“She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does MY SON MARK.”
1 Peter 5:13
The one who once deserted Jesus in a moment of weakness, took in the one who deserted Paul in a moment of weakness.
Peter understood Mark and became a spiritual father to him.
📝 Don’t miss it by not SHARING WITH OTHERS how you’ve missed it.
Marks life is living proof to us all….
📝 When you’re done, GOD ISN’T.
📝 When you think you’re FINISHED, God is just getting STARTED.
1 Corinthians 1:8 says,
He will sustain you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:8
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
It doesn’t matter how far away you, or someone you love may appear to be from their destiny. Similar to John Mark, they might’ve went back home. Maybe you or someone you love has given up and it looks like now it’s never going to happen. John Mark’s life testifies to Luke 1:37,
“For with God NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE.””
““Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”
📝 Impossible is the FLOOR, not the CEILING for our God.
Since impossible is where our God starts, it doesn’t matter how far you’ve fallen, YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAY THERE.
Maybe you’re Apostle Paul in this story. Maybe you’ve said somethings in the heat of the moment that you wish you could get back. Maybe you’ve allowed your emotions to get the best of you, and you’ve allowed ONE MOMENT to come between a lifetime of God filled moments. A lifetime of God filled memories. Beloved I say to you today, YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAY THERE.
You don’t have to stay at that place where division has taken you. You don’t have to stay at the place where the sharp disagreement has separated you. Don’t allow pride to get in the way. Don’t allow ego to get in the way. YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAY THERE. Paul teaches us two things that we must touch on:
📝 Give people PERMISSION to change.
📝 PRACTICE what you preach.
Paul could’ve kept John Mark at the last place he left him, keeping him locked into the last version of him that he knew. Somewhere along the way, Paul heard him out. Somewhere along the way Paul noticed that he’d changed, and accepted this change.
Give people permission to change, the same way God gave you permission to change.
It was Paul who wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:18,
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:”
2 Corinthians 5:18
“that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
2 Corinthians 5:19
It was Paul who wrote in Romans 12:18,
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
In other words, how far a situation goes is on you. You don’t have to stay there.
I can’t but help to think as Paul was writing these letters, and going around preaching the Word, if he was convicted by the Word. How can I tell the church to commit to the message of reconciliation if I’m not committed to it? How can I tell the church to live at peace with everyone if I’m not at peace with John Mark? I must practice what I preach. Whatever you do church…
📝 Don’t allow PRIDE to stand in the way of reconciliation.
📝 The enemy wants you to live IN THE OFFENSE instead of living through the offense. He wants you to get stuck there.
RECONCILIATION will forever be greater than RETALIATION.
You don’t have to stay at the place of anger. You don’t have to stay at the place of bitterness. You don’t have to stay at the place of unforgiveness. You’re not what you did. You’re not what you said. You’re not what happened to you. Your past doesn’t own you. Your pain doesn’t own you. Your problems don’t own you. The promises of what Christ Jesus did for you owns you. John 8:36 says,
“Therefore if the Son MAKES YOU FREE, you shall BE FREE INDEED.”
““The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim FREEDOM for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed FREE,”
Be free from your past. Be free from offenses. Be free from what you did. Be free from what they said. Be free from the whispers. Be free from division. YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAY THERE!
He has sent me to proclaim FREEDOM for the prisoners and…to set the oppressed FREE…
WILL YOU ACCEPT THIS FREEDOM?