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Lessons from John Mark

Witness to the world: Book of Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:00:25
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Controversy, Conflict and Contention

The mission trip was filled with controversy and conflict with the unbelieving Jews, and even the believers from Jerusalem about circumcision. Controversy and conflict can bring contention. And in our passage tonight it is contention within.
Controversy over circumcision (Act15:1-35)
Certain men from Jerusalem came down stating it was grace + circumcision were needed for salvation.
That led for journey from Antioch of Syria to Jerusalem and the Jerusalem council and the agreement that it was by faith alone and that circumcision was not needed.
Paul and Barnabas head back taking John Mark with them as they then go on the first missionary trip together.
They return, they report and that brings us to what we are looking at tonight.
Considering the continued Mission work (Act15:36)
Contemplating the mission team (Act15:37-38)
Contention arises (Act15:39-41)
(Transition) May we look at the passage and then there are some questions to consider, some observations to contemplate and a conclusion to draw.
Acts 15:36 NASB95
36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.”
Acts 15:37–38 NASB95
37 Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. 38 But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.
Acts 15:39–40 NASB95
39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40 But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord.
Acts 15:41 NASB95
41 And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Gleaning from the scripture:
First maybe a quick look at what transpired just before this so we can keep things in context then will glean from our passage tonight.
The Jerusalem council was held and there was an agreement by the brethren in Jerusalem under the leadership of James. They drafted a letter to the churches and sent it out to them with Judas and Silas who met up with Paul, Barnabas and John Mark in Antioch.
Acts 15:32–33 NASB95
32 Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message. 33 After they had spent time there, they were sent away from the brethren in peace to those who had sent them out.
Acts 15:34–35 NASB95
34 But it seemed good to Silas to remain there. 35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching with many others also, the word of the Lord.
They, Judas and Silas encouraged and strengthened the brethren, spent time there and then Judas and others headed back to Jerusalem, but Silas stayed behind as Paul and Barnabas along with many others continue to preach and teach the Word of God.
So, now let’s glean from the scripture.
Question: what was Paul considering to do (v.36), and why?
To return, to visit in every city, to see how they are.
(expand on the benefit of checking on one another, even if the one another is a church)
Question: What was Barnabas suggestion (v.37)?
Take John Mark with them
Question: What was Paul’s response to taking John Mark and why (v.38)?
They should not take him, why? Because he deserted them in Pamphylia.
Question: What was the results of the differing opinions (vv.39-41)
There was sharp disagreement (contention) (v.39); they separated (v.39)
Two teams now, one went to Cyprus, the other Syria and Cilicia (v.39, 41)
(Transition) we have not discussed anything here except the scripture itself thus far. There is lots we picked up from the passage itself, now may we look at some questions to consider from the scripture.

Questions to consider

Questions are good, that is a primary way that we learn, it is by inquiring. It is good for us to ask questions of the scripture so to get a better understanding, proper understanding, and then application of the scripture where applicable. So how about we ponder some questions from our passage this evening?
Who is John (v.37)?
Acts 15:37 NASB95
37 Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also.
We know from the verse his is also called Mark
Acts 12:12 NASB95
12 And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
From Act12:12 we can learn that his is Son of Mary
Colossians 4:10 NASB95
10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him);
He is Barnabas cousin when we look at Col4:10
There are still some more things we can learn about this, John, aka John Mark, commonly called Mark
Check out these verses and see what more you learn
Acts 12:25 NASB95
25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, taking along with them John, who was also called Mark.
and then this one
Acts 13:5 NASB95
5 When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper.
He was a missionary with Barnabas and Saul, and was a helper to them.
So, what we know summed up.
He was Son of Mary, Barnabas cousin
He was a missionary with Paul, Barnabas and was a helper to them.
We can also know
He was a praying man (Act12:12)
He was with the others praying, praying for Peter who was in prison at the time.
He was a committed man (Act12:25)
We was invited by Barnabas to go with he and Paul into the mission field to carry the good news, the gospel, and he left home and did just that.
He was a participating man (Act13:5)
Not only did he go on the missionary trip, he labored, worked, participated in the mission work being done.
So, let me ask a question,
Are you a person of prayer who is committed and participating in the mission work of the church?
(Transition) So we know more, or are reminded of more about Mark, now may we consider another question, or two.
What did he (John Mark) do?
He left the mission team in midst of journey (Act13:13)
Acts 13:13 NASB95
13 Now Paul and his companions put out to sea from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia; but John left them and returned to Jerusalem.
We do not know the reason that Mark left the team, but we can know that in our passage today, some time later, it caused a rift between Barnabas and Paul.
Acts 15:39 NASB95
39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.
We can see from (Act15:39) that it caused a separation of Barnabas and Paul.
Paul did not want Mark on the 2nd missionary trip due to abandonment on 1st trip.
Barnabas wanted him to go, and stayed his ground about wanting him to go, and the separation happened, or division, contention happened (v.39).
The separation (v.39) did something else, what did it do? It made two mission teams from one now (implied)
So, one more question to consider, ask of the scripture is what as the end of it all, what eventually happened?
Eventually, Paul and Mark return to work together, and he was important to Paul (Col4:10-11; Phm24; 2Tim4:11 and 1Pt5:13)
Colossians 4:10 NASB95
10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him);
Question: What does Paul instruct the church at Colossi to do?
They are to welcome him
Colossians 4:11 NASB95
11 and also Jesus who is called Justus; these are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me.
Question: Why are they to welcome him?
Because he has proved to be an encouragement to Paul.
(expand from contention to including)
One more scripture to consider here
2 Timothy 4:11 NASB95
11 Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.
Paul considered Mark useful in service to Paul. At the end of Paul’s life, in his last writings he asks for Mark!
Now another result of Mark returning to Jerusalem was he then was a help to Peter, look what Peter has to say
1 Peter 5:13 NASB95
13 She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark.
Peter considered Mark as a son, a son in the faith.
(Transition) - So we have considered some questions from the scripture and we do not know the reason that Mark left the mission team mid-stream and returned to Jerusalem, but we do know how it ended. It ended well.

Making some observations

Observing, watching, paying attention to things is important, it is part of our learning. Our learning is for knowledge, knowledge for wisdom, wisdom for application, application results in transformation, and transformation brings glorification to God.
Be a person willing to give a second chance (Act15:37)
Even though he left the team, Barnabas wanted him to come back out with them. He was willing to give a second chance.
We need to be people who give a second chance!
Be a person who follows example of Barnabas, be an encourager (Act4:37, Act9:26-29)
Barnabas was insistent to take Mark with them on the next mission trip. What an encouragement it must have been to Mark
We should not be surprised by the encouragement, we know Barnabas name me “son of encouragement” according to Act 4:36. but lookat this scripture
Acts 9:26–27 NASB95
26 When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
Acts 9:28–29 NASB95
28 And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death.
Stop; glean fro (vv.26-27) for a few minutes
Has there ever been someone who was not in the eyes of the people well received?
Barnabas did not only bring Paul in, he led Paul in and then spoke up for Paul, meaning he believed Paul.
Are there people that we need to lead in? People that need an advocate to speak up for them?
Be a person who upholds the weak (1The5:14)
We do not know the weakness but there is an assumed weakness of some kind that led for Mark to leave suddenly and return. And Barnabas was not going to let that stop him from what he believed he was to do. In fact Paul instructs that to the church at Thessolonica
1 Thessalonians 5:14 NASB95
14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
Some great life application here
Admonish the unruly (correct, teach)
Encourage the fainthearted (by word and deed)
Help the weak (build up, encourage, edify, teach
Keep first things first, the Lord, the Lord’s work (Act15:39-41)
Paul and Barnabas were not willing to let their contention (Act15:39) keep them from the work of the Lord (vv.40-41)
They went into two teams, two areas, one message “strengthening the churches.”
Another great lesson/application is that even when there is a falling out, brethren should not stop serving the Lord.
Don’t let a mistake or a set back (failure) stop you (Act15:39).
Mark could have been discouraged that Paul would not take him because of his departure and that it created a problem.
He got back into mission work and went with Barnabas to Cyprus (v.39).
Application/learning: Have you had what appears to be setbacks, discouragements in your life, let them be a learning tool to be used for the Lord and to the benefit of others. We are learning lessons from John Mark today. Lessons we can apply into our life.
Don’t hold a grudge (Col4:10-11; Phm24; 2Tim4:11)
Holding a grudge can hinder you and slow the Lord’s work, even Paul learned “let it go.” In the end we know Mark was useful to him and an encourager too. We have already read those scriptures, I use them here as a way of reminder.
Paul acknowledges and gives credit to Mark. Something changed and Paul gives credit to him and called him useful and an encourager.
do you know people like that? Who once made mistakes or were weak in faith that the Lord has done some mighty work in now?
So, don’t hold a grudge hold the person up in prayer and yourself to “let it go.”
The end matters, how you finish matters (Ecc7:8; 2Tim4:7)
We know we are called to run the race, to endure the race (Heb12:1-2, 1Cor9:24-27)
That does not mean we don’t stumble along the way, for the end is better than the beginning.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 NASB95
8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning; Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.
Then Paul’s words, Paul’s example
2 Timothy 4:7 NASB95
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;
Christian success is measured not by how many failures, stumbles, sins that happen along the way, it is how you finish the race!
(Invitation slide- Finish the race)
Invitation - you need to be in the race first! And when you are in the race you need to keep running the race. do you need to be qualified for the race, let’s take care of that today.
(Song) (Prayer) (Exit)
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