God chooses some really weird people.
MAY 24, 2022
God chooses some really weird people. Let’s talk, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He’s an author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life, a program all about God’s radical grace. We’re committed to bringing you Bible teaching that’s honest, straight-forward and street-smart. Keep listening to hear truth that’ll make you free.
Thank you Matthew, if you have your Bible open it to the 13th chapter of the book of Acts. And in that chapter, John Mark, Barnabas’ nephew who had been the assistant of Paul and Barnabas, leaves the ministry and goes back to his mother’s cherry pie and warm bed in Jerusalem. Now, you say it doesn’t say that in the text. No, it doesn’t. But if you know the book of Acts, you know the rest of the story. And by the way, I’m going to tell you the rest of the rest of this story, because it does have a happy ending. And we’ll talk about that when we get to it. And we’re talking about the reasons that John mark may have left. First, we saw that he probably didn’t like the change in leadership. And then secondly, we saw that sometimes the truth was a bit more strong than he thought it was. And then in fact, we’re going to see when we go back into this chapter, some things that the apostle Paul said to a magician that don’t sound very Christian. And then thirdly, we saw that the persecution was too strong, the journey was too strenuous and the obedience was too radical. And we mentioned in passing Luke 14:25-30, where Jesus says, before you do it, count the cost. Let me show you something else. Fourthly, I would suggest that John Mark didn’t like the people, God has chosen. Look at Acts 13:47-48.
For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “I’ve set you to be a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth.” and when the Gentiles heard it, they were glad and glorified in the word of God, and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
Isn’t that cool, but it’s not cool. And we’re going to see that when we talk a little bit later to those who were already the people of God. They said to themselves my, my, not them. They’re different than us. They don’t have the heritage we have. They don’t have the acceptance by God that we have, you can’t choose them. And we spent two or three weeks talking about it earlier, looking at Acts and the prejudice that was a part of all of that. And I would suggest that John Mark may have been a part of that. He was Jewish. He had a tremendous heritage and all these Gentiles, these Goyam, these riff raff were coming to Jesus. And he’s thinking, and we’re going to talk about it a little bit more when we get more into the 13th chapter of Acts and some of the side notes that you ought to pick up when you study this chapter. But maybe John Mark said, I don’t know. You may find that going on, for instance, in the book of Jonah. Remember Jonah, he had one short story. You’re, you, God’s going to get you guys and you’re in serious trouble, so repent. And they repented and Jonah didn’t like it. And in the fourth chapter of Jonah, he’s sitting under a vine, that’s given him some shade. And the vine dies and he’s out in the sun and he’s getting sunburned and the people in Nineveh, they repent. I mean, they’re, they’re running to God and Jonah is not happy with that at all. And then God says, you care more about that vine than you do about these people. Sometimes we do that. I can think of often, where I have to confess and repent of that particular sin. I was the pastor of a church once, when one of my friends who headed up a drug ministry, which we supported. And I prayed for him and everything, until he started bringing the druggies to church. And these were not nice people. And one of my elders came in and he had two daughters and I had two daughters. And he says, Steve, I’m concerned, with all these guys that come in here, some of them are still on drugs, some of them are getting off of them. And none of them are nice and they’re looking at my daughters and I don’t like it. And I said, me neither. I get, listen, I’m the same way. And then I stopped and said, but Bill, what about Jesus? You know what he said? He said, oh spit and turned and walked out of the office and both of us learned to deal with it. You know, there are people we don’t like that we don’t, and God calls them all. I remember during the Jesus movement, that was such a wonderful time. That’s been years and years ago and every morning of my life, I pray, Jesus, do it again, do it again. That was a great awakening in America. It swept from shore to shore with hundreds of thousands, even millions of people that were coming to know Christ. And I remember it happened in our Presbyterian church where I was the pastor on the south shore of Boston in Quincy. We were one block from where two presidents had been born. I mean, we were an old church and we were a sophisticated church and we were something else. And then these kids started coming and they radicalized. I used to sit in the big column behind the pulpit and say, Lord, clean up their language, before they give their testimony. But sometimes he didn’t and sometimes you just go, whoa. Whoa, I wish they hadn’t said it that way. I remember one time they had a Jesus March with all the kids in the church, they made signs for Jesus and they were shouting these, they would shout, give me a J and these little kids would scream, J, get me a… And I’ll notice some of the people sitting in the church were not happy at all. And frankly, I wasn’t happy at all either until Jesus said, their mine. And everybody who belongs to me belongs to you. So, deal with it. And so, I would suggest that John Mark didn’t deal very well with all of these Gentiles that were being received into the kingdom because of the message that was universal of the gospel. Let me tell you a story that I just love because it illustrates this. We had a Sunday evening service at that Presbyterian church I was telling you about. And it was very popular, by the way. We had a lot of people coming that were not part of the church. And I would generally have somebody give a testimony about what God was doing in their lives. And we had a young lady who had come to Christ in the Jesus movement who was African-American. And she wasn’t very pretty, to be perfectly honest with you. She was overweight. She was, her language left a lot to be desired. Her English was not perfect. And we were Presbyterians and we had an elder in the church who had a wife who was, well, she was a racist, that’s what she was. You know, we have so overused the word racist, it doesn’t mean anything anymore. And as a result, we don’t, we can’t define it, because everything’s racist, but there’s real racism. And I know what it is and I don’t like it. And neither does Jesus. Well, she was, and we talked about it and I told her she was wrong. She needed to repent, but I didn’t have much effect, frankly. She just was racist. And then one night, this African American gave her testimony and it was wonderful. I mean it was so good. I can’t tell you. And I look after the service and this racist elder’s wife is making her way down the aisle of the church, in the direction of this African-American who had just given her testimony. And I thought, oh, we’re in trouble. This is going to be awful. I don’t know what’s going to happen. And I watched, as the elder’s wife approached this young lady opened her arms, drew her to herself and held her and wept. And I thought, you know, Jesus is real. This, this stuff really does well, what I’m saying, and I’ve spent too much time doing it, but that John Mark didn’t like the people God had chosen. You know, if you don’t like Jews, you’ve got something wrong with you, because those are the ones that God himself chose. And if you’ll look around, there’ll be people in your church that you won’t like either. I don’t like everybody, but if they belong to Jesus, if Jesus has forgiven them, if Jesus had loved, then I’ll ask Jesus to help me be just like them. You think about that. Amen.
God chooses some really weird people and as one of them, I should know. Thank you Steve. Love that the Bible doesn’t shy away from showing some of the awkward moments and interactions that happened in the early church. Say, you ever meet somebody you find funny or insightful or fascinating, and you just can’t wait to introduce that person to your friends. Well, that’s kind of like it was meeting Philip Yancey. He joined us recently on Steve Brown Etc and wow. He had some powerful stories to share with us about the journey that led him to God. We put that entire conversation on a CD and if it’s okay with you, we’ll mail it to you, for free. Just let us know where to send it, by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail a request, send it to
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