Truth is sometimes really hard.
MAY 23, 2022
Truth is sometimes really hard. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Key Life is all about God’s radical grace. Grace that has dirt under its fingernails and laugh lines on it’s face. If you want the Bible to be a book of rules, you may want to stop listening now, but if you’re hungry for the truth that’ll make you free. Welcome to Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you had a great week-end and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying the book of Acts and we’re up to the 13th chapter of the book of Acts. And I’m spending a considerable amount of time on John Mark, a friend of mine who left the ministry. We have over 4,000 pastors on our mailing list. And you know what that means? That means that almost every week I spend hours talking to pastors and the laughing with them and crying with them, talking about the problems of the church. I’m not so smart, but I’m a good listener. And sometimes those guys just need somebody who will listen. And so, I listen and then I’m an old guy, so I get to say what I think, but in a lot of occasions, pastors are leaving ministry. And that’s what happens in the 13th chapter of the book of Acts. John Mark left. And if you want to know, there’s not much in this chapter about that. At the 13th verse, it simply says.
Now Paul and this company set out from Paphos and came on Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem.
Now, we wouldn’t even comment on that. I mean, there were other agendas that John Paul probably had, but later on in Acts, we begin to see that this became a place of contention between Paul and Barnabas. In fact, these two giants of the faith good couldn’t even work together. And so, I’m spending a lot of time talking about John Mark and some of the reasons that the Scripture suggests that he would have left the ministry. Now, once we finish looking at John Mark, I’m going to go back and in a very disorganized way, look again at this 13th chapter of Acts, because in order to talk about John Mark, it means that I ignored a whole lot of good stuff that you’ll find in this 13 chapter. But for now, it’s John Mark. And for right now, let’s pray and then we’ll get down and study. Father, we come into your presence and we thank you for your word. The world lies to us all the time and you never do. And in your word, there’s a safe harbor of truth. And we’re thankful for that reality. Father, you wrote it down and we praise you for that. But that’s just a part of our reason for praising you, you found us, you loved us, you forgave us, you’ll never let us go. You are good. And you’re good all the time. Father, you know everybody who’s listening to this broadcast. You know the hard places and the soft ones. You know the tears and the laughter. And you’re the God of both. Reminder us that you’re sufficient in every place in our lives. And then Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, forgive him his sins, because there are many, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Now, if you’ve been with us, last week we started talking about John Mark and some of the reasons that he may have decided to leave the ministry and returned to his mother in Jerusalem. First, we saw that John Mark probably didn’t like the change in leadership. You know, it happens. If you will note in this text that it starts by Paul and his company. And just a chapter two before it was Barnabas and his company, then it became Barnabas and Paul, and then it became Paul and Barnabas. And then it became Paul and his company. What’s going on there? There’s a change in leadership and Barnabas was as I’ve pointed out, but you never listen to me. Barnabas was John Mark’s uncle. And I would suggest that it’s a very human and wise observation to look at John Mark leaving, saying I signed on to be with my uncle. I didn’t sign on to be with Paul, so I’m out of here. Now, that goes on in the church too, doesn’t it? Have you recently had a new pastor and left the church because you didn’t like the new one? Have you, have you had some problems with the leadership in the church, even if it’s anointed leadership? We need maturity in this area and we need wisdom to follow those leaders God anoints, even if we don’t like them. And then secondly, we saw that John Mark found out that the message was maybe too strong, Acts 13:40-41. Truth is strong, you know. And it’s hard to abide sometimes. Jeremy and I were talking about some things before we came into the studio in the control room. One of the things we were talking about were friends who were no longer our friends. And in both of our cases, we spoke truth. And the person took the truth way further than the context justified. Couldn’t deal with the truth and cut us off as friends. And that’s true sometimes of truth. Truth is difficult. Do you know why I teach through books of the Bible? I could be a subject teacher. I could do a week on marriage and a week on death and a week on joy and a week on forgiveness and a week on redemption and a week on mercy. But I don’t do that. We go from beginning to end, the books of the Bible for the most part. And we do that because I’m a sinner. And you say, what do you mean? Because I’ll talk about stuff that I want to talk about. I’ll talk about my pet themes and I will skip the hard truths that have to be taught by every teacher who tries to teach the Bible. Cause you know what’s coming next and you know if I skipped it and you’ll write me a letter, if I skip over those hard things, At the beginning of this broadcast, I said, we had spent most of this 13th chapter talking about John Mark. And I’ve left out a lot of the 13th chapter of Acts. And you know it and I know it. So, we’re going to go back and we’re going to pick up some themes and some of them are not so nice. Truth is sometimes that way. And then thirdly, and we mentioned this on Thursday of last week. And I’m going to say a little bit more about it. Thirdly, I would suggest that John Mark, the journey for John mark, the journey was, well just too strenuous. The persecution was too strong and the obedience was too radical. In Luke 14:25-30, Jesus said, you’ve got to count the cost. And sometimes we don’t count the cost. In presenting the gospel to people, we tell them about the good stuff. You’ll be forgiven and you’ll live forever, but we don’t tell them that their friends will probably never speak to them again. We tell them about Jesus will love you forever and never stop loving you, but we forget to tell them that other people won’t and that you’re going to be in trouble. That’s what Jesus promised. Jesus promised three things. He said first, he’ll love you and that will never stop. Secondly, he’ll never leave you and that’ll never stop. And thirdly, you’re going to get into a lot of trouble. It’s not because we’re called to trouble, it’s because of the truth we speak and the life we live and the things that we believe with all of our hearts. If those things are true. And by the way they are, that means that a lot of people have built their lives on lies. A lot of people have said things that were important, which weren’t. A lot of people have missed the boat. And if you think they’re going to be happy about it, you’re out of your mind. That’s why Jesus was crucified. And that’s why Jesus warned us that if they hated me, they will hate you too. Now Mark probably didn’t think about that when he signed on. He said to his uncle, you want me? Me to go with you guys on the first missionary journey? We’re going to see the sites. We’re gonna travel together. Probably get some decent food. It’s going to be great. And then all of a sudden he hits the persecution. And he finds out all the world doesn’t like him. Let me tell you something that Admiral Drake said.
My flesh trembles at the many dangers into which my resolute heart will lead me.
We ought to be able to say something similar to that. John Mark discovered he couldn’t deal with it and he left. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown, continuing to teach us from Acts about Paul, Barnabas and of course john Mark. We’ll resume our journey from right here tomorrow. Sure hope you’ll join us then. So, here’s a no kidding kind of statement. None of us has our act together, but we often compound that problem by putting up a front, you know, by acting like we have it all together. And I could tell you nothing good comes from that. Well Steve spoke about the situation in a sermon called When Believing is Hard and Pretending Doesn’t Work. It’s powerful. It’s relevant. It’s going to really help you, so get your copy on CD for free, right now, by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also request the CD by e-mailing [email protected] If you’re mailing us, send your request to
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