You don’t have to like a leader.
MAY 17, 2022
You don’t have the like a leader. Okay? Let’s talk about it, on Key Life,
This is Key Life with our host, author and seminary professor Steve Brown. He’s nobody’s guru. He’s just one beggar telling other beggars where he found bread. If you’re hungry for God, the real God behind all the lies, you’ve come to the right place.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, and actually this isn’t going to be so much exposition, there’s only one verse and it’s the 13th verse of the 13th chapter of the book of Acts, as we continue with our study in the book of Acts. And what we’re doing is we’re going to be talking about John Mark. And the question before the house is, why did he leave? Now later on, we’re going to see some things about John Mark. When Paul started to go off on his second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take John Mark. And Paul, given his personality. He said, when it gets cold in a hot place, we’re going to take John Mark with us. And so Paul and Barnabas separated on that second missionary journey. And Barnabas and his name and we’ll get to that later on, his name means son of encouragement. And he took John Mark. And Paul left with somebody else and they went their separate ways. You know, it happens sometimes in the church. Sometimes you just can’t work with certain people. And they’re good people, they love Jesus and Jesus loves them. And you love Jesus and Jesus loves you. But there’s something about them that just drives you nuts. It’s best that you not be partners in ministry or co-pastors in the church. And so, that’s what’s going to happen with John mark later on. And, we are going to see that, when we get to it. For the rest of this week and probably into next week, as I said, I want to surmise some reasons why John Mark left Paul and Barnabas. Some of the reasons I don’t know for sure, but there’s Biblical warrant for everything that I’m going to be teaching you about this subject. And what we see in John Mark and what I’m going to teach you does make sense Biblically. We do know for sure that in Acts 15, Paul was about to leave on the second missionary journey. And as I told you, he didn’t want to take John Mark with him because John Mark had blown it once. Con may once shame on you, con made twice shame on me. So, what happened in the 13th chapter of Acts is interesting. Let’s check it out. First, I would suggest that John Mark didn’t like the change of leadership. It had family implications to it. And it had ecclesiastical implications to it. And it had personality implications to it. In Acts 11:25, Luke writes as follows.
So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.
Who’s the leader there? Well, it’s Barnabas, in Acts 11:30.
And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
And then in Acts 13:2, that changes.
“Set apart” said the Spirit “for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I’ve called them.”
Then the 13th verse.
Now Paul and his company sent sail from Payphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia.
You see it? You see what happened? It started out with Barnabas. And John Mark was happy with that cause Barnabas was his uncle. And that was a cool thing. Then all of a sudden it was Barnabas and Saul serving God. And then the name of Barnabas is dropped. And the only one that’s lifted up is the name of Paul or Saul. And I would suggest because I’ve seen it, over and over again, that John Mark said, I don’t like this. I’m a Barnabas man. I’m a, he’s my uncle, he’s my hero. And he’s been set aside and now Paul has been set aside by the Holy Spirit and I’m out here. And so, John Mark left, listen, you don’t want to have to, you don’t have to like your leader. If it’s God’s man or God’s woman, all you have to do is follow. I can’t tell you, the number of people who have left churches that I’ve served, cause they didn’t like me. They didn’t like me at all. I remember one man who gave $5,000 to a building program of the church and all he did was complain. Came into my study just when we were getting ready to pray about the morning service and started complaining. And I said, Jack, that’s enough. If you’ll give more money, I’ll listen to more of your nonsense, but you have used up that $5,000. And he turned, walked out the door and slammed it and never spoke to me again. And, he was glad, and I was glad. There are people that just don’t like you, and you just have to deal with that. I can’t tell you how often that has happened in my church. I grew a mustache when I was a young pastor and a lady called me and said, what’s that on your upper lip? I saw you at the post office this morning. I said, that’s a mustache. And by the way, I had the razor in my hand, because it looked awful. I was going to shave it off and she said, get rid of it. It looks awful. And I said, look, I think you’re too fat, but I don’t tell you so, okay? And she left the church too. And you say, well, I would have too. Well, maybe in those incidences, but sometimes they just didn’t like the way I smiled or the way I taught or the leadership style that I had. Listen, when they left, they made a bad Biblical mistake. Sometimes God anoints leaders. And if you know that God has anointed a leader, then you have a responsibility to be a godly follower, not a mouse, not somebody who never says anything, not someone who is quiet and says, whatever you say ma’am, whatever you say sir, not that kind of follower, but the follower who says I’m going to speak my peace and then I’m going to follow you through a wall. And John Mark didn’t have that maturity. I mean, it was obvious that God was doing something with Paul. And we’re going to talk about that a lot as we go through the rest of the book of Acts. Paul was anointed by God in an incredible and major way. Much of the New Testament was written by him. He was obviously God’s man, but he wasn’t always likable and you’ll find him defending himself in Galatians and in II Corinthians and in other places. People sometimes just didn’t like Paul. And if you throw in the familial thing with an uncle who is being replaced by Paul, then you’ve got a major problem. So John Mark said, I’m outta here. I’m outta here. I’ve often taught about marriage. I used to say that I was going to write a book on marriage and it’s only going to have one statement. And it’s going to be on every page and it’s this, don’t leave. Just don’t leave. This is a relationship that God has blessed and you pledged to stay with, so don’t leave. Now, I’m not talking to those of you who are listening, who’ve been through a divorce. God starts where you are. There isn’t any unforgivable sin. Repent, start over and try to do it right this time. But if you’re on your fourth marriage, you probably ought to give up on marriage and become a monk, okay? But if you’re in your marriage, don’t leave. If you’re in your church, don’t leave. If you’re in a relationship of being discipled by a leader you don’t like, don’t leave. Because God doesn’t anoint always nice people, God anoints people for his own purposes and for his own reasons. And in the light of looking back on history, it is obvious that the apostle Paul was anointed in a major and wonderful way. And John Mark, I think, didn’t agree with that. You know, it’s not a smart thing to disagree with God. You know, you don’t get a vote. He’s the one who decides. And frankly, he chooses some very weird leaders. He has some unusual choices on brothers and sisters in Christ that he brings into the family. God does as he pleases and he does it right well. And John Mark was not pleased, but God was pleased to call Paul as a leader. And if John Mark had been a little bit older and a little bit wiser, he would have sat on it and said, I don’t like this, but I’m going to follow. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown exploring acts 13:13, specifically pondering the question of why John Mark left Paul. Drama in the church, surprise. It’s nothing new. Speaking of drama, you wouldn’t know this, but I’m also a film and video director. And in that world, you work with a lot of actors and I have a deep appreciation for those who have really learned that craft. But there’s a kind of acting that’s dangerous. In fact, the better you are at this kind of acting, the more dangerous it is. I’m talking about when we act like we have it all together. Well, Steve spoke about this in a sermon called When Believing is Hard and Pretending Doesn’t Work. It’s powerful, it’s relevant, and it’s going to really help you. So, get your copy on CD for free right now by calling us at 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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