Mark and the God of The Second Chance
You may have had an incredible or horrible past year—but whichever it was, God declares that we start today brand new in Christ. This reality is emphasized as the calendar starts over; communion also is a constant reminder of this promise—but as we will see today, the Gospel by Mark is from start to finish the Gospel of New Beginnings!
"What can God do with me if I have failed Him?" As a pastor I hear that or something like it, so often. Is there an answer to believers who are less than perfect? Yes! Failure for a believer is only a temporary condition; for the lost it is permanent.
Have you ever failed, quit, or walked out on an assignment from God?
- We serve the God of the second chance, a Lord so gracious that His strength is made perfect in our weakness (II Corinthians 12:9).
- He is the God of new beginnings (Lamentations 3:23).
- And the life we have in Christ is just a series of new beginnings! (II Corinthians 5:17)
That is comforting for me. The longer each of us live the more aware we are of our imperfections, failures, shortcomings, and sins—aren't we?
So today as we look at this New Year before us, we have our first choice to make as believers: wait until we are able to perfectly minister (never) or get started now and serve as we grow and are shaped by the Lord.
Mark's LIFE is encouraging
FIRST we see that God wants to use ordinary people to serve Him. It is ordinary people who fear; it is ordinary people who fail. And that is just the kind of people that the Lord wants to use. The question is do we want to be used? God wants to do extraordinary things with ordinary people so that He - the Lord, will get all the credit for what is done.
SECONDLY, we see God wants to use those we might call failures to serve Him. Before Mark wrote this Gospel he was a drop out from ministry. Paul was so upset that he was willing to lose his partner in ministry than take someone he thought was a quitter along on the 2nd Journey. The grace of God is so wonderful. God gave John Mark a second chance. Peter picks him up after Barnabus, and uses him to give us the greatest of the Four Gospels. And even Paul and John Mark finally reconciled by the time Paul was in prison in Rome.
THIRDLY, God wants to use young people in ministry to Him. When the Lord moved on Paul's heart to invite young John Mark on the great 1st Missionary Journey - the Lord knew he would quit. But the Lord wanted him to go to show He is the God of the 2nd chance, and 3rd and on and on. His mercy endures forever. Even when we fail He loves us!
FINALLY, God wants to use the weaknesses in our lives to show His Grace as we serve Him. Yes, the Book of Acts tells us John Mark was a quitter, a drop out. He was not useful at one time in ministry. But have you thought about how gracious our God is?
Every time we read this book we are experiencing the result of God's transforming grace. History records the path of Mark.
- Mark the failed follower of Christ, becomes
- Mark the forgiven follower, becomes
- Mark the devoted disciple, becomes the
- Mark who writes what may be called the premier biography of Jesus Christ, and finally becomes
- Mark the honored martyr.
Mark's Book should remind us of Mark's God who can encourage all of us to keep going.
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