TOPIC:"The Recovery of a Runaway"
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
TEXT:II Timothy 4:9-13
"Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry" (II Timothy 4:11, NIV).
The statements found in our text contain amazing words coming from Paul's pen regarding this man John Mark. These statements reflect the truth that defeat need not be fatal. The fallen can be lifted. The runaways can be restored. That's the truth we glean as we study the life of this man Mark. That truth should give hope to every person here today.
There is not much mention about Mark upon the pages of the New Testament. But in the scattered verses about him we find a life characterized by opportunity, excitement, pity, failure and reinstatement. Here is a man whose life may be divided into four interesting parts - a beautiful start, a miserable failure, a glorious recovery, and a remarkable success.
As you listen to me unfold the story of Mark the runaway, be sure to catch not only the stern warnings given to us, but also the splendid encouragement of knowing that a man may come back from failure.
Consider, first of all, as we study the life of Mark we have the MISFORTUNE of RETREAT. We are first introduced to John Mark in Acts chapter 12 verse 12 where his mother's house was a gathering place for the early Christians. We read: "When this had dawned on Peter, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying." We read in verse 25 of this same chapter these words: "When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark." And then in chapter 13 verse 5 we read these words: "When they arrived at Salamis, the proclaimed the Word of God in the Jewish synagogues." Now notice this very interesting statement: "Mark was with them as their helper."
Here we find Paul and Barnabas being sent off on their first missionary journey. They needed a helper. One to assist in baptism and help instruct new converts in the faith. Barnabas suggested to Paul that John Mark, his cousin, would be an excellent helper in the work. So they took this young man with them as they were sent on their way to Cyprus.
At first Mark seemed to enjoy this new adventure. He was excited about visiting new places, seeing new people, sharing new experiences, and beholding new converts as they put their faith in Christ. This was all so thrilling for him. But after a period of time something started to trouble Mark. He was bothered by hearing Paul and Barnabas talk about taking the . . .