In the past few months, we have learned what happened after the first church was born. The first church was filled with the Holy Spirit: there was a nice fellowship among the believers. They helped each other. They served each other. They loved each other. When the church was persecuted, the gospel of God spread throughout the world. Most of all, Paul, who persecuted the church, was converted and became a person who preached Jesus. The first church of the Gentiles, the Antioch Church, was also born. It became clear what it means to be saved by God's grace. Above all, people began to understand what God's plan for mankind is.
The following is a summary of the contents of the last week.
First. We can’t be saved by our religious acts, such as keeping the law of Moses. Only faith in Jesus Christ leads to salvation. This means that the righteous live from faith to faith
Second. The believers in Jesus Christ have been released from sin. Thus, we are free. We become a person who can do anything whatever we want. Those who believe in Jesus don’t need to observe the law of Moses. You can also eat any food that has forbidden by the Law. It is the freedom the Lord has given to the believers. However, we, the believers, should always consider other people who are weak in faith or unbelievers. So sometimes, we also follow the Law for them. Therefore, the true freedom is not only what we can do as we please, but also what we don’t do as we please.
My Facebook friend wrote:
I don’t like to drink a liquor, but I drink it sometimes. But now I want to drink it too much because my home doctor told me not to drink alcohol for health reasons. The reason I want to drink alcohol is because my doctor told me not to do it.
Thus, please do not tell me what I don’t do. I may try to do.
When I saw this note, I almost tried to say, but I didn’t.
'Do not pray. Never pray. Do not give thanks and do not be glad. "
I am not sure whether my friend do the opposite. I hope so.
This is the freedom that the Lord has given. It is tree freedom that we don’t do as we please. In other words, we are free from sin.
Over time, the Early Church learned about God's will for mankind. They began to realize clearly the meaning of the Word that the Lord has given as he ascended.
'But you will receive a power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1: 8).'
It is very grateful that God's will for us has become clear and the grace of God has come to pass through this time. I hope that this will happen to you and me.
By the way, when I read the text today, I wonder why the Bible recorded this story because it may be a heartbreaking story. The church leaders had such a sharp disagreement, which resulted in division of the two leaders. I prayed and read the text several times: “Lord, what is the message for this text? What shall I do? Is this a message, saying that “Let’s not fight each other! You should not fight in church!’ is this message, my Lord?
During the mediation, I believe that it should be an event that the Lord would like to say something to us. I kept praying for the message, "Lord, what kind of message do you want to deliver through this story?"
I recognized that today’s message will be the most interesting and exciting topic to talk. This is because it was severe disagreement between two big spiritual leaders. They were missionaries. They preached the gospel of God to other. They taught God’s peace and God’s love. Now they fought each other. There was no harmony. The leaders were divided. What happened? So, it should be an interesting story. Isn’t it?
In the text, Paul and Barnabas did not fight each other for their own benefit. They fought for the Lord. They were the person who gave their life for the Lord. But why did such people fight so hard? It turned out that it was due to one person. His name is John called by Mark. Mark was a Roman name, and John was a Hebrew name. Saul was a Hebrew name, and Paul was a Roman name.
In fact, Paul and Barnabas would not be such a people who fight each other. Both were people filled with the Holy Spirit. It is faithful and respectable people. They were pleased with the Lord. They put their greed down in front of Jesus’ cross. Barnabas donated his property to the church and lived an uncomfortable life as a missionary for the Lord. What about Paul? He persecuted the church, but became a preacher for the Lord. He has become a supernatural man of the Lord. Thus, it would be interesting story that such spiritual giants could fight because of a person, Mark.
Who is Mark? The Lord led me to pay attention to this person.
Mark was a relative of Barnabas. Mark was called as a son by Peter. Mark was a person who involved in the first mission trip in Antioch. His family was also great. Mark's mother actively assisted in the ministry of Jesus. The place where Jesus and his disciples had the last supper was at the house of Mark. The place where the first church was born: 120 people who believed in the Lord gathered and prayed, and the saints gathered together and prayed and praised. Mark grew up naturally in a family atmosphere that allowed him to know God and Jesus Christ.
Maybe Mark would be a person who the believers of the modern church might be the most envious. Mark was rich economically. He experienced and observed all spiritual and blessed life since the Early church members come together at his house. In other words, Mark was a wonderful Christian who was rich and faithful and whose whole family was serving God and the Church.
Now Paul was very angry with this man. Barnabas and Paul fought because of him.
Who is the most shocked person in this case? This should be Mark since he was at the center of the controversy. The apostle Paul said that he could not take Mark to a mission trip. The verse 38 says, “Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.”
This work Paul mentioned is found in Acts 13:13. “From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.”
On Paul's first missionary trip, it was not clear why Mark went back to Jerusalem. This seems to have given Paul the recognition that Mark was not trustable. You can also see how important mission work to Paul. However, we must know how shocking this assessment of Paul was to Mark.
Imagine you have received this rating from someone you love and trust.
"People who cannot work together! Untrustworthy people! A man who will not believe! A man who is not spiritually mature! "
This was Paul's assessment of Mark. Listen to this story. Do you feel that how sad Mark was! Mark can be shocked by this. Mark has clearly come to know what he was. He became naked. What happened to Mark after this? Mark, who had been abandoned by Paul.
Mark was, as we know, the author of Mark. He introduced Jesus to people by the short but intense writing style. As you recognized, he became a master of faith. Later, you can see that Mark got the trust of Paul. Mark became a man to see when Paul was tired and lonely.
It is the words of II Timothy 4: 9-11.
“Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.”
When Paul was tired and lonely, you can see that Paul depended on Mark.
Thus, Barnabas was right. Barnabas, who gave Mark one more chance although he made a mistake before. As time passed, Mark became a man of God. How could this be possible?
Through the story of Paul and Barnabas, he became clear that he knew who he was.
Mark was originally a follower of Jesus. He was the one who followed Jesus in the night Jesus was caught by the Roman soldiers. Everyone else ran away and followed Jesus, who was being held. It seems like there was a great courage. However, when people recognized him as a disciple, Mark took off his linen garment and run away with nakedness.
Mark 14: 50-52
‘Then everyone deserted him and fled. A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
The young person here was Mark. Mark confessed who he was. He seemed to be faithful and courageous, but his faith was fragile when he had difficulties in his life. He ran away. In his first missionary trip with Paul and Barnabas, Mark might show a similar pattern. He threw it away and ran naked. But Mark did not seem to be ashamed of himself. Of course, he would have been a little shy at the time. But he seemed to have forgotten it soon.
Do you know the story of a naked king? The King was scammed: he thought that he was dressed in the best clothes in the world, until the children croaked, 'The king was naked'.
This is the very shocking event that happened to Mark, and the realization of his nakedness is the story of the day. Seeing that the two pillars of the church are so contested for themselves. It may be the story the Holy Spirit tells us. 'Look at yourself!' Let’s see if your appearance is shameful. Today's passage is the case.
Though Paul and Barnabas disagreed, this event eventually saved Mark. In addition, the fruit of mission has doubled. Paul was able to train a leader called Silas. As a result, each church became stronger and stronger through them.
Through today’s story, we can learn a few lessons.
First. Ministers or leaders in the church can disagree with each other. When we contend for the kingdom of God, it can be fruitful in the will of God. It's like a crisis. So conflict in the church is not necessarily bad. But if the ministers fight for their own greed, the church becomes difficult. The Bible tells us that Paul and Barnabas still lived in honor of each other even after today’s passage.
Second. People are first. Paul is a work-oriented person. Paul did not tolerate anyone who was an obstacle to the ministry of God. Barnabas, on the other hand, are people-centered. Mark did a mistake, but Barnabas gave opportunity again to him. Barnabas was a gracious man and Mark was able to mature.
Are you work-centered or people-centered? Are you performance-oriented or process-oriented? This will be the part where we pray and seek wisdom. Mark, who had experienced grace, became a man of grace.
Third. The Lord can make us realize our nakedness through certain events. You may think, 'I am a wonderful Christian,' but you might realize that you are not. You may think, 'I am a nice and good husband' or 'I am a wonderful wife', but it will be too obvious that it is not. That can be the most shocking, embarrassing moment. What do we do when we get hit? Do you give up everything and hide it? Or do you use this like Mark who lift his shame and renew himself?
Mark experienced the grace of the Lord and became a pillar of the Church.
When our naked selves are revealed, we will be embarrassed and shocked. But this is also what makes the Lord realize something for us. This is grace. And that is when the Lord works.
Listen to the words of the Lord, and hope to correct our appearance again. That is what the Lord wants.
What is the story that Mark would have forgotten all his life, and what he would do every time he preached? It should be a story that changed him, a story that shocked him. Today is the text. The two leaders were such a sharp disagreement with Mark. Mark was naked. And this recognition changed Mark dramatically. He could wear a new cloth that God has given. It was a blessing to Mark.
It is the message that the Lord will bring us today. We are naked, but the Lord will give us a new cloth.