Program Air Date - 10-26-03



What a wonderful Lord's Day it is, as we again gather together before the throne of God to Worship our Maker! We are so happy that you have chosen to be with us today and to give this time to the Lord. In fact, it is our privilege to be with you every Sunday morning, as we consider together, God's Living Word.

It is my hope and prayer today that we are all uplifted in our fellowship together. Furthermore, I pray that we will glorify and praise our Creator in these acts of Worship which we participate in collectively as those who love God.

As we begin our homage to God on this day, will you bow with me in prayer!


In Ephesians 2:8, Paul said, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." Isn't it wonderful to know that we are saved by the very grace of God. Today, we would like to begin our songs of praise with a hymn that reminds us of this wondrous grace which God has bestowed on all of His Children. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Amazing Grace."

(SONG # 1)


There are many in this world who are willing to take strong stands for things they believe in. In fact, many go to drastic extremes to make a point, or to show they are willing to stand up for those causes they support. You can turn on the news about any day and see those who march boldly on the picket line, or others who are being carried away by the? Again, consider how far these individuals are willing to go to support their agenda.

Now, my question is, where are we in our support of Christ? How far are we willing to go as followers of God to show this world that we support Him and that His Will comes first. Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting that we break the law or do things which set a bad example for Christ. However, there are many things we can do within our rights in this country to show where we stand in connection to those things which are according to God's Word and those things which are against His Word!

One verse that always stands out in my mind in relationship to this point is found in 1 Corinthians 15:58. There we read, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." In this text we read that the follower of God is suppose to be visibly obeying those things of the Father! Therefore, Paul encourages us to be steadfast, not cowards or wishy-washy - but ready to be counted and considered an asset to the cause! He says we must be immovable, not blowing with every wind that comes, but being consistent and strong in our belief according to God's Will.

Finally, this text says we are to be, "always abounding in the Work of the Lord!" Are we workers for our God? Are we serving our Creator by doing all we can to show we are willing to do that which He requires?

Brethren and friends, let me remind you - all this will surely be worth it. Our labor will not be in vain, but we will be rewarded and receive that which God has promised to His own, who are faithful to the end. The question for us this morning may be, "Just how far are we willing to go to serve our God?" "What sacrifices are we willing to make?" Or, "what type of suffering are we willing to endure for the sake of Christ?" "Will you choose to be 'steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.'" Today we will be continuing our new series on "God's Chosen and Inspired Writers Of The New Testament!" Our next lesson in the series will deal with the, "Gospel According to Mark!" So stay with us and after our next song together, I will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Anywhere Is Home."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thanks so much for staying with us as we now go back to God's Word and look at our new series. It really talks about the writers of the Bible. We've spent a lot of time talking about what the Bible says and trying to understand what it says and why it says it and we're trying to do that now from a little bit of a different aspect as we look at the authors that were chosen by God specifically. In fact, many of them as we looked last week at Matthew, being hand-picked of God, not only to be a follower and a disciple but also later to pen a book for those Jews who would be able to know that truly this Jesus is the Messiah. He is the Christ. He is the new king of the kingdom of heaven and He held the keys that would allow any of them to be saved under the new law.

But here today, we want to talk about another man, another man of God no doubt because he was chosen of God to write an inspired book that has stood the test of time. Again, this man's name is Mark. Mark stands out because he really is not as well-known as Matthew or talked about. He was not a chosen, specific disciple, one of the twelve, but none the less he was a disciple of God. He was a follower. He was one who evidently was faithful in many things and we know that because especially the content of his book, chose with such power and authority that it has to be inspired. It has to be of one who truly knows God, but yet still from a different perspective. As we've already mentioned, we talked about how Matthew wrote a book that really was for the Jew, to help the Jew know who Jesus was because so many of the Jews were rejecting Christ, to tie the old law and the new law and the old things and the new things together. But here, Mark was being chosen as maybe a younger man it seems, in my studies and my opinions, and a man who may have been able to reach out more to the masses of the day, the younger generation, who might not have been as familiar with old things or maybe even to reach out to a lot of those who weren't Jew at all and possibly many who were gentiles.

As we begin to unfold the story of Mark, again as I said, there is very little known. There is some discussion as to whether this is the same Mark that we'll be talking about today as is mentioned in other places in the Bible, but for the purpose of our study today, it seems that most commentators, most scholars agree that this Mark who is mentioned here as the author of the gospel of Mark or the gospel according to this man, Mark, is the same man that is mentioned over in Acts chapter 12.

Now if you'll remember with the book of Matthew, the same is true with the book of Mark that really these books were written at least 50 AD or 50 or so years after Christ was born which means that they would have been written probably at least 20 years or more, some closer maybe even to 55 or 60 AD, at least 20 to 25 years after the church had been established. So it might very well make sense that this man being a bit of a younger man who is mentioned in Acts chapter 12 is really tied back into the story here all the way back from the day of Pentecost which happened in Acts chapter 2 and very early on was seen to be a young man in the early church who later in his life would have written about Christ whom he would have known in relationship to the things he could have seen, that he would have been able to demonstrate, that he would have been able to have been made aware of through also these others who are mentioned here as well in the same text.

In chapter 12, you might notice that it begins by talking about a problem that Peter had. Peter had actually been thrown in prison, but an angel came and saved him from prison. But later if you'll notice and if you'll keep in mind with me again that he himself was not an apostle, that is this Mark, but Peter was and that in verse 12 it mentions there that as he had been released and that the angel of God had brought him out of prison that he then goes to the house of Mary. There must have been a follower of God, a sister named Mary. Notice about this Mary that "she was the mother of John whose surname was Mark." Then it goes on to say that this is where the Christians were gathering. So Peter, after he got out and the angel had left him, he goes immediately to where he knows that the Christians had been assembling. If you remember back in Acts chapter 2, it said there that they weren't just assembling on the first day of the week, but every day of the week. It says, "Daily, from house to house." They were worshipping God and praising God and studying. Peter knew that Mary's house was a place that they assembled regularly and possibly even daily to worship God, to talk about the things, to study the Word, to grow in the things of Christ. So he went there. The girl that is mentioned there, a young girl whose name was Rhoda was shocked and surprised. They thought that he was still in prison and she even at one point in the story said something like, "Well, it's an angel or it's a spirit," because she was wondering, "How could he be here?" But no doubt it was Peter and Peter was there. But what's interesting is that it shows that Peter and Mark here would have somehow been associated, that Peter and Mark would have somehow been involved and this is very, very important because if you'll even go back in the book of Peter chapter 5 and verse 13, it tells us there of a connection that was evident between Peter and John Mark. In fact, he says there, "She who is in Babylon elect together with you and greet you and so does Mark, my son." So there in the end of 1 Peter, the book of 1 Peter, one of the last few verses, Peter here mentions a son in the faith, one whom he...

Now that just makes again perfect sense in so many ways because here this man, Peter, this man of God was evidencing that he knew a man named Mark whom evidently as well he would have known earlier at a younger age as he was still in his mother's house and as he had gone to that house. It's very possible not only that he taught Mark, as it says there, "child in the faith," but also that he had nurtured him and maybe took him under his wing and because his mother was so faithful had even kept him with him for a time.

Well, let's look at some more about this same Mark, this same Mark, John Mark that is, as referred to in Colossians 4 and verse 10 as "the nephew of Barnabus." We remember a story that is also clearly evidenced for us back in the book of Acts where there was a situation. In fact, it's in Acts 13, just the next chapter where we looked at chapter 12 earlier and chapter 13. We see there where Paul and Barnabus were called to do a certain work, were appointed by the church and there, actually I believe it's the last verse in chapter 12, verse 25. It says that "Paul and Barnabus returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry and they also took with them John Mark whose surname was Mark."

Now if you'll notice there even in chapter 13 and following, it talks about that the church of Antioch sent them out and that Mark evidently went with them and later we see that Mark actually left and it made Paul angry. In fact, later in chapter 15 of Acts, there's a dispute between Paul and Barnabus because again it is time to go on a journey and Barnabus wants to bring his nephew again, John Mark, and Paul isn't agreeing. Why? Because he feels that John Mark should have stuck it out last time and he didn't and he's feeling that John Mark is not dependable. So at that part because of the contentions or the problem between them in Acts 15 around verse 36, we see that they decide even to separate, Paul and Barnabus. Barnabus takes John Mark and goes his way and Paul goes his way with Silas and they do twice the work in two different directions, two great men of God. So really the will of God was still accomplished, but they had a disagreement and they agreed to disagree and they still went out and did the work of the Lord. But still, that John Mark was there. You can see how that it is very, very probable that if this young man had been raised in the church, that his mother had been allowing the church to gather there and he knew a lot of Christians and he'd met Peter and had been taught a lot by Peter and later had even had a great uncle like Barnabus, Barnabus who introduced Paul to the church and Barnabus who took him on the first journey and who still loved him even when he turned back, and even on the second journey he was still wanting to take him and he did take John Mark and on and on and on and on we could go about how it seemed that this young John Mark, whoever he was, was growing and growing and growing in the Lord, and how that maybe again after about 20 or 25 years how that really John Mark would have been a perfect candidate, one who had been with those who were apostles and disciples, those who had known Christ in the flesh, those who firsthand and really with their sight and with their hands and with all of their senses had known the Lord and Christ. Well, what better man again to be able to put a lot of these things in his own thoughts and in his own words?

There's another thing that I'd like to bring up in relationship to this Mark, this John Mark. If you'll turn with me to the book of 2 Timothy. Obviously, Paul talking to this young evangelist in 2 Timothy and chapter 4. If you'll notice down around verse 11, we begin to see that Paul is concluding the letter. He's making some final comments and notice who Paul asks for. This would have been at a later date, far after the first journey where there were problems, far after the second journey, at a much later date. What do we find there in verse 11? Paul says, "Only Luke is with me." Well that's important. Luke was a great man of God. But he says, "Get Mark and bring him with you for he is useful to me in my ministry." Here we see that again a clear evidence is given that this man had changed. This man was useful. This man was profitable. That's the same thing that we find in Colossians 4 where he is introduced again as the nephew of Barnabus. Paul is recommending him to the Colossian church, that he should have been and should always be accepted as a faithful worker in the kingdom of God. So it may seem very well that Mark, if this be the same Mark, it seems clear that it is very probably can be, that he had a lot of growing up to do at a young age, but yet that he did grow very quick and at the feet of some very great men, not only apostles but great disciples and workers of God, even like his uncle Barnabus. Because of that, he was who he was and he was a man who really, really, really was intently involved and loved the things pertaining to the gospel and the things which pertained to Christ.

We also have one other mention I think that kind of shows us a little bit about Mark. Mark indicates some interesting things in relationship to the life and the times of Christ. Mark 14 for instance beginning in verse 50, there is a story told there about a young man who followed Christ and how this young man and the situation was centered around an arrest, but yet Mark is the only one that deals with that. In relationship to the feeding of the 5,000 that Mark mentioned in chapter 6 in verse 39. We see there that Mark mentions that concept of the green grass that the people there were sitting on. Then in Mark 1, verses 12, he uses some concepts there in the temptations of Christ, he really talks about there of how "the spirit had drove him and that how he was among the wild..." It seems like almost that Mark had been there and he had tasted it and again I think it shows us again from a different perspective, the life of Christ and why it was so important that men like Matthew and Mark and as we'll see Luke and John wrote the life of Christ and about the gospel in a different way, from different standpoints so that we might know Christ better and follow His Will.

Again, our desire today is that we look to these books, that we know God better so that we might obey Him now and every day until He comes again so that in the end we can be found faithful and we can receive that reward of heaven.

(SONG # 3 - "Be With Me Lord!")


Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!

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Again, we thank God for His servant Mark, who helped us to know more about the God we serve and His precious Son who was willing to do so much for each and every one of us.

(Program closing)