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Friendship Matters

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
November 6, 2021 4:00 am

Friendship Matters

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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November 6, 2021 4:00 am

Who are the people you’d reach out to if you knew you were dying? Your choice reveals a lot about those relationships. Find out who Paul wanted with him in his final days—and why he chose those particular men. Listen to Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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Alistair Begg

If you were dying were the people reach out to the names on that list says something about the value of those relationships doesn't today Alastair beg shows us with the apostle Paul wanted with him in his final days and why he chose those particular men. This is true for life weekend. We continue our study in second Timothy chapter 4 were in verses 11 through 13 is straightforward and acknowledge that Paul would not have been happy with the designation superhero. I was with a company of children not so long ago and one of them turned around and said I must superhero.

She didn't look remotely like a superhero to Maven. Apparently she was. I had to go and see what a superhero is that's how old I am and having discovered what a superhero is I can say with confidence that Paul was not a superhero and unmercifully so he he had reached the end of his journey. He's told us that he had completed his mission. His assignment had been successfully exercised.

He had done his best all the way through the running of the race and now he has issued the instruction to Timothy to do his best and to come and visit him. But in the midst of all of that, we see that he is actually vulnerable. He's vulnerable, and it is important to acknowledge this as an encouragement to each of eyes who know ourselves to be vulnerable. In fact, to the extent that we ever give the impression that we are not then were not telling the truth to ourselves or to anybody else, and it comes across in different ways, doesn't it, and Paul. The departure of Dimas is something that has wounded.

He was not immune to the disappointment that comes from separation to lose a friend to lose a Carly and he's addressed this throughout the letter, he began the letter by saying you're aware Timothy that all who are in your turn away from me it hard and it started in verse 16. Year that we read you will remember that no one came to stand by me and that's the wonderful thing about vulnerability in that what it does in Paul's life.

Is it forces them back again to all the sufficiency that is is in the Lord Jesus. Remember in writing to the Corinthians.

He says I was so aware of the storm that bugged me in three times.

I asked Rick to be removed while the Lord said to me know no, my grace is sufficient for you because my strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, says Paul, I will all the more glory in my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest upon me for when I am weak, then I am strong in the idea of the some of the great leader where there's a church leader a business leader or physician or whatever it is, somehow or another is able just to move through life without any concerns or tall is a mythology and it certainly is not here Paul is vulnerable, vulnerable to the loss of a colleague vulnerable to the cold, vulnerable to loneliness. That's why he wants companionship and vulnerable to boredom.

Presumably so that he can have his books and scrolls. Paul was vulnerable. Secondly, verse 11, Luke alone is with me. Luke alone is with me so we have a loyalty of Luke. Not all the departures that are described here should be viewed as desertions. I think that's probably true of Christians who has gone off to Galatia tightfisted donation to Chuck is also, as we will see the nature of the friendship.

It was the loyalty it was the fact that even now, in the absence of so many people with with life moving on and with his death before him when he says only Luke is with me. The loyalty of this man really matter and it is this loyalty that we should just mention for a moment. Loyalty the loyalty of a husband and a wife through thick and thin, the loyalty of parents and children, the loyalty of colleagues in ministry.

The loyalty factor is huge and it ought not to be overlooked, so there's no indication that he was a great evangelist or that he was a strategic thinker or even some innovative and compelling leader, but his contribution to the kingdom was huge on the strength of his loyalty faithful to Christ faithful to the cause of Christ faithful to his brothers and sisters in Christ and faithful particularly to the servant of Christ is loyalty was the thing that stood out. Tolkien and the fellows of the rings as a statement where he says faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens. Luther says the same thing. He says that the loyalty of the soldier is proved where the battle rages and looks case. It was very straightforward so what we would expect to discover. We also discover, namely, that when the fruit of the spirit is produced in the life of the child of God right in the heart of it is faithfulness or loyalty because the work of the Spirit of God is to make us more and more like Jesus, who, when he reviled did not revile in return, but remain committed to the cause to which he been assigned to the will of his father. And when confronted by the reality of his own dad. He recoiled from it.

It was his loyalty that sign through if there's any other way that this could be done. Father then let it be done, but if not my will but yours be done. I hope some of you will derive great encouragement from this because often we've gotten really upside down dumbly despite instruction of the Bible. The Bible teaches us from the physical frame of our life from our bodies that the parts that were not seeing right now are far more significant in the parts that we are seeing. And yet we tend to spend a great deal more time on the bits that are seen then on the parts that are unseemly makes sense that when we apply it to the church into the body and the things that happen in the body and the preoccupations with personality and with leadership and so on. We failed to take to heart and we may chastise ourselves because our position in the framework of things doesn't seem to have a profile that others have or doesn't seem to have the lasting benefit that others may have.

But that is to think wrongly because long after human eloquence is been forgotten long after verbal brilliance has died our death on the lips of the speaker loyalty will be long remembered and look was loyal.

They may want just think somebody this week send him a note. Thank you for your loyalty will be an encouragement to thirdly Mark was useful Mark was useful word that he uses here for useful is the same word that you find in verse 21. If your Bible is open of chapter 2 vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy and useful to the master of the house.

It's the same thing at the same word that you find in Philemon, where as he makes a plea for an SMS is as I appeal to you for my child and an SMS whose father became in imprisonment. Verse 11. Formally he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me useful just to be useful for me. Yes it's it's the markings useful, is it well okay that's fine. We should move on, no, no, no, no, not so quickly.

A little history will help us to realize what a significant statement. This is on the part of Paul as his life begins to leave him because Paul had lost his temper about Mark Paula got in a big argument with his buddy Barnabas about Mark Paul and Barnabas had separated from one another on the basis of my because Paul said Mark is useless now he wants of the crime because he is useful who changed Paul or Mark or both return for a moment and chapter 12 and I just give you a little background on it and you can follow it up on your own in in Mark chapter 12, you have the record of the release of Peter from the jail. He goes to the house in the in Jerusalem the house of Mary who is the mother of John, whose other name is Mark sometimes is referred to as John and sometimes is Mark John Mark will do is quite a house. He been born or grown up in a place that was at the very heart of the Jerusalem church.

His mom had all this, they put their house at the disposal of the church in the Christian community used it as a central gathering spot that explains why Peter would've made his way there after he had been released miraculously from the jail. It is also probable. All in all, we wouldn't want to say categorically but it is probable that it was in this house that the upper room was where the disciples gathered with Jesus on the night of his crucifixion. It was therefore probably also the location of the gathering for prayer in the upper room when the spirit of God was poured out, and Pentecost. In other words, it was quite a place to come from. This is this is this is this young man's heritage. What a happy thing to grow up in a whole where Jesus Christ is central and prayer is fundamental.

That's Mark's whole therefore is not a surprise is the mark then is given the opportunity to be part of the missionary endeavors of Paul and Barnabas, and he heads out with them in acts chapter 12 we we read of how his his home life is there and then he is heading out with him in ministry. That chapter 13 in verse five when they arrived at Salamis, they proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews and they had John to assist them. So there is a John Mark, is there anything he's gotten you become an assistant missionary is is mother must've been well pleased. Your center of the market and how is John Mark doing these days while I tell you is going very well. You probably heard of the valve. Paul oh yes, without a Paula's friend Barnabas while he's with them easier. He's a he's an assistant there and apparently doing very well indeed. Well, not so fast mom because within eight verses were now in the 13th verse of chapter 13, within eight verses. He is actually heading in the opposite direction when Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Ferguson Pamphylia, John left them and returned to Jerusalem. Now the inference is well captured by Peterson in his paraphrase, and the message ready paraphrases verse 13 Pamphylia is where John called it quits and went back to Jerusalem, saw the young assistant that is off to a great start, has decided that he's not going to be going any further with Paul's reaction to that is such that when they set out for their second ministry journey.

That's where the departure to place joint acts chapter 15 and if you look down to verse 36 in the ESV, it has a heading Paul and Barnabas separate and here's the occasion, and after some days Paul said to Barnabas, let's return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaim the word of the Lord and see how they are now. Barnabas wanted to take with them. John called Mark by Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work and there arose a sharp disagreement so tempers flared to very central figures in the missionary endeavor of the church, under God, are now at loggerheads with one another over a matter of personnel all of your involved in the human resource department and office work and so on. Understand how crucial personnel is in the assignment of people in the placement of people in here it is. There is a sharp disagreement in the separated from one another and Barnabas. He took Mark within and he sailed away to Cyprus and Paul chose Silas and departed, and he went through Syria and Celestia strengthening George's parenthetically this is stop and notice something wonderful in the providence of God that is that there disagreement led to a separation which in turn led to the doubling of their efforts in the cause of the gospel so wasn't that God quotes because there disagreement made them have an argument not had an argument because they disagree that happens that happens in church life.

It happens in mission life just happen and in the providence of God, the separation that took place men, the doubling of effectiveness in the gospel and to the opportunity for John Mark to be restored to usefulness under the tutelage of Barnabas and for Paul to engage well enough to recognize the fact that even though I might have been right at the time he wasn't ready forever and therefore the big mighty apostle vulnerable Paul not superhero would have to be prepared to say eventually get Mark and bring him with you because he is use to me exactly see tracking right along beautiful that we don't know what happened in the interim, because we don't have the description of, but it seems fairly obvious that Barnabas who was uniquely gifted in this area became the coach for John Mark who incidentally was his cousin and so he takes Mark if you like under his wing and by the time that they have advanced a little further down the line. On the occasion of Paul's first imprisonment Barnabas's confidence in Mark has presumably bolstered him, encouraged him, strengthened him, and by the time of Paul's first imprisonment, you begin to read that Mark is actually showing up all over again. We don't have anything here to say about Barnabas but is this pause in give credit where credit is due. What an amazing character was the son of encouragement Barney Susan a mean son of encouragement while he was the embodiment of his name was in the eye again. I think Paul's reaction was probably justifiable, justifiable, but it was necessarily best providentially worked out as it did, but how thankful Mark must've been the Barnabas wasn't like Paul that Barnabas was prepared to stand up to Paul that Barnabas doesn't count how to Paul because of the uniqueness of his gifting and the power that he was able to exercise. There's a lesson in that as well as another. That's why we need each other. That's why is important is why were always better together than anyone is our own. That's true in marriage is true in families strewn church families true in our pastoral team review nor church know how vital it is that all these elements are present. Protecting one protecting the other protecting us ourselves and from our own proclivities of God in his mercy gives to his characters like this Paul of course would have known this, because when he first tried to join the disciples.

Luke tells us in acts chapter 9 all of the disciples in Jerusalem were afraid of him. He needed somebody to speak on his behalf to take him even want to go in by himself or he didn't want to go in by himself and nobody wanted to have them in their and what a very but Barnabas took him but Barnabas took what he done for Paul. He now did for this young cousin of his and Mark is able to overcome the earlier challenges of you and you find yourself at a crossroads and you made a left turn, instead of the right and you been beating yourself up ever since I missed the great opportunity. I no possibility for me. Now I'm over on the heat now know, not for a moment with God. Failure is never final. He's the one who restores the years. Even the Lords of Eden. If the ministry of the gospel is only to a certain elite group of people who are cheerleaders and quarterbacks than what the world hold many of us have, but it's not. It is the call of Christ into those who have the crossroads going the wrong way, who are finding themselves plunged in the pit and in the nursery and providence of God, he comes to restore so much so that Mark proves useful.

He wants to take Mark along because he is very useful to the ministry.

He's not asking for Mark to come so they can play Scrabble together. He's not asking Mark to come so they can have a group hug. He wants Mark to come because Mark is useful to the ministry.

I don't think he means ministering to his needs. He's concerned about clothes and books and loneliness and so on. But I think he's talk about the ministry that the ministry that is going to be impacted by Mark himself is the ministry of the gospel. Paul's focus is not selfish it's it's gospel focused even a relationship Alexander, to whom we will not come this morning, but Alexander is done me great harm. You should be careful about in because he strongly opposed efficiency because he strongly opposed me Paul. He strongly opposed the message.

His concern is for the message get Mark and bring them here because he is so incredibly useful for the ministry. Now the details are. I think fairly straightforward and we should stop and fight we will stop we are about to stop, but if you just look at Paul's strategic thinking here to check because I have sent to Ephesus, the chances are that 10 tickets carrying this letter to Ephesus you the one who carried Colossians. He's the one who carried I think Ephesians as well.

So easy. He's a mailman and and so he says absent two tickets to Ephesus. Why would that matter because I want you Timothy to come from Ephesus. So when you come from Ephesus and you leave a gap. Don't worry about it too much because teaching is is actually the one who shown up there bearing the letter and you cannot confidence and in because it is my only line for two tickets to check as if five Paul is vulnerable and look as loyal and Mark is useful to chickens is lovable, lovable, and in Colossians 4 Paul introduces them to chicas, a beloved brother, a faithful minister of fellow servant of the Lord, a beloved brother, a faithful minister of fellow servant of the Lord. In other words, a suitable replacement high praise that Mark should come Mark, whom he had regarded as unreliable as unfit for continuing in ministry is the one for me cents and along with that of course the books the deadlier or scrolls and parchments. I told you I really say anything about those scrolls and parchments were not going to get involved in conjecture, but for those of you like conjecture, chew on this while you're driving around. Imagine imagine this and this is complete conjecture.

For those of you like hypotheses here to hear here's a possibility if things played out the way they are described as unfolding here. What that means is that Paul ends his life in a Roman jail with three guys Timothy Mark and Luke the scrolls, the parchments are clearly significant court if some of those were fragments of descriptive passages of the life of the Lord Jesus.

And what if Paul said to Mark and to look hey why don't you use some of this stuff and write a gospel and they said was a gospel any civil you write it and then people will know is pure conjecture is beyond the bounds of anything but that would be quite a change would. I'm not taking Mark with me useless character that he is him. Mark why do you write a gospel and tell everybody who Jesus is and why he came in what he means, that is Alistair Begg with a message titled friendship matters listening to Truth for Life weekend. If you listen to Truth for Life.

We can regularly you know, we carefully select and recommend books to help you and your family grow in faith and we didn't have to search very far to find today's book recommendation. This is a book written by Alister's title pathway to freedom how God's laws guide our lives since the softcover book that is a comprehensive study of the 10 Commandments in it. Alister draws from Scripture from hymns as well as from the Puritans and other sources to demonstrate that God's ancient code of conduct remains pertinent in our 21st century lives.

Find out more about the book pathway to freedom of God's laws guide our lives.

When you visit our website at Truth for Life.I'm Bob Lapine. Thanks for listing when the apostle Paul placed his final days chained and abandoned in a Roman dungeon would've been easy for him to wallow in bitterness, but amazingly he extended grace. Join us again next weekend to find out how he did so, and how we can follow his example. When we face our own tough times. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living

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