Tag: grace

Not Perfect is a Holy Thing: John Mark

Person: John Mark
Epic Fail: Desertion
God’s View: A useful man

Ever been unfaithful, quit or walked out and think God can no longer use you? STOP! God uses quitters. Being unfaithful creates significant consequences and fallout. The issue is not the sin, but in repentance. John Mark quit, but that’s not the last word.

God’s man of action
Mark wrote my favorite Gospel. As a boy I remember always being in and studying the Gospel of Mark. It described Jesus as a man of action. It’s the adventure Gospel. (As a college & seminary student Mark had a lot of action as well.) The Gospel was written to encourage and spur Christians to serving and pursuing Christ. Its abrupt ending (depending on one’s view of the last chapter) begs the question of what’s next.

John Mark served the apostolic community as well, and he contributed to the New Testament. His ministry still impacts people today. The Bible describes him as a fellow worker. He went on missionary journeys. Mark was a man of action.

Mark’s Failure
Mark was a deserter… On a missionary journey Mark deserted Paul at Pamphylia. Paul, also a passionate man of action, did not want to take John Mark on his second missions trip. This created tremendous tension between Paul and Barnabas. This caused the two great leaders to part company.

Barnabas gave Mark a second chance and took him. Paul took Silas. And, as history would have it, Mark demonstrated repentance and stood as a man of action. Quitting produces significant consequences, but it does not have to be the end.

God’s final view
Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. ~2 Timothy 4:11

Paul, who wanted nothing to do with Mark, at the end of his ministry… when he was  at the end of his life… when all were abandoning him… requested the presence of John Mark because he was useful. That is change.

This week as we looked at Not Perfect is a Holy thing, remember this key point: imperfection and sin does not have to be the last word on your life! When we see Christ face to face we will be made perfect and lacking nothing in the realm of holiness because of Christ’s work on the cross. But today… right now… as you’re reading this… you are not perfect, but in Christ you are holy!

The bottom line of Not Perfect is a Holy Thing:
Do not pursue perfection, pursue repentance. Do not make sinless your goal, but actively serving Jesus Christ. You and I will fail, we may even fail in epic ways, but that does not mean God is done with us. The moment we stop pursuing God, the moment when we stop striving for repentance that’s when we cease being holy on Earth.

The Holy man is the one who pursues a life of repentance not perfection, a life of service, not a life of ‘I’m right you’re wrong.’ The holy man lives by grace, and grace covers a multitude of sins. Our Savior is that big!

Not Perfect is a Holy Thing: Moses

Person: Moses
Epic Fail: Anger and frustration
God’s View: One of the greatest prophets

Ever avoid getting involved because you’re angry or frustrated? STOP! Moses had numerous occasions whereby he got frustrated and angry. He even failed in this area. God still used him! Moses was an imperfectly HUGE hero in the Bible. While anger and frustration may be a weak area, perhaps you should pursue God and overcome these struggles.

God’s Man
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt ; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king ; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.

By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land ; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.
~Hebrews 11:24-29 NASB

Moses’ Failure
The story of Moses did not go as smoothly as mentioned in Hebrews 11. He took matters into his own hands by killing an Egyptian, causing him to have to flee. While this may not be the best way of handling his situation, look at how God viewed it. Even in failures or when we do things wrong there can be glimmers of faith.

Moses did not view himself as a good communicator. So, God gave him Aaron to be Moses’ mouthpiece. This lead to some problems down the road. Still, Moses lead the people out of Israel. There were multiple occasions that lead to anger and frustration for Moses. In one instance, he struck a rock out of frustration rather than following the instructions God gave him. This failure kept Moses from entering the promised land.

God’s final view
God describes Moses as a man of faith. Moses wrote the 5 most critical books of the Bible, the Torah, by which all other books point and connect to. He conquered nations, stood for God when all Israel, save a few, looked elsewhere. He saw God. Moses was not a great man because he lacked faults, was perfect, or in him was no sin. Moses became a great man because he pursued God.

Yes, Moses had to face consequences for his sin, but its not the sin that God brings up, its the acts of his faith. Here is the key to God’s grace and forgiveness- it wipes away all sin! While there may be consequences to sin here on Earth, the failure of sin is not the final word on our lives! Out of the trials and failures that Moses, and ourselves, face on Earth will be written the strengths of our faith and the grace God granted to us.

Not Perfect is a Holy Thing: You and I

Person: You and I
Epic Fail: Pick any sin
God’s View: Holy

If you think God cannot use you because you’re not perfect: STOP! God uses imperfect people. Heroes of the Bible are viewed as heroes because of God’s grace and a heart of repentance. While some will be rewarded more than others based on the quality of our work, God will make us perfect and sinless one day. This week we will look at how ‘Not Perfect is a Holy Thing.’ People who had epic failures, and yet they pleased God. People like you and I.

Think process not product
The focus on holiness should be on the process of being who God wants us to be. The New Testament often speaks of of growth. Jesus used the analogy of the vine. Paul uses the concept of a body or a building. Maturity is not described as an event, but more the process of repentance. The Bible describes our walk with Christ in organic terms, and not as a college course. On this side of eternity holiness is about becoming like Christ. It is a process, not a product.

Holiness is being set apart. Think of it this way: If I do not sin am I being holy? I am being the person God wants me to be? Am I pursuing what He wants? The people listed in Hebrews 11’s were imperfect throughout their lifetimes and had epic failures. God’s final mention is one of admiration and pleasure because of their faith. Their success occurred from God choosing them for His service. These imperfects were set apart. God made them holy. God used imperfect people.

Epic fail: pursing perfection
We want our heroes and ourselves to be perfect. Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin on our behalf. This is the perfect picture of grace. Grace is the measure of a biblical hero. Grace focuses on on what God did. The heroes in the Bible were not perfect. People in life and in scripture succeeded and became highly esteemed because of His grace. Heroes in the Bible failed in epic measure, but that is not God’s final verdict! Pursing perfection is pursing self; pursing holiness is pursing God’s grace.

The Apostle John states: ‘If we say we have no sin then we lie.’ He goes further and states that the truth is not in us. Being sinless misses the mark. There is more to holiness than perfection. I would go as far to say that holiness does not equal perfection, though that is not a license to go sin. Holiness has more to do with purpose then perfection, pursuit instead of destination. All sin is covered by the cross. Real failure is the lack of repentance.

God’s final view is done and will be done
Our position in Christ matters a great deal! Once we are in Christ we are declared holy. God views us as holy. When we see Christ face to face we will be holy and lacking of all  sin. All of this is based on what Christ did, not what we did or didn’t do. God’s final verdict on you and I who are in Christ is one of sinless perfection. This position is eternally secured by Christ and sealed by the Spirit. It is done.

Here is God’s verdict on you and I: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil 1:6” It will be done!