Acts 4:13-17 (NIV)
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”
What a great record to have that these guys were turning their world upside down and people could not understand why, but they did know one thing.
They had been with Jesus.
We have to remember these guys were surrounded by:
- Religious view
- Different types of religion
- Learned and intelligent people
- Pressures of persecution.
And yet they were noted for their courage and the power of God.
I think they are great things to be known for.
But I also love the other fact that the Bible points out – which is they were ordinary and unschooled.
- Not supermen
- Not the ultra gifted
- Not the perfect mix of genes
- Not the smartest and given the most opportunity
- Not that they are the most disciplined like Mr Super Gym.
Tonight if I can encourage you with anything it is that the call of God is not limited because of who we are not or what we don’t have!
In fact the Bible says in:
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (NIV)
7 …. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
We are not disqualified because of weakness, but made perfect in weakness.
- Our things that we think disqualify us, make us a perfect candidate for God to use us, because people will look and say ‘where did that come from’
- Isn’t this untrained and ordinary – yet extraordinary?
Whatever you do, stop waiting to be perfect before you feel God could use you, because that day will never come.
- We serve God in the midst of and despite our weakness and that is what makes it so incredible that God will use us!
I love this about Jesus!
- Look at His disciples – rough and ready – didn’t pass the religious enough test to make the cut in their society. So God said perfect!
- The Samaritan woman at the well – Jesus could have used anyone to reach that village – but he waits for a messed up, broken woman with 5 husbands, who is rejected by her own peers – to be the agent of revival!
- Jesus literally altered His journey to use her!!!
- What about the village in Luke 8:27?
- 27 As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in the tombs outside the town.
- Perfect candidate for representing Jesus.
- What about Sons of Zebedee – Sons of thunder – Crazy tempers?
- These are the two brothers known for picking a fight.
- At least they are passionate, these guys will do!!!
What I love is that most of these are not remembered for their weaknesses, but their courage!
- Jesus covers our weakness and fills us with courage!
How crazy that here in Acts 4 Peter is being known for his courage – but only a few chapters ago he was too afraid to admit to a little servant girl he was a follower of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit fills us with boldness and courage.
- So instead of being remembered for our weakness – God fills that gap and makes us known for courage!
What an amazing God we serve!
But I want to leave you with an extra thought tonight.
Because this is not the first time we see a comment like this in scripture!
- In fact I am not surprised when we read Acts 4:13, because they got this from somewhere.
If we turn back time to a little before Jesus had sent the Holy Spirit and launched the Church, we hear something similar being said.
John 7:15 (NIV)
15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”
Wow! This was what was said about Jesus:
People could not understand because here was a man who carried, authority, power, did miracles, knew God so well – yet was untrained.
Yep but He was full of the Holy Spirit!
- We saw when he was baptised that the Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove.
Not surprising then that these men we first read about – had both encountered Jesus and been filled with the Holy Spirit!
My observation from Scripture is that when people have truly been with Jesus it is not long until the Holy Spirit empowers their life and people are amazed at what ordinary people seem to do!
Suggestions for discussion
- What do you think it means when the call of God is not limited because of who we are not or what we don’t have!
- How hard is it for you to stop waiting to be perfect before you feel God could use you?
- Do you think you will you be remembered for your weaknesses or your courage?