Summary: Learn how God will use ordinary people in His service.
It is amazing how ordinary people sometimes rise above the masses to accomplish great things.
• Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin yet rose to become one of our greatest presidents.
• Michael Jordan was cut from his middle school basketball ball team because he was an ordinary player.
• Dolly Parton was born in poverty in the Smoky Mountains but has risen to become a household American name in the music industry.
Even more amazing is to see how God uses ordinary people. This is amazing because God does not need us. He can do anything he desires. He does not need any help. He does not need any supervisors. He knows where He is going and how to get there. Yet He has chosen to use ordinary people in His work.
• Billy Graham was born and raised on a dairy farm.
• Another famous evangelist, Billy Sunday, described himself. He said “I was born and bred in Iowa. I am a rub of the rubies, I am a hayseed of the hayseeds, and the odors of the barnyard are yet on me. I have greased my hair with goose grease and blacked my boots with stove blacking. I have wiped my nose with gunnysack towel. I have drunk coffee out of my saucer, and I have crept and crawled out from the university of poverty and hard knocks and taken postgraduate courses. I have said “done it” when I should have said “did it” and “I have saw” when I should “have seen”, and I expect to got to Heaven just the same.” (Billy Sunday. Lee Thomas. P. 11)
God’s use of the ordinary is evidenced in the pages of the Bible.
• David was an ordinary shepherd.
• Jesus disciples were a motley crew: some were fisherman; one was the equivalent of a terrorist and all were tainted with human qualities.
I want to examine a story that perfectly illustrates how God uses ordinary people. The text is taken from Acts 4:13. “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.” This text is taken from the New Living Translation. This translation seems to clarify the thought better than any other. Follow the story. You will notice that verse 13 is divided into three phrases. I will address this subject by discussing the three phrases.
I. Notice the first phrase, “the members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John.” Ordinary people can be used of God to make a difference. Peter and John had been preaching and teaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many people were turning to faith in Jesus. The religious and political leaders were upset that Peter and John were creating a stir among the people. They were threatened by the message. Even though they did not like the actions of Peter and John there was no denying their behavior. They could not deny what they saw. That is still true today. People may not like your message but they will notice your behavior. Ordinary people can make a difference. How is this so? We see this in the story.
A. We can make a difference when we display confidence in Jesus. The religious leaders noticed the confidence of Peter. Do you display a confidence in your faith?
Illustration: Some years ago, two teenagers with a long history of crime and delinquency robbed a YMCA on the lower East Side of New York City. On the way out they saw a young man at the telephone switchboard. They were frightened and assumed that he must be calling the police. They beat him savagely with brass knuckles and a black jack. Thinking that he was dead, they hid him behind a radiator near the swimming pool and escaped. Later that evening, a woman who came to swim, was walking by the pool. She slipped in the man’s blood, screamed, and then found Donald Tippet’s body. He lived, but one eye was so badly damaged that it could not be saved. Meanwhile, the two teenagers were apprehended and brought to trial. Their past records assured that both would get long sentences. However, Donald Tippet did an amazing thing—he requested that the judge allow the two young men be paroled to his charge. He wanted to give them another chance. He believed they could change. One of the boys blew his opportunity. He committed another crime, was caught and jailed. The other boy, however, was responsive to Tippet’s kindness. He went to college and then, eventually, to medical school. He became one of our nation’s leading surgeons—an eye surgeon. A reporter, writing about Donald Tippet’s amazing story of forgiveness, said of the surgeon’s accomplishments: “I wonder if he ever performs one of those delicate eye operations without thinking of that night in the YMCA and the young man whose confidence and forgiveness changed his LIFE!”