Summary: Am I qualified? Who could have foreseen lowly fishermen of Galilee had the potential to become fearless apostles, or that simple peasants could leave their net behind to become founders of the church?
A Letter from Jesus to the Church called Mainline:
"You know me; I love to make the oldline new. If you will stick with me, I shall give you a future, new wineskins, and all that. I am Lord of Life, not death. I shall move you from cynical decline to life. I still have plans for you. You’ll be smaller, but small can be good. Ask the Mennonites. You will no longer be in charge of the nation, if you ever were. Remember, the national church thing was your idea of church, not mine. Get back to the basics like worship, service and witness. Don’t mourn the downsizing of your bureaucracy. You were once good at mission. Now that much of North America has never heard of me, it’s about time to start thinking of yourselves as missionaries. Letters Jesus might write to churches today," Christianity Today, October 25, 1999, 69.
Last week we marked the beginning of a journey, a journey away from “culture Christianity” toward authentic faith… real “Christianity;”
God invites us to share His compassion and Grace demonstrated by Christ with our brothers and sisters…. Right where they may be, whatever their circumstances. And when we participate with God, oh how our hearts are filled to overflowing with such a sense of joy and love as only God can provide. And… we discover, we know Him more.
As we go forward in a new year of ministry, God shows us the way He intended His church to become… to encourage us to “go and make disciples” to go, taking His light with us and participating with Him in our community and the world drawing a hurting people to His love and grace. What a privilege to receive this invitation.
Reader’s Digest tells of two seminary students who decided to go door-to-door sharing their faith. At one house, they walked through a gauntlet of screaming children and barking dogs. A tired mother opened the door. "We would like to tell you how to obtain eternal life," they said. She hesitated, and then looked around for a moment before she replied, "Thank you, but no thanks. I don’t believe that I could stand it.
So much for seminary training. And while at least they had the right idea, to go to the people, perhaps they would have done better to follow Jesus example…. First to love the people where they are… then let God do the work to bring them to Himself.
Some of you may be thinking you are not equipped to be a disciple. You don’t’ have the theological training, never been to a seminary and so, you think are off the hook. At least that sounds like a reasonable excuse for not responding daily to the invitation of God.
In today’s scripture, God just blew up your excuse.
(Re-read Acts 4: 13)
So, who were these men…Peter and John? Looking back at last week’s scripture, we remember that Peter, once called Simon, was a fisherman and was initially brought to Jesus by his brother Andrew. Reading further in that same section of scripture, we learn that Jesus, after calling Peter and Andrew, continued walking along the seashore of the Sea of Galilee. In verse Matthew 4: 21, Jesus calls two more fisherman, James and John.
Fishermen. The first four Disciples Christ calls are fishermen! What kind of training did these men have? What qualified them to be Disciples of Christ?
Who could have foreseen that lowly fishermen of Galilee had the potential to become fearless apostles: Or that simple peasants could leave their nets behind to become founders of the church? Impossible… unthinkable…unless they came under the influence of that One Solitary Life, Jesus Christ. Jesus qualified them. Look again at the second half of verse 13…”they took note these men had been with Jesus.”
Even Peter and John’s enemies had to admit that the secret of these courageous, unschooled, ordinary men was that they “had been with Jesus.”
With His call to follow came His grace to enable them to make a difference in the world and two thousand years later we still feel the impact of their lives.
The same can be true of your life. You can make a difference. You can make difference!
“Cultural Christianity” would have us believe without money or power we can’t change anything. God proves that we can!
God doesn’t wait to call those who are “equipped.” God will equip those He calls!
Look at our culture today. Look at those running for president. Every one of them is a multi-millionaire. There was a time when you didn’t need a fortune to run for office. Is that true today? Perhaps for local office, but when it comes to a national office, money counts. Do you think our culture reflects the value system God intended?