Sermon for Sunday May 6th, 2012
The People God Uses - Andrew by Cameron Bottema
“And it happened in those days that He went out into a mountain to pray, and was all night in prayer to God. And when day had come, He brought His disciples together, and from them selected twelve whom He also named ‘disciples.’” (Luke 6:12-13)
“And having called His twelve disciples, He gave to them authority over unclean spirits, so as to cast them out and heal every kind of disease and every kind of illness. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon the one called Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus and Thaddeus, Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.” (Matthew 10:1-4)
Introduction: How often have you or I picked up some document, such as a Church Bulletin that contains a listing of persons who are being recognized for some reason or another, only to find that one significant person’s name has been inadvertently omitted? Usually that is not a healthy thing to have happen in the life of a community of people.
Nearly every time Andrew is mentioned in Scripture it is in reference to being Simon Peter’s brother. Why? If scholars are correct and the Gospel records were written 25 to 50 years after Jesus ascended into heaven, then they are for remembering as well as for instruction.
Among the 12 disciples there were two sets of full brothers who grew up in the same community. Those inseparable lads were James and John, Peter and Andrew, who together with Philip grew up in Bethsaida. (See Luke 5:10; John 1:44; 12:21)
One day while they were fishing the waters of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus interrupted their vocational plans and said to them:
“Follow Me, and I will make you
to become fishers of men!”
But after following Jesus, something happened to that inseparable foursome. Recall, if you will:
1. The Mount of Transfiguration, when Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him…but Andrew as left behind. (Matthew 17:1) (CHANGE SLIDE)
2. The Healing of Jairus’ Daughter, when Jesus told everyone to leave, but took Peter, James and John with Him…but Andrew as left behind. (Luke 8:51) (CHANGE SLIDE)
3. The Garden of Prayer, when Jesus took Peter, James and John with him into the deeper recesses of the Garden…but Andrew as left behind. (Matthew 26:37; Mark 14:36)
Andrew could have said:
“I would like to have seen the Transfiguration…I would like to have witnessed the healing of that little girl…I would like to have sensed the real intensity of His Garden praying.”
But Andrew had no such thoughts. Why? Because though the Apostle Paul had not yet come to the scene of Christian activity, and 1 Corinthians 13 had not yet been written, Andrew understood that magnificent concept of 1 Corinthians 13:4:
“Love does not envy!”
We are well aware that Pentecost had not yet come at this time in Andrew’s life. The followers of Jesus had not experienced the grand baptism of the Holy Spirit and perfecting of love within the hearts of those committed to Jesus. Yet in part, at least, the Holy Spirit includes this biographical sketch of Andrew’s life to instruct us that God does not depend on the so-called SUPER-SAINTS, but rather He works through people who are intentionally willing to obey Him without any anticipation of the accolades of people. God accomplishes the extraordinary through the people who simply obey His call to serve Him wherever He directs.
Let’s look at this biographical sketch of the life of one man in the New Testament willing to obey God without reservation, this non-glory-seeking disciple of Jesus, and find those events in his life that serve to identify him as one ordinary person who did the extraordinary out of love for Jesus, and willing obedience to follow Him without reservation.
1. Andrew’s witness was contagious! (John 1:35-42)
Peter Marshall calls Andrew Mr. Introducer. Andrew appears on the historical and eternal record as one who was always introducing someone to Jesus. And in this passage, Andrew so loved Jesus, that he was used in one of the most difficult places…introducing his own brother, Simon Peter, to the Master of life.
Who among us has heard of Rev. Mordecai Ham, who placed his hand on the shoulder of a gangly North Carolina teenager, and introduced him to Jesus Christ? That teenager? Dr. Billy Graham, who has preached to more people than any other person in the history of the Christian Church.
Andrew’s life was so powerfully contagious that when he said “Come on, Peter, I want you to meet the Messiah…Jesus of Nazareth,” Peter had no question whatever! A contagious spirit!
2. Andrew’s witness was creative! (John 6:8-9)
The setting is familiar. It was the occasion of The Feeding of the 5,000. Jesus gave Philip a bit of a test. Neither Philip nor any of the other disciples seemed to know what to do…that is, except Andrew. Andrew did something creative and this was used by our Lord to meet a very real need in the lives of many people. It was a miracle, to be sure. But too often we focus on the miracle of multiplying the bread and fish into enough for the many. But perhaps there is something of a greater miracle here. How did Andrew talk that boy out of his lunch? You don’t have to beg little boys for their lunch if they don’t like what it contains, but if they like it, and it is all there is, you may never gat hold of it!
But Andrew did something without any thought of recognition. He was creative, brought the boy to Jesus, and a lad with a lunch became a link to the Lord! Andrew found a way to do something extraordinary without ever knowing it was extraordinary…and he did it with no request that he be recognized!
3. Andrew’s witness was consistent. (John 12:20-22)
When some Greeks came to the city as a part of a worshiping crowd, they wanted to see ONE MAN! They wanted to see JESUS! How does one find one person when in a very large city, and when unfamiliar with that city?
As they were inquiring about, talking to this person and that person, they came to one named Philip. They asked: “Are you acquainted with, or do you know the whereabouts of a man named Jesus, from Nazareth, a carpenter’s son?” Philip seems to have been caught off-guard, and didn’t know exactly how to answer them. Then he had a brilliant idea.
“I’ll take them to Andrew. He will know how to find Jesus. We can always count on him.”
Yes, we know that later, and after Pentecost, Philip became known as one who knew well how to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and win others to Jesus. But here, we are looking into the life of one man whose consistency in witnessing stands forever as a model for every Christian. He is one who loved Jesus supremely, who was willing to obey Him without reservation, and who sought no recognition from people. His recognition came from God, and it is recorded in the eternal record, and stands today as a powerful challenge to each of us to be people God can use.
A brother, a child, a stranger! Andrew introduced them all to Jesus. He had no thought of recognition for himself. His witness was contagious, creative, and consistent! THAT is the follower of Jesus God can use and accomplish the extraordinary!
Remember this thought:
There would have been no powerful preaching Peter at Pentecost had there not been the humble, non-glory-seeking, obedient Andrew of the fishing beach!