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God Uses Unschooled Ordinary People

Have you ever noticed that when Jesus gathered twelve disciples, He didn’t go to the Yeshiva’s of Jerusalem, the Bible schools of the day? He gathered ordinary uneducated people like you and me, well, me anyway! After the outpouring of the Spirit, the apostles and first 3,000 disciples met in large gatherings of 3-5 thousand up in the temple courts, which was where Peter and John were going when the crippled beggar was healed in Acts 3:1. They also gathered in home groups to share their food and break bread celebrating the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:46-47). Jude called them love feasts (Jude, verse 12). I don't believe that an apostle or a full-time Christian leader ever led the Lord’s Supper in those gatherings. I picture communion taking place in their homes just as Jesus modeled to them. The leader or sometimes the host of the house group would break the bread just as the head of the household used to do on the Shabbat (Sabbath) on Friday evening, proclaiming the blessing over the bread.

We tend to look at the New Testament and view the 12 apostles as supermen. That was not the view of the residents of Jerusalem in the early days after the resurrection of Jesus. When the Holy Spirit came 50 days after Jesus died and used Peter and John in the healing of the disabled beggar at the gate called Beautiful, the religious elite was baffled as they considered the two fishermen:

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

The leaders of Israel believed that spiritual power came from intellect and head knowledge, but in God's economy, those things are not as impressive to God as they are to us. The Lord is looking for faith. Please understand that I’m not decrying seminary training and Bible school; we need people who are well trained and can teach the Scriptures with clarity and understanding. Christ found his 12 disciples in fishing boats, toll booths, and other regular occupations. When the leaders of Jerusalem heard of the miracle of the disabled man healed, they couldn't believe these things were happening at the hands of ordinary, uneducated men. They checked out the local seminaries of their day, and the 12 apostles were not listed among the "Who's Who" of the synagogue. The early disciples would have been voted the least likely to succeed by the religious authorities of their day. However, despite the disciples lacking pedigree and education, the Lord Jesus transformed them by just being with them. Their words and deeds reminded the people of Christ. The people "took note that these men had been with Jesus" (v. 13).

In the same way, when we live our lives in relationship with Christ, relying on His power and character in us, people will also perceive that we have been with Jesus. I love to be among those who walk with the Lord; it shows on their faces and character. The Scriptures say that these early believers “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6, King James Version). Such was the testimony of those filled, led, and empowered by the Spirit of God; even their enemies acknowledged the fact that they were world changers. With this in mind, none of us have any reason to think that God cannot use us. What's needed is simple faith in God and a knowledge of Christ and what He has done for us. Those are the things that count in walking in tune with the Spirit of God. Without faith, it is impossible for us to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Keith Thomas

Shortened from the study, God Uses Ordinary Believers in the series On Fire with the Spirit.

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