Pastor Brian Homan’s Devotion for June 26, 2019

Our read­ing for Wednes­day, June 26, 2019 is Acts 4. 13–22.

13 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. 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. “Every­body liv­ing in Jerusalem knows they have done an out­stand­ing mir­a­cle, and we can­not deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spread­ing any fur­ther among the peo­ple, we must warn these men to speak no longer to any­one in this name.” 18 Then they called them in again and com­mand­ed them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for your­selves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we can­not help speak­ing about what we have seen and heard.” 21 After fur­ther threats they let them go. They could not decide how to pun­ish them, because all the peo­ple were prais­ing God for what had hap­pened. 22 For the man who was mirac­u­lous­ly healed was over forty years old.  -NIV

Do you think you have what it takes to speak knowl­edge­ably in sup­port of your faith? Many believ­ers I have spo­ken to have used igno­rance as their excuse and have stat­ed evan­ge­lism is the work of the pas­tor or preach­er. Cer­tain­ly a pas­tor should be engaged in wit­ness and evan­ge­lism, but this is born from their per­son­al dis­ci­ple­ship. We are all to be dis­ci­ples and each to be active­ly wit­ness­ing to their faith. 

Igno­rance is no excuse because any­one and each one of us can bet­ter acquaint our­selves with the scrip­tures and can give tes­ti­mo­ny con­cern­ing their per­son­al expe­ri­ence of Christ and God’s grace. Two men I admire are Abra­ham Lin­coln and the­olo­gian A.W. Toz­er. Both men were “unschooled” as Luke describes Peter and John. Abra­ham Lin­coln had lit­tle for­mal edu­ca­tion and leg­end describes him as self-taught before the light of a fire­place, yet he became a gift­ed and acknowl­edged ora­tor and pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States.

A.W. Toz­er had no for­mal the­o­log­i­cal edu­ca­tion but had the prac­ti­cal edu­ca­tion from per­son­al study, prayer and reflec­tion we should each be engaged in, was well read and pos­sessed a vital expe­ri­ence of rela­tion­ship with Christ and min­istry. He became the promi­nent pas­tor and the­olo­gian for the Mis­sion­ary Alliance Church, pro­lif­ic writer and speak­er who earned two doc­tor­ates from pres­ti­gious insti­tu­tions with­out ever attend­ing a class. 

Come to think about it, you and I know a man who nev­er received a for­mal edu­ca­tion yet who is acknowl­edged as the most knowl­edge­able and inspi­ra­tional human being of his­to­ry. That per­son was Jesus Christ, God’s only Son and our Sav­ior and Lord. So do not claim igno­rance as your excuse; own your reluc­tance to lazi­ness, fear, and lack of courage. Knowl­edge and wis­dom can be learned; what is nec­es­sary is the pas­sion­ate devo­tion for Christ and the will to be used by God to touch oth­ers’ lives with Christ’s grace and mer­cy. 

The reli­gious author­i­ties not­ed the lack of for­mal edu­ca­tion pos­sessed by Peter and John but they also not­ed the pow­er of their con­vic­tion. They were ordi­nary every­day peo­ple who became extra­or­di­nary due to their faith in Christ. We can be as extra­or­di­nary and use­ful if we would only sur­ren­der our lives ful­ly to Jesus. You can read The Pur­pose Dri­ven Life by Rick War­ren how­ev­er what he wrote is noth­ing new. What is need­ed is a ful­ly sur­ren­dered life to God’s pur­pos­es. We dis­cov­er our sig­nif­i­cance and deep­er mean­ing when we get off our butts and get into the game with God.

The reli­gious author­i­ties did not know what to do with these unschooled dis­ci­ples of Christ, so they roughed them up and instruct­ed them to keep silence. With con­vic­tion Peter declared he would nev­er rec­og­nize their author­i­ty and refused to ever obey their warn­ing. John Wes­ley refused to accept the lim­i­ta­tions imposed upon the Methodist move­ment by the reli­gious estab­lish­ment, and instead, trained and sent forth lay (non-ordained) men and women to be preach­ers and even­tu­al­ly con­veyed upon them the author­i­ty of offi­cial­ly pre­sid­ing over the sacra­ments. 

God does not rec­og­nize any human author­i­ty that is not earned by com­mit­ment and sub­mis­sion to his Son. I have for­mal edu­ca­tion and degrees myself and I know many who have pres­ti­gious edu­ca­tion­al pedi­grees and cre­den­tials but who will not gain my respect or fol­low­ing. Homage is earned by evi­dence of faith­ful­ness, right­eous­ness, and the greater wis­dom that comes from liv­ing close to Christ. They are my heroes and the fruit from their ser­vice the cre­den­tials for inspir­ing my very own ser­vice to Jesus and the peo­ple for whom he died. How about you? Can you be such a ser­vant to win souls with Christ for the trans­for­ma­tion of the world?

Bless­ings!   Bri­an Homan