*This was a recent sermon. Many of the sermonic elements have remained in place.
In Acts 4 Peter and John embody discipleship and mission. Jesus changed them and they changed the world by proclaiming the message of Jesus. Yet, they were unschooled, ordinary men. The only explanation – these men had been with Jesus. Imagine if this church was filled with such people?
As we reflect on Acts 4 for the next month, we will discuss four dangerous prayers. These are dangerous prayers … because God answers them.
Lord, use me! This is a dangerous prayer because God has no problem taking you up on your offer. What is the most dangerous prayer you’ve ever voiced? I believe many of us play it safe when it comes to our prayer life.
It doesn’t always make sense to me but God has chosen the church as the instrument to share his message. He has chosen the church as the instrument to accomplish his will. He has chosen us. I want us to get that idea firmly planted in our hearts and minds. God’s plan to reach the people of Crawford is to use the people sitting in this room. God’s plan to transform Crawford into the image of Christ is to use the people inside this sanctuary.
He begs for us to surrender ourselves. He wants to use us.
Peter and John were once fishermen. Yet, they laid down their nets and exclaimed, “Lord, use me!” They surrendered themselves. This prayer isn’t specifically mentioned but it is evident in their lives. If you voice this prayer ~ it’s a dangerous prayer because God will take you up on the offer.
You might be thinking, “What is Pastor Jeff really saying? Is he asking me to quit my job and talk about Jesus all day?” If God asked you to, then yes. But I don’t think he has called all of us to do such a thing. For most of us in this room, God wants to use you right where you are. He wants you to be Christ to your family, Christ to your neighbors, Christ to your coworkers.
Who can I love? Who can I reach? To whom can I preach? Lord, use me! What if you prayed “Lord, use me!” on a regular basis?
I want to talk about your workplace for a moment. Most of us spend large quantities of time at work. This means that much of our Christian identity is being formed in a place that might be unwelcoming, intolerant, or even hostile to your spiritual formation. Yet, does that mean that you put your Christian lifestyle on hold during work hours and pick it up again after hours and on weekends? I certainly don’t think so. God is so much bigger than that.
Being used by God is not a role reserved for pastors. Being used by God is the role of Christians. Remember, Peter and John were “unschooled, ordinary men.” God can transform your household, neighborhood, and workplace through the faithful witness of unschooled, ordinary people.
I love four descriptions of Peter and John in this passage:
- V8 Filled with the Holy Spirit
- V13 Courageous
- V13 Unschooled, ordinary men
- V13 Men who had been with Jesus
Remove gender … that could be anyone in this sanctuary.
Don’t read Acts 4 and remove yourself from the story. Rather, pray “Lord, use me!” and see what God can do.