UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but this is my one aim:
to forget everything that's behind, and to strain every nerve to go after what lies ahead.
I press on toward the finish line, where the prize waiting for me is the upward call of God
IN KING JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14)
#13-1915
by – Stuart H. Pouliot
September 15, 2019
Having Been With Jesus
Considering the history of the early church, we stand amazed at the power and authority that was manifested
through a few men that the Lord Jesus had trained while He walked this earth. He had chosen them and discipled
them to Himself. Often, they did not understand His teachings or His ways, but they were so attracted to Him they
could not leave Him.
The disciples were not the elite of the day. Several of them were fishermen, hard-working men who labored long
hours to catch fish. They were not an educated group by the standard of the religious elite of that day, for they had
not attended the great religious schools of the day. They worked with their hands to make a living. But through
these men, the Lord literally turned the known world upside down. When the holy spirit, the spirit of Christ, came
down from heaven and came upon them like tongues of fire, they went forth in power and authority and declared
who Jesus is and what He did.
In Acts 4, we find a very interesting story involving Peter, who was called by the Lord while he was casting nets, and
John, who was called while he was mending nets. Casting and mending nets are two very important, yet different,
callings upon disciples. Casting nets draws others in, and mending heals what has been drawn in.
Being led by the spirit of God, they were proclaiming the kingdom and, in Jesus, the resurrection from the dead.
They knew the one who had walked with them for a few short years was no longer in the grave but was resurrected
and now is seated on His Father's throne in heaven. The coming of the holy spirit was living proof that He has
ascended on high and is glorified. The promised helper, the spirit of God, has come down from the throne. They
were living proof of this fact. Christ risen, exalted, glorified!
Many believed their message, and the number came to be about five thousand. But this greatly disturbed the Jewish
leaders. Peter and John were thrown in jail, and on the next day, they were placed in the center of all these leaders—
the rulers, the elders, the scribes, the high priest, all those of high-priestly descent. In other words, those they stood
in the midst of were the highly-educated religious leaders of the day. You might say they all graduated from
seminary. They also all had the proper bloodline, having been born into their priestly positions. They were the
religious elite, according to the flesh, the cream of the crop, so to speak, in the eyes of the Jews.
These two disciples of Christ stood in the midst of all these educated minds and were arrogantly questioned about
healing a man forty-years old who had been lame from his mother's womb. Can you imagine the thoughts going
through the religious leaders' heads? They had all this teaching and none of them had any power to heal another
man. So, they demanded to know by what power or in what name they had done this. Consider Peter's response.
Then Peter, being filled with holy spirit, said to them, "Chiefs of the people and elders!" If we today are being
examined as to the benefaction to the infirm man, by what he has been saved, let it be known to you all and
to the entire people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, Whom you crucify, Whom God
rouses from among the dead, in this name, this man stands by before you sound." This is the Stone that is
being scorned by you builders, which is becoming the head of the corner." And there is no salvation in any
other one, for neither is there any other name, given under heaven among men, in which we must be saved."
(Acts 4:8-12 CLV)
What a testimony of the life of Christ. Peter was filled with the spirit of the Lord. He answered their question with
great clarity. It was all done in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene. There is no other name under heaven given
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among men. Jesus! What a name! Peter and John stood with confidence in this name. In verse 13, we are told that
those who were listening to them marveled at them. Why? Because they were uneducated and untrained! But were
they? Perhaps not by man's standard but they were trained nonetheless.
As these two men stood, they were a testimony of a new way, a way that was not dependent on so-called religious
education . They did not fit the mold of the day for religious leaders. They stood outside it and were a living testimony
of the power and authority of God. Those that questioned them had an authority that came by their bloodline and
their schooling, but these men had something else and it could not be challenged. It was a noteworthy fact that the
miracle had taken place. No one could dispute the healing. When they saw the man, who was once lame standing
in their midst, they had nothing to say. However, the testimony of these two said volumes.
Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and
untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).
Peter and John were uneducated and untrained, and yet they performed a miracle that no one could dispute. If
they were not trained in the religious schools, they must have had some training some place. Where was it? What
was the source of their power? It came from having been with Jesus.
Oh, do not doubt for a minute. They were schooled, but theirs was not like any school that existed. They were
schooled in the school of Christ. What is the school of Christ? Being with Jesus! Isn't this marvelous? They had been
with Jesus. He was their teacher, their master, and their helper. He taught them; He trained them. They did not sit
in a classroom with a blackboard. They were trained as they walked with Jesus through the days of His life. He
walked with them, spoke to them, exhorted them, rebuked them, loved them, gave them examples, and many times
left them confused and wondering. But through it all, they persevered and were taught. They were taught the
kingdom, and now they could proclaim the kingdom in power and authority under the anointing of His spirit.
We need to ask ourselves the question: Where are we to be trained today? Are some to go to a seminary so that
they can teach the Lord's people what they were taught by men? Do all of us need to go to a school and receive a
certificate, a degree, ordination papers to serve the Lord and His people? Is this what we are shown in scripture?
Quite the contrary; those who had all the education refused to accept the very one who had come to save them.
The only thing these religious leaders could say to Peter and John was to warn them to speak no more in this name.
In arrogance and in defense of their education, they were led to reject the Lord Jesus and to crucify Him. Their
education did not lead them to life but led them to demand that the one who is life be crucified.
Oh, we need to wake up to the truth. Education does not make one a spiritual man nor does it make one a leader.
Having been with Jesus is what leads us to spiritual growth and maturity. A piece of paper with our name on it will
not do it. If we are not daily walking with Jesus, our education becomes all knowledge, head knowledge. When such
a one ministers to the Lord's people, head knowledge is ministered. It will be words without the power. This is not
to say that people should not go to Bible school. It is good to learn; but if we are not walking with the Lord and
learning to discern and follow His voice, then our education is of little value. The power to minister is only discovered
and manifested through a personal walk, a personal relationship with our beloved Lord; the very life of Christ
experienced and worked out in life, not in a classroom or with a head stuck in a book. This is what set the disciples
apart from all the others.
In verse 20, we are told that Peter and John responded to the leaders: We cannot stop speaking what we have seen
and heard . What had they seen? Jesus! Whom had they heard? Jesus! They were in the school of Christ. Their lives
were changed by the presence of His life. They knew this change came from being with Him.
Have you been with the Lord Jesus today?
May the world one day look at us and say: They have been with Jesus!