This sermon was delivered to to congregation at Trinity United Methodist Church in Youngstown, Ohio on January 14, 2001. It is based upon Old Testament scripture from Isaiah 9:2 and 6:7 and New Testament scripture from John 1: 35-42.
Watch the video…
Andrew – brother of Simon Peter. He had been listening to John the Baptist preach. He was one of many who went out into the wilderness to hear the wilderness prophet. He saw John point to Jesus and say, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Intrigued and interested Andrew and a friend followed Jesus. Jesus saw them following and asked what they wanted. They said they just wanted to talk to him.
It must have been quite a conversation. They even remembered the hour it occurred. “For it was about the tenth hour…” a significant hour for Andrew…an hour of decision…an hour of opportunity…an hour that was to change his life. He came away from that conversation convinced that Jesus was truly The Lamb of God…the long awaited Messiah!
Andrew could hardly contain himself! He had to tell his brother, Peter. He had lived in the shadow of his older brother, Peter, all his life. It was always Peter in the spotlight…Peter the star. But, Andrew knew that Peter had gifts that Jesus could put to good use for the Kingdom. Yes! Peter must meet Jesus. He must be introduced to the Messiah! So, Andrew rushes to seek out his older brother.
Andrew was the first disciple to follow Jesus, yet he is never mentioned first in any list of the twelve. Peter is always first. Andrew is second, and even fourth in Mark and Acts. It was probably always so. All through Andrew’s life Peter was first in everything. Now, in the fishing business, everything evolved around Peter. He gave the orders. Andrew was in the background doing his job.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was the way he was known and usually introduced to others. Year in and year out he played second fiddle to his brother.
But now Andrew had met Jesus Christ, and for once he he can be first. He can be the star. He could have kept this amazing, wonderful news to himself. But, Andrew was not the surly or spiteful type. He had learned to get lovely, beautiful music out of playing a harmonious second fiddle to his older brother.
So, he sought out his brother and tells him, “We have found the Messiah.” and he brought him to Jesus. No doubt. No question about it. Andrew was positive, “We have found the Messiah!”
Peter listened to his younger brother. And, he could have said, “Sure you have, and I am the emperor of the Roman empire.” But Peter, for all his boisterous personality…with all of his colorful grabbing…with all of his fiery extroverted nature…listened to his younger brother. He respected Andrew because Andrew’s life was such that his older brother thought quite a lot of him. He valued his quiet reliable, humble brother’s opinion. He did not laugh or ridicule. He went with Andrew to meet Jesus. Andrew did not have the outgoing personality, or the art of articulate persuasion of Peter, but he first brought his brother to Jesus. We might not have heard of Peter “The Rock” had it not been for his younger, second fiddle brother, Andrew.
We meet Andrew again in the Gospels a few months later. A crowd had listened to Jesus teach all through a long, hot afternoon. The hour was late. The people had to return home. For some it would be a long journey. The people were tired. The children fussy, and hungry. But, there was no food, nor money to buy food.
The apostles wondered what to do. Then Andrew stepped forward. In John 6/8 it says again, ” Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.” “There’s a boy here with five small barley loaves and a couple of fishes. Can’t you hear some of them saying, “Well, a lot of good that’s going to do us. There are thousands of people here and he comes up with a boy and a few barley loaves and a couple of fish.” But, Andrew was also a possibility man since he met Jesus. He was a positive thinker. Presenting the boy to Jesus could probably solve the problem. And he was right. Jesus asked that the boy be brought to him. Andrew led the boy to Jesus…the boy and his lunch, and Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes and fed the 5,000. There’s a boy here, and quiet, smiling friendly Andrew led him to Jesus.
Once more we meet Andrew in the Gospels on Palm Sunday…the last week of the Savior’s life. Jesus had entered Jerusalem in triumph. Some people of Greek birth – Gentiles – have come to Jerusalem. They have heard of Jesus. They want to meet him. They approach Philip. But, Philip doesn’t know what to do. Jesus has never taken time to see Gentiles. His message has been almost totally for the Jews. The thought strikes him…ask Andrew. Andrew is sensible, steady, reliable. He will know what to do. Andrew talks with them. “We would see Jesus.” they say. Without hesitation, without any reservations or doubts, Andrew brings them to Jesus. “They shall come from the east. and from the west, and from the north and from the south…and shall sit down in the Kingdom of God.” ( Luke 12/29) – “…and I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12/32).
Andrew, besides being listed with the other apostles there is no other mention of his name. He appears only three times in the Gospels. But, when he appears, he is always bringing someone to Jesus.
He brought himself.
He brought his brother, Peter.
He brought the boy with the loaves and fishes.
He brought the Gentiles, the visitors from Greece.
Andrew, the friendly apostle – the layman who had only one talent, one ability…introducing others to Jesus.
Without the “Andrews” in the church today, there is no success in the Kingdom. The “Andrews” don’t get the notices, the footlights, the praise. They labor in the vineyards. They are taken for granted. They play a beautiful second fiddle…beautiful music for His Kingdom. They’re ordinary people, but without them nothing can happen in this church, or any other church. One talent people – but that talent is given to Christ, and His church. It’s not hidden under a bushel of apathy or inactivity within the bodies of the church.
Who brought John Knox, the great reformer, to Jesus? Do you know? I don’t. We are told it was an unknown Dominican friar who introduced him to Jesus. We don’t know his name, but we remember John Knox.
Who introduced Billy Graham to Jesus? I don’t know, but we know and remember Billy Graham.
Who introduced some of the great pastors of this church to Jesus? I don’t know, but I do know the great contribution they have made to further the Kingdom of God, this church…and the influence they have had on my life.
Jesus chose Andrew first. Why? Because He saw in Andrew the indispensable need for those one talent people in the work of the Kingdom, Christ’s church. This church cannot grow without these friendly, humble people who introduce others to Jesus and His church. Mass evangelism has its place, but I submit the most effective, long-lasting way is person-to-person, one-on-one. In God’s plan nothing can be done without the “Andrews.”
There’s nothing really complicated about it. The Gospel of Jesus Christ spread over the Roman world as one by one people were introduced to Jesus by someone else…not through great oratory, but by personal, dedicated witness. Not by a committee or board, a commission or task force, but by friendly Christians witnessing for a Christ and His Church.
In the early days of Methodism the aristocracy would not hire a Methodist cook because the cook would seek to convert the housemaid, the kitchen maid, the parlor maid, the butler, the gardener and everybody else on the household staff.
Dr. Clarence MacCartney, a great preacher of the last generation, illustrates the personality and the effectiveness of an Andrew with this vision. He writes, “I saw the King seated on His throne. On either side of the throne I saw the great angels…Uriel, Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel. Before the throne stood the Angel of the Book, and at his side stood. one of the mortals. ‘Who is this that you have brought, and what are his claims?’ asked the King. ‘Oh King’, said the Angel of the Book, “This man was a great inventor. He shed light on the pathway of man throughout the world.’ ‘Then…’ said the King, ‘Send him up and let him stand here beside Uriel, the Angel of Liqht.’ And so he went up.
The Angel of the Book brought forth another mortal before the throne. ‘Who is this, and what are his claims? asked the King.
‘This man was a great philosopher who thought thy thoughts after thee.’ said the Angel of the Book. The King looked at the mortal intently and said, ‘Send him up here and let him stand by the side of Raphael, the Angel of Reason.’
And, so he went up and stood by Raphael, the Angel of Reason.
Then the Angel of the Book brought forth a third mortal. ‘Who is this, and what are his claims?’ asked the King. ‘This man was a great patriot.’ said the Angel as he consulted his book. ‘With his sword he delivered his people out of the land of tyrants.’
‘Send him up here to stand by Michael the Angel of the Sword.’ said the King. And, so he went up and stood by Michael.
The Angel of the Book led a fourth mortal before the King’s throne. ‘Who is this and what are his claims?’ asked the King. ‘This man sang holy songs of praise to God…songs which still echo and ring throughout the Church of the Living God.’ said the Angel of the Book.
‘Ah’, said the King. ‘Send him up and let him stand and sing here by the side of Gabriel, the Angel of Holy Songs.’
Then, the Angel of the Book brought another mortal before the throne. In this man there was no note of greatness. No flash of genius shown from his eyes. He stood patiently, quietly, humbly before the throne of King.
‘Who is this, and what are his claims?’ asked the King.
The Angel of the Book scanned the page of his book. Then slowly lifting his head he said, ‘This man won a soul for Christ!’
No one heard the Kings answer. What he said was never recorded. For all the angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim – and all the host of the redeemed rejoiced and sang songs of praises to God over the one soul that had been redeemed.”
Proverbs 11/30 says, “He that winneth souls is wise.” That’s the way to increase His Kingdom. That’s the way to change the world. That’s the way to bring people to Jesus and His Church…with friendly Andrews…one talent laypersons witnessing and inviting people…one-on-one…to come and join us. That’s how we can build His Church here at Trinity and throughout the world.
A Closing Prayer…
Father, most of us here this morning are one talent people. We ask that you give us the will, the desire, and the enthusiasm to use that talent to introduce people to you son, Jesus. Help us to work tirelessly for your Kingdom and this church. In Jesus name we pray,