Apostles, Ordinary Men Chosen to be Extraordinary. The apostles were very ordinary men chosen to do something extraordinary. No one had ever done, or was ever asked to do, what Jesus asked them to do. They were uneducated unimportant nobody’s chosen to spend time with Jesus. That’s how God works.


by Pastor Delbert Young

Apostles, Ordinary Men Chosen to be Extraordinary (Luke 6:12-16)


Sermon video

The apostles were very ordinary men chosen to do something extraordinary. No one had ever done, or was ever asked to do, what Jesus asked them to do. They were uneducated unimportant nobody’s chosen to spend time with Jesus. That’s how God works.

Apostles, Ordinary Men Chosen to be Extraordinary – Luke 6:12-16

Scriptures: Revelation 21:14; Luke 6:12-16; 1 Corinthians 1:26-30; Luke 6:12; Luke 6:13; Luke 22:29-30; Mark 3:13-15; Ephesians 2:19-20; Ephesians 3:4-5; Acts 2:42; Acts 17:6; Acts 4:13

I had to decide exactly how we would study this section of scripture. The reason I say this because Jesus appointed twelve apostles. My dilemma was these men changed the world, but we know so little about them. They should be heroes to us, but we know more about Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Iron-man, Thor, etc. than we know about the apostles of Jesus Christ. Few preachers can name the twelve apostles (self included which is convicting). We all know something about Peter, perhaps something about John, and of course everyone knows about Judas. One day you will go to glory and when you meet these amazing men sitting on thrones, I want you to know something about them. I don’t want you to say, “My pastor never taught me about you.” If someone walks up to you saying, “I’m Judas, an apostle of Jesus Christ,” don’t gasp. It’s Judas son of James, not Judas Iscariot.

So, I want to take a few lessons and give identity and honor to these men Jesus loved, spent his time with, and committed his ministry to. It’s because of them you and I get to experience the truth of Christianity today. They’ve touched each of our lives. Over these weeks of personal study I’ve developed a new love for these men and I want to spread the love. They are foundational in your life and in your and all eternity.

Revelation 21:14 And the wall of the city had TWELVE FOUNDATIONS, and in them the names of the TWELVE APOSTLES of the Lamb.

Let’s read our passage from Luke.

Luke 6:12-16 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

These were very ordinary men chosen to do something extraordinary. No one had ever done, or was ever asked to do, what Jesus asked them to do. They were uneducated unimportant nobody’s chosen to spend time with Jesus. That’s how God works.

1 Corinthians 1:26-30 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, SO THAT NO ONE MAY BOAST BEFORE HIM. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

What is God saying? The way God redeems is not by human standards. You and I are not the sharpest tools in the shed. God didn’t choose you because you were wise. He chose you because you were not. He didn’t choose you because you were influential, or born in palaces. He chose you because you were not. God called you because you were foolish so he could use you to shame the wise. He called you because you were weak so you could shame the strong. He looks for the lowly and despised to do his business. Through all our faults and weaknesses God is working. Why does God work that way? So that you can’t boast and say, “Look what I did” when God uses you to do something extraordinary. He has extraordinary plans for Life Gate.

That truth is seen well in the choice of the twelve apostles. It’s also seen in you and me. If you are a Christ follower, you are called by God and if called then called to do something extraordinary. I look at Life Gate. I don’t know how many churches began, came, and went since we’ve been here. It tells me we are called to do something extraordinary.

Jesus did not choose one rabbi, or one scribe, or one Pharisee, one Sadducee, one priest, or one PhD to be an apostle. He did not choose one person religiously trained. By his not selecting a “religiously trained” person, Jesus spoke a judgment and rejection upon Judaism. He did not approve of Judaism. Jesus would not allow Judaism to taint his message. He did not choose one of noble birth, or one considered wise. He preferred foolish fishermen, a despised tax collector, and even a traitor rather than those theologically trained.

People say, “I don’t know anything about the Bible.” That’s great! You’re a prime candidate to change the world. All you need is about two years with Jesus and you’ll be ready to turn some worlds upside down.

Luke 6:12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

One of what days? It was “one of those days” of the escalating hatred toward Jesus by the religious leaders of Judaism. This was immediately after Jesus healed the man with the shriveled hand on a Sabbath day sending the Pharisees into psychopathic rage to destroy Jesus (Lu 6:11; Mat 12:14; Mar 3:1). Jesus exposed their false religion, corruption, and deception. They determined they would get him before he got them. They were blood thirsty. With the hatred developing into a very volatile situation, Jesus knew his death would not be long away. He had a short time to prepare those who would continue his work. It was time to begin their intense training. I also believe there was now sufficient financial support to take on the financial responsibility to support twelve men with dependents.

Luke 6:12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

As we’ve seen, going off to pray was something Jesus did frequently. In 5:16 Luke said, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Prayer was important to Jesus. We would think if praying was important to God himself then praying would be even more important to us, but that’s not often the case. Even Jesus needed time with God in prayer. Jesus always prayed concerning crucial events and we always find a crucial event happening after Jesus prayed. We see such an event here selecting his twelve apostles.

Jesus spent the night praying to God. Have you ever come close to praying all night about anything? I haven’t. Even in the midst of my most stressful, confusing, and crucial times, I’ve never come close to praying all night. What are we missing? No wonder Christians make terrible decisions.

The Douay-Rheims Bible translation works hard to accurately translate the verse.

Luke 6:12 …he passed the whole night IN THE PRAYER OF GOD.

Jesus wasn’t only praying to God. It was the Godhead praying talking together. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit talked together over this crucial event. When we pray, this should be what we seek to do. We need to talk it over with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit especially about crucial events in our lives. “Father, what do you think?” Then listen. “Lord Jesus, what do you think?” Listen again. “Holy Spirit, can you give me some direction on this?” Again listen. Perhaps a scripture will come, or a thought or idea that would never cross your mind had you not prayed.

The whole night would have been from around 8 p.m. until around 6 a.m. That would be ten hours of the prayer of God. How much time do we give for prayer in our schedule? This is convicting to me. Jesus needed perfect clarity on this decision. Perfect clarity only comes through prayer. What do you need clarity concerning? Schedule a time and utilize the prayer of God. How many know we should pray more?

Luke 6:13 When morning came, he called his DISCIPLES to him and chose TWELVE OF THEM, whom he also designated APOSTLES:

The word disciples is mathetes {math-ay-tes’} meaning a learner, pupil, disciple. “A learner” is better than “pupil.” A person could be a pupil and never learn. In those days a popular rabbi, scribe, teacher, etc. attracted followers. With no CD’s, DVD, televisions, etc., they followed the person around when possible. Jesus attracted a massive amount of people and they followed him. Jesus was a life changing Phenom and people were coming from everywhere. Some of the followers became disciples – learners. Many of those camped out the night and were there at daybreak.

Jesus took them from disciples to apostles. This was a graduation and a special moment for those twelve. Have you progressed or graduated from where you began when Jesus called you?

Why twelve? Jesus was replacing Judaism and fulfilling the law with superior leadership. It was time for a new mentality of leadership. It was not going to be scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees.

Luke 22:29-30 And I CONFER ON YOU A KINGDOM, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, JUDGING THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL.

Jesus replaced the old with the new. There were twelve total tribes of Israel from the twelve sons of Jacob. Moses (God’s leader) spoke to the leader (elder) of the tribes who brought God’s word to the people. When the nation divided and later went into Babylonian captivity, ten tribes were lost. There was no way to get God’s word to all God’s people. Jesus reestablished the kingdom of God. Through the twelve, God would again speak to all his people.

Jesus took disciples and designated twelve of them apostles. Apostles is apostolos {ap-os’-tol-os} meaning a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders. These twelve would be delegates of Jesus. They would officially carry his message. He would send them out with orders. This was common in that culture and people well understood what apostles meant. Some of the scribes had apostles who were Pharisees.

Mark 3:13-15 …He appointed twelve — designating them apostles — that they might be with him AND that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.

First they had to be with him. Then he might send them out to preach and have authority to drive out demons. It’s a process. First, they had to be taught. They were not sent out until Luke chapter 9. At that time he commissioned them to preach with miraculous power.

These twelve are immensely important to Jesus. It is them who would actually establish the church and the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 2:19-20 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

The cornerstone is the headstone. Everything else aligns with it. Alone the cornerstone cannot support the structure. The prophets of the Old Testament and apostles of the New Testament make up the foundation supporting the entire structure – church and kingdom of God. It was the apostles who actually began the church after the ascension of Jesus. There would be no church today without them.

Ephesians 3:4-5 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the MYSTERY OF CHRIST, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been REVEALED BY THE SPIRIT TO GOD’S HOLY APOSTLES and prophets.

Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly IN THE APOSTLES’ DOCTRINE and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

These men are the foundation and developed apostolic doctrines we live by today.

They had a short time to learn of only about two years, but they took what they were taught and turned the world upside-down.

Acts 17:6 …These that have TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN are come hither also

They have impacted your life and my life. I couldn’t help but ask myself when studying this, “What has Jesus used me to do that is extraordinary? Whose world has he used me to turn upside down? Am I a “learner,” or only a “pupil”? How about you?

It was not easy for Jesus to do what he had to do in two years. Jesus repeatedly asked them, “Are you still without understanding?” “Don’t you get it yet?” They argued among themselves about which one was the greatest. They were full of faults. However, that’s all God has to work with because faulty people are the only kind of people there are. They lacked spiritual understanding. That is a severe handicap when doing spiritual work. They lacked faith. Jesus constantly told them, “O ye of little faith.” They attempted to cast out devils and failed. They lacked commitment. When the soldiers arrested Jesus, they ran. Peter ends up at a fire cussing.

They truly were full of faults, but Jesus looked beyond the faults and saw the potential. Through prayer, he saw in them the ability to change the world. He took them as they were and transformed them by his love, by his words, by his example, and by the Spirit. You and I sit here today as a testimony to the fact they finally got it and did what no one had ever been asked to do. They were ordinary men called to do something extraordinary and they did.

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS.

They were unschooled, ignorant, common men, but they spent time with Jesus.

What are your faults? I am full of faults. I don’t understand a lot of things I should have learned by now. I frequently don’t get it. I lack spiritual understanding though I’ve led a church for over a quarter of a century. Sometimes I think I’m way more important and greater than I truly am. I still lack faith. I lack commitment in some areas. I’d run if facing soldiers with weapons and sometimes I want to cuss! By calling me, Jesus selected a foolish, weak, lowly, despised, ignorant man, but Jesus knows all about that. He took me as I was and he used me to change lives. He looked past all my faults and saw my potential. I’m sure he had to pray all night about calling me, but he did. We’ve built a church. We’ve turned a lot of worlds upside-down. They can say what they want about me, you, and Life Gate, but one thing that marvels them is we’ve been with Jesus. We’re still here.

How about you? Are you ready to go for a two year camp-out with Jesus? You are an ordinary person, but you are called to do something extraordinary. How many think we can bring the kingdom of God to this area and be the foundation of a church that will turn worlds upside down?

Other Related Sermons:

The Resurrection Proofed – Easter sermon video audio notes

Easter Nonsense – sermon video audio notes

I SEE GRACE pt 2 – Easter sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young