Calvary Road Baptist Church

“HIS NAME WAS ANDREW”

 We are precisely four weeks from the commencement of our church’s annual missions conference, that time of year when we reorient our thinking and reevaluate the thrust of our church’s ministry so that we are about what the Lord Jesus Christ was about, so that we are seeking to accomplish what He wants for our lives. As I have reflected on our upcoming missions conference, and as I have prayed about the direction of our church as a missionary Baptist church, I have felt the need to remind our people, in the midst of the confusion and the clutter of life, that the Christian life is a very simple life. Please do not misunderstand. I am not suggesting that there are not subtle doctrines to understand, as well as the greatest need for wisdom and discernment to make decisions in every Christian’s life. I am only asserting that at its core, in its essence, at the bottom of it all, the Christian life is so very simple.

Think about life, in general. It is so complicated and full of obstacles, choices, roadblocks, distractions and variables. In the years immediately following the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, I read one source that attributed the return of many Russians who had immigrated to the USA back to their homeland to the plethora of choices they faced here every day. They were so overwhelmed by the options they faced here in the land of plenty, from food choices in the market to clothing options in the department stores that they returned to the far simpler life of fewer choices in Russia. That is not even counting the confusion and destruction in a person’s life that is introduced by sin. The result is that it is very common for people to be greatly pressured and to even be overwhelmed by a sense of despondency, even though they may not sense their plight because they have never known anything else. Add to that the fact that sin is an offense to God, a violation of God’s moral law, and an affront to God’s holy and righteous nature, and the complexities of life are further compounded by recognition of personal guilt and a sense of conscience that is repeatedly violated. No wonder man’s sinful response to reality is to frequently deny the very existence of God, or to push any consideration of God so far back in the mind that for all practical purposes most people live the lives of atheists, even if they do not consciously deny God’s existence. They simply want to deny His significance and rob Him of the rightful role He is due as our Creator, Sustainer and Judge. They may think that by doing that they are simplifying life and life’s choices. Oh, how wrong they are.

Others may go a different route, living out their inborn religious inclinations by devoting themselves to some type of man-made religious expression as a way of salving their consciences. Call it Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or even some pathetic form of anemic Christianity; it is all the same. A palliative, really. Something to soothe the conscience and make you feel better about yourself. Christianity, on the other hand, real Christianity, is not like that at all. Real Christianity is the life lived by those whose sins have been dealt with, rather than burying them, whose consciences are clear because of cleansing, rather than being soothed with a salve of self-righteousness. You see, Christianity is the consequence of what someone else has done, instead of the consequence of what the Christian has done.

Our bedrock is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the good news that the God of all creation sent His divine Son to remedy the problem of sinner’s sins. Though God is angry with the wicked every day, His nature is such that He receives no pleasure in the punishment of the wicked. Rather, punishment is described by God in Isaiah 28.21 as His “strange work,” and in Lamentations 3.33 we read, “For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” Therefore, motivated by His love for us, and the fact that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (Second Peter 3.9), He provided His Own Son a sacrifice for our sins, the Just for the unjust that He might bring us to God, First Peter 3.18. Granted, all of this seems complicated when first considered. To be sure, there are intricacies associated with God’s saving work on man’s behalf. However, from our perspective all is simplicity. You see, the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the lost man is very straightforward; convince him of his sinfulness in the sight of God and his complete inability to save himself, and then prompt him to cast himself upon Jesus Christ as the only Savior of his sinful soul. The sinner is dead in trespasses and sins, completely unable to save himself, but Jesus is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by Him. Thus, man’s plight is simple to comprehend.

What is required of the sinner? When the Philippian jailor asked the Apostle Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” they answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” Acts 16.31. How this reminds us of the Savior’s words in Matthew 11.28: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Faith in Jesus Christ as the Object of faith given through gospel preaching. In other words, man’s solution is as simple to understand as his plight. So you see, man’s dilemma is simple to understand. Stick a fork in you, you are done. Hopelessly lost, awaiting God’s final judgment (you are already condemned), your situation is simple to grasp. Realize that you are lost and only Jesus saves. Your response is also simple. Come to Christ. Believe on Christ. Trust Christ. Receive Christ. However it is stated, the concept is simple. Since only Jesus saves, the solution to your problem is to look to Jesus.

As simple as it is to become a Christian, notice that I did not say easy. It is not easy to become a Christian. As a matter of fact, it is impossible, requiring nothing less than a miracle worked by God. However, it is simple. As simple as it is to become a Christian, so it is simple to live the Christian life. Again, living the Christian life is not easy, since it requires God’s grace and God’s enabling power. However, it is simple.

Today’s message from God’s Word directs your attention to a wonderful example of the simplicity of the Christian life in the person of a man named Andrew. We will not address the issue of how Andrew became a Christian in this message, but rather how Andrew exemplified the Christian life lived in its simplicity. Andrew’s name is found only twelve times in the New Testament, eleven times in the gospel accounts and once in the book of Acts, with a number of those verses only mentioning Andrew with the other apostles. So, we know very little about Andrew, much less than we know about the inner circle of the three most prominent apostles, James, John and Peter, but what we can learn is easily found by reading those few verses.

The earliest chronological mention of Andrew is found in John 1.40-42:

40     One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

41     He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

42     And he brought him to Jesus.

Andrew and another man heard John the Baptist speak about Jesus, when he identified Him in John 1.35-39. Andrew then told his brother that Jesus was the Messiah and brought him to Him. Thus, Andrew realized before any of the other men who would become apostles that Jesus is the Messiah. This probably took place on the bank of the Jordan River, near Jericho.

In John 1.44 we read, “Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.”

Two verses record the Lord Jesus Christ calling Peter and Andrew to be fishers of men:

Matthew 4.18     And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

Mark 1.16      Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

This took place when they had returned back home, to the north, in Galilee.

Mark 1.29 refers to Christ and others entering Andrew’s house on the Sabbath: “And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.”

Three passages record the names of the twelve apostles, Matthew 10.2, Mark 3.18 and Luke 6.14. I will read Matthew 10.2: “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother.”

It is in John 6.8-9 that Andrew brings a lad to the Savior:

 8      One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,

9      There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

 Of course, the Lord would use the lad’s food to feed five thousand men, with twelve baskets left over, presumably one for each of the twelve apostles.

These events all occurred early on in our Lord’s earthly ministry. We read Andrew’s name again only a few days before our Lord’s crucifixion. It was the day after the Lord Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem that some Greeks approached Philip wanting an audience with Jesus. John 12.23 explains what happened next: “Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.” This occurred on the Monday before Jesus was crucified.

Later in the week, the night before our Lord was crucified, Mark 13.3-4 records Andrew and three others asking Jesus a question, probably after the Lord’s Supper, after they walked past the Temple and before they settled in the Garden of Gethsemane:

3      And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,

4      Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?

Of course, Andrew fled with the other disciples when the soldiers came to the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest the Lord Jesus Christ. However, we next read of Andrew on the Day of Pentecost, in Acts 1.13:

“And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.”

Though we find no more of Andrew in the Bible, history records that he lived out his life serving God in what is today Turkey, southern Russia, and Georgia, and was martyred in the Greek town of Patros, not far from the city of Corinth.[1]

Andrew’s life is a testament to the simplicity of the Christian life, as well as to the grace that God provides to do right in the midst of great chaos and confusion. He is an example that you and I would do well to follow. Allow me to point out three characteristics of Andrew’s life in service to His Lord, characteristics every Christian should exemplify, characteristics I wish were always in my own life:

First, ANDREW WAS FRIENDLY

There is evidence of Andrew’s friendliness, a trait that every Christian would do well to make a part of his personality. After all, it costs nothing to be nice to people. What are the pieces of evidence that add up to Andrew being a friendly man? There are three that I would like to point out to you:

First, every time we see Andrew in the Word of God he is in the company of other people. Of course, this is not conclusive, but you are more likely to see friendly people in the company of others than you are to see unfriendly people in the company of others. Whether he is with an unnamed companion listening to John the Baptist, or working with his brother Peter fishing and mending nets, or leaving the synagogue to enter the home he shares with his brother, sister-in-law and mother-in-law, we never read of him in isolation. This suggests that Andrew was someone who got along with people, someone others did not purposely leave alone, someone whose company they were comfortable with.

Next, Andrew’s friendliness in connection with the feeding of the five thousand. The Lord Jesus Christ had been teaching and preaching for most of that memorable day. The company of people gathered to hear Him was immense, so large that as the day drew to a close there would be no way for so large a crowd to obtain food or lodging. The consensus of the apostles was to send the multitude away so they would have time to get to nearby villages to arrange for food and places to stay the night.[2] It was then that Andrew brought to the Lord’s attention a young lad with five loaves and two fishes. You know the rest of the story. The Savior worked a miracle to feed so many people with so little food, a boy’s supper really. However, the question for us is why is it Andrew and the lad and not some other apostle with the lad? As well, on another occasion, when our Lord was displeased with some apostles for blocking children’s access to Him, when He said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not,” Mark 10.14, the mind simply cannot imagine Andrew being one of those apostles who treated the children that way. Does this not tell you something about the man? There are lots of nice guys, but how many men pay attention to children? How many men are approachable by children? We know the Lord Jesus Christ was attentive to little ones. So, also, was Andrew. My friends, you have to be friendly to have such relationships with children. Not many men are so friendly.

Third, in connection with the Greeks approaching Philip for an audience with Jesus. This is found in John 12.22, the Monday before Christ’s crucifixion and the day after His triumphal entry. We know the Greeks first approached Philip, possibly from being acquainted with him in Galilee. Curious to me is that of all the apostles, Philip took the Greeks to Andrew. Not to Peter, who seems to have been the most publicly prominent of the apostles. Not to John, who seems to have been the most privately intimate with the Savior. There was something about Andrew that gave Philip confidence that he was the man to take these Greeks to in order to arrange an audience with the Savior. Andrew was what you and I can certainly be; he was friendly. Is there not someone you should be friendly to? Is there not someone who needs to understand that you like her, that you want her here, and that you are approachable? Be friendly with everyone. It is so simple to be friendly.

Next, ANDREW WAS FOCUSED

Interesting, is it not, that Andrew is usually shown when his actions are recorded as doing similar things? His was not a complicated life. Oh, confusion and chaos certainly swirled around him, amidst the religious and political upheavals of his day. However, in the midst of it all Andrew seemed constant, which was due to the evidence we are given that he was focused.

We know that Andrew was deeply concerned about spiritual matters. Why else would a fisherman be far from home, listening to a Jewish prophet preaching and baptizing in the Jordan River? It was while he was seeking satisfaction for his spiritual appetite, looking for the cure for his soul’s longing, that he was introduced to the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, it was John the Baptist who pointed the Savior out to him, when he said of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God.”[3]

What does Andrew begin to do almost immediately once the Savior is pointed out to him? And what then became the pattern of his life whenever his actions are recorded in scripture, and later on in religious history? If Andrew is known for anything, he is known for bringing people to Christ.

Four things to remember about Andrew’s focus:

First, he told his brother about Jesus and then brought his brother to Jesus, John 1.40-42:

40     One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

41     He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

42     And he brought him to Jesus.

Notice that our passage does not suggest Andrew basking in personal accomplishment. He does not call attention to what he has done. He just said, “We have found the Messias.” “And he brought him to Jesus.” What utter simplicity. Of course, Andrew and Peter were interested in the Messiah. Why else would they come to hear John the Baptist, whose constant message and refrain was the Messiah and His Spirit? Therefore, it only makes sense, once you have found the Messiah, to bring someone else to Him. That is what Andrew did on this occasion, and that would be the pattern of Andrew’s life and ministry from that time forward.

Next, there is the little boy with the five loaves and two fishes. This picture does not illustrate evangelism, bringing someone to Jesus for salvation. This pictures the Christian life, bringing anything, bringing everything to Jesus for solutions to whatever you are facing. You have a talent? Make it available to the Savior for use. Are you in possession of an opportunity? Place it at the Savior’s feet to do with what He will. With the little boy, it was treasure, so to speak. Not much, certainly. However, little is much when the Lord is in it. The point that is illustrated is that Andrew was a man of such focus that whenever he saw a problem (thousands of hungry people who needed to be fed) he brought whatever issue he saw that needed resolution (a boy with some food and people who were hungry) to the Savior for a remedy to the problem. Simple, when you think about it.

Third, of course, is when he brought Philip and the Greeks who had approached Philip to Jesus. What wonderful illustrations of principle we see in Andrew’s life. Bringing his brother to Jesus is a picture of personal evangelism. Bringing the little boy to the Savior with his food is a picture of consecration, one’s mind being focused on bringing everything to Jesus for remedy. With the Greeks and Philip, we see Andrew’s focus yet again. Does this man think of nothing else to do but to bring men, to bring situations, to bring problems, to bring whatever to the Lord? Andrew was a man who looked at everything around him through the lens of his Savior. A man? Bring him to Jesus. A problem? Bring it to Jesus. A potential solution? Bring it to Jesus. Some foreigners he did not know? What else? Bring them to Jesus. And always be ready to collaborate with someone else to get someone to Jesus. The key to the simplicity of Andrew’s life was his focus. He lived a Christ-centered and a Christ-oriented life. He was friendly, for Christ’s sake. He was focused, for Christ’s sake. Therefore, despite the complexities and chaos of everything around him, his life was simple. Be friendly, always. Stay focused on bringing people to Christ, always.

Finally, ANDREW WAS FAITHFUL

How do we know Andrew was faithful? We know he was faithful because faithfulness is required. First Corinthians 4.2, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” My friends, it is incomprehensible that a man whose life was so focused on Jesus Christ would be missing the one thing the Savior demanded from His servants, which is faithfulness, which he was.

There is no indication that Andrew was a particularly flashy man, that he drew attention the way his brother Peter did. It is very likely that he was nothing at all like Peter in that respect, since there is usually room enough for only one such child in a family. So, while Peter’s personality filled up the room, Andrew’s personality was expressed in quite a different way.

He was not the center of attention. He was not the prominent person everyone paid attention to. He was the fellow who observed, who listened. There is no indication he had any prominent spiritual gifts, or that anyone looked to him for charismatic leadership. Andrew was the steady guy, the persistent fellow, the determined man, who simply kept the main thing the main thing.

Of all the apostles, he might be one of the twelve with whom we most easily identify. Not as theological as Paul or as personally imposing as Peter, and not as mystical as John, Andrew was what each and every one of us can be. He was friendly. He was focused. He was faithful.

 

Andrew grasped that Jesus was the Messiah several years before his brother Peter was able to say, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”[4] Though he may not have been especially gifted, he was especially important to God’s work. He was singularly useful in bringing the most prominent of the twelve apostles to the Savior. He was the man God used to bring the boy with the loaves and the fishes to the Savior. He was the man Philip turned to for help in bringing the Greeks to Jesus in Jerusalem.

What are the characteristics of his life, the important ones at any rate? He was friendly. He was focused. He was faithful. That made him approachable at all times, enabled him to have already decided what he would do at any given opportunity, and he never let up. He kept on keeping on until his martyrdom. What a legacy he left, by God’s grace, for us to follow. Always and ever friendly to people. Focused on always bringing both people and problems to the Savior. Faithful in your service no matter what.

So you see, my friend, Christianity is so simple. It is simple to become a Christian, and it is simple to live the Christian life. I did not say easy, but it is simple. Simply come to Christ. Simply live for Christ. God’s miraculous power is necessary in each case. However, for our part, the matter is really quite simple.



[1] William Steuart McBirnie, The Search For The Twelve Apostles, (Wheaton, IL: Living Books, 1973), pages 80-86.

[2] Luke 9.12

[3] John 1.35-36

[4] Matthew 16.16



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pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org