Acts 4:13
When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and recognized that they had been with Jesus.
Association with ChristW. Clarkson Acts 4:13
Been with JesusHomilistActs 4:13
Christian HeroismJoseph Woodhouse.Acts 4:13
Christian HeroismJ. Matthews.Acts 4:13
Christians Who have Been with JesusJ. Lathrop, D. D.Acts 4:13
Christ's People -- Imitators of HimC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 4:13
Christ's People -- Imitators of HimCharles Haddon Spurgeon Acts 4:13
Communication with Christ the Secret of Power to Bless MenHomiletic MonthlyActs 4:13
Communication with Christ the Source of Pulpit PowerC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 4:13
Communion with Christ DiscoveredR. Davies, M. A.Acts 4:13
CourageCharles KingsleyActs 4:13
Courage Comes from FaithActs 4:13
Fellowship with Christ Essential to Courageous Testimony for HimDean Alford.Acts 4:13
Fellowship with Christ: its Visible EffectsJ. Bowker.Acts 4:13
Fellowship with JesusHomiletic ReviewActs 4:13
Fellowship with JesusW. H. Burton.Acts 4:13
Keeping Company with JesusHomiletic ReviewActs 4:13
Serving God with BoldnessActs 4:13
Signs of Having Been with JesusR. Tuck Acts 4:13
St. Peter; Or, True CourageC. Kingsley, M. A.Acts 4:13
The Assimilation of CharacterW. Burner, M. A.Acts 4:13
The Boldness of Apostolic PreachingA. A. Lipscomb, LL. D.Acts 4:13
The Christian's Exemplification of ReligionR. P. Buddicom, M. A.Acts 4:13
The Means of Silencing BlasphemersC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 4:13
The Odour of GraceH. W. Beecher.Acts 4:13
The True Joyfulness of a Witness for GodC. Gerok.Acts 4:13
True Religion the Wonder of MenE. De Pressense, D. D.Acts 4:13
Unbelievers AstonishedJ. W. Burn.Acts 4:13
With and Like ChristAlexander MaclarenActs 4:13
Witnessing for ChristR.A. Redford Acts 4:13
Truth from the TribunalW. Clarkson Acts 4:1-21
Apostolic TrialsJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 4:1-22
BigotryJ. Alexander, D. D.Acts 4:1-22
Christ the Power of GodChristian AgeActs 4:1-22
Christ's Servants Before the TribunalE. Johnson Acts 4:1-22
Ecclesiasticism has no Exclusive RightsGeneral Gordon.Acts 4:1-22
Peter and John Before the CouncilD. J. Burrell, D. D.Acts 4:1-22
Peter and John Before the CouncilGeo. M. Boynton.Acts 4:1-22
Peter and John ExaminedJ. Dick, A. M.Acts 4:1-22
Righteous BoldnessHerrick Johnson, D. D.Acts 4:1-22
Teaching and PersecutionJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 4:1-22
The Captain of the TempleProf. I. H. Hall.Acts 4:1-22
The First Persecution of the ApostlesJ. Bennett.Acts 4:1-22
The First Persecution of the ChurchJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.Acts 4:1-22
The Four Chief Props of ApologeticsO. Smith, D. D.Acts 4:1-22
The Miracle At the Beautiful Gate as an EpochD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 4:1-22
Typical Religious PersecutionW. Hudson.Acts 4:1-22
The First Trial of Christian Preachers in a Court of JudgmentP.C. Barker Acts 4:4-22
The Impotence of UnbeliefR.A. Redford Acts 4:13-22

We gather from these words -

I. THAT LEARNING IS NOT NECESSARY TO GOODNESS. The persecutors of Peter and John "perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men;" not uneducated men, in the worst sense of that term, but lacking in the higher culture of their time. But though thus comparatively unlearned, they were men of strong faith, of true piety, of godly zeal, admirable in the sight of men, acceptable servants of Jesus Christ. Human learning is a desirable, but it is far from being, a necessary, thing to excellence of character or nobility of life.

II. THAT COURAGE IN THE CONDUCT OF THE GOOD WILL ARREST THE ATTENTION OF THOSE WHO ARE IN THE WRONG. "When they saw the boldness of Peter and John... they marveled." Whatever virtues are unappreciated by the ungodly, courage always enlists attention and provokes admiration. Be brave, and you will be heard; stand to your colors with undaunted spirit, and men will, however reluctantly, yield you their respect.

III. THAT ASSOCIATION WITH JESUS CHRIST WILL ACCOUNT FOR ANY EXCELLENCY OF CHARACTER. When the priests and elders wanted to account to themselves for the boldness of these two men they remembered their connection with Christ, and were no longer at fault. That will account for anything that is good. Much intimacy with him who "regarded not the person of man" will always make men brave; frequent communion with that Holy One of God will always make men pure of heart; close friendship with him who came to lay down his life for the sheep will always make men unselfish, etc.

IV. THAT THE REST THINGS ABOUT HUMAN CHARACTER ARE THOSE WHICH ARE SUGGESTIVE OF JESUS CHRIST. There is nothing which is such a tribute to human worth as that men are thereby reminded of Christ. What impression are we most anxious to convey about ourselves? The answer to that question will be a sure criterion of our spiritual standing. If we are nearing the goal which is set before us, if we are attaining to any real height of Christian excellency, we shall he truly and earnestly solicitous that our constant spirit and daily behavior will be suggestive of the temper and the principles of Jesus Christ our Lord. - C.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John.
The grace of God, which St. Peter's character and story specially forces on our notice, is the true courage which comes by faith. There is a courage which does not come by faith, but from hardness of heart, obstinacy, anger, or stupidity, which does not see danger or feel pain. That is the courage of the brute. One does not blame it. It is good in its place, as all things are which God has made. It is good enough for the brute; but it is not good enough for man. You cannot trust it in man. And the more a man is what a man should be, the less he can trust it. The more mind a man has, so as to be able to foresee danger and measure it, the more chance there is of his brute courage giving way. The more feeling a man has the more chance there is of his brute courage breaking down, just when he wants it more to keep him up, and leaving him to play the coward and come to shame. Yes; to go through with a difficult or dangerous undertaking. a man wants more than brute courage. He needs to have faith in what he is doing to be certain that he is in the right. Look at the class of men who in times of peace undergo the most fearful dangers. Not a week passes without one or more of them, in trying to save life and property, doing things which are altogether heroic. What keeps them up to their work? High pay? The amusement and excitement of the fires? The vanity of being praised for their courage? Those are motives which would not keep a man's heart calm and his head clear under such responsibility and danger as theirs. No; it is the sense of duty. The knowledge that they are doing a good and noble work, that they are in God's hands, and that no evil can happen to him who is doing right. Yes; it is the courage which comes by faith which makes men like St. Peter and St. John. "I will not fear," said David, "though the earth be moved, and the mountains carried into the midst of the sea." The just man who holds firm to his duty will not, says a wise old writer, "be shaken from his solid mind by the rage of the mob bidding him do base things, or the frown of the tyrant who persecutes him. Though the world were to crumble to pieces round him, its ruins would strike him without making him tremble." Such courage has made men, shut up in prison for long weary years for doing what was right, endure manfully for the sake of some great cause, and say —Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage.There is but one thing you have to fear in heaven or earth — being untrue to your better selves, and therefore untrue to God. If you will not do the thing you know to be right, and say the thing you know to be true, then indeed you are weak. You are a coward, and sin against God. And you will suffer the penalty of your cowardice. You desert God, and therefore you cannot expect Him to stand by you. But who will harm you if you be followers of that which is right? (Psalm 15.) There is a tabernacle of God in which, even in this life, He will hide us from strife. There is a hill of God in which, even in the midst of danger, and labour, and anxiety, we may rest both day and night — even Jesus Christ, the Rock of Ages — He who is the righteousness itself, the truth itself. And whosoever does righteousness and speaks truth, dwells in Christ in this life, as well as in the life to come. And Christ will give him courage to strengthen him by His Holy Spirit, to stand in the evil day, the day of danger, and having done all to stand.

(C. Kingsley, M. A.)

The Church was born and nursed amid storms. The advocates of Christianity have frequently met with unexpected opposition and cruel persecution. Men whose office it was to promote the progress of truth have striven to impede its course. Persecution intimidates the weak, but ennobles and purifies the true. The text teaches us three things about the genuine disciple.

I. THAT CHRISTIAN MEN ARE INSPIRED WITH DIVINE COURAGE IN TIMES OF PERSECUTION. "They saw the boldness of Peter and John." There is a wide difference between a Christian and a worldly man in times of trouble. The worldly man is timid, irritable, and restless; the Christian man is calm, courageous, and hopeful. Nothing can calm and strengthen a man more than a full assurance of God's protection. Three things show that the disciples were endowed with Divine fortitude.

1. Look at their noble defence. Peter speaks courageously and eloquently for Christ.

2. Look at their bold attack. Peter charged his accusers with ignorance, they had rejected Christ; he charged them with sin, they had crucified Christ.

3. Look at their undaunted spirit. They were commanded to cease from preaching; but they remained steadfast to the truth. God can inspire His children with courage to meet the fiercest conflicts of life — to endure pain, to suffer poverty, to bear bereavement, to meet persecution.

II. THAT CHRISTIAN MEN ARE INSPIRED WITH DIVINE WISDOM IN TIMES OF PERSECUTION. "And perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men." Christ had promised to impart wisdom to His disciples in times of danger. "When they deliver you up, take no thought how and what ye shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak." "I will give you a mouth and wisdom that all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay and resist." Three things show that the disciples were Divinely instructed.

1. They were enabled to make a special declaration of the power of Christ. The examination was particular — "by what name" they had performed the miracle. The answer was particular — "by the name of Jesus." It was a merciful work, a successful work, a Divine work.

2. They were enabled to make a suitable declaration of salvation in Christ: "neither is there salvation in any other."

3. They were enabled to make a public declaration of their faith in Christ: "there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." They believed in the supremacy of Christ. They knew He was both the Sou and the Sent of God. His word was true. His work was complete. "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God." Christian men ought to speak boldly in defence of the truth. Speak for Christ anywhere and everywhere, in the shop and in the market, at fasts and at feasts. Speak of His life, His atonement, His resurrection, His intercession.

III. THAT CHRISTIAN MEN ARE INSPIRED WITH A DIVINE INFLUENCE IN TIMES OF PERSECUTION. "And they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus." The man who has frequent intercourse with Jesus will reflect his Master's spirit. Communion with Christ makes a man gentle, patient, courageous, devout, and zealous. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai his face shone with such a Divine lustre that the children of Israel "were afraid to come nigh him." The influence the disciples possessed is noticeable for three things.

1. It was a visible influence. "They saw, perceived, took knowledge of them." There is something in the conduct, disposition, and countenance of a good man that reports itself; his influence is felt in the world, the Church, the family circle. A Divine life cannot be concealed; the light must shine.

2. It was a mighty influence. They silenced their accusers, they convinced their hearers, they converted five thousand men.

3. It was a spiritual influence. The miracle only excited attention, the word produced conversion.

(Joseph Woodhouse.)

We sometimes hear it stated that courage is a quality that is decreasing; that men are wise, enterprising, and refined, but not courageous. That opinion is not true even of physical bravery. It also ignores the altered conditions of life. If we look into life and see what is necessary to realise any great purpose in it, we shall conclude that opportunities are not wanting for the display of high heroism. The old bravery is not extinct, it is transformed and directed to better ends. It is the fortitude that comes from faith, love, and duty that is needed in these times. Christianity is the religion of heroism, as opposed to the creeds of expediency and prudence. It begets in us that temper of mind from which high achievements naturally flow. It reveals a universal conflict between truth and error in which true chivalry must be shown. The boldness of the mariner or the adventurer we may not all be called to rival, but the boldness of Peter and John we must all possess, if we are to fight our battle faithfully and attain the crown of life. Peter and John are examples of the new courage — the heroism of hearts inspired by love, and living for the benefit of others. Christianity had to fight. How did it bear itself in the conflict? Did it take counsel of safety, compromise, policy? No! what one is struck by in the action of the apostles is an audacity that is caution, a calmness that is power, and a love that impressed friends and foes. Peter declares that it is by the power of the risen Christ the healed man stood before them. That is the true explanation of all progress. The confidence, the contempt of suffering, the holy elevation of soul with which Peter uttered that statement filled all with surprise; they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. That was the result of Peter's boldness. R turned judges into criminals, and apostles into judges. It brought about their acquittal, and the still greater progress of their cause. If Peter had wavered, all had been lost. Similar devotion do we need to-day, not only for the conflict of Christian truth with error, but for the destruction of evil in laws, institutions, and habits, and for the every-day battle of life.

I. CHRISTIAN HEROISM RESULTS FROM FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST. The sense of the heroic is in all men; the disposition to admire the great and exceptional in the lives and acts of men. Life would be very monotonous if all men occupied one level of power. The sameness of nature is broken up by mountains, torrents, cataracts, and by crises. So the torpor of social life is broken up, and a new sense of power reached, by the presence of heroes, and of the heroic. The hero is one whose faculties are raised to a higher plane of power than ordinary men reach. Before Christ came there had been such characters. In various countries and at different times they had appeared: military heroes like Alexander; political heroes like Pericles; intellectual heroes like Plato and Socrates; artistic heroes like Phidias; reforming heroes like Elijah, Buddha, Confucius; patriotic heroes like Moses and David. But, wonderful as were the doings of these men, they do not fully satisfy the sense of the heroic. Their mastery over nature was not complete; their knowledge was limited; their sympathies were not universal; their greatness was measurable. The world needed the expression of a higher enthusiasm. Jesus Christ realised and transcended all these conditions. The special qualities of all other heroes meet in Him. Consider His personality, His knowledge, His labours, His conflicts, His sufferings and triumphs. And now that He is exalted to the throne of the universe, and praised and adored as the glorified Son of God, what is His purpose towards His disciples? To impart unto them His own enthusiasm, courage, power, and glory. How does Jesus Christ infuse His spirit into His disciples?

1. He reveals to them the high possibilities of their nature. The unheroic mind sees the actual as the measure of the possible. The heroic mind says, "All things are possible." Jesus Christ is the measure of human possibility. He sees and awakens the capabilities of men. He saw the possibilities of Peter, of Paul, of , of Luther, of John Howard, of Carey, and educated their faculties to realise them.

2. Jesus Christ gives absolute certainty about the truth He teaches. If Peter had doubted, boldness would have fled.

3. Jesus gives courage by demanding the surrender of self. All cowardice results from self-consciousness. Let self be devoted to a worthy end, fear dies.

4. Jesus Christ teaches us that heroism is the universal law of heaven. The heroisms of earth are the commonplaces of heaven.

5. Jesus Christ concentrates our powers on one great aim. Distraction destroys heroism. The balloon must be steered.

6. Jesus Christ sustains His followers by His presence. Peter denied Jesus when he was charged. The Master does not disown the servant, but stands by him.


1. In witnessing to Christ in common life.

2. In faithfulness in temptation.

3. In new methods of Christian service.

4. In loyalty to personal conviction.

5. In responses to special calls to duty.

6. By the boldness of our prayers.


IV. CHRISTIAN HEROISM IS POSSIBLE TO ALL. Peter the denier transformed into Peter the heroic witness. Be not discouraged, cleave to Jesus, and in Him be strong.

(J. Matthews.)

I. THE POSITION AND CHARACTER OF THESE MEN WHO WERE GRIEVED AT THE APOSTLES' TEACHING OF THE RESURRECTION. Most of them were Sadducees, rich, courtly, influential, holding the Pharisees in contempt as did the Pharisees the common people. A crisis was now impending. The impress of the Great Teacher was too great to be denied. Tone, look, manner, put the apostles' training above suspicion. All had admitted the originality of Jesus as a teacher, and had opposed Him on this account. Lo! this originality has reappeared. The old controversy had suddenly returned. Jerusalem was in a moral upheaval. In this God's hand strikingly appears. To confront the Sadducees was the initial work of Christianity. The question of "Jesus and the resurrection" must be settled at once. Other questions might be postponed till Sadduceeism received its deathblow. So the risen Christ confronted them everywhere and "sore troubled" them.

II. THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE SADDUCEES AS TO THE POWER OF CHRISTIANITY. "We cannot deny it." If the miracle is undeniable, then the source, in the risen Christ, is undeniable. Only one resource remains — silence the preachers! But can they be silenced? The leader of the hour was lately a weak man, who quailed before a servant-maid. Now he stands, with John unflinchingly before the most formidable tribunal of the country. How is it? The secret escapes their own lips. "The boldness" astonishes them, and they put it down to the fact that they had been with Jesus. Was this conscience? No. There was no sense of guilt here. It was fear. In the boldness of Peter and John they saw the answer to "His blood be upon us and our children."

III. NO ONE CAN HAVE BEEN WITH JESUS AS A DISCIPLE AND NOT SHOW IT THEREAFTER IN HIS SPIRIT AND ACTION. The human heart was made for Him, and when renewed receives His fulness. This is the secret of Christian influence.

(A. A. Lipscomb, LL. D.)

Courage comes from faith! Faith always leads us out of self and teaches us to believe in the possibilities of others. No nature can be strong that is not enthusiastic, and no nature can be enthusiastic that has not faith. The man who has faith in other men and other things, and other manifestations of life and character than his own, will always have courage. And this faith of which we hear so much in the matter of religion is not only a Bible quality; it is a quality which is found in the busiest market-places of life and among the most successful of earthly heroes. Columbus bound in his prison was, after all, a stronger nature than the crowned Ferdinand upon his throne, for his faith realised an undiscovered continent. It was said of William Pitt, the younger, the Prime Minister of England at twenty-three years of age, that no one ever entered his closet, if it was for only five minutes, who did not come out of it a stronger and braver man than he was when he went in. Count Cavour, when he made Italy the free kingdom that it is, was once asked how he came to be so trusted by everyone, and said, in reply, that it was simply because he believed in men, and trusted them. There can be no courage without faith; for it is faith which bears our trembling natures away from their earthly moorings to some unknown, unseen reality, which exists because the soul believes in its existence.

Mr. Moody told of a young man who attended his meetings at the Hippodrome in New York. He was long before he would confess to this belief in Christ, and when at length he did so, Mr. Moody asked him what had kept him back. He replied that he knew he had to make a clean breast of his profession to his room-mate, and he was deterred by the fear of being laughed at. Eventually he summoned up courage. He sat in his room reading the Bible, and presently he heard his mate coming up the stair. His first impulse was to shut the Bible and put it away in his trunk. His second thought restrained him, however, and he continued his reading. His bed-fellow came in and saw him with the Bible before him, and going up to him, said, "Are you interested in such things?" "Yes, I am." "How long have you been so?" "Since Mr. Moody preached on such and such a text at the Hippodrome." "Well now, that is strange, I was impressed with the same address, and all these nights I have been trying to screw up my courage to read my Bible before you." "And I have only succeeded to-night in getting my courage up to read mine before you." Mr. Moody remarked, "We want men who have got boldness and courage. If it is right to serve God, then let them serve Him with boldness, without regard to what man will think."

And perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled
This astonishment was the natural effect of the appearance of a true Christianity differing so greatly from all its surroundings, of an effect disproportionate to the apparent cause. Strange coincidence that in the moment of their amazement the rulers should give the true explanation, "They have been with Jesus." This should remind us, in the face of those powers now leagued against us, that we too possess a supernatural power, ever-victorious, be the combat what it may. This amazement —


1. None of these characteristics were found in these men, therefore when the power of the invisible and Divine appears in them, it is beyond the comprehension of the world which ignores that the visible is the Son of the invisible, and lives by its inspiration.

2. It is remarkable that this amazement was felt by the representatives of a holy religion. One could understand the Romans, men of war, or the Greeks, lovers of art, or the worshippers of gods which were only personifications of natural or human feeling, feeling such amazement. But here we are in the land of the prophets, yes — but religion was in a state of decay, impregnated with the spirit of the world. Therefore its pride was punished and its wisdom confounded.


1. Opposition does not exist between religion and science in itself, but between false knowledge and religion. Two conditions of religious knowledge proceed from the nature of its object, which is God.(1) The moral intuition of the heart and conscience.(2) The communication of the Spirit of God. Learning destitute of these conditions is ignorance, but having them the apostles could afford to be illiterate. See that learned man with his phylacteries. He reads the Scriptures, but understands nothing; compare him with the man who was born blind. Yes, these apostles, opening their minds to the teaching of the Master, have learned more than all the sages of Jerusalem.

2. Application to the present time.(1) Man objects to illiterate Christianity compared to antichristianity. But the objection must be overruled, for Christianity has knowledge rich and fruitful. Fear nothing, therefore.(2) God wills, perhaps, to lead us back to the intuitions of the heart and conscience.(3) Above all, we should learn the lessons of the upper room, that we may cause our contemporaries to acknowledge that we "have been with Jesus."

(E. De Pressense, D. D.)

There are two sets of problems which excite the attention of the unbelief of every age — intellectual and practical. The first provokes antagonism, the second, mostly wonder. It is with the second that we have here to do. Note —

I. THE COURAGE OF THE WEAK IN THE PRESENCE OF IRRESISTIBLE MIGHT. What that might and that weakness were had been felt eight short weeks ago. Nor had the one grown weaker or the other stronger by lapse of time. Yet in the face of the power which could commit them to prison, to scourging and to the cross, these two helpless men deliberately brought themselves into collision with the authorities. The like has been witnessed in every age, when the tender child, the gentle maiden, the aged have dared the fires of martyrdom for the cause of Christ. The like is still witnessed in the conflict with the powers of darkness, the resistance to worldly solicitation, the endurance of contempt, poverty, and affliction even with gladness. Whence this courage? asks the infidel. Ah! we know. "We have been with Jesus."

II. THE VICTORY OF THE IGNORANT WHEN CONFRONTED WITH THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD. What chance had these uneducated fishermen in the presence of whole college of learned Rabbis? Yet the Rabbis were made to look very foolish, and the fishermen won a triumph such as a philosopher might have envied. So has it ever been. It was so with Jesus as a child, it was so with Him as a man. "Whence has this man letters?" It has been so with His followers ever since. How often has Christianity been slain in the opinion of its opponents! Scholarship has left no weapon unused. But the victory of Christianity is all along the line. And this not because of the labours of its learned "apologists." The disciples of were not vanquished by the treatises of , but by the witness of obscure slaves and artisans. The tide of infidelity in the last century was not stemmed by Butler's "Analogy," but by the testimony of Kingswood colliers and Lincolnshire labourers. The good fight of faith to-day is not won by academic men in secluded cloisters, but by "unlearned and ignorant " successors of the men who could not but speak the things they had seen and heard. And sceptics marvel. They need not, for it is an open secret, "We have been with Jesus."

III. THE PERSISTENCY WITH WHICH CHRISTIANS ADHERE TO A DISCREDITED CAUSE. Here were men calmly avowing themselves disciples of a crucified malefactor, and prepared to be crucified themselves rather than abandon not simply His cause, but His very cross. It was this which astonished the cultured Greek and the practical Roman; it is this which has astounded both persecutors and onlookers ever since. The offence of the cross has not ceased, yet millions still glory in it. Wonderful, says the worldling, that these fanatics should renounce our pleasures and profits, and deliberately prefer a life of self-sacrifice and service of others. Wonderful, says the modern thinker, that men in the nineteenth century should hold to a creed formulated in the first. Not at all wonderful, says the Christian, "I have been with Jesus."

IV. THE REASON OF IT ALL, which is the greatest wonder. How can there be fellowship with Jesus? And if that were possible, how can that fellowship make men bold in persecution, invincible in argument, enthusiastic in attachment, and so hold the field all through the centuries? Ah, perhaps we ourselves cannot tell. All we can say is, "We have been with Jesus, and He has baptized us with the power from on high, which has made us bold. We have been with Jesus, and have learned of Him, and with His wisdom have been made wise. We have been with Jesus, and His love has created a union which death, life, angels, principalities, powers, etc., cannot break." We can say nothing further to a wondering world except "Come and see"; then you will know what we know, but cannot speak.

(J. W. Burn.)

They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus
The apostles are called unlearned and ignorant, or private men, i.e., men of private education. They were not men who then appeared unlearned and ignorant. The freedom with which they spake, their knowledge of the Scriptures, and the force of their reasoning, convinced the rulers that they were at that time men of superior abilities and acquirements. But it was matter of wonder how these men who had only had a private education, and never had been instructed in the Jewish schools, should so speak; but the fact that "they had been with Jesus" was sufficient to account for it all. It is here observable, that though Christ chose men of private education, yet He sent them not forth to preach until they had been for some time under His own immediate instruction': Paul, whose early education had been superior, was previously instructed in the doctrines of the gospel by Ananias. Even in that day, when uncommon gifts were bestowed by the Spirit, a preparatory education was ordinarily required for the gospel ministry. Novices were not to be introduced into so great and important aa office. How absurd is it, then, in this day, when supernatural gifts have ceased, for the unlearned and ignorant to assume, without a previous education, the work of public instruction!

I. THE EXPRESSION "BEING WITH JESUS" may be applied to —

1. All who enjoy the gospel. Peter and John, and their fellow disciples, were admitted to familiar converse with their Lord. You have His gospel, which communicates the instructions they heard, the works they beheld, the example they followed, and the devotions in which they joined. In regard therefore to all the purposes of faith, knowledge and virtue, you may be with Him as truly as they were. If a living voice will touch the heart more sensibly, yet the written word is better adapted to enrich your memory and improve your knowledge.

2. The true believer. He has received the renewing influence of the Spirit of Christ, and experienced the sanctifying power of his gospel. This the first disciples had. Barely to behold Christ's works and receive His instructions, was but a small thing compared with this. But there are times when true believers have special intercourse with Christ.

(1)In their private devotions.

(2)In social worship. "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them."

(3)In the Holy Communion.


1. Be watchful against all sin. You have seen Him who suffered death to redeem you from iniquity; how can you continue any longer therein?

2. As having been trained up under His instructions, excel in religious knowledge.

3. Show themselves to be like Him. Learn of Him to be meek and lowly, patient and contented, pious and heavenly.

4. Set their affections on things in heaven, for Jesus is there.

5. Like the apostles, discover zeal and fortitude in the cause of Christ.

6. Be loving.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)

Homiletic Review.

1. It is real. "Enoch walked with God."

2. It is spiritual (Romans 8.).

3. It is heartfelt (Luke 24:32).

4. It is sustaining (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10).

5. It is efficacious (Romans 8:37; Philippians 4:13).

6. It is constant (Matthew 28:20).


1. Simple faith (Acts 4:7-12).

2. Manly courage (Acts 4:20).

3. Sanctified wisdom (Acts 4:19).

4. Decisive choice of associations (Acts 4:23).

5. Faithful consistency of character in all things (Luke 1:6).


1. It awakens surprise. "'They marvelled."

2. It produces conviction. "They took knowledge of them that had been with Jesus."

3. It disarms the enemy (Acts 4:21.)

(Homiletic Review.)





Homiletic Review.

1. In His Word.

2. In the sanctuary.

3. In the closet.

4. At His table.

5. In every path of service.


1. In proportion to the degree of intimacy.

2. The constancy of the intercourse.

3. The regard we have for our Companion.

III. THE RESEMBLANCE TO CHRIST, in habit and character, WILL BE MANIFEST TO THE WORLD. The disciple rosy be unconscious of it, but.

1. God will see and reward it.

2. Angels will note it and rejoice.

3. Brethren will discern it and be encouraged or rebuked.

4. The ungodly will be forced to confess it, to the honour of religion.

(Homiletic Review.)

I. AS A SPIRITUAL POSSIBILITY. By many lightly esteemed, by some ignored, and by others denied, fellowship with Him in His work, word, worship, is real (1 John 1:3). As real now as with the disciples of Emmaus, as with the youths in the fire, as with Paul, John, or Peter.

II. AS AN ESSENTIAL EXPERIENCE. However ignored or denied, it a necessity of spiritual life. Christ cannot be known but by fellowship.

1. It is the initial act of living faith. Consciously or unconsciously, each soul that seeks has fellowship. The woman touched hem of garment, and fellowship resulted, though she knew not its meaning. So in prayer of contrite as well as in sublimest communion.

2. It is the constant solace of earnest spirits: Mid life's perplexing problems and heavy sorrows, this is support. It is indispensable. The body would as soon forget to breathe as the heart to talk with and lean upon Christ. "Lo I am with you alway," is Christ's promise: "I am continually with Thee," is the heart's reply.

III. AS A MORAL INSPIRATION The apostles possessed the secret of true courage. They, of all men, could be bold —

1. Because they believed and did the right. They knew their mission and their message So be Divine; this made them invincible. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" "Who is he that shall harm you if you be followers of that which is good?"

2. Because they believed and did the right from a right motive. They were no time-servers. Many can do the right when such doing is popular. Inquiring too often what will please, what will suit, not what is right, what will profit.

3. Because they believed and did the right from a right motive under the immediate inspiration of Christ. Here was the true secret of courage. "Fear not, for I am with thee"; "Go in this thy might."

IV. AS THE SECRET OF REAL INFLUENCE. "They took knowledge of them," etc. Priests and scribes and rulers felt the force with which these men spoke. They exerted an influence which —

1. Transcended social distinctions; they were but fishermen.

2. Surpassed educational attainments. "They were unlearned and ignorant men."

3. Lies within our reach. It was when Jacob had been alone with God that he was enabled to meet and to overcome his brother. Be much with Christ, and you shall be a prince amongst men.

(W. H. Burton.)

I. IN THE PRESENCE OF THE WORLD. To have heard or read of Him is not enough: we must be with Him; walk with Him in a consenting will, love Him as having first loved us, be joined to Him in one Spirit. They who have been with Jesus fear not the pomp, nor the scoffs, nor the threats of men. A man's religion before the world is one of those things by which his genuineness as a Christian are most readily tested. By testimony for Christ I do not mean an obtrusive introduction of His name and doctrines at all times; but a prudent uncompromising assertion of His rights and defence of His precepts and servants when occasion requires.

II. BEFORE THE FOE WITHIN, a more formidable feat. Many a man could bear testimony for Christ before a world in arms, who yet is ignominiously silent in the council chamber of his own heart. There — where he hopes, or fears, or loves — his Redeemer's name is not heard, his Saviour's precepts are not alleged, his Master's example is not heeded. Would you find a remedy for this and uplift the spirit so that it may assert Christian motives, press Christian rules of action, put forward Christ as his pattern? Christ must dwell in your heart by faith.

III. IN THE TIME OF SORROW. Ere we have gone on long in life, hopes betrayed, fears realised, joys dashed with bitterness, are every man's companions. And sorrow is a stern suggester of doubts and misbelief. Would you bear a consistent testimony in the presence of sorrow? Here, above all, you require the Saviour's presence. Hearing and reading of Him may do while the weather is fair, and the sails are set, and the sea is smooth; but when the sky is overcast, and the winds are awake, and the sail is torn, and the billows rage, we want Him in the boat to steer.

IV. IN THE PERIOD OF PROSPERITY. If sorrows are open foes, successes are to us enemies in disguise. Many a man has borne noble witness to his Saviour in adversity, but how few have glorified Him in the broad sunshine of prosperity I It was the custom of persecutors to try not merely tortures to shake the constancy of the martyrs — these only a few craven dispositions heeded — but also to tempt them by the offer of advancement, of lands and houses, of rank and honours. And the father of persecutors follows the same plan. "All these will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." How shall the. man of wealth, the magistrate, the statesman, render a fearless testimony to the Master of his talents and time? Only in one way — only on one condition. That way is the way of reality — that condition, communion with his Lord for himself. "They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." How different is the decent toleration of religion, the respectable patronising of God, His service and His people, the worldly-prudent care to grasp the world in one hand and just touch the refuge with the other; from the genuine Christian character, whose fountains gush evermore within, which is found always fearless on the side of God and good, submitting to obloquy if need be, enduring hardness as a good soldier of Christ. And there is nothing short of being with Jesus that will create such a character. You cannot put it on — it must result from the gradual accretion of many experiences, trials, failures, prayers, years spent under the eye and within the sound of the voice of the Saviour. You cannot build it up on the shifting sands of fashion, or on the soft and tempting soil of self-indulgence: its foundations must be on the holy hills, or it will never stand.

V. IN THE HOUR OF DEATH. There will come a day when each one will be called to wrestle with the last foe: to bear, in the presence of his past life, and in the presence of those who are to outlive him, his witness to Christ. Would we meet death fearless, and in humble assurance that we have a part in One who has robbed him of his terrors? There is but one way, and that way is, to have been with Jesus during our lives. There is nothing but the reality of the Christian life, which can ensure the peace of the Christian's death.

VI. IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT. Then who are they that shall escape the wrath of the Judge, whom the crash of falling worlds shall strike unmoved and fearless? There will be found a multitude whom no man can number, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Angels and men shall take knowledge of them, that they have been with Jesus.

(Dean Alford.)


1. By the exclusive dependence with which he regards Him as his Saviour.

2. By the simplicity with which he acknowledges Him as a Teacher.

3. By the fidelity with which he follows Him as his Example.

II. TO WHAT END this manifestation is demanded of him.

1. It were a motive of irresistible urgency (if no other existed), to one who knows his obligations to redeeming goodness, that He who bought him from the condemnation of endless death, is hereby honoured in the estimation of men.

2. To this powerful impulse I would add the animating consideration, that the conduct resulting from a spiritual and saving communion with Jesus Christ by faith, may be advantageous to others; and induce them to glorify God in the day of their visitation.Lessons:

1. Remember, ye who profess to seek Jesus, that as the Jews took knowledge of the apostles that they had been with Him, so the world is taking knowledge of you.

2. If any here, like the chief priests and Sadducees, are taking knowledge of those who have been with Jesus, to blame the good part they have chosen — to cavil at the principles they profess, the joys they feel, the self-denial they practice, or the faith in which they delight — Let such ungenerous observers bear in mind Who hath said, "Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me."

(R. P. Buddicom, M. A.)


1. When we have been engaged in private devotion.

2. When we have been attending public worship.

3. When we have been partaking of the Holy Communion. There "we dwell in Christ, and He in us."


1. By our humility.

2. By our zeal.

3. By our heavenly-mindedness.

4. By our holiness — hatred of sin, and determination to avoid it.

(R. Davies, M. A.)

It is a law of our nature that we become like those whom we habitually admire and love. This is the principle according to which religions, whether true or false, react on men's minds and hearts for good or evil. By worshipping, men are assimilated to the moral character of the objects which they adore. In China, Buddhist priests have been heard to say, "Think of Buddha, and you will be transformed into Buddha. If you pray to Buddha and do not become Buddha, it is because the mouth prays, and not the mind." The same is true in the highest degree of Christianity: communion with God in Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, must have an assimilating effect, very gradual, indeed, but sure. "There are," it has been well said, "some men and women in whose company we are always at our best. While with them, we cannot think mean thoughts or speak ungenerous words. Their mere presence is elevation, purification, sanctity. All the best stops in our nature are drawn out by their intercourse, and we find a music in our souls that was never there before. Suppose even that influence prolonged through a month, a year, a lifetime, and what would not life become? To have lived with Christ must have made us like Christ: that is to say, a Christian."

(W. Burner, M. A.)

Men carry unconscious signs of their life about them. Those that come from the forge, and those from the lime and mortar, and those from the humid soil, and those from dusty travel, bear signs of being workmen, and of their work. One need not ask a merry face or a sad one whether it hath come forth from joy or from grief. Tears and laughter tell their own story. Should one come home with fruit, we say, "Thou art come from the orchard"; if with hands full of wild flowers, "Thou art from the fields"; if one's garments smell of mingled odours, we say, "Thou hast walked in a garden." But how much more, if one hath seen God, hath held converse of hope and love, and hath walked in heaven, should he carry in his eye, his words, and his perfumed raiment, the sacred tokens of Divine intercourse!

(H. W. Beecher.)

Often when I am on the beach, or even from my window, I look across the bay; and I can just see a speck gleaming against the grey sands, or the surf-beaten, sullen-looking cliffs of Howth beyond; and I know at once what the speck is by its whiteness. At other times when the storm has come, and the waves are sweeping over the rocks, I see a light speck upon the dark cloud curtain; and I know it is a brave little sea-gull in its white coat. So when we have given ourselves to Jesus, it should be easy for those round about us to see that we have. When, like the bird on the sands, we are doing our lowly work, the white robe should be visible; and in sorrow and trouble the whiteness should gleam as it did in the lives of those men of whom we are told in the New Testament that others "took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus."

(J. Bowker.)

Homiletic Monthly.
On Thursday evening, March 29, 1883, for above an hour all who had occasion to use the telephone in Chicago found it vibrating to musical tones. Private and public telephones, and even the police and fire-alarm instruments, were alike affected. The source of the music was a mystery until the following day, when it was learned that a telegraph wire, which passes near most of the telephone wires, was connected with the harmonic system; that tunes were being played over it, and that the telephone wires took up the sounds by induction. If one wire carrying sweet sounds from place to place could so affect another wire by simply being near to it, how ought Christians in communication with Christ in heaven to affect all with whom they come in contact in the world. The Divine music of love and gentleness in their lives should be a blessing to society.

(Homiletic Monthly.)

It is related that one of his hearers once asked, "How is it that Mr. Bramwell always has something that is new to tell us when he preaches?" "Why," said the person interrogated, "you see Brother Bramwell lives so near the gates of heaven that be hears a great many things that we don't get near enough to hear anything about."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. WHAT A BELIEVER SHOULD BE — a striking likeness of Christ. You have read lives of Christ beautifully and eloquently written, but the best life of Christ is His living biography, written out in the words and actions of His people. A Christian should imitate Christ in —

1. His boldness. This is a virtue nowadays called impudence, but the grace is equally valuable by whatever name it may be called. Christ dealt out honest truth; He never knew the fear of man; He stood out God's chosen, careless of man's esteem. Be like Christ in this. Have none of the time-serving religion of the present day, which only flourishes in a hot-bed atmosphere, a religion which is only to be perceived in good company. No; if ye are the servants of God, be like Jesus Christ; never blush to own your religion; your profession will never disgrace you — take care you never disgrace that.

2. His loveliness. The one virtue of boldness will never make you like Christ. There have been some who, by carrying their courage to excess, have been caricatures of Christ and not portraits. Let courage be the brass; let love be the gold. Let us mix the two together, so shall we produce a rich Corinthian metal, fit to be manufactured into the beautiful gate of the temple. The man who is bold may accomplish wonders. John Knox did much, but he might have done more if he had had a little love. Luther was a conqueror — still, if while "he had the fortiter in re he had been also suaviter in mode, he might have done even more good than he did. So, while we too are bold, let us ever imitate the loving Jesus.

3. His humility. In England a sovereign will not speak to a shilling, and a shilling will not notice a sixpence, and a sixpence will sneer at a:penny. But it should not be so with Christians. We ought to forget caste, degree, and rank, when we come into Christ's church. Recollect, Christian, who your Master was — a man of the poor.

4. His holiness.

II. WHEN SHOULD CHRISTIANS BE THIS? For there is an idea in the world that persons ought to be very religious on a Sunday, but that it does not matter what they are on a Monday. Is there a time when the warrior may unbuckle his armour, and become like other men? No; at all times and in every place let the Christian be what he professes to be. I remember talking with a person who said, "I do not like visitors who come to my house and introduce religion; I think we ought to have religion when we go to the house of God, but not in the drawing-room." I suggested that there would be a great deal of work for the upholsterers in that case. "How is that?" was the question. "Why," I replied, "we should need to have beds fitted up in all our places of worship, for surely we need religion to die with, and consequently every one would want to die there." Aye, we all need the consolations of God at last; but how can we expect to enjoy them unless we obey the precepts of religion during life? Imitate Christ —

1. In public. Most of us live in some sort of publicity. The eagle-eyed, argus-eyed world observes everything we do; and sharp critics are upon us. Let us live the life of Christ in public. Let us exhibit our Master, and not ourselves — so that we can say, "It is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth "in me."

2. In the Church. How many there are like Diotrephes, seeking pre-eminence, instead of remembering that there all men are equal — alike brethren. Let your fellow-members say of you, "He has been with Jesus."

3. In your houses. Rowland Hill once said he would not believe a man to be a true Christian, if his wife, his children, the servants, and even the dog and cat were not the better for it.

4. In secret. When no eye seeth you except the eye of God, then be ye like Jesus Christ. Remember His secret devotion — how, after laboriously preaching the whole day, He stole away in the midnight shades to cry for help from His God. Take care of your secret life.


1. For their own sakes. For their honesty's sake, their credit's sake, their happiness' sake; let them imitate Christ.

2. For religion's sake. The professor who has not lived up to his profession; the man who eaters the fold, being nought but a wolf in sheep's clothing — such men injure the gospel more than the laughing infidel or the sneering critic.

3. For Christ's sake. "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." Be like Christ, since gratitude demands obedience; so shall the world know that ye have been with Jesus.


1. You must know Christ as your Redeemer before you can follow Him as your Exemplar.

2. You must study Christ's character. There is a wondrous power about that, for the more you regard it the more you will be conformed to it. I view myself in the glass, I go away, and forget what I was. I behold Christ, and I become like Christ.

3. "But," say you, "we have done that, and we have proceeded but little farther." Then correct your poor copy every day. At night recount all the actions of the twenty-four hours, scrupulously putting them under review. When I have proof sheets sent to me of any of my writings, I have to make the corrections in the margin. I might read them over fifty times, and the printers would still put in the errors if I did not mark them.

4. Seek more of the Spirit of God. Take the cold iron, and attempt to weld it if you can into a certain shape. How fruitless the effort! Lay it on the anvil, seize the blacksmith's hammer with all your might; let blow after blow fall upon it, and you shall have done nothing. But put it in the fire, let it be softened and made malleable, then lay it on the anvil, and each stroke shall have a mighty effect, so that you may fashion it into any form you may desire. So take your heart, put it into the furnace; there let it be molten, and after that it can be turned like wax to the seal, and fashioned into the image of Jesus Christ. Conclusion: To be like Christ is to enter heaven; but to be unlike Christ is to descend to hell. Likes shall be gathered together at last, tares with tares, wheat with wheat.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


1. The experience of grace in the heart.

2. The pure Word of God on the lip.

3. The exemplary walk in the life.


1. In the pulpit by the joyful opening of the mouth.

2. In the world by the fearless testimony of the truth.

3. Under the cross by peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.


1. To the confusion of the adversaries.

2. To the building up of the Church.

3. To the glory of God.

(C. Gerok.)



(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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