AGCC Sun. a.m. 10/14/2001
#5 (The MUST Series)


TEXT:  Luke 4:42-5:11


If I asked you this morning what your primary occupation is and you didn't know what I was looking for you would probably respond with one of the following responses: a. Carpenter          b. Electrician          c. Blasting Expert          d. Computer field
e. Housewife          f. Janitor          g. Teacher           h. Manager
i. Clerk           j. Farmer          k. etc.
And … you would be wrong! While these occupations may require 40 or more hours a week of our time and commitments there is a primary job that requires 24 hours a day 7 days a week … the call of being a Christian! Earthly jobs are temporal, being a Christian is eternal. This doesn't mean your secondary occupation (the secular one) is unimportant, just that the primary occupation (the spiritual one) is more important. Why are we here? What are we suppose to be doing? What is it all about? These are the ultimate questions that people ask, and there is an ultimate answer to them … we are called to be believers with a message for unbelievers, we have a responsibility or calling to share the good news. EVERY believer, not just a clergy class has this primary calling. Life is much more than simply being present in this world, being a Christian is MUCH more than just attending Church, we must be involved in the spreading of the gospel: ILLUS:Jeremy Bentham was the founder of London's University College. When he died in 1832, according to his instructions, his skeleton was reconstructed, given a wax head, dressed in his best suit, and put in a glass case in the meeting room of the college's board of governors. For many years the deceased Bentham attended every meeting of the board and was always described in the minutes as "present, but not voting." Sometimes we are present, but not serving! -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997). PROP. SENT:      The Bible teaches us that we are ALL called to the ministry of preaching the Gospel, no matter what our occupational field is, we are to preach the good news by what we do as well as what we say -- that is our primary MISSION.


A. Focus     4:42-43 1. Jesus had just finished an intensive time of preaching and healing, including Peter's mother-in-law while staying at his house. (4:38-39) a. Peter was not yet a full time follower, he was still a full time fisherman. b. Peter's house was in Capernaum on the sea of Galilee, Luke calls it the Lake of Gennesaret, John referred to it twice as the sea of Tiberias. c. Jesus was probably tired and desired to find a "solitary place" in the morning hours. 4:42 2. Privacy however was hard to find after healing so many sick the day before in a large populated area, and the crowds found Jesus quickly … and tried to prevent Jesus from leaving them! a. This sets the backdrop for Jesus to declare clearly His mission … b. It was simple and powerful -- "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." c. What a great mission statement! 3. Jesus could not and would not be detracted from the mission … too much was at stake! a. He stays on focus! b. What about our focus? What are we FIRST? Isn't every moment of life an opportunity to do the LORD'S WORK? ILLUS:When Brennan Manning, an evangelical Catholic, was waiting to catch a plane in the Atlanta airport, he sat down in one of the many places where usually black men shine white men's shoes. And an elderly black man began to shine Brennan's shoes. And Brennan had this feeling inside that after he was done, he should pay him and tip him and then reverse the roles. And when he was finished, he stood up and looked at the black man and said, "Now, sir, I would like to shine your shoes." And the black man recoiled and stepped back and said, "You're going to do what?" He said, "I'd like to shine your shoes. Come on. You sit down here. How would you like them done?" And the black man began to cry, and he said, "No white man ever talked to me like this before." And the story ends with the white Catholic with arms around a black Atlanta man, and they've only just met, tears flowing, reconciliation taking place. -- Brian Buhler, "The Ultimate Community," Preaching Today, Tape No. 146. 4. The spreading of the Gospel would be radical if every believer understood their FIRST calling and worked as hard at performing on that job as they do their secular job. a. This is why the early Church spread like fire! b. This is what it will take to win the world! c. This is why the Muslim faith is so rapidly spreading on the earth today, they all see their role as a Muslim as more important than their own jobs and occupations … what about us? Where is our focus in life? B. Faithful     4:44 1. Notice the faithful resolve of Jesus to the mission he just stated, "And He KEPT ON PREACHING in the synagogues of Judea." (emphasis mine) a. No excuse would do, surely there were reasons to stay at Capernaum for more ministry, but other places would have been ignored. b. He had not come for just a select few in one location, but for all. c. He could not become sidetracked from the mission itself! 2. How many times do we find excuses that prevent us or sidetrack us from the mission statement of being a believer? a. "I'm too busy working to witness." b. "I'm not gifted in this area." (witnessing is not a gift of the Spirit, it is the calling of EVERY believer!) 3. It is easy to lose sight of the right focus, and the pressure to get off course can be enormous! ILLUS:Parishioner to pastor: "All I'm trying to say is that certain people might think that 12:15 is a little late to be getting out of church, that a pastor doesn't need three weeks of vacation, that your office is offensive, that a guy my age doesn't need a guy your age telling me how to raise my kids, and that if it weren't for your crazy Third World projects we could have repaved our parking lot by now. I'm not saying those are MY opinions, of course. I just thought you should know what others might be thinking." -- From a cartoon by David B. McGinnis and Scott Becker, Leadership, Vol. 12, no. 3. 4. There are plenty of times in our life we will need to examine ourselves in light of the mission statement for all believers. a. Failure to check ourselves from time to time can mean drifting from it. b. No wonder in communion we are asked over and over again, "Let a man examine himself to see …" this is important to stay on course. II. PURPOSE OF PRIORITY     5:1-11 A. Foundational     5:1-5 1. Jesus' mission was foundationally that of being a servant preaching the good news. a. We are servants in God's kingdom. b. Up to this point Peter and his friends were first fishermen, secondly they were interested in Jesus' ministry. 2. If we don't see the PURPOSE for the priority to spread the good news we won't put our service up front for the kingdom of God. ILLUS:For many years in our Church I had a large sign over the main entrance to our sanctuary that read simply, "SERVANT'S ENTRANCE" … the sanctuary is not just a place to sit and listen to a decent sermon and offer up some praise through songs and then go home again. It is the place of preparation for service, not a spectator's event. -- Dennis Marquardt, Sr. Pastor Assembly of God Christian Center in Vergennes, Vt. 3. Peter was interested in Jesus' teaching, he had just seen his own mother-in-law healed by Jesus, and saw demons driven out of tormented people. He had heard the message … but had not understood the priority of the gospel over his own priority of fishing. a. Jesus continues preaching while Peter and the others mend their nets after a fruitless night of fishing. b. Fishing was best at night, and they were seasoned fisherman, probably some of the best in the area. 4. Jesus interrupts the duties of the fishermen who were mending their nets to enlist the help of Peter and his boat … Jesus needs the boat to move off shore a bit in order to avoid the press of the people and to have the crowd adequately hear His message. a. This would set Peter back in duties for a period of time, something he apparently was willing to accept. b. Jesus' message took priority over net mending for the moment. 5. The real test comes after Jesus is finished speaking … he turns to Peter and says, "put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." a. What a test! What could a carpenter know better about fishing than expert fishermen? b. Peter seems to be struggling with Jesus' statement, probably for this very reason … they knew a whole lot about fishing and Jesus' occupation had been a carpenter, hence Peter's response: "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything…" c. You will note that Peter had not yet had a transformational experience yet … he calls Jesus here "Master" instead of "Lord" … which he does a few verses later when he is transformed in understanding the nature of Christ and the purpose of the mission. 6. Peter's response suggests a bit of indignity about a carpenter suggesting doing something no experienced fisherman on this lake would do after a fruitless night of fishing. a. Fishing was always better at night. b. If you didn't find them in the evening, you wouldn't find them in the daytime. c. Carpenters as a rule did not know how to fish better than experienced fishermen!! 7. Jesus had more in mind than just fishing though … Peter just didn't see it at the moment! a. So often we fail to see the obvious priority in front of us because we are not properly focused on what is REALLY important! ILLUS:I heard a joke this past week about a young man who was driving his BMW around a curve when he realized the car was out of control and about to plummet over a cliff. The young man jumped out, but his left arm was severed from his body. He stood there looking down at his burning BMW and said, "Oh, no! My car! My car!" A man, who had stopped to help, said, "Mister, you have just lost your left arm, and you're crying about your car?" The young man looked down and said, "Oh no, my Rolex watch!" -- Frank Pollard, "Do You Like Where You Live?," Preaching Today, Tape No. 104. b. Peter's purpose and priority in life was fishing, Jesus wanted it to be fishing for men! 8. For now Jesus was "Master" … but it needed to change to "Lord." a. Peter however had witnessed Jesus healing the sick, even his mother-in-law, and driving out demons … b. so, he decides he will follow Jesus' request. Notice that while he questions Jesus wisdom he does decide to obey, "…But because you say so, I will let down the nets." … the first step in discovering the purpose of God's priority! B. Followers     5:6-11 1. Obedience will change us! a. As soon as they obeyed Jesus their nets filled with fish, more than the usual catch, it was likely the largest catch of their entire career! b. It was so large that they required the assistance of their partners in the other boat, and even with this help both boats begin to sink due to the huge catch! 2. Simon had not fallen on his knees before Jesus when Jesus healed his mother-in-law, or when the demons were driven out, but this huge catch of fish got Peter on his knees with a new revelation of Christ, note his comment to Jesus, "Go away from me, LORD; I am a sinful man!" (emphasis on Lord mine) a. Jesus wasn't just "Master" now, Peter calls Him "Lord." b. What changed? Not Jesus, just Peter's understanding of both Jesus and the real purpose for his life. c. Peter's priorities would never be the same again! This is always true when we obey Christ! 3. Jesus now explains the purpose of their priority in life … to catch men, not fish! This was their first calling, fish was second! "Then Jesus said to Simon, 'Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men.'" 4. Now the irony! a. This was likely the largest catch of their career … and they walked away from it! b. Note that when they got to shore WITH THE HUGE CATCH they simply walked away from it with a whole new set of priorities and purpose. "So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him." 5. Their focus on life, their mission was completely redrawn, everything looked different now! ILLUS:Toward the end of his life, Albert Einstein removed the portraits of two scientists--Newton and Maxwell--from his wall and replaced them with portraits of Gandhi and Schweitzer. He explained it was time to replace the image of success with the image of service. -- Christianity Today, August 12, 1988, p. 72. 6. Where are your priorities? Where is your passion? What is the mission of your life? What are you first!? a. Peter and his helpers walked away from career success, the biggest success of their career and they simply walked away from it to start a new and greater career … fishing for men. b. Even if we are do something other than professional full time ministry, we are still called to full time ministry! c. All believers are called first to the kingdom, than to careers. d. So what does this look like in your life? What would others recognize as your greatest priority, your greatest mission in life? Will they identify it as something spiritual or only secular? 7. Jesus' earlier words in our text serve as the model mission statement, it is simple and focused spiritually, "I MUST preach the good news of the kingdom of God … because that is why I was sent." a. Peter discovered this finally! b. This is true of us too! c. How's the mission going? CONCLUSION:    What is your primary calling in life? What are the priorities for what you are and what you do? It is not the occupation you hold 40 hours a week that is most important, it is the position you hold 7 days a week -- the call and mission of both being a Christian and sharing the good news with others. You may go home from work after checking out at the end of the day, but you never check out from your faith. We are first laborers for Christ before laborers for the world. How seriously do you take your top position in life?