#3 (THE "DON'T BE AFRAID" SERIES)
"DON'T BE AFRAID TO BE FISHERS OF MEN!"
TEXT: Luke 5:1-11
INTRO: We were facing a difficult Spring, (1996) the farmers weren't been able to get into the fields to prepare them for seed. If this continued, (and we prayed it wouldn't!) there wouldn't be a harvest in the fall!
Human life on earth would become very difficult if we failed to plant seeds, in fact, it would slowly disappear! The kingdom of God would diminish too if it failed to plant seeds!
Pentecost was all about harvest. It was the time of the completion of the barley harvest. Sometimes in the Bible it was called the "feast of harvest." It was a time of real joy, a celebration of blessings and increase. It was a time for the community of God's people to come to the Temple and bring offerings as thanksgiving for God's harvest.
Pentecost is all about harvest, even on the day of Pentecost in the early church. The emphasis on the pouring out of the Holy Spirit was to "give power so that we might be WITNESSES!" … to reap a harvest of souls!
The church is not a Pentecostal church if it neglects evangelism, the winning of lost souls! It is not enough to have great worship services, and even great miracles, we must be a soul winning church. A church that takes seriously leading others to Christ is a Pentecostal church.
Both we and our children should come to understand that sharing Christ IS the mission of the church; this should be a priority in our lives, and in the life of the church!
ILLUS: A MISSIONARY NAME SUSIE HOBERT HAD MADE IT A PRIORITY TO INSTILL INTO HER CHILDREN THE NEED TO WITNESS TO THE LOST. SHE WONDERED IF HER 10 YEAR OLD HAD GRASPED THE IMPORTANCE OF SHARING CHRIST WITH THE LOST SINCE HE WAS SO ENTHRALLED WITH RACE CARS. FRUSTRATED THAT HER 10 YEAR OLD SON SEEMED TO ONLY CARE ABOUT RACE CARS, SHE KEPT INSTILLING IN HIM HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR CHRISTIANS TO WITNESS. ONE DAY HER 10 YEAR OLD SON HAD A FRIEND OVER AND THEY WERE PLAYING LIKE THEY WERE DRIVING IMAGINARY RACE CARS. SUDDENLY HER SON CAME RUNNING INTO THE ROOM AND YELLED, "MOM, YOU'VE GOT TO COME QUICK! ISABELLE WANTS TO ACCEPT JESUS INTO HER HEART!" SKEPTICAL OF HER SON'S SUDDEN INTEREST IN SPIRITUAL THINGS, SHE ASKED, "RYAN I THOUGHT YOU WERE PLAYING RACE CARS?" HE ANSWERED, "WE WERE, MOM, BUT OUR CARS WRECKED! THE ACCIDENT WAS REAL BAD SO I ASKED ISABELLE IF SHE WOULD GO TO HEAVEN IF SHE DIED. SHE SAID SHE DIDN'T KNOW. I TOLD HER HOW SHE COULD KNOW AND SHE WANTS TO ASK JESUS INTO HER HEART!" IF ONLY THIS PASSION RESIDED IN OUR DAILY LIFE! - Source, Unknown
How much of your daily life is consumed with thoughts or plans to win the lost?
Most Christians today have never led anyone to Christ! Recent studies show that 95% of church members in the U.S.A. have never led anyone to Christ! Most are simply afraid; this is why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost ... to enable us to be witnesses, not just to give us a powerful personal experience!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that a Pentecostal church is a soul winning church! Winning the lost is the only marching order Jesus gave the church before He returned to heaven. The Holy Spirit's baptism was to enable us TO BE WITNESSES!
I. ARE YOU SURE? 5:1-5
A. Casual Relationship 5:1-3
1. While Jesus is on the shoreline preaching, Peter, James, and John along with others were just cleaning up from a night of fishing.
a. They already knew Jesus, but were not yet full time disciples.
b. They already at this point had a casual relationship with Jesus, they had heard him preach before, but their passion and full time job was still fishing.
c. In fact, here they were not really listening to him; they were cleaning up while He spoke to the crowd and taught the Word of God!
2. Distracted by their work and responsibilities, they are present physically but their minds and hearts are not in the service!
a. How many Christians are like this today!?
b. They are physically in church, but their hearts and minds are somewhere else!
3. They certainly had heard Jesus' teaching before, but after all, there were important things to take care of!
a. Spiritual things took a back seat to their occupation and earthly concerns at this point!
b. While Jesus was trying to win the masses, they were concerned with cleaning their nets and being ready for that night's catch!
c. It had been a rough night fishing, nothing had been caught, their concerns were focused on their livelihood, not ministry!
4. Jesus finally asks Peter to take a moment out from fishing and let Him sit on his boat a little ways off shore so He can preach better.
a. Peter is willing to cooperate, I wonder however if he was also frustrated thinking how much they still had to do!?
b. Peter was thinking about fishing, so was Jesus but in a different way, He was fishing for men and women!
5. Perhaps Peter figured there would always be opportunities to talk to people about spiritual things, but he HAD to catch something that night to make up for the loss the night before.
a. How many times do we convince ourselves that we will get serious about witnessing as soon as things slow down or after we get caught up with things!?
b. We tell ourselves that we need to not push our faith with others, give them time and ease into it.
ILLUS: DWIGHT L. MOODY LEARNED A VALUABLE LESSON BY HIS OWN ADMISSION ONE DAY WHEN HE TOOK A LOW PROFILE APPROACH TO WINNING PEOPLE TO CHRIST. ON OCTOBER 8, 1871 HE MADE AN IMPORTANT DISCOVERY THAT HE WOULD NEVER REPEAT AGAIN, AND IT PROPELLED HIM INTO THE GREAT SOUL WINNER THAT HE BECAME. HE HAD BEEN PREACHING IN THE CITY OF CHICAGO. THIS ONE NIGHT HE HAD THE LARGEST AUDIENCE HE HAD EVER HAD. HIS MESSAGE WAS "WHAT WILL YOU DO THEN WITH JESUS WHO IS CALLED THE CHRIST?" BY THE END OF THE SERVICE HE WAS TIRED. HE CONCLUDED HIS MESSAGE WITH A PRESENTATION OF THE GOSPEL AND A CONCLUDING STATEMENT: "NOW I GIVE YOU A WEEK TO THINK THAT OVER. AND WHEN WE COME TOGETHER AGAIN, YOU WILL HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO RESPOND." TIRED AND GLAD TO GET REST, THE SERVICE CONCLUDED. A SOLOIST BEGAN TO SING, BUT BEFORE THE FINAL NOTE, THE MUSIC WAS DROWNED OUT BY WAILING SIRENS AND CLANGING BELLS THROUGH THE STREETS, THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE HAD STARTED! IN THE ASHEN AFTERMATH, HUNDREDS WERE DEAD AND OVER A 100,000 PEOPLE WERE HOMELESS! WITHOUT A DOUBT THERE WERE SOME WHO HAD HEARD MOODY 'S MESSAGE THAT HAD PERISHED IN THE FLAMES. HE REFLECTED REMORSEFULLY THAT HE WOULD HAVE GIVEN HIS RIGHT ARM BEFORE HE WOULD EVER GIVE AN AUDIENCE ANOTHER WEEK TO THINK OVER THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL ... EVANGELISM WOULD NOW BE A PRIORITY AND PASSION, EACH MOMENT AN OPPORTUNITY TO WIN THE LOST! HE BECAME ONE OF THE GREAT SOUL WINNERS OF THE LAST CENTURY! - Source, Unknown
6. Can the church really afford to be casual about winning the lost?
a. Instead of being afraid of what people will think if we bring up the subject …
b. … maybe, we should be afraid of what will happen to people if we DON'T bring up the subject!
7. Jesus was about to change his casual relationship with these men, and in the process change their passion from fishing for fish, to fishing for people!
B. Crazy Request! 5:4-5
1. After preaching the word, Jesus asked Peter to do a strange thing!
a. He asked Peter to take the boat out into deep water to fish again!
b. This was strange because any expert fisherman, which these men were, knew that fishing in the daytime was the poorest time to try and make a catch!
c. Why would they listen to a carpenter whose field of expertise did not include their area of expertise?
2. Peter's response indicates that he was indeed thinking just this, there is a note of rebuke in Peter's response to Jesus, the kind of rebuke that says, "look, I'm the expert in this area, yours is carpentry and preaching, this is a crazy request!"
a. Peter is saying, "when experts who were fishing at the right time have caught nothing, it would be strange to go back out at the word of a carpenter and at the wrong time!"
b. Peter's passion had been fishing, he knew it better than most!
c. Though only having a casual relationship with Jesus up to this point, there is some empty spot in Peter's heart that is provoked to curiosity over Jesus' request ... Peter must have had some hunger in his heart to know something more than just fishing. Jesus' request, though strange, captures his curiosity and perhaps a need to know this Jesus. This could fill the empty spot in his life!
ILLUS: CLARENCE DARROW, THE GREAT CRIMINAL LAWYER OF ANOTHER DAY, HAD AMONG HIS FRIENDS A YOUNG MINISTER. THIS SEEMS STRANGE, BECAUSE, DARROW WAS AN ATHEIST, INFIDEL, AGNOSTIC -- THIS IS WHAT OTHERS HAD THOUGHT OF HIM. AS HIS MINISTER FRIEND AND HIM WERE TALKING ONE DAY, DARROW BECAME REMINISCENT ABOUT HIS LONG AND SUCCESSFUL CAREER. HE TALKED OF SOME OF THE FAMOUS TRIALS IN WHICH HE HAD BEEN THE DEFENSE LAWYER AND HE STATED WHAT AN EXCITING LIFE IT HAD BEEN! HE HAD MADE A COMFORTABLE FORTUNE AND WAS A GREAT SUCCESS. SUDDENLY HE SAID TO HIS MINISTER FRIEND, "YOU WANT TO KNOW MY FAVORITE BIBLE VERSE?" HIS FRIEND, SOMEWHAT SURPRISED SAID, "INDEED I WOULD!" DARROW SAID, "YOU WILL FIND IT IN LUKE 5:5, "WE'VE TOILED ALL NIGHT AND HAVE TAKEN NOTHING!" IN SPITE OF MY SUCCESS THAT VERSE SEEMS TO SUM UP THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT LIFE." A WINDOW SUDDENLY OPENED UP ON HIS SOUL TO THIS MINISTER FRIEND OF HIS. DARROW'S SOUL WAS EMPTY EVEN WITH WORLDLY SUCCESS. WHY HADN'T SOMEONE SHARED CHRIST WITH HIM? HE NEEDED SOMETHING MORE THAN WHAT HE HAD! HOW MANY OF OUR FRIENDS, EVEN OUR TRULY SUCCESSFUL ONES, HAVEN'T BEEN APPROACHED ABOUT CHRIST!? - Source, Unknown
3. To Peter's credit, he decides to obey Jesus though it didn't make sense to an expert fisherman such as he was!
a. Our casual relationship with Christ would change dramatically if we really obeyed Christ even when it contradicted logic and what our expertise as people tells us!
b. Obedience to Christ's Word will always change our lives!
c. It will also change our passions!
d. Peter and the others are about to face a life changing experience, simply because they obey Christ's call instead of their own expertise!
4. Is it crazy to think that we should tell everyone about Christ and salvation, doesn't logic dictate that people will think we are fanatics if we talk about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
a. Even some Christians today think that Jesus can't really expect us to talk about salvation with everyone ...
b. After all, there are other things in life besides church, yes, but nothing is more important than Christ being in someone's life!
c. We would probably be shocked to know how many are simply waiting to be asked!
II. ARE YOU THE SAME? 5:6-11
A. Caught a Reward! 5:6-7
1. Up to now Peter simply called Jesus "Master" … but in verse 8 this will change to "LORD"!
a. As they go out and let down their nets they no doubt were thinking about the previous night, they had caught nothing at the best time of the day!
b. But suddenly, a huge catch happens! Their nets even begin to break!
c. They had rarely if ever made a catch like this!
d. The only difference was that they had obeyed Jesus!
2. The catch is so large they call the other boats to join them, but even with all the human effort and human resources available, they are still sinking!
a. Obeying Christ brings supernatural results!
b. Even human effort cannot contain the blessings of God in our lives!
c. This was a fisherman's dream come true!
3. They had never made such a catch, the only difference between now and before when they had caught nothing was simply that now they had obeyed Jesus to go fishing!
a. Didn't Jesus ask His church to go fishing just as He ascended into heaven?
b. Why are we afraid people won't receive Christ if we ask them, didn't Jesus tell us to go out into "deep waters and let down the nets?"
c. What would happen if we really obeyed Jesus' command to "make disciples" and win the lost!?
d. Is it possible that there would be such a catch as to shock us!!!?
ILLUS: DR. JAMES KENNEDY STATED RECENTLY THAT ONE OF THE SADDEST STATISTICS OF OUR DAY IS THAT 95% OF ALL church MEMBERS HAVE NEVER LED ANYONE TO CHRIST! WHY DON'T WE TRY FISHING AND LETTING DOWN OUR NETS ... EVEN IF OUR PREVIOUS EFFORTS HAVE PRODUCED NO RESULTS!? - Source, Unknown
4. What would happen if every Christian obeyed the call to go "fishing for men?"
5. If scores of people are getting saved by only 5% of church members sharing Christ, what would happen if the other 95% started sharing Christ?
6. What are we afraid of? The only thing that can happen is that our nets might start to tear (church buildings get too full!), and we might have to ask another boat (church!) to help haul in the catch because it is so much, or build more boats (churches)!
B. Convicting Revelation! 5:8-lOa
1. Something immediately happens to Peter, he understands clearly that this was no accident, this was the power of Christ's Word!
a. Suddenly he is quite aware of himself as nothing more than a fisherman with the wrong priorities!
b. When we get close to Christ and experience His heart, ours is moved to be humble!
2. Peter now goes from having called Jesus "master" to now calling Him "LORD!"
a. A real change comes over Peter.
b. The huge catch of fish no longer occupies his mind, Jesus now does!
c. Instead of his heart being set on the catch, his heart is convicted of sin!
3. Though they were astonished at their huge catch, they are more taken with the person of Christ right now!
4. Christ will change the focus of our lives!!!
a. Their thoughts move from fish to Jesus.
b. Though fishing had been their occupation and passion, Jesus was now taking center stage.
5. Things would never be the same again for these guys!
a. Though they would still fish, their passion would now be for souls!
b. Though they still remained experts in their chosen field, there was a new directive for their lives that dictated priorities that were spiritual rather than just temporal and material!
6. Nobody changes the human heart more than Christ!
ILLUS: ROBERT FALCONER TELLS THE STORY OF HIS WITNESSING AMONG DESTITUTE PEOPLE IN A CERTAIN CITY AND READING THEM THE STORY OF THE WOMAN WHO WIPED JESUS' FEET WITH HER TEARS. WHILE HE WAS READING, HE HEARD A LOUD SOB AND LOOKED UP AT A YOUNG, THIN GIRL WHOSE FACE WAS DISFIGURED FROM SMALLPOX. AFTER HE SPOKE A FEW WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO HER, SHE SAID, "WILL HE EVER COME AGAIN, THE ONE WHO FORGAVE THE WOMAN? I HAVE HEARD THAT HE WILL COME AGAIN. WILL IT BE SOON?" FALCONER REPLIED, "YES VERY SOON!" AFTER SOBBING, AGAIN UNCONTROLLABLY, SHE SAID, "SIR, CAN'T HE WAIT A LITTLE WHILE? MY HAIR AIN'T LONG ENOUGH YET TO WIPE HIS FEET."! JESUS HAD CHANGED THIS WOMAN'S FOCUS OFF OF HER OWN POVERTY TO WHAT COULD SHE DO FOR CHRIST! DO WE HAVE THAT SAME KIND OF PASSION TODAY? CAN WE EVEN THINK OF OUR UNSAVED FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND NOT BECOME PASSIONATE ABOUT WINNING THEM TO CHRIST? - Source, Unknown
7. Somehow, fishing was not the same anymore in their minds, even with the biggest catch of their careers! Jesus had changed everything!
C. Commitment Requested! 5:10b-11
1. Jesus first words to them now that their focus has changed is, "DON'T BE AFRAID, from now on you will catch men!"
a. The Greek verb here literally means, "stop being fearful" … meaning an existing fear of some kind that had been in their hearts!
b. While they had been afraid of making a living and providing for their families, Jesus now tells them they don't have to be afraid, even if it means fishing for men ... He will take care of their needs!
2. The Greek word translated here "catch" means literally, "catch ALIVE"
a. While physical fish were caught to die, catches now will be to catch alive!
b. They would still be fishermen; just their catches would be different!
3. Jesus was asking for a commitment, first to stop being afraid, second to fish for men and women!
a. How about you, if you don't witness, why? Are you afraid!?
b. Witnessing won't destroy your career or take you away from making ends meet, in fact, the only thing it will take away are souls from Satan, the souls he has kept in bondage!
4. What would happen if we were dedicated to sharing Christ or calling people to hear about Christ?
ILLUS: ALEXANDER WHYTE PASTORED A LARGE CHURCH IN EDINBURGH AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY. DURING THAT TIME A SALESMAN BY THE NAME OF RIGBY WOULD TRAVEL TO EDINBURGH REGULARLY JUST TO HEAR HIM PREACH. HE WOULD OFTEN INVITE OTHER BUSINESSMEN TO ACCOMPANY HIM TO THE SERVICES. ONE SUNDAY RIGBY ASKED A FELLOW TRAVELER TO GO WITH HIM TO THE CHURCH. RELUCTANTLY, THE MAN SAID YES. WHEN HE HEARD WHYTE'S MESSAGE, HE WAS SO IMPRESSED THAT HE RETURNED WITH RIGBY TO THE EVENING SERVICE. AS THE PREACHER SPOKE, THE MAN RECEIVED CHRIST AS HIS LORD AND SAVIOR. THE NEXT MORNING, AS RIGBY WAS WALKING BY THE HOME OF PASTOR WHYTE, HE FELT IMPRESSED TO STOP AND TELL THE PASTOR HOW HIS MESSAGE HAD AFFECTED THE OTHER MAN'S LIFE. WHEN THE PASTOR HEARD HIM INTRODUCE HIMSELF AS RIGBY, HE EXCLAIMED, "YOU'RE THE MAN I'VE WANTED TO SEE FOR YEARS!" HE WENT TO HIS STUDY AND RETURNED WITH A BUNDLE OF LETTERS. WHYTE READ RIGBY SOME EXCERPTS; ALL TELLING OF CHANGED LIVES, THEY WERE MEN RIGBY HAD BROUGHT TO HEAR THE GOSPEL OVER THE YEARS TO THE CHURCH. THOUGH RIGBY HIMSELF HAD NOT FELT GREAT AT SHARING VERBALLY, HIS CONSTANT EFFORTS TO BRING OTHERS TO A PLACE WHERE THEY COULD HEAR THE GOSPEL HAD PRODUCED A LARGE POOL OF NEW CHRISTIANS, ALL WHOSE LIVES HAD BEEN CHANGED BECAUSE HE HAD MADE IT A PRIORITY TO INVITE OTHERS TO COME WITH HIM. - Source, Unknown
5. Even those who feel they cannot communicate well can invite someone to church!
6. Jesus' call to these men is clear: "come follow me and I will make you fishers of men!"
a. This is still Christ's call to us!
b. While we all have different careers in this world, we all have the same call to be fishers of men!
7. Notice that as soon as these guys get to shore with the largest haul of fish in their entire careers they simply walk away from it!!!! 5:11
a. After hauling all these fish ashore, they simply walk away from the catch!
b. They leave everything behind, at the height of success by fisherman's standards!
c. A new passion had taken hold!
d. Jesus' call to win the lost souls of men and women had taken their focus off of regular fish to a new kind of fishing!
8. This would require a great commitment to walk away from what the world would have considered as success!
9. What would happen if our focus was constantly thinking in terms of taking every opportunity to use it for Christ!
a. it was a risk to walk away from such a catch.
b. it was a risk to make this kind of commitment!
ILLUS:IN HER BOOK "LIVING WITH LOVE" JOSEPHINE ROBERTSON TELLS THIS STORY: "IN 1833 A YOUTHFUL CLERGYMAN, THE REV. JOE ROBERTS, ARRIVED BY STAGECOACH IN A BLIZZARD TO MINISTER TO THE INDIANS OF WYOMING. THIS GREAT WILD AREA HAD BEEN ASSIGNED TO THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH BY PRESIDENT GRANT. SOON AFTER JOE ROBERTS ARRIVED, THE SON OF THE CHIEF WAS SHOT BY A SOLDIER IN A BRAWL, AND CHIEF WASHAKIE VOWED TO KILL THE FIRST WHITE MAN HE MET. SINCE THIS MIGHT MEAN THE START OF A LONG, BLOODY FEUD, YOUNG ROBERTS DECIDED TO TAKE ACTION. SEEKING OUT THE TEEPEE, 15 MILES AWAY IN THE MOUNTAINS, HE STOOD OUTSIDE AND CALLED THE CHIEF'S NAME. WHEN WASHAKIE APPEARED, ROBERTS OPENED HIS SHIRT AND SAID, "I HAVE HEARD OF YOUR VOW. I KNOW THAT THE OTHER WHITE MEN HAVE FAMILIES, BUT I AM ALONE, KILL ME INSTEAD." THE CHIEF WAS AMAZED AND MOTIONED FOR HIM TO COME INTO HIS TENT. "HOW DO YOU HAVE SO MUCH COURAGE?" HE ASKED THE YOUNG MINISTER. ROBERTS THEN PROCEEDED TO TELL HIM ABOUT CHRIST, HIS DEATH, HIS TEACHINGS. THEY TALKED FOR HOURS. WHEN ROBERTS LEFT, THE CHIEF OF THE SHOSHONES HAD RENOUNCED HIS VOW TO KILL AND RESOLVED TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN! WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF THE YOUNG PASTOR HAD BEEN AFRAID AND STAYED HOME TO PRAY FOR SAFETY INSTEAD OF FOLLOWING THE PASSION OF HIS HEART TO SHARE CHRIST WITH THIS CHIEF? - Source, Unknown
10. How about us, are we afraid to be fishers of men? Are we so busy catching the natural stuff of this world that we fail to see the lost and dying without Christ!?
11. Pentecost is all about harvest, not just power! It is about the "power TO BE WITNESSES" … S0 don't be afraid, give it a shot and watch the catch!
CONCLUSION: Pentecost is a harvest celebration! It is a time to give to God our best, both of the material blessings He has given us and also the spiritual commitment to put Him first! In Acts it was the harvest of souls once the Holy Spirit had come and empowered His people. Now empowered, their passions turned to winning the lost. Jesus' final words before leaving were to win the lost. Is this a priority or an option in your life, it is not an option for the Pentecostal church!