When I was a little kid a remember a time when my uncle Bobby lived with us. I must have been no more then four years old. I am amazed that I can remember hanging out with my uncle Bob, but I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night. But anyway, I really looked up to me uncle Bob. To me he was so cool. He played guitar, which I thought was pretty neat. He had a convertible, and not just any convertible this one had power windows, something pretty amazing back in the 60’s. That car was the coolest car ever as far as I was concerned. A roof that folded down and windows that went up and down by themselves. Yes my uncle Bob was the coolest. The only fault I could see in him was the fact that he had a girlfriend. At the time I did not see much use in having a girlfriend.
Now at that age Uncle Bobby was my idol, I wanted to grow up and be just like him, just like he was back the mid 1960’s.
I think we all can think back and come up with our own Uncle Bobby’s. That person you looked up to, that one you wanted to be like. Now that we are grown up we would like to think that things have changed. But they haven’t all that much. As Christian’s there should be a desire to grow up and be like Jesus. I know I have told you many times from this pulpit that you should be like Jesus. I even pray in my prayers that the Lord would work in me to be like Jesus.
But you know what. We are not going to be like Jesus this side of heaven. As 1 John 3:32 tells us; “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
To tell you the truth I do not have any hope of being exactly like Jesus while walking this world. To be honest I do not thing I am going to even get close. Now that may sound like a defeatist attitude, but I realize that Jesus is God, and I am never going to be as God is. And as long as I have this sinful nature that I must deal with, I am not going to get even close.
Now I know that in heave I will be as He is, God’s word promises me that. I will be like Him not in the sense that He is God, but I will like Him in the sense that I will be Holy and without sin, as He is Holy and without sin.
I want to say that just because I know I will never be like Jesus, is not to say that I will stop trying to be like Jesus. That is what Spiritual growth is all about, us trying to attain that unattainable, trying to be like Jesus.
I will be the first to admit that while in some areas people may see Jesus in my life, in other areas I look about as much like Jesus as Harley looks like Brad Pitt.
In that we know in our hearts that we will not be truly like Jesus in this world, we lower the bat a little bit. We think, at least I do anyway, if I can’t be like Jesus well maybe I can be like Paul. After all what does Paul say in 1 Cor. 11; “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
Ahh! Now we are getting somewhere. Certainly I can imitate Paul. He was just a man like me, not God incarnate or anything like that. After all Paul is the one who wrote Rom 7:18-20; “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”
We can all relate to that. But if we look throughout the NT we do not see to many examples of Paul messing up. He writes most of the NT, he is used by God to win thousands to Christ, he seems to have grasp on Spiritual things like no one else.
Here we are again looking at someone that is hard to imitate. Paul was a spiritual giant when compared to me. He was willing to give it all for God, something so few of us are willing to do. I do not know about you but I find it tough to imitate Paul because I cannot relate to him. We never see him mess up, sure He talks about it, but no examples are given.
So let us, if you will, lower the bar even more so that we built our way up to Paul and then to Jesus.
Today I want to begin a series of messages on Peter. Now it is only going to be a short series just 5 or 6 messages. I believe by looking at Peter we can gain a measure of hope and encouragement. For me Peter is easier to relate to them Paul. While Paul was refined and educated Peter was simply fishermen who started from the ground up, just like many of us.
When we look at Peter in the Bible we see that He has many shortcomings, many of which we can identify with. Peter had a wonderful gift of opening mouth and inserting foot. He was an impulsive person, and like so many of us struggled with his faith from time to time.
But despite all his shortcomings, Peter was used by God, he went on to be a great preacher of Gods Word. He became bold for the Lord, and won many to Christ through His witness and preaching.
As we go through this series I pray you will get a few things out of it. That you will be able to identify with Peter and his weaknesses. That you will see someone like yourself who loves Christ, who is willing to try to be a good disciple. That you will also see someone who was willing to be on the forefront of the spiritual battle we are all in. and finally I pray that through Peter your own faith will be strengthened.
Please turn with to the passage that we will be looking at today. That is going to be Luke 5:1-11. That passage begins on page 890 of your pew Bibles. In regard to our series that is the first lesson that we will look at. Luke 5:1-11; “So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, (ga-nes-er-et) and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men. So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”
By way of background Peter was a fisherman. We see from the Word of God that Peter along with his brother Andrew, and John and James the sons of Zebedee were commercial fisherman. While some us may fish for the fun of it, these guys fished for their livelihood. This was what they did for a living. Because they did it for a living they know what they were doing. They know how and when to cast their nets, they know how to handle a boat, they knew the sea of Galilee.
On this particular occasion the text tells us that they were pretty discouraged. They had fished all night and came with nothing. Having gone fishing and hunting on numerous occasions and not caught anything I can feel Peter’s pain.
By the time the Lord comes to them they are washing their nets getting things ready to be put away, and more then likely these guys are ready to just go home and go to bed.
The passage tells us that Jesus was pressed by the multitudes, so he gets in Peter’s boat asks Peter to put him out a little bit into the water.
As we look this passage I want us to note three elements. The first is the request. We see Jesus’ request in ver.4-5. I want you to notice Peter’s words in ver. 5, “At Your word, I will let down the net.” The phrase “at your word”, means “relying on, or by the ground only of your word”.
In other words while Peter is obeying Christ’s request to lower his net, it seems to be more of an act of politeness then anything else. Peter is not doing this because he had great faith in the Lord, he was doing it simply to be polite.
Remember that these guys were packing it up for the night. They were washing their nets, now they have to get it all out again, and cast one more time. But on the Word of the Lord Peter agrees.
Now it obvious that Peter does not think this is going to work. We need to understand that Peter was a experienced fisherman. He had fished here hundreds of times. He knew when the fishing would be good and when the fishing would not be good. The command given by Christ was contrary what Peter knew. His experienced told him that casting down his nets one more time was not going to make any difference. Yet on the word of Jesus he does it.
We need to learn the lesson that Peter learned here. We need to realize that our experience can be detrimental to our faith. What we “know” will happen does not always happen. We need to simply do what the word of God tell us to do.
I think of Supreme Court case with GNC. After we had won the school’s response was that they would change the times that clubs could meet. Peter L. was very adamant about that. Now I believe that that would happen. I had no doubt in my mind that the school would change the times that club could meet. I believed that through my experiences that I had had with most of the members of the school brd. There were meetings that I went to and thought, like I am sure Peter did, that I was wasting my time.
I had let my experience override my faith. And God worked it all out, and what happened was something I did not thing was going to happen. I was relying on myself and my feelings more then on God.
We need to let God be God. We cannot limit Him with our experiences, we cannot limit Him with what we “know” will happen. We need to simply say, like Peter does, “At Your word Lord, I will ________” I will let you fill in the blank.
Luke goes on to provide us with a vivid picture of what happens. They let down their nets and what happens, fish. The nets are overflowing. So many fish the nets were breaking. I can just picture, Pete and Andrew pulling in the nets, fish are flopping everywhere, there pulling and pulling. They start yelling to John and James to come out and help. They go out and help and there is so many fish that the boats are in danger of sinking.
It is clear that the amount of fish goes far beyond what Peter had expected. Even on a good day fishing they more then likely had never experienced anything like this. Both boats full of fish.
This brings us to the second element of our passage. Notice their reaction. Now Peter as we will learn is kind of an impulsive guy. He is very quick to simply state what is on his heart.
Peter is overwhelmed by what he has witnessed. Through his experience as a fisherman he realizes the magnitude of what as just happened. He realizes that what has happened could not have happened in the presence of a mere man.
I believe that Peter realizes in his heart that He is in the presence of deity. And he is overwhelmed by the experience and he falls down before the Lord.
There was another man in the Bible who had a similar experience. That was Isaiah. Listen to Isa. 6:1-5; “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!" And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.”
I believe what we can is that this first lesson of Peter, like that of Isaiah was necessary for him to be disciple of Christ. We can see tow things that stand out in both these men. As one man writes, “A confession of Christ’s deity and one’s own sinfulness leads to worship and service.”
We should all understand that without a confession of the deity of Christ, or who Christ truly is, and without a confession of one’s own sinfulness there cannot be a true conversion to Christ.
When you look at Luke 5 and Isaiah 6 we see the record of town men whose lives are changed when they are confronted with sinless perfection, when they are confronted with that which is HOLY HOLY HOLY! When one is in the presence of the perfect God one has no defense of their own righteousness. Every sin is amplified when in the presence of Holiness. When in the presence of a holy God their can be no claim that “Lord I am good enough.”
Peter when faced with the perfection of Christ drops to his knees and says, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O, Lord”
Notice what Jesus states to Peter, “Do not be afraid, from now on you will catch men.”
The word “fear” means “to frightened or alarmed”. This is not the fear of God that we ought to have, that of reverence and respect. This is the type feat the prevents us for serving the Lord.
This is the fear by which we fear man and not God. This is the fear that prevents us from obeying God’s word because we are afraid of what others might think or say. This is the type of fear that prevents us from making a commitment to Christ.
Therefore Jesus tells Peter “Do not be afraid, for I will make you a fisher of men, a preacher of my gospel, I will make you my disciple, my servant.”
You see when one is faced with deity, is aware of their sinfulness, and will not be afraid, then service will follow.
Briefly getting back to Isa. Listen to 6:6-8; “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged." Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me.”
Isaiah too was going to be a fisher of man. He to was going to do the Lord work. He faced deity, recognized his sinfulness, and was not afraid to be used by the Lord. He quickly stated, “send me!”.
That is the way it must be us. When we are saved, when we place our trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, we have a experience with deity. Through that experience we see our sinfulness, and trust in the cleansing blood of Christ. But to many of us let fear stop us their. We must not be afraid and go on to grow in Christ and be His disciple.
This brings us to our final element of this passage, and this application. In this text we see that Peter’s faith had been challenged, his experience as been contradicted, and his own sinfulness brought to light. You see Peter needed to change, and that change was brought about when he was confronted by God.
I will say that discipleship begin just that way, with a confrontation with God. And God still confronts us, today He confronts us with His Holy Word the Bible.
Today we stand confronted by the Lord Jesus Christ. As Jesus promises us in Matthew, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
I pray that our response would be like that of Peters. That we would drop to knees, that we would humble ourselves. That we would recognize our sinfulness, and confess the need we have for His saving Grace. And after we have had that experience with the Lord, that confrontation, that we would in turn, like Peter and Isaiah seek to be His disciple. Seek to obey Him, and proclaim His Word and do His will, regardless of where that might take us.
I closing I want you to know whether you realize it our not you have had an encounter with deity here this morning. Jesus is present here this morning. I pray that you have felt that presence through the worship, through the prayers, and through His Word.
I pray that through the life of Peter, through his experiences, that we may be drawn closer to Christ. That maybe as we become more like Peter we become more like Jesus. Through Peter may we be encouraged not to fear men, but God. That through Peter’s lessons we might learn a few lessons of our own.
LET US PRAY