All on the Altar – Becoming Fishers of Men
Aug. 11, 2002
Matthew 4:19 and Luke 5:1-11
Intro: This morning I want to speak with you about something that all of us know as Christians that we are supposed to be doing, yet few of us, due to fear, ignorance, busyness, and other excuses and distractions, are actively involved – Witnessing.
Wait: Already some of you have tuned me out, but wait! This message is not designed to heap on the guilt or twist your arm, this message is intended to enable, equip, and encourage you… release you into becoming a fisher of men.
Text: Lk. 5:1-11
Setting: Shortly after his forty days in the wilderness, Jesus returned to Galilee to begin His earthly ministry. After being rejected in Nazareth, Jesus made His way toward the Sea of Galilee. Jesus began speaking to a growing crowd and then He got into a boat (Simon Peter) and began to preach. After preaching, He instructed the boats owner to cast his nets into the sea. A bit reluctant after a long hard night of striking out, Peter and Andrew cast their nets and took in a hall so great that they had to get help and still their boats almost sank. Once Jesus got their attention, He extended an invitation to them – “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Mt. 4:19
Note: The same call Jesus extended to Peter, Andrew, James, and John, He extends to everyone today who has received His call to salvation and has become one of His disciples. It is the call to be salt and light; to be His ambassadors; to be His herald.
We too are called to be fishers of men.
Quote: Too many Christians are no longer fishers of men, instead they have become keepers of the aquarium. Paul Harvey
Trans. While Harvey’s statement may be true, we need to ask why?
Idea: We all know that the Great Commission calls us to go and tell – no where in Scripture do you see the command to hang a sign that says come and hear.
Idea: This means that each of us are apart of something bigger than ourselves. We are part of a grandiose plan contrived in the heart and mind of the Father. He invites us, expects us, and wants us to be apart of His plan.
Trans: Understanding that we are all called, what do we need to fulfill His call?
I We Need to have a CAUSE – Jesus in You
Define: Witnessing is that deep-seated conviction that the greatest favor I can do for others is to introduce them to Jesus Christ. P. Little – How to Give Away Your Faith
Example: Woman at the Well – She went to her village after receiving the living water and proclaimed – “Come see a man who told me everything I have ever done.” Jn. 4
Blind man – I once was blind but now I see and Jesus is the reason. Jn. 9
Notice: Peter’s response to the teachings and miracles of Christ – “Go away from me…I am unworthy to be in your presence.” And Jesus responds to his brokenness with a call to join Him in spreading the news of His kingdom. Peter promptly responds.
Idea: Evangelism occurs when Christians are so ignited by their contact with Christ that they in turn set others on fire. It is easy to determine when something is aflame. It ignites other material. Any fire that does not spread will eventually go out. A church or Christian without evangelism is a contradiction in terms, just as fire that does not burn is a contradiction. Elton Trueblood (Quaker) on comparing witnessing to fire
Truth: If Christ is in you He also should come from you.
Story: A mom and daughter were driving home after church one Sunday when the little girl began to ask her mommy some questions about the morning service. “Mommy, there’s some thing about the pastor’s sermon this morning that I don’t understand. He said that God is bigger than we are. He said God is so big that He could hold the whole world in His hands. Is that true? The mother assured her daughter that the pastor was correct. The daughter then said, “But Mommy, he also said that God comes to live inside of us when we believe in Jesus as our Savior. Is that true too? Again, the Mom assured her little girl that the pastor’s words were true. Then, with a puzzled look on her face the little girl asked, “If God is bigger than we are and He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?”
II We Need to Make a CHOICE – You in Jesus
Idea: While Christ in me is my motivation, it is my desire to be in Christ – to be involved in the things of God and to be touched by God – that determines my influence and impact for Christ.
Insert: Man God Uses – God is known for taking the ordinary and using them in an extraordinary way. The key to being used is obedience and submission to God’s will and His ways – it’s a choice!
Blackaby suggests that if God is going to move in and through our lives, then we must have a quality of character. I want to mention one particular quality Blackaby mentions – Fear of God. He states:
Quote: Christians display a lack of fear when they continually us God’s name in vain; deliberately sin, expecting God to forgive them; view worship, prayer, tithing, studying God’s Word, and commitment to the church as optional for the Christian life; approach God in worship with a flippant attitude.
Why do I mention this – b/c how we view and respond to God effects our witness.
Exercise :I want you to write down three different words that describe Jesus. I want you to write down three different words that describe Christians. I want you to write down three different words to describe the church.
Are your words similar or dissimilar?
Dieter Zander, first GenX , asked the same questions at a conference.
1 – Jesus wise, accepting, compassionate, gracious, humble, forgiving
2 – Christians critical, exclusive, self righteous, narrow, repressive, unforgiving
3 – Church Out of touch, irrelevant, legalistic, un-accepting, un-friendly
Quote: There is something wrong when people are leaving the church to find God.
Note: The reason people are leaving the church to find God is b/c Christians are choosing to live a life that is in the world rather than is in Christ.
Quote: In the midst of a generation searching and screaming for answers, Christians are stuttering and stammering. H. Hendricks
Text: Peter and Andrew chose to leave their nets and follow Christ to influence their friends, neighbors, and countrymen for God – we would do well to do the same.
III We Need to Accept the CHALLENGE – Begin to Tell
Note: The challenge is to become influential for the Kingdom of God. It is to live and speak the truth of Jesus to others so as to leverage all of your relationships to tell of the hope that is within you.
Reality: Most of us not only know what we are supposed to do, but deep down, I believe we really want do it – We want to tell others about our Savior but we just don’t know how to get started.
Idea: Starting Points
A Invest and Invite
Idea: You do what the church cannot do – invest in personal relationships and invite them to come and hear the Gospel at a ministry event – and we will do what you find difficult to do – we will tell them about Jesus.
Idea: Let’s be honest, one of the reasons we are reluctant to share is b/c we do not want to challenge the worldview of our friends and acquaintances – but how easy is it to invite your friend to something that you are excited about?
If you invite we will tell!
B Share FAITH Without Fear
Idea: While all of us need to know, many of us want to know how to tell others how they can know Christ in a clear and personal manner. We will train you if you will make yourself available. We begin a 3 Week training today at 5:00 PM.
C In Touch - Sunday Visitation
Idea: On Sunday, September 8, we will begin our “In Touch” Outreach Visitation Ministry. We will meet most every Sunday at 5:00 PM. We will come together and divide into teams of two or three, and after prayer, we will go out and visit those who visit us, we will visit church members who are in need of a ministry visit, and for those who desire, we will canvas the neighborhood with opinion polls sharing the good news of Jesus. Also, for those who are skeptical about going out but who want to join in the fun of reaching out, we will also make follow up phone calls and write cards.
Concl. Most of us here have seen either the movie or the documentary of the Titanic. More than 1,500 of 2,200 passengers died in the icy Atlantic when the ship sank on April 15, 1912. Probably the greatest tragedy is that many of those people who perished did not have to die. Hundreds of passengers escaped on one of the 20 lifeboats – yet most of the boats had plenty of room to spare being only half full.
After the ship sank, while hundreds of people fought for their lives in the icy waters, only one boat returned to help despite the horrific cries for help. Those who were already saved refused to go after those who were dying.
Unless we who are saved return, the world around us will perish.
Would you begin by investing in and inviting your friends to come to a place where someone will tell them.
Will you begin to learn how to tell others how they could know of our wonderful Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ?
Will you join hands with others in our church by praying and going to tell others in our community about the great news of our Savior and the good news of our church?