Summary: Examine the results of a life changing faith encounter with Jesus Christ.
Beginning next Sunday we are to be involved in a four day “Faith Encounter.” The purpose of this event is to encourage and strengthen your faith through a series of special services. The services will be planned around strong preaching and meaningful worship. This will be a time for us to come aside for a little extra nourishment which is outside our normal routine. It is a time of concentrated seeking after God. I think all of us would agree that meaningful faith encounters are the key to a vibrant spiritual life. Unless you have encounters with Jesus Christ your spiritual life will be anemic and void of substance. I am not limiting this concept to spiritual encounters at church. I refer to any encounter when you experience Jesus Christ and He reveals himself to you.
In Luke 5:1-11 we find the record of a story when Jesus disciples experienced a meaningful encounter with Jesus Christ. “So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, 2and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. 3Then 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. 4When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5But 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.” 6And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7So 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. 8When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 9For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10and 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.” 11So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”(NKJV) Jesus took an ordinary experience and transformed it into a life changing faith encounter. He took some tired, discouraged fisherman and transformed them into victorious disciples. This encounter changed them forever. That is the Lord’s desire for you and I. He wants to transform us. It begins with a meaningful encounter. I want to take this text and identify some clues as to how you and I can experience a meaningful faith encounter with Jesus Christ.
I. The first truth that strikes me is you must be in the right place to have an encounter with Jesus. Being in the right place is important!
Ask any deer hunter and they will tell you that selecting the right place for hunting is important. Deer hunters go scouting to find the right location in which to place their deer stand. They do not randomly select a hunting spot. They know you must be in the right place.
Fishermen recognize this same principle. There are some locations where the fishing is better than others. Fisherman must seek out the best place to fish. They go out into Mobile Bay or the Gulf and search out the hot spots.
The Eastern Shore is known for its Jubilees. When the fish, shrimp, and crab start coming to the surface you do not randomly start filling your ice chest. You must be in the right place.
When ladies go shopping they are careful to go to the right place. They might have to visit fifteen stores in order to find the right place that has the dress or blouse they are seeking.
Jesus disciples discovered the importance of being in the right place. Let me acknowledge a principle that is not easy for a preacher to acknowledge. You do not have to be in church to encounter Jesus Christ. Jesus disciples were on a fishing trip. All of the fisherman would appreciate this truth!
Joke: I heard about a farmer who was notorious for missing church in order to work his fields. One day the pastor said something to the farmer about missing church. The farmer said “I would rather be in the field thinking about the church than be in the church thinking about the field.”
With all that being said let me acknowledge a couple of teaching points. These people had a meaningful encounter with Jesus because of two things.