Summary: A sermon that reminds us of the importance of Christmas and the responsibility of the Christian to be "fishers of men"

Cast your nets on the other side.

Today is the fourth and last Sunday of Advent.

Next time that we meet it will be Christmas.

One of the things that we realize about Christmas is that it is something that totally changes the world.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus because his birth literally changed the world.

It changed our position with God and it changed how we think about the world.

The world can often be a very cruel and harsh place. Jesus was born into a harsh world and even his birth caused such Jealousy and hatred in the heart of King Herod that he took steps to wipe out the innocent boys in Bethlehem the tragic irony of course is that despite such terrible bloodshed he missed his mark.

But something was happening in the birth of Jesus that WAS GOING TO RELEASE into the planet a new phenomenon of salvation that had never been seen or experienced before.

LK 5:4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."

LK 5:5 Simon answered, "Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."

LK 5:6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

LK 5:8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men." 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

I want to cross subjects for a moment to the subject of forgiveness.

The thing that God has won for us on the cross is forgiveness.

The ushering in of the infant Jesus at Christmas is the beginning of the end for sin and death. A JOURNEY BEGINS.

Now, in Jesus Christ our sins are forgiven.

The bible makes much of this and it can only be a result of obtuseness, stubbornness or spiritual blindness that the thinking person can deny this spiritual reality.

This gift of forgiveness is the first step towards reconciliation or friendship with God.

Of friendship with God – Jesus once said.

13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

What Christmas opens up for us is the possibilility of being restored to God’s family.

But you need to decide whether you are in or out.

It is possible to be in and it is possible to be out.

A couple of days ago our national rugby team chose a new coach – John Mitchell is definitely out and Graham Henry is in.

Of course the Christian family is not like a rugby team – anyone can be in –

John 3 – 16 says whosoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but shall have everlasting life.

But once you are in – the Christmas takes on new meaning – it becomes a celebration of something that is both deeply personal and of incredible importance to the Church.

You are a member of the Kingdom of God and membership carries it’s responsibilities.

In the passage we just read Jesus not only calls us his friends but he follows it up with the instruction that we are to be friends to one another.

Imagine if you will finding yourself in a lifeboat on the Titanic – all around you are people in the water – doomed to drown – yet you are all alone in the safety of the boat.

What are you going to do.

Wrap up warm in the bottem of the boat and await rescue????

Of course not!!!

You are going to help others into the boat.

You call out to some people in the water!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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