Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: In Jesus’ invitation to “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” we find that there is one command, one promise and a lifelong process.

“Being Fishers of Men”

Mark 1:17

Today’s message is about Jesus’ invitation to become fishers of men.I love to fish! Anyone who has fished with me will tell you I am not a very good fisherman, but I still love to fish. I also love fish stories. One of my favorite is about two fishermen who are out in their boat one Sunday morning when they heard the church bells ring in the distance. One of the men said to the other, “You know we really ought to be in church.” The second man replied, “Yes, but I couldn’t have gone anyway, the wife is sick in bed.” Some people are really dedicated to fishing.

In our last message in the book of Mark we looked at “The Call to Ministry” and examined 1:16-20 and today I want to return to this passage (1:17) and further examine what it means to be fishers of men.

You will remember that it stated in verse sixteen, “And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. (17) Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

This morning we are going to concentrate on where Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” But what does that mean? What we see in this text by examining a bit deeper is that there is one command, one promise and a lifelong process.

So notice three things with me this morning –

First, The Command - “follow me”

The command in this verse “follow me” is simple, (in the Greek it is an adverb of place expressing a command) - literally it is “your place is following after me.” Joseph Stowell (pastor of the Moody Church) identified our problem as the modern church well when he said, “We have become quite happy to call ourselves Christians with little or no thought of following.” Following is not something that is difficult - the act of following is something I can do. I can get behind someone else and walk in their footsteps. I can follow Christ. But as far as being a fisher of men on my own, I don’t know about that. That intimidates me.

But the command comes with ….

Secondly, The Promise – “I will make you to become fishers of men”

It is important to note that when Jesus called these men, they were not at that time what Jesus wanted them to become. He promised to “make” them (poieo) to “become” fishers of men. Notice again with me who Christ chose. The Gospels will reveal who these men were:

•They were common laborers

•They were poor

•They were uneducated

•They had little spiritual perception

•They were self-centered

•They were often harsh

•They were proud

•They were weak

•They were cowardly

•They were selfish

But God is not bound by who we are! Jesus looked beyond what they were to what they would become. The important principle at work here is that those whom Christ has called He enables and empowers to perform the task to which they have been assigned. Jesus did not simply command His disciples to become fishers of men but he promised to make them fisherman after men’s souls.

But to fulfill the Command involves….

Third, The Process – “to become fishers of men”

So as Christians it is urgent that we carry out the command to bring people to Christ. I think most of us understand that but the question is, “How can we influence others to Christ?” I want to mention three ways that we influence people to come to Christ.

• We May Influence Others To Christ by Our Attitude. (1 Pet. 3:15)

First Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is within you.” In other words, there should be such a reflection of joy and hope to our lives that others will ask about it, thus opening the door for us to share the Gospel.

The common image of a fisherman in our day is of a man with a fishing rod casting a lure into the waters of a stream or a lake. However, such was not the case when Jesus called his disciples. They caught fish with nets and by experience they found that their best fishing took place at night. We know that this is true by looking at Luke 5:5, when Jesus told Peter to cast his nets on the other side of the boat he said, “Master we have toiled all night and caught nothing nevertheless at your word I will let down the net.” How did they fish at night? They used a very powerful and effective method, light. Fish were attracted to light.

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