Summary: Using one of Jesus’ parables, the sermon is designed to encourage Christians to witness.

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A. John Powell tells of watching his Theology of Faith class come in.

1. Tommy had long hair and he wrote him off as very strange.

2. Tommy was an atheist (objected to a God who loved unconditionally).

3. After turning in final exam, “Do you think I’ll find God?” “No.”

4. “Oh, I thought that was the product you were pushing.”

5. “Tommy, I don’t think you’ll ever find him, but I am certain that he will find you.”

6. Tom graduated, but then got cancer.

7. Came to Powell’s office with a body badly wasted and his long hair fallen out.

8. “Tommy, I’ve thought about you so often. I hear you are sick.”

9. “Oh yes, very sick. I have cancer. It’s a matter of weeks.”

10. “Can you talk about it?” “Sure, what would you like to know?”

11. “What’s it like to be 24 and know you are dying?”

12. “Well, it could be worse.” “Like what?”

13. “Well, like being 50 and having no values or ideals. Like being 50 and thinking that booze, seducing women and making money are the real biggies in life.”

14. Tommy wanted to talk about what professor had said on last day of class about God finding him.

15. Told of his search for God when the doctors found cancer.

16. Gave up his futile appeals to God and decided he didn’t care about God or the afterlife.

17. Began to spend his remaining days telling people he loved them.

18. Started with his dad, the hardest one. Dad cried and hugged him. Hadn’t ever done that before.

19. Then his mom and little brother.

20. Then he told of how God found him.

21. Asked him to come to his theology class and tell them.

22. Never made it. Had one more talk, “I’m not going to make it to your class.”

23. “I know, Tom.” “Will you tell them for me? Will you tell…the whole world for me?”

24. “I will, Tom. I will tell them.”

B. Waiting on a spanking as a child

1. In a public place somewhere and did something wrong.

2. “You’re going to get a spanking when you get home,” or “Just wait till your Dad gets home.”

C. Parable is about judgment but also about telling people about God’s love.

1. Tells about what happens to believers and unbelievers.

2. Setting was common to Jesus’ hearers, especially those who lived around Sea of Galilee.

3. Several of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen.

D. Three methods of fishing on Sea of Galilee.

1. Line and hook.

2. One-man small casting net.

a. Fisherman folded net and carried on shoulder as he waded into water.

b. Hold the center cord with one hand and cast with the other.

c. Opened into a large circle and came down over the fish (shrimping).

d. Weights were on the perimeter of the net, which caused it to sink.

e. When the net was closed, he hauled it to shore.

3. Dragnet

a. Required a team of fishermen and covered as much as a half square mile.

b. Pulled into a giant circle around fish using one or more boats.

c. Floats were attached to the top of the net and weights to the bottom forming a wall of net from surface to bottom of the lake.

d. Nothing escaped so all sorts of things were caught (Like in the movie Forrest Gump when he first started shrimping).

e. Take several men to drag it to shore.

f. Fish to be carried to a distant market were placed in container with water and those to be sold in dry containers.


A. The net has been cast since humanity first rebelled against God.

1. It is a dragnet so it encompasses a wide area.

2. The weights are causing the net to sink and form a wall of net from which no one will escape.

3. The weights are sinking slowly for God is allowing unbelievers and believers to exist side by side.

4. He doesn’t rejoice in anyone perishing and wants all to follow him.

5. Ezekiel 18:23, “Do you think, asks the Sovereign Lord, that I like to see wicked people die? Of course not! I only want them to turn from their wicked ways and live.”

6. 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.”

B. God will one day draw the net in.

1. When the weights reach the bottom and all are encompassed, he will pull the cord.

2. God will then bring that net filled with all humanity to shore and a separation will begin.

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