Summary: This message looks at the need of believers to become fishers of men. It considers some of the traits of good fishermen and the differing aspects of Christian evangelism.
Christ's Ministry and It’s Message
Aim: To show the call of the disciples, the nature of their commission and responsibilities of their calling
Text: Mark 1:14-20.
Introduction: I remember reading several years ago about a man who went into the ministry, and who was a rather hopeless minister. One day he was asked in exasperation about his call. He said, “Well I used to be in farming, and one day I was out ploughing a filed when I looked up in the sky and saw two clouds that seemed to form the letters P and S. So, I wondered what that might mean, and I realised it was a message from God telling me to Preach Salvation.” The enquirer having listened patiently to this tale responded, “Don’t you think it might just have meant Plough Straight?”
Unfortunately there are many men in ministry today who have no sense of God’s calling upon their lives and whose gifts and ability seem ill suited to the role they are filling. The call of God always comes by way of the Word of God. When I came to pastor this church God gave me a clear direction from His Word. When I went into ministry God assured me from the Scriptures that that is where He wanted me to be. You know, it is not good enough to just pursue the ministry as one might pursue a secular career. The ministry is a calling of God, a vocation rather than an occupation.
In our opening text we read of 4 men, all of whom had an occupation, they were fishermen. Simon, Andrew, James and John. Fishing is a tough occupation, there is no doubt it calls at times for tremendous courage and tenacity. But it is also a very ordinary occupation. Though it has its own skills, it is not up there with what we some times call the professions: teaching, medicine, law etc. But that is often the way of God. That is often the will of God. It doesn’t necessarily look to those with the brightest minds, or the greatest skills, or the most learned, but to those who are the most willing, and the most committed, these are the people the Lord is the most likely to call.
Now though these men had humble beginnings God did some wonderful things in their lives. Simon Peter went on to become one of the great evangelists who opened the gospel up first to the Jews then the Samaritans and finally the Gentiles. It was Peter who preached on the day of Pentecost and saw 3000 saved, and of course he would faithfully serve the Lord until at last they took this great apostle and nailed him to a cross, his feet to the top his hands to the bottom and thus Peter died, blood streaming down his face, - totally committed to Jesus. But of course Peter would never have done any of that without Andrew. Remember when they first found the Lord, it was Andrew who “first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus.” Andrew never wrote a book. You will not read any of his letters in the bible. We read of no miracles that Andrew performed. We are not told that he even preached a sermon - but he led Peter to Christ.
Then there is James, the brother of John, one of Christ’s inner circle of three along with Peter and John. James became the pastor of the church at Jerusalem, and was martyred by Herod; you can read about that in Acts 12. What a privileges role this man had in church history, to pastor the first church, the church that was born out of Pentecost. And then, of course, there is John, that beloved apostle, the one whom Jesus loved. John who left us with one glorious gospel account, three epistles and of course the only book of prophecy in the N.T. Revelation. John whom Christ entrusted with his own mother, and who was faithful unto death, ending his days an old man isolated and alone on the island of Patmos. Who could have foreseen what would become of these four men? Who could tell from reading this simple account, here in Mark, that their lives would hold such deep worth and their influenced felt for the millennia to come? It is amazing what Jesus will do with an ordinary man.
Let’s look then at the call of these men to the work of the Lord:
I. The Message of the Gospel – vss 14-15.
A. Having been identified by His baptism and tempted in the wilderness, the ministry of Jesus began, and it began by His gathering around Him a band of men to whom He would entrust His gospel.