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Summary: This is the foundation of how the Church grows. For years I’ve been bothered by the GIMMICK VS. GOSPEL approach to ministry in general and evangelism in particular. It seems we don’t think God’s gospel is quite good enough to reach folks,

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Some thoughts in this message are from the archives of C.H. Spurgeon who preached in the 1800’s

TITLE: FISHERS OF MEN….NO BAIT REQUIRED

SCRIPTURE: ST. MATTHEW 4:18-20 / ST. MARK 1:17

Since my return to Ardmore, Deacon Cooley and a few other brothers have taken me out fishing. I have not been very successful yet, but they are determined to make a good fisherman out of me. I have watched Deacon Cooley, he always takes time with the bait and cast his line. He usually has 3-4 lines going at once. I can only handle one at this point. He does not move around very much once he cast his various lines.

I have noted others who cast their line and if nothing is biting within a few minutes they walk around the pond or lake and cast their line elsewhere; they will even change their bait every now and then in an attempt to cast just the right bait that will entice the fish.

On Wednesday evenings we have been presenting a Bible Study Series based upon the text read this morning. I want to share with you, especially those that don’t or not able to attend Bible Study on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. what we are teaching and discussing in an effort to help grow the Church. I want to help us all to understand where we are and what God expects from us as the Church positions itself for growth. Jesus in our text found some Fishermen who were very good at what they did, matter of fact; those found initially in our text were entrepreneurs – in business together. And Jesus looks at this crew and says to them – FOLLOW ME AND I WILL MAKE YOU TO BECOME FISHERS OF MEN.

This is the foundation of how the Church grows. For years I’ve been bothered by the GIMMICK VS. GOSPEL approach to ministry in general and evangelism in particular. It seems we don’t think God’s gospel is quite good enough to reach folks, so we have to come up with all kinds of gimmicks and gadgets to get people in the door, to keep their attention, to grow the Church.

Too often we find Churches that use clever tricks and treats to throw into sermons so folks would want to come back. Never mind that true believers should have the desire to come and worship a Holy God in Spirit and in Truth regardless of how “Entertaining” things may or may not be.

• We want the Production Lights

• We want a Stage instead of a Pulpit

• We want Actors and Sports Figures sitting in the Pulpit with Pastor

• We want Praise Dancers and Professional Praise Teams

• We want Entertaining instead of Spirit Filled Choir

• We use a Whole lot of Bait to bring people into the Church today

I was reading recently about a Church that held a Men’s Conference and the theme had to do with being “FISHERS OF MEN.” I understood the Conference drew a very large crowd – they offered a large giveaway of –

• Fishing Paraphernalia

• Rods

• Reels

• Lures

• Tackle Box

And from a crowd standpoint, it must be considered a success. In fact, it was reported, the attendance far exceeded the other “Men’s Event” things that have been held in which they just gathered to talk about being more godly men. Since it was the largest crowd, it must be good, right?

I am sure the speakers bought interesting messages surrounded by all of the Fishing Giveaways. Can I tell you this morning that we have the wrong idea about what it means to be fishers of men.

• Most of us, when we think of fishing, we envision a couple guys out in a boat or along a lake shore

• We see them with their box full of lures and/or live bait

• They cast their lines, and if after awhile they don’t have any success, they change the bait and go after it again

• Fishing, in this context, is all about the bait

• If the bait doesn’t work, change it and go at it again

When we hear the phrase “FISHERS OF MEN” we think of it in the same way. We have to throw out the right bait. And if the bait isn’t working, we change bait until we find something the fish likes, and then we hook ‘em. Hence, our gimmick and gadget approach to ministry and evangelism. It’s all about the bait.

• We think the gospel isn’t powerful enough on its own

• We think we have to find the right bait people will respond to so we can hook ‘em

I don’t believe Jesus ever picked up a fishing pole in his life. Matter of fact I don’t believe Peter and James ever picked up a fishing pole either. As a profession it had more to do with casting nets.

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