Summary: How to be a "fisher of men".
Rev. Chad H. Ballard
Read Matt. 4:18-22
I have heard sermon after sermon in my lifetime based on the scripture, “Come and I will make you fishers of men.” And in my shallow thinking, I knew that the simplest meaning was that Jesus was calling His disciples and every member of the church to witness of the gospel to everyone we meet.
This is, of course, the reason for this statement as Jesus was going to begin His disciples in a training course for ministry to a lost and dying world. I like to think of this training course as Fishing 101.
But we need to remember that these were professional fishermen that Jesus was talking to. They had a different perspective on fishing than most of us “recreational fishermen”.
In the words “fishers of men” the disciples understood that the same principles and techniques that are used to catch fish would apply in great part, to the preaching of the gospel and drawing men to Jesus.
But what kind of preparation goes into the “catching of fish”?
I. Plan your trip.
A. Now if I were planning to go fishing in the morning, I would do just that; “plan the trip”.
1. I don’t know many people who just can drop everything and go fishing. They usually have to get their equipment and bait ready first.
2. When I had my own boat, I kept it ready at all times to go fishing. I kept my rods, reels, and tackle boxes in the boat and kept the boat gassed up and ready.
3. Now that didn’t mean that I didn’t have to plan the trip. It just meant that I had gotten everything ready to go before I parked the boat the last time.
B. Likewise, if we are going to become “fishers of men” we cannot expect to catch a soul if there has been no preparation or planning in advance
1. We have to prepare ourselves to be the witness that we need to be.
2. There is no substitute for prayer and studying God’s word. A daily quiet time of prayer and study is the essential planning we need to win others to Christ.
II. Next, get your equipment together.
A. In my boat you could always find 5 rods. I hated tying knots while I was supposed to be fishing, so I kept a rod ready with every kind of bait I might use.
1. I had a small rig in case bass wouldn’t bite. I had a pig & jig rod. I had a spinner bait rigged. I kept a rattletrap rigged up. And I kept a top-water rig ready.
2. I stayed ready so that rather than spend time tying on new baits, I was fishing all the time.
B. Just like I always had the right equipment to fish, God has given us the right equipment to be “fishers of men”.
1. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God is thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2. The Holy Spirit also brings into our heart, our tackle box if you will, the attitudes we need. He provides us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
3. If we have the Word and the Holy Spirit, we are ready to go out and to catch some “fish”.
III. Next, we need to know the place that we are going to fish.
A. If you have ever fished on big water, you know how true this is.
1. A lake may be just filled with fish, but if you don’t know where to start looking for them it can be an unproductive day.
2. Many fishermen today use a GPS (global positioning system) to know where they are. They also have fish finders and all kinds of gadgets and gizmos to locate fish.
B. As a “fisher of men”, God has provided us with a positioning system. It’s called the Holy Spirit, and following it will always lead us to someone to share the gospel with.
IV. Another tool of the fishermen is the Weather Report.
A. The weather is vital to the activity of fish. So is the sunrise and sunset.
1. I always seem to catch more fish at daybreak and at sunset than any other time.
2. That means that even though it would be easier just to lie in bed on Sat. morning, if you want to catch fish, you’d better be on the lake.
B. And if you want to be “fishers of men”, you’d better go to where they are. John 9:4 says, “I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is still day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”