Summary: #5 in the series "The Six Pillars of a Powerful Church" -
"The Six Pillars of a Powerful Church" -
"FISHN’ FOR A LIVIN" Acts 1:8
As we have looked at the first four pillars of a powerful church we now come to the one that is both a command and a natural effect of the previous four.
If the church is strengthened by fellowship, discipleship, worship and stewardship then the natural overflow of that will be an easy and obedient response to the command found in Mark 16:15 – that is to “GO.” This pillar is the Pillar of Evangelism….
It is one of those words that for some reason – causes most Christians to cringe. It is not a scary word, it simply means to witness, to testify and just to tell others what God has done and is doing in your life.
Today I want to tell you a fish story – only this one – ITS TRUE.
Turn in your bibles to Acts 1:8… “…but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
In order to grasp the full significance of the privilege and responsibility of fishing – that is in witnessing to others for Jesus… let me mention five thoughts of truth from Acts 1:8.
The PEOPLE – who fish… “you......you and you” –
Just every day, just an ordinary person … God expects every Christian to be a witness, a fisher of men. Here of some of the most used excuses why the “you” don’t:
1. I forgot. – if you’re a Christian how could you? It was Jesus’ parting words.
2. No one told me to go ahead. – Ok then consider this your personal invitation to “GO.”
3. I didn’t think it was that important. – Your right isn’t that important it is THE most important thing
4. I didn’t know we were in a hurry for it. – it is when people are dieing of spiritual starvation.
5. That’s not in my spiritual gift. – witnessing is not a spiritual gift, it is a spiritual command.
6. I will just live my witness. – the bible says faith comes from hearing… not living… living only strengthens it.
7. That’s their job--not mine. – it is the job of every Christian not just professional anglers.
The PLAN – for fishing - “unto me” –
God’s plan centers upon the Person of Jesus Christ. It is a testimony that includes what Christ is and what He has done and it is carried out by His people. There is no plan “B.” There is no other reason.
The PLACES to fish -
“…both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”
Note the word “both” – means – one at a time and at the same time.
a. In Jerusalem – evangelism in your neighborhood, your own community
b. In Judea - evangelism in your own country
c. In Samaria - evangelism in your own continent
d. Uttermost part of the earth - evangelism to all creation
The POWER to fish by. “…when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”
You don’t fish for lives under your own power; God will equip you with the power to fish. In order to be an effective fisherman you must allow God to work in and through you.
The PERIOD you are to fish. (from verse 7) - “He said to them, "It is not for you to know times…”
So you keep fishing until Jesus comes back again! Until that time there is no retirement… no letting up. Jesus once told the disciples in Mark 13:10 “And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.” That is when you get to stop.
The ANDREW METHOD of Fishing John 1:38-42a
This command and overflow to evangelism should be natural and should be something every Christian WANTS to do. But we have made it to complicated and we have become complacent.
We have tried to get some formula to “make it easier.” We have let society tell us we can’t talk about Jesus. The culture wants their right to free speech but don’t want you to have yours.
Frankly I wish the First Amendment had never been written. Let me tell you why… If Christians were told you CAN”T then they would fight in order to be able to (When Jesus told people not to say anything they did anyway). But since we are command to do it and told by the First Amendment that we should be able to do it - we don’t…
But you don’t have to be complacent and you don’t have to make it complicated…
Ask any true fisherman and they will tell you – a person fishing has to have: