Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: “Why is our Christianity not more contagious? Why are we not winning more of our friends, relatives, and associates to Christ? Why are we not better witnesses?” Because we are not obedient to the command to "Go Fish!"

Go Fish

Matthew 4:18-22


Illustration: describe fishing & my experiences…then…relate it to Christianity.

A question to ask Jesus: “Why is our Christianity not more contagious? Why are we not winning more of our friends, relatives, and associates to Christ? Why are we not better witnesses?”

According to surveys by George Barna, only about half (53 percent) of born again Christians feel a sense of responsibility to tell others about their faith. In other words, nearly half of us don’t think it’s our personal responsibility to share our beliefs with those who don’t know Christ. Then the really sad part, out of that 53 percent, how many actually DO share their faith with someone else?

One day as Jesus walked by the lakeshore He thought about the symbolism of the Sea of Galilee. It was a large, lovely lake, ringed by villages, nestled in the hollow of the hills, but Jesus saw more than blue water and bobbing boats. To His perceptive mind that lake represented the world. Watching the boats floating in the water, he thought of the local churches He would establish in the world. As He saw fisherman, He thought of His followers. The nets represented His evangelistic appeal, claiming souls for eternal life. Coming upon some fishermen that day, Jesus issued the first invitation in the New Testament: “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

I. We’re To Be Followers of Christ

A. Jesus spoke much about our following Him. Jesus refers used the word “follow” many times in the Gospels.

• “He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:38).

• He told the rich young ruler, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matt. 19:21)

• He evangelized Levi the tax-collector with just two words: “Follow Me” (Luke 5:27).

• “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).

• “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).

• His last words to Peter were similar to His first words: “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me” (John 21:22). Following Christ means we make Him Lord of our daily lives, seek out His promises and claim them, seek out His commands and obey them, and offer ourselves as living sacrifices for Him (Rom.12:1–2).

B. Illustration: have you ever watched a stream of ants stretching between their anthill and a food source? Some will be going to pick up their load; others will be returning to deposit their prize in the recesses of the anthill. The whole process will be very organized, very precise. Then ask yourself, “Why are these ants so organized in their task?” the reason is that ants are good followers, each dependent upon the ant in front of hm to lead him to the food supply. Because each ant follows the other, there is a straight line between the anthill and the food – no wasted energy, no unnecessary detours. There is a lesson in that for would-be disciples.

C. We talk a lot about ‘fellowship’ which speaks of how we relate to one another, but ‘followship’ speaks of what we ‘do.’

II. We’re To Be Fashioned By Christ

A. “... and I will make you.” The parallel account (Mark 1:17) says: “I will make you to become....” As we follow Christ, He makes us to BECOME. He begins to carve us into His type of people. How does Jesus carve us?

B. Illustration: A wood carver one day was carving a piece of wood, having many beautiful pieces already finished around him. What beautiful work he could do. Someone asked him how he did such wonderful work. The woodcarver replied, “I just cut away everything that isn’t part of what I want it to be.”

C. Illustration: A school teacher who was bypassed for a promotion went to her administrator and complained, “I have twenty years of experience, and you promoted someone who had only been teaching five years.” The administrator replied, “No, you don’t have twenty years of experience. You have one year of experience twenty times. You’re still teaching the same things and in the same way you did your first year. You haven’t grown in your profession.” Christ wants us to grow, to develop, to become effective representatives of Himself.

D. Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to ‘fashion’ you? To make you into a worthy vessel to be used by Him? Are you allowing Him to cut away everything in you that is part of what He wants you to be?

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Melvin Howton

commented on Sep 25, 2006

I am preparing a message to preach at my Baptist Association's annual meeting(34 SBC churches will be represented at this meeting). The theme of the annual meeting is "Intentional Evangelism" with emphasis on discipleship and prsonal spiritual growth. This message gave me some good ideas and several excellent illustrations.

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