Summary: This final lesson in the series is designed to motivate us to realize that the soul-saving business is the most important business in the world.
A. Today’s sermon brings to a conclusion this series on outreach that we have been addressing this fall.
1. We are going to spend a few moments thinking about Jesus’ famous last words, but before we do, I thought it might be fun to think about some other famous last words.
2. Here are the Top 10 Famous Last Words:
a. “I know this great shortcut we can take.”
b. “Don’t worry, it’s not contagious.”
c. “Pull the pin and count to what?”
d. “So, you are a cannibal.”
e. “Which wire was I supposed to cut?”
f. “I wonder where the mother bear is.”
g. “Trust me I know what I’m doing.”
h. “Gee, that’s a cute tattoo.”
i. “Of course it’s safe.”
j. “Well, it can’t get any worse!”
3. Famous last words!
B. You remember Jesus’ last words, don’t you?
1. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mt. 28:18-20)
2. Jesus said this to his disciples in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
3. The next verse reads, “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud him from their sight.” (Acts 1:9)
C. So, those were Jesus’ last words to his disciples, but let’s travel back in time to an earlier encounter with Jesus.
1. This episode is recorded in Matthew 4:18 and following.
2. Jesus was walking one day beside the Sea of Galilee, and he saw two brothers, Peter and Andrew.
3. Peter and Andrew were common fishermen. That’s how they earned a living.
4. They were working hard that day, casting their nets into the lake and pulling in their catch.
5. Jesus came up to them and said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
6. Verse 20 says, “At once they left their nets and followed him.”
D. In essence, what Jesus said to the two of them that day was, “I understand your preoccupation with catching fish. But if you will trust me and follow me, if you will try to understand who I am and what I am up to in this world, then I will make you fishers of men. And believe me, this is infinitely more significant an endeavor than merely catching fish!”
1. Now, it’s important to understand that Jesus was not knocking the fishing business, any more than He would have knocked the woodworking business, from which He and Joseph had made a living.
2. There’s nothing wrong with those occupations, nor the food business, the travel business, the insurance business, or any other wholesome business.
3. They are all fine. But no earthly enterprise is as important as the business of bringing lost people to the cross of Christ.
4. This soul saving enterprise should be central to the lives of all Jesus’ followers, regardless of what they do for a living.
E. Those of us who choose to follow Jesus must eventually come to the conclusion that there’s nothing more important than reaching people.
1. When we do, our values will change.
2. We will be seized by the realization that every other earthly activity pales in comparison with helping an individual man, woman, boy or girl come into a saving relationship with the God of the universe.
3. When we finally come to that understanding, then we will live differently. We will pray differently, love differently, work differently, serve differently and give differently.
4. We will become preoccupied with people and their spiritual needs.
5. And we will want to know how we can become more effective fishers of men.
F. Let me ask you a personal question: Has that kind of thing happened to you yet? Have you come to that conclusion yet?
G. In 2 Peter, chapter 3, Peter describes what will happen on the day of the Lord.
1. He describes how that everything that so many of us are so concerned about getting will be burned up.
2. Peter writes, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? (2 Peter 3:10-12)