Summary: This is a mini sermon used to exhort the congregation before the giving of tithes and offerings. It's designed to help them understand why Jesus' mission (saving souls) must be their mission and the role giving plays in accomplishing it.
Turn with me to Matthew 4. We’re going to read verses 17-20.
(17) From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
(18) And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
(19) And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
(20) And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
Watch Christian TV and more often than not what you’ll hear about Jesus’ gospel is what’s in it for you – how you will benefit. But is that what you see in verses 17 and 19?
When you see books by popular TV preachers – “Your Best Life Now” or “Re-position yourself: Living Life without Limits” – the focus, again, is what’s in it for you – how you will benefit. But, is that what you see in verses 17 and 19?
What is Jesus’ focus in calling the disciples? Was it to give them personal wealth or larger fishing boats? Was it to give them a blessed and happy life? Listen to many preachers today and the answer would be “yes.”
Our Father wants us to have what we need in this life. Otherwise, how can we bless people if we can’t pay our rent or buy food or put gas in our cars? We can’t. And our Father knows that.
Do you know what our Father wants from us more than anything in the world? He wants our hearts. He wants to fill them with His love for people. When we love like our Father loves, then we will do everything we can to be “fishers of men” – to catch and rescue souls headed for the lake of fire and an eternity without Him.
This is what Jesus promised: “I’ll show you how to catch people for My Father if you follow me.” No promise of wealth. No promise of larger fishing boats. No promise of a blessed and happy life. And they followed him anyway! How many of us would have done that?
Now, jump down to verse 23.
(23) And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
(24) And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
What we see in these verses is Jesus teaching the disciples how to “fish” for the kingdom. He (1) teaches and preaches about what life is like in the kingdom of God, (2) heals those who are sick or diseased, (3) heals those who are possessed with devils, and (4) heals people who are suffering mentally and physically.
After showing the disciples how to “fish” for the kingdom, verse 25 says “And there followed him great multitudes of people …”
Notice what Jesus does. He teaches the people about life in the kingdom of God (and you see him living that life in the Four Gospels) and then he demonstrates the power and authority kingdom life has over natural life by healing them.
But here’s the key thing: once Jesus “gets their attention” through the miracles and healings, he teaches them about the kingdom of heaven. He teaches them about life “with His Father” and how that life can be “their life.”
Jesus is fishing and he is showing his disciples how to do it. You demonstrate the Father’s love to people then you tell them how to live in that love forever.
Jesus isn’t concerned about the needs of the disciples. They are following him and whatever they need will be provided by the kingdom (Matt. 6:33). Since the disciples don’t have to worry about money for food, clothing and shelter, they can follow Jesus and do what he is teaching them to do – “fish for men.”
Ladies and gentlemen, we have the same kingdom life in us that Jesus has in him. Jesus has given us the same mandate that he gave to the disciples – “I want you to be fishers of men.” When we follow Jesus – when we fish for men for the kingdom of God – the kingdom will take care of our needs. We won’t lack for anything. That’s a promise from our Father.