Summary: Moving beyond the tried and the comfortable to accomplish great things for God.
“LAUNCHING OUT INTO THE DEEP”
A. If you can list only one QUALITY that is absolutely vital to building a dynamic, vibrant, thriving church,what will it be?
1. We can list several:
a. DOCTRINAL PURITY
Each of these are essential to CHURCH GROWTH, but, in my opinion, they are not the mostimportant quality to building a thriving congregation. I believe FAITH is most important.
2. FAITH is that quality that SAVES the lost, STRENGTHENS Christians, INVOLVES people, and BUILDS churches.
a. Hebrews 11:6- “Without FAITH it is impossible to please God . . .”
b. FAITH was an important QUALITY that Jesus wanted His disciples to possess.
Did you know that nowhere in Scripture do you find Jesus REBUKING His disciples for making MISTAKES? He doesn’t even REBUKE Peter for openly DENYING Him. But on several occasions we find Jesus rebuking the disciples for their lack of FAITH.
B. What would you like to see accomplished in this church?
1. More leaders: elders and deacon?
2. Auditorium filled to capacity?
3. Greater enthusiasm and more meaningful worship assemblies?
4. Greater involvement in church ministries and programs?
Each of these require FAITH. We are not going to move beyond STATUS QUO without FAITH in the working of God.
2. Reaching our GOALS, building a GREAT church, saving the LOST, require LAUNCHING OUT!
a. Luke 5:1-11 (READ)
This is an ILLUSTRATION of FAITH. FAITH in the UNSEEN. FAITH in the IMPOSSIBLE. FAITH in the POWER of the Spirit working in the lives of Christians, then and now.
Surely you don’t believe that God no longer works in the lives of His children! If so, we might as well close this book and close the doors to this building, because we can’t impact anyone without God working in that person’s life.
b. Believing that God WORKS today requires FAITH. But it’s more than an INTELLECTUAL FAITH. It is FAITH that moves us beyond our COMFORT ZONE and LAUNCHES us out into the DEEP. That’s where we will see the MIGHTY WORKS OF GOD.
I. TESTING OF FAITH- vv. 4-5a
A The test: “Put out (launch out) into the deep”- v. 4
1. If we want to SUCCEED at anything, we must “LAUNCH OUT INTO THE DEEP.”
-Spend money to make money.
-Expand: increasing stock, larger building, better location, hiring more employees, etc.
b. EDUCATION (Master Degree or Ph.D.)
-Take difficult courses (more hours)
-Change schools (better education)
-Pay higher tuition
-Move and uproot family by changing jobs
-Go in debt to buy a house
If we want to reach our OBJECTIVES and GROW in whatever we do, we must LAUNCH OUT INTO THE DEEP. If we aren’t willing to LAUNCH OUT, we cannot be SUCCESSFUL. It’s impossible to better ourselves in any area of our lives without LAUNCHING OUT.
2. LAUNCHING OUT INTO THE DEEP requires FAITH!
a. We don’t know what’s on the other side, but through FAITH we see ourselves ACHIEVING at whatever endeavor we pursue.
The man who starts a new business has no idea if it will be SUCCESSFUL. Yet, he sees himself as SUCCEEDING and is willing to LAUNCH OUT. If he felt that his BUSINESS would FAIL, there would no way he would invest his TIME, EFFORT, and MONEY into it. But having FAITH that he will SUCCEED, he LAUNCHES OUT INTO THE DEEP!
b. It takes FAITH in the UNKNOWN to cause one to LAUNCH OUT into a new venture.
3. Sadly, some Christians seem to have more FAITH in their BUSINESSES than in the church!
a. This congregation cannot EXPAND--grow SPIRITUALLY or NUMERICALLY--without LAUNCHING OUT.
To accomplish any OBJECTIVE I’ve mentioned, or even your own OBJECTIVES, for this church, requires our STEPPING OUT into the DEEP by FAITH.
b. Could these OBJECTIVES by TESTS of our FAITH.
Even as Jesus was TESTING His disciples by saying, “Launch out into the deep,” could the OBJECTIVES we have for this church be ways that God is testing us to see if we are serious about GROWING? If so, how are we going to RESPOND to the TEST?
B. The apostles’ REACTION to the TEST- v. 5a
1. Peter- “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing...”
a. What’s Peter’s reaction? “We tried that once before. It didn’t work then, why will it work now?”
I’ve heard that one before, haven’t you? How often do we see congregations stop GOOD MINISTRIES just because they didn’t see IMMEDIATE RESULTS? Or, see Bible Class Teachers quit teaching because their STUDENTS didn’t respond as they hoped. Or, see Christians GIVE UP trying to reach out to the LOST because some of their friends said they weren’t interested in studying the Bible?