Summary: The "why" and "how" of reaching and teaching people for Jesus.
Let’s Go Fishing.
(note: This sermon appears in different forms in my files. I believe I have not copied or stolen anything from anyone else. But, if I have please forgive me. I have either lost the contributor or failed to carry it into the next emended sermon.)
One warm summer day some years ago when my son Parker was 9 or 10 he and I went fishing. On summer days in Norfolk we kept the Chevy Astro Van ready for recreation. In the summer the floats, fishing poles, tackle boxes, and towels stayed in the van. We had a standing invitation to fish in the backyard of a friend. They lived on Lake Whitehurst. One afternoon Parker and I arrived carrying all that we needed for a great afternoon of fishing. He had fishing pole, bait, and tackle box. I had lawn chair, barbecue potato chips, IBC diet root beer, and John Stott’s “Cross of Christ.”
Mostly Parker got hung up in the structure along the shoreline. Often I applied another sinker, hook, and worm to the Costco fishing pole. No fish, just limbs, branches, and junk were caught. Still, it was a great day.
At dusk he was hung up again. Apologetically Parker said, “Dad, should I just yank on it?” “Yes Son, just yank on it,” I said. As I was approaching him to help, he yanked on the pole and out of the water came the biggest largemouth bass I’d ever seen. A leviathan levitating in mid-air, mouth agape, thrusting himself toward my son surely thinking he was the true bait. Parker screamed. I screamed. Parker fell backwards. Moby Dick fell short of his prey and plummeted to earth. I leapt upon him dragging and kicking him away from his lair.
His length was from my elbow to tip of my fingers. We laughed long and hard at our luck and good fortune. And…we had a fish story to tell. It is all true…all true.
Luke tells us another fish story. It is all true…all true.
1One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a]with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2he saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down[b] the nets for a catch."
5Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."
6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" 9For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." 11So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
1. Jesus tells us to fish
Luke 5:4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
I think we would all verbally agree that as a Church, well, really the vision of any church is to reach people for Jesus and to teach people about Jesus.
And, so this passage gives us a very appropriate metaphor for the “why” and the “how” of reaching and teaching. Jesus tells us to fish. The Church is a fishing boat. I think we can say that the Church is not just a fishing boat but a commercial fishing boat. Peter, James, and John were commercial fishermen. They did this for a living. If you have ever lived near the ocean you know that fishing commercially is very hard work.
Therefore I would like to suggest what the church is not.
This Church is not a cruise ship. I hear cruise ships are fun. From my investigation of those who have gone on a cruise ship I think what you do on a cruise ship is eat a lot. From the information that I have received from the media it seems that when you are on a cruise ship you spend a lot of time in the middle of the ocean without toilet facilities. But I hear it is fun. You are served by others. You recreate a lot. You see a lot of shows.