Summary: We live in the days of ’invitation’, but there is coming a day of ’separation’ as God examines all those pulled up in the net. Link included to entire series with formatted text, audio, and PowerPoint Templates.
Parable of the Drag-Net
Of all of Jesus’ parables He has now given to His disciples, I’m sure this is the one they could relate to the best because it uses an illustration from the fishing world, and most of these guys had backgrounds from that industry. Many of them left their nets when He called them saying, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.
I’ve never been much of a fisherman…I don’t have much patience for it, and no luck at all! But we have some in our church who believe that since the earth is 2/3rd’s covered with water, you are supposed to be fishing 2/3rd’s of the time!
Well in Bible days, there were 2 different kinds of nets used by fishermen. A casting net is small, bell shaped, and an individual could use it by himself. The other kind of net is a drag-net, and is much larger. In Bible days a drag-net could cover as much as 1 square mile of water surface area. A group of fishermen would spread out the drag-net between 2 boats and would drag it toward the shoreline. By the time they got the net to shore it would be filled with all sorts of sea creatures, and maybe a tire or license plate!
Men on the shore had the task of going thru the catch and separating the good from the bad. There were no game wardens and PETA was nowhere to be found…it was simply man having dominion over the earth and making a living. They would separate the useful from the useless, the edible from the bluegill! It was discrimination which led to separation.
This parable reveals to us tonite what God is doing among lost people today. The gospel of the kingdom involves two things: invitation and then separation.
The sea in the parable is representative of lost humanity. It’s a sea of despair and hopelessness. It’s a deep, dark abyss of iniquity.
The net is the church, extending the gospel invitation. In this day of grace God is using us to throw out the gospel invitation. I, for one, am very glad to live in this age of grace, where I could so freely be saved, and now can freely invite others to do so as well. May we never get tired of casting the net / giving the invitation at the end of the service / witnessing to others in the sea.
But then once we get to shore, there will be a separation.
I. The Invitation
A. The casting.
v. 47 The gospel is available to the entire sea of humanity, people of every kind. Nobody is so high the net cannot reach them, and none are so low that the net cannot descend to them. None are so small that the net cannot embrace them. None are so big that the net cannot wrap around them. None are hopelessly lost.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
2 of the most beautiful words in the Bible are ‘whosoever will’! Up and coming folks and the down and out. Religious Nicodemus needed to be born again, and so did the thief on the cross.
B. The gathering.
v. 47b ‘of every kind’ – The ideal church will have mixture of rich and poor, black and white, and everything in between.
Ill.—wealthy woman in the 19th century named Lady Huntington, a wealthy noblewoman. She was personal friends w/ George Whitfield, the great evangelist. She had gotten saved during the great Welsh revival. Someone asked her how a woman of her background came to be saved, she replied, “The letter ‘M’ is partly to credit for me” and then she quoted…
…not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
She continued, “notice that it does NOT say, ‘not any’, but not ‘many’.”
Not many rich get saved because their wealth gives them a false sense of security. Jesus said such conversions ‘hardly’ happen. But he also said, what does it profit if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul!