Up the Creek without a Paddle
I ONCE LIVE IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA…THE BREEZE OF THE GULF…THE SOUND OF THE OCEAN COMING TO SHORE…TOPICAL FLOWERS & TREES IT WAS PARADISE! IT WAS THERE I MET A MAN NAME DON JACKSON A PREACHER WHO HAD RETIRED & LOVED TO FISH.
ONE DAY HE INVITED ME TO GO TARPON FISHING OUT IN THE EVERGLADES. NOW I HAD NO DESIRE TO GO OUT INTO THE EVERGLADES CUZ OF SNAKES & GATORS…BUT WHEN HE TOLD ME THERE WHERE FISH OUT THERE I SIGNED UP!
EARLY ONE MORNING WE DROVE DEEP INTO THE EVERGLADES…GOT INTO A 12’ JOHN BOAT W/ A 15 HP OUTBOARD ENGINE & TOOK OFF! WE HAD LAUNCH THE BOAT IN WHAT I THOUGHT WAS A LARGE POND…BUT I DID SAY A WORD…DON FIRED UP THAT ENGINE & OFF WE WENT HE WAS WIDE OPEN & HEADED RIGHT FOR THE MAGROWS…SCARED TO DEATH I LAYED DOWN IN THE FRONT OF THE BOAT & BRACED FOR THE IMPACT BUT THEN I NOTICED A SMALL OPENING IN THE MAGROWS IT WAS A CANNEL ABOUT 5’ WIDE AT BEST!
THESE CHANNELS WOULD LEAD TO YET ANOTHER POND & THEN TO ANOTHER CHANNEL! BUT THEN EVERTHING CHANGED UP AHEAD IN THE CHANNELS I SAW GATORS IN THE TREES HANGING OVER THE CHANNELS WERE HUGE SPIDERS & SNAKES…IF THAT WEREN’T ENOUGH TREES WERE LAYING ACROSS THE CHANNEL & WE LITERALLY HAD TO CLIMB OVER THEM WHILE THE BOAT WENT UNDER THEM. IT WAS THE FISHING TRIP FROM HELL!
I LEARNED A VALUABLE LESSON THAT DAY! IF YOU REALLY WANT TO CATCH FISH…SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO OVERCOME SOME OBSTACLES!
JESUS UNDERSTOOD THAT PRINCIPAL! IN ORDER TO “FISH FOR MEN” HE HAD TO OVER COME SOME OBSTACLES...
- THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS
- THE CRITICS
- FAMILY & FRIENDS
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN EASY EVEN RESONABLE FOR HIM TO SAY “HEY, I’M UP THE CREEK W/O A PADDLE” SO WHY BOTHER? BUT HE DIDN’T…THANK GOD HE DIDN’T!
Luke 19:10 The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
DID YOU CATCH THAT? JESUS SAID HE CAME TO SEEK & SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST!
NOW STAY WITH ME! HE DIDN’T SAY I CAME TO BE…
- COMFORTABLE or HAPPY
- TO SEEK FOR CONTENTMENT…POWER….OR WEALTH
MY PURPOSE JESUS SAID WAS “TO SEEK & SAVE THE LOST”!
THEREFORE, THE WORDS OF PAUL ARE VERY APPROPERIATE WHEN HE WRITES… Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. I Cor 11:1
MY FRIEND THERE WILL BE TIMES WHEN YOU FEEL “UP THE CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE” THAT IS TO SAY…
YOU WILL ENCOUNTER OBSTACLES IN SHARING YOUR FAITH…IN FISHING FOR MEN BUT YOU HANG IN THERE DON’T GIVE UP & BE ENCOURAGED JESUS ENCOUNTER & OVERCAME OBSTACLES AS WELL & SO SHALL WE!
1 Corinthians 15:57
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
MY REASONING IS THIS “IF JESUS CAME TO FISH FOR MEN THEN SO SHOULD WE”!
OUR PURPOSE ON THIS EARTH IS TO BRING GLORY & HONOR TO OUR LORD & NOTHING DOES THAT MORE THAN WHEN WE OBEDIENTLY WIN SOULS!
MANY THINK THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS CONTENTMENT…HAPPINESS…POWER….WEALTH….NO!
AS CHRISTAINS “CHRIST LIKE” WE TO ARE TO SEEK & SAVE THAT WHICH IS LOST”!
BUT THERE’S A PROBLEM! MANY CHRISTIANS & CHURCHES ARE “UP THE CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE”! THERE NOT CONCERNED WITH FISHING!
OH WE READ ABOUT IT…SING ABOUT IT….TALK ABOUT IT…MAKE PLANS TO DO IT BUT THEY NEVER FISH!
IF A FISH HAPPENS TO LEAPS IN THE BOAT THAT’S GREAT! BUT NO ONE SEEMS WILLING TO CAST THEIR NETS & WORK TO PULL THEM IN.
SO THIS MORNING LET’S CONSIDER THIS DILEMMA “WHEN FISHERMEN DON’T FISH”.
When Fishermen Don’t Fish…
I. They Fight! Matthew 20:20-28 The mother of James & John
24When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
WHAT HAPPENED? LAST WEEK WHEN WE LEFT THESE MEN THEY WERE PREACHING…TEACHING…HEALING…SHARING THE GOOD NEWS & CROWDS FOLLOWED THEM!
BUT NOW WE HAVE A POWER STRUGGLE GOING ON! MEN NO LONGER CONCERNED FOR OTHERS BUT JOCKEYING FOR POSITION!
MY FRIEND YOU CAN TAKE THIS TO THE BANK SHOWS ME SELFISHNESS & SELF-CENTEREDNESS & I’LL SHOW YOU A FIGHT! ONE BREWING…ONE IN PROGRESS…OR ONE JUST FINISHED!
THEY HAD GOTTEN THEIR EYE OF THE PRIZE…THEY’D FORGOT THEIR PURPOSE…WHEN FISHER MEN DON’T FISH THEY FIGHT!
ILLUSTRATION: There seems to be a Lack of Passion for the Great Commission:
A Christian Research Group conducted a nationwide survey asking but one question: “Please describe your goals in life.”
9 out of 10 people classified themselves as a “Christian,” by the following definition,
“I am personally committed to Jesus Christ and have confessed my sins and I believe that I will go to heaven when I day because of God’s love and grace through Christ.” STRONG DEFINITION!
not one of those who said they were Christians declared that their life goal was to be a “fully committed follower of Jesus Christ and to participate in making Christian disciples.”
MY FRIEND JESUS CALLED US TO BE “FISHERS OF MEN” * IT WAS HIS PLAN… * IT’S OUR RESPONSIBILITY…* MAN’S SALVATION HANGS IN THE BALANCE!
WHEN WE DON’T FISH WE ARE PRONE TO FIGHT…OVER THINGS THAT JUST DON’T MATTER!
- THE MUSIC MINISTER NEVER SINGS THE 3RD STANZA OF AMAZING GRACE
- DID YOU SEE THAT CARPET THEY PUT IN THE NURSERY
- CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW THE PASTORS WEARING HIS HAIR
CHURCH, WHAT ARE WE DOING! I’LL TELL YA …WE AREN’T FISHING & THAT IS OUR PURPOSE!
“COME, I’LL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN” Matthew 4:19
When Fishermen Don’t Fish, not only do they Fight….
II. They Flee! Matthew 26:75
Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.
WHEN THE GOING GOT TUFF….PETER GOT GONE!...UP UNTIL THIS NIGHT EVERYTHING WAS GREAT! LIVES CHANGED…PEOPLE SAVED…CAPTIVES SET-FREE.
BUT NOW EVERYTHING WAS DIFFERENT…JESUS WAS IN JAIL & HIS FISHERMEN ESPECIALLY PETER HAD LOST SIGHT OF THEIR PURPOSE….
SO PETER DID WHAT MEN OFTEN DO WHEN FACED W/ OBSTACLES HE CUT & RUN
WHEN FISHERMEN DON’T FISH THEY FLEE FROM THE VERY THING GOD HAS CALLED THEM TO DO!
PETER TOOK HIS EYES OFF JESUS, HE LOST SIGHT OF THE PURPOSE TO “SEEK & SAVE” & THE RESULT HE FLOUNDER…HE FLED…HE FAILED!
MY FRIEND GOD ALWAYS HONORS FAITHFULNESS…
"His master replied, ’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
1Corinthians4:12 1So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
DON’T VIEW OBSTACLES AS PROBLEMS BUT OPPORTUNITIES! OPPORTUNITIES TO FISH…TO BE FAITHFUL…TO FULLFILL YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE “TO SEEK & SAVE”!
ILLUSTRATION: Wyoming had a problem with timber wolves. They offered $5,000 bounty on each wolf captured alive. That turned Sam & Jed into bounty hunters! Day & night they scoured the mountains looking for wolves.
Exhausted one night, they fell asleep dreaming about the fortune they would make capturing wolves.
Suddenly, Sam awoke to see that they were surrounded by 50 wolves with flaming eyes & bared teeth.
He nudged his friend and said, “Sam, wake up, we’re rich!”
My friend everyday we are surrounded by opportunities to seek & to save, so don’t focus on the obstacles but rather look to Jesus…focus on your purpose…share your faith w/ the lost!
Otherwise you’ll flee every time.
When fishermen don’t fish, not only do they Fight & Flee, but they:
III. They Forget! John 21:1-3
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: 2Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3"I’m going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We’ll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
UNBELIEVABLE! AFTER ALL THEY HAD BEEN THROUGH W/ JESUS! THE SIGNS…MIRACLES…WONDERS! ALL THE LIVES TOUCHED & CAHNGED!
THESE MEN SIMPLY WENT BACK TO THEIR OLD LIVES.
NO LONGER “FISHERS OF MEN”…. BUT FISHERMEN!
WHEN FISHERMEN DON’T FISH THEY FORGET THE THINGS OF GOD! HIS WORD….HIS HOUSE….HIS PEOPLE….HIS WILL!
THE THINGS OF GOD ARE QUICKLY REPLACED W/ OLD DESIRES….OLD HABITS…OLD FRIENDS…OLD PATTERNS!
WE SIMPLY FORGET GOD & WHAT HE CALLED US TO DO!
QUOTE: Oliver Perry said it best…. “We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us!”
Matthew 5:13-14 & 16
13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
ILLUSTRATION: During World War II, 500 GI’s were attending a performance at an Italian opera house. In the middle of a scene, an air raid caused the lights to go out and the house became completely dark. A GI directed to Army-issued flashlight toward the stage. The rest of the GI’s followed suit, and soon 500 flashlights illuminated the stage. The conductor bowed to the audience, waved his baton, and continued the opera.
MY FRIEND, MAY WE NEVER FORGET THAT JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD & THAT WE ARE TO SHINE THAT LIGHT SO MEN CAN FIND THEIR WAY OUT OF DARKNESS!
The Message is Clear….If we spend our energy fishing rather than fighting, fleeing or forgetting
- We will be obedient………….We will be fruitful
- We will win souls……God’s kingdom will grow
And in the process we will be blessed beyond measure with His passion… peace…purpose….power….presence!
Close w/ Peter in Acts 2 he’s no longer fighting, fleeing or forgetting but fishing once again winning souls to kingdom of God!