CATCHING MORE THAN YOU CAN CARRY!
Lu 5:1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. (KJV)
INTRODUCTION: This is one of the most miraculous passages of Scripture in all of the Bible. This tells of the mighty power of the Lord. This story is not about Jesus teaching the multitude, but rather about Him teaching Simon Peter a great lesson.
Luke is the only Gospel that goes into any detail about this story. Matthew and Mark both give a brief reference to it, but Luke explains it in detail.
There is some typology in this passage that is very iteresting.
The “nets” would symbolize the talents of the disciples. They were washing their nets or polishing up their talents. Getting their talents ready for the next opportunity for use. That is something that every child of God should always be doing. Too many never attempt to improve their ability. That’s why it is important to read – study – increase your talents. I think I will start having you tell us in each service what you are currently reading. You should be reading something. Of course the Bible, but books that will increase your knowledge and that will challenge you. I am not much on reading these fiction paperbacks with a religious story. They will only work on your emotion and will not increase your knowledge. Read books on Baptist doctrine, prayer, commitment, Christian living, biographies of great preacher and women, lives of missionaries, etc.
The “ships” are a type of the local N.T. Church. Notice that in Vs. three Jesus taught from “out of the ship”. Or from the ship. I am leary of any ministry that is not connected with a local N.T. church. Every ministry, every missionary, every missions project, every evangelist, every Bible college, every printing ministry must be under the authority of a local N.T. church.
After Jesus had finished teaching he told Simon to take the boat out into deep water for a draught of fish. When Jesus came to them in Vs. 2 the ships were standing idle and not in fishing mode. The fishers were washing their nets. They had fished all night and the nets had picked up trash and junk from the sea waters.
That’s why it is important that each of us keep our lives clean and useable – we won’t catch any fish with dirty or unsuable nets.
We see three great priciples in this passage. One, we see Peter, The Lord will use man and his ability for the purpose of the kingdom of God. Second, we see Peter’s boat, the Lord can use anything that is given to Him to be used. Third, when the Lord uses the object or the person He will pay off with great dividends. They made a great catch.
There are five things that I want to point out to you in these few verses.
First of all Jesus told Simon to:
I. LAUNCH OUT Vs. 4.
Lu 5:4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. (KJV)
You will do nothing for God until you launch out. God is still waiting for most Christians to launch out.
Most Christians only do what they have to do to appease their own conscience.
Launching out is just part of the expectation.
A. Deep Water. The deeper the water the greater possibility for big fish.
The one main reason most Christians are not successful in the work of God is they never launch out into some deep water. You won’t catch fish in shallow water. That means that you must go where the fish are. You will find fish in the deep water. Launch out into deep water. We have to go where the fish are. They will not come to church and beg us to preach the Gospel to them. The won’t call you at home and ask you how to get saved. We will have to go where they are.
B. Commit To The Water. The greater the commitment the more you need God. The deeper the water the more you must depend upon God. Commit yourself to deep water.
Commitment. Until commitment is made you will never achieve anything for God. Without commitment everything you do will be hit and miss. You will not be successful until you commit.
You can’t launch out unless you are in the water. Launch Out.
II. LET DOWN Vs. 4.
Lu 5:4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. (KJV)
Jesus told them to “Launch out” and then “Let down”. This would tell us to let the Lord direct our path to Letting down. Let down where He tells us to do so. Jesus directed him to the best place to fish.
Notice this – The success of letting down did not depend on Peter’s faith in what the Lord told him to do, rather his obedience. He was skeptical of what the Lord had told him to do. He didn’t have any faith. “We have toiled all night…nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” Can’t you hear the skepticism in his words. He really didn’t think anything would happen. He didn’t expect to make a catch. Peter was a professional fisherman – he knew how to catch fish. He had worked that same area all night doing all that was necessary to catch fish but they caught nothing. There wasn’t anything there.
Listen to this:
Obedience to the Lord in what He says has more to do with results than our faith does. Don’t brag about your faith – until you have exercised your obedience.
I am not minimizing faith. I am just emphasizing the importance of obedience. More Christian success is because of being obedient to the Word of God. God’s word cannot lie, so if we obey it then success will come.
Peter let the nets down only because the Lord told him to. Because he did that he caught fish. He caught fish even though he didn’t believe he would.
Launch Out – Let Down.
III. LIFT UP Vs. 6.
Lu 5:6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. (KJV)
Peter could not see beyond the bottom of the boat – the Lord could see the entire sea.
They caught more than they could carry home.
You and I don’t know what is around the corner of life, but the Lord knows our whole life. He has “ordered our steps”. “Lo, I am with the always.” Our responsibility is to be obedient to His word.
If you insist on directing your own boat you will shipwreck. You can’t see any further than the bottom of the boat – whereas Jesus can see the whole lake.
Launch Out – Let Down – Lift Up.
IV. LOOK BEYOND Vs. 8.
Lu 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. (KJV)
When Simon Peter saw it,…. Saw what? What did Peter see? When he looked beyond his own failures He saw what the Lord could do. He had fished all night and caught nothing. When he looked beyond his own efforts he saw what was possible with the Lord. When he looked beyond he saw that his physical ability wasn’t even close to the wisdom of the Lord. That is what the Lord wants to show you today. The Lord wants us to see ourselves totally dependent upon Him. He wants us to see that without Him we can do nothing. When Simon Peter saw that – he fell down at Jesus feet..
All Peter could see was that he had fished all night and had caught nothing, but when he looked beyond himself and his own capabilities he saw the reality of what God could do, then he caught more than he could carry home.
Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (KJV)
Jer 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (KJV)
Look beyond your past. Look to the Lord. When Simon Peter saw it, he realized that he was in the presence of the Almighty God, and he saw that the Almghty God had power over all of his problems and inabilities.
You must look beyond self – when you do that you will see that God has the road already mapped out.
Look beyond your own imagination and capibilities.
V. LET GO Vs. 11
Lu 5:11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. (KJV)
Think on this: They forsook their nets after the best catch they had ever had. More likely than not these men had dreamed about a catch like this one – both ships were filled and sinking with the load. What a catch! Then the Lord tells them to throw all of that away and come and follow Him. These men let go of the thing that was most important in their lives. This was their lively hood. This was the thing that put food on the table. This was how they made their living. And here we see that they forsook everything to follow the Lord.
You will never serve the Lord properly and hold on to anything.
I have decided to follow Jesus.
“Turn loose the rope”. When I was about 14 years old I had 4 or 5 friends about the same age as I was – that Summer we all spent a lot of time at our favorite swimming hole. It was a large hole and had a high bank on one side of it. On that same side was a very large tree that grew out and over the water. There was a big limb that grew out to about the center of the swimming area. One day when we went swimming one of the guys brought a rope. He shimmied up that tree and tied the rope around that limb. Then he got on that high bank and grabbed ahold of that rope and swung out over the water. When he got over the deep water he turned loose of the rope and fell about 10 or 12 feet into the water. He came up laughing. Then another one of the guys grabbed the rope. He swung out into the water and turned loose. He came up laughing. Then it came my turn. I grabbed hold of the rope and swung over the water but I didn’t turn loose. I swung back. Then I did it again, but I swung back again. Then one of the guys hollered at me and said, “Ivan, turn loose of the rope.” That next time out I turned loose of the rope.
When I turned loose of that rope – I had more fun than I have ever had in my life.
Personal Experience: God called me to preach when I was 22 years old – but I swung back and forth on that rope for 15 years and then one day I turned loose. Since then I have had more fun that you could imagine.
One Sunday night, early in 1973, I walked the aisle at church and told the Lord I would do anything He directed me to. I told Him that I would Launch Out into deep water. In just a few weeks we sold our home and moved to Louisville, KY and entered Bible school. When I let go of the things I had been holding on to I found out that those days as a teenager and jumping into that swimming hole was no fun at all compared to what God had started doing for our family. I couldn’t tell you in the next two days all that God has done for us. We enclosed a great catch of fish. Much larger than I would ever have imagined.
There is something else that “letting go” did:
In verses 1-10 everything was all about Simon Peter. His name is mentioned six times. It was his ship. The Lord was talking to him personally. Simon Peter is the one that let down for the catch, but look in Vs. 11 we see something completely different.
Notice in Vs. 11 “They forsook all, and followed him.” It’s no longer about just Peter now. We see what Peter’s obedience did for the others. When he “let go” the others let go also. It’s not just Simon now, but it is THEY or all of them.
Here is the principle that is established:
Turn to: Ro 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (KJV)
We know that the first man mentioned in Vs. 19 is speaking of Adam. Adam’s disobedience brought the sin nature unto all mankind.
And the second man in Vs. 19 is the Lord Jesus Christ. By His obedience many shall be made righteous. That is, of course, referring to the Lord’s submission to His death on the cross. But I believe there is a present day application to that as well. When you let go – others will let go also.
When Peter did what the Lord told him to do, they all followed. When Peter obeyed, “They forsook all, and followed Lord.”
I was in a church one Sunday AM several years ago. The invitation had gone on for several minutes. It seemed like nothing was going to happen. Finally, after several verses of the hymn, a young man walked the aisle and got saved. During the next several minutes thirty-four other people came and got saved, and three families joined the church. They weren’t necessarily waiting for this one person to move, but the Holy Spirit used his obedience to cause others to do the same thing. When he “let go” others “let go” also.
“They forsook all, and followed Him.” Why don’t you launch out today? Let Go and let God have His way with you.
BETH HAVEN BAPTIST CHURCH MINISTRIES
PO BOX 891523
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73189-1523
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