Summary: I believe that of all people in the world, we Christians should want to succeed. What makes us different are our priorities, definition of success, and ways on getting there. Let’s take a lesson from a weary team of fishermen who felt failure until Jesus
Intro: Almost every normal person is interested in success. Observe the business section and self-help section of the local bookstore. Look at the best-selling books. See the ads section of newspapers for invitations to “success” seminars. I believe that of all people in the world, we Christians should want to succeed. What makes us different are our priorities, definition of success, and ways on getting there. Let’s take a lesson from a weary team of fishermen who felt failure until Jesus taught them success principles that helped them the rest of their lives. These principles are –
I. Accept limitations of human efforts and plans (v. 5)
A. Peter, Andrew, James and John did all they knew to catch fish and still ended up empty handed.
B. While God gave us minds to think with, sometimes we don’t have enough ability and wisdom on our own to have success (Isa. 55:8-9; Psa. 39:5b).
II. Trust Jesus’ word even if it doesn’t make sense (v. 5)
A. How do you think these fisherman felt, taking advice from a carpenter turned preacher? Didn’t they know fishing? It was their business from their childhood.
B. Still, there was something in Jesus that caused them to trust him. He did not, of course, ask them to do something immoral, just something that did not seem to make practical sense (Prov. 3:5-7).
III. Be willing to face problems and pains (v. 4)
A. When Jesus asked the disciples to launch out again, it was through deep water. Risks and challenges are part of achievement. A risk-free life is terribly dull.
B. History will prove that every great and successful task has always involved some of the most difficult problems and trials along the way. Facing and overcoming inevitable hardships make the victory even sweeter! (II Cor. 11:23-27).
IV. Never give up even when feeling frustrated (v.5)
A. The fishermen were sleepless and tired but willing to do their part (II Cor. 12:9; Phil. 4:19).
B. They were discouraged, but willing to try again, this time the Lord’s way (I Sam. 30:6).
V. Remember the importance of teamwork (v. 7)
A. Then and even now, there is continual need for more laborers in the Lord’s work (Luke 10:2).
B. As success came, they had to share the burden.
C. Since the Lord Jesus was the ultimate focus, it did not matter who got the credit (I Cor. 3:5-6).
VI. Remember, God can give us more than we have ever asked or imagined (v. 6)
A. God’s delays are not His denials. A Christian who is faithful to God is destined for a happy ending!
B. Notice that the catch of fish was even greater than they would have expected (Eph. 3:20).
C. Our God delights in surprising us (I Cor. 2:9).
VII. Be humble even in your success (vv. 8-9)
A. Peter did not take sole credit for the success.
B. In fact, he humbled himself before the Lord and came face to face with His own unworthiness.
C. The goodness of God should lead us to repentance (Rom. 2:4). It is God who must be glorified.
Conclusion: Friend, you don’t need to be “big time” to be successful. As you read the Book of Acts, you will see how a lowly fisherman like Peter became useful to God and became a spiritual success. And so can you be successful if only you follow God’s secrets for spiritual success!
Spiritual success begins by having a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Even if you come to a point where you have fulfilled your earthly ambitions, without Christ you are vain and nothing at all. Without Christ as Lord and Saviour, you are destined to eternal failure!