Summary: Successful fisherman are properly prepared and dedicated to their craft; called to be "fishers of men," Christians must also be dedicated to our calling.
A. Matthew 4:18-22.
B. Think for a moment of the positive results of fishing.
1. Fishing is a healthy, fresh-air activity, very relaxing (for the most part).
2. Fishing provides a perfect setting for fun and togetherness with family and friends.
3. Fishing is a good way to make new friends.
4. Fishing provides an opportunity to get back to nature, to appreciate God’s creation.
5. Fishing teaches patience – it teaches perseverance and how to work toward goals.
C. Successful fishermen are prepared – they have made choices in preparation to fishing, and are dedicated to the activity.
D. As Christians, we are called to be “fishers of men.”
1. As such we need to prepare for opportunities to share the gospel.
2. And we must be dedicated to do what God has asked.
I. IMPORTANCE OF SELECTING THE APPROPRIATE TACKLE
A. A good way to think about tackle is “fishing tools.” Various items have specific purposes.
1. You wouldn't choose a hammer to saw a board in two.
2. We must learn to match the right “tool” to the “job” we wish to do.
B. Successful fishermen know you cannot use the same tackle for different types of fishing.
1. Veteran anglers usually own several outfits that match a range of species and techniques for catching them.
2. Still, a beginner should start with one multi-purpose fishing rod/reel combo that can be used for several situations.
3. As we become more skilled, we’ll become more comfortable with different styles.
C. Christians must approach our “fish” in the same way.
1. We cannot expect the same approach to work in all situations; Jesus certainly didn't teach this way. His approach changed from person to person, from situation to situation.
2. Some people will need to be approached gently, John 8:1-11.
3. Some may only respond to a more direct approach, Matthew 23:13-16.
4. Teaching a person with a denominational background will be different from teaching someone who has never been to church.
II. USING THE CORRECT BAIT
A. Bait is a part of every fishing story – if you’re not savvy about baits, you will not catch many fish.
B. As with having the correct tackle, we must also have the right bait for our targeted fish.
1. The early disciples believed in God and once pointed toward Jesus, went willingly, John 1:35-42.
2. Nicodemus was close to the truth, and Jesus gently brought him toward the “kingdom of God,” John 3:1-8.
3. The Samaritan woman by the well needed a different type of bait, so Jesus cast forth the thought of “living waters,” John 4:5-14.
4. When we are fishing for men, keep in mind what that person is going through, and show them how God can be of help.
C. There may also be times we need to check our bait, to be sure it’s still there; or even to change to another option.
D. Be ready to adapt to changing conditions – don’t stay focused on one type of bait.
III. YOU CATCH FISH BY FISHING
A. We can read about fishing or watch shows about fishing, but we’ll never be a fisherman until we put our “book” knowledge to practical use.
B. An important step in fishing is to know where to find the fish.
1. Jesus started in His local synagogue, Luke 4:16-30.
2. Then to Capernaum, and on throughout Galilee, Luke 4:31-32.
3. The key is Jesus had to go where the people were.
4. We also must be active, going out to the fishing spots, ready to share the truth of the gospel – our homes – our communities – our schools – our work places – all are filled with possible catches.
C. We will not be consistent anglers for God sitting in our pews; we must “go out among them,” Luke 9:6; 10:1-3.
D. Sometimes fish strike quickly, sometimes they are sluggish – people are the same way – some will be convinced quickly, others may take multiple visits, so be patient.
A. Fishing can be a fun time of family and friendship, but it also has a purpose – to catch fish.
B. The Church is also an excellent place for building up family relationships and friendships, but she also has a purpose – “to seek and save those who are lost.”
C. Let us be dedicated to doing the Lord’s work, following His example and sharing the “good news” of salvation with as many people possible, Acts 2:38.