Summary: Exposition of Belief
Text: Matt 4:18-20, Title: Weigh In or Filet Out, Date/Place: NRBC, 9/9/12, AM
Opening illustration: Note the difference between the big time “rock star” fisherman at a tournament, and the guy who hits the pond early in the morning on his day off. “I have to be frank with you here. Why would anyone ever want to come to on a journey with Christ, if they look at our lives and don’t see that we clearly think of it as the most incredible mission ever given? Why would anyone ever be intrigued by the way we live our lives if we don’t live in such a way that shows that we think God called us off the bench into the national championship game of life? We must treat it as though He’s given us the most important mission ever given. It means something. It is not just a segment of our lives—this church thing—it is our lives. To be His letter of love to our family, our neighbor, into the marketplace, into the local and global community, and even on the web. In every sphere of life…realize that Jesus died so that I could live and give life away, not just so that I could have spiritual peace and spiritual victory as I live a good and right life.” –Dukes, Radical video
Background to passage: This is the next message in the series about the marks of a growing disciple. In the original calling of the first disciples, Jesus tells them that in the course of following Him, He will make them fishers of men. So how’s the fishing?
Main thought: another mark of a growing disciple is to be active in sharing their faith.
What does that mean?
Jesus used a very common picture, especially for the disciples (and everyone else in Galilee), of fishing to describe the person that He was going to turn disciples into—a fisherman. Simple: fisherman go fishing, and generally catch fish; Christians look for men, and attempt to catch them. Catching men is about helping move people who are not following Christ (spiritually dead) closer in their journey to trusting Christ. You are plan A for reaching others, and there is no plan B.
Illustration: Dukes also talked about how evangelism and discipleship begins early, even before someone trusts Christ. Alvin Reid (in The NET) uses the metaphor of a spider’s web to demonstrate how many Christian influences and witnesses may be used before one actually believes.
In the past this meant that we take a course on sharing your faith by way of a certain method or presentation. Or it meant going on “visitation” and doing some cold call evangelism. Or it meant inviting others to gather with the church on Sundays. There is nothing wrong with these, but don’t stop here, and you don’t necessarily have to start here either. Here’s the truth that needs to set you free: catching people for Christ isn’t something that you do at church or necessarily related to gathering with the church. Say that again. Huh? You might say. Catching men is a lifestyle mission, not a program. You are the church! Go and be it to others and you will catch men. Every facet of your life is your mission field and you are the missionary—your home, your workplace, your recreation, your friends, but not as a project, but by laying your life down in Christ-like loving service. God has called you and sent you into your station in life to be a living letter of Christ’s love to all that you come in contact with, but especially to those whom you have relationships with.
Don’t ask if we’ve caught anything
This is an easy thing to assess how we are doing. We don’t count it by the number of people that you hand tracks to, nor the number that comes through the door, nor the number of evangelism training seminars that you have been to. And we don’t even count it by the number of people that you lead to Christ (although we hope that occurs). The way you assess your success in sharing your faith is by faithfulness. Are you fishing? It is God’s job to do the saving, it is your job to share the witness. But another key that Jesus instructs us to do is to actively serve others to better their lives, building relationships on kindness and earning the right to share your story. But this is more than just living a good life.
Illustration: what’s the first question that someone asks if they hear that you have been fishing? In our evangelism class in seminary we had to write witness reports, two per week. The blanket that I brought back from Peru this week. I won’t bore you with the statistics about how many believers don’t share their faith, we all know that we don’t do it much…