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Summary: Jesus extends three invitations ¡V the disciples are drawn closer and closer to Him with each one ¡V and the intimacy and responsibility grow deeper each time.

The story of our text today has the familiar theme of Peter’s restoration. Peter had denied Christ three times outside Pilate’s house during Jesus’ trial. In this reunion by the sea Peter confesses his love for Jesus three times. It is heartwarming to think about the big fisherman being received back by his friend.

There is, however, another level to this encounter; it is the conversion cycle. Someone (I believe it was William Barclay) wrote that there are three conversions in a man’s life, when he is converted to Christ, then to the Church, and then to the Christless.

Deborah Brockus is a friend; she is also our daughter Carrie’s mother-in-law. Recently Deb sent me a devotional thought by Os Hillman which had the same thought - believers going through the conversion cycle.

First of all there are the beginners; these are the "Bless me, Lord¨ young believers who have trusted Christ for salvation and depend on the blessings to keep fledgling faith alive. Then, there are those who have grown somewhat beyond "bless me¨ to the "Help me, Lord¨ stage - believers who have moved along in the faith, but find themselves in continual crisis. Finally, there are the "Have me, Lord¨ mature believers, sold-out to Christ at any cost. These are those who have moved past caring for the things of this world; they have their eyes on the Christ.

However you view this, as a cycle, or stages of growth, this encounter of the disciples with the risen Christ depicts the truth that, the closer you allow yourself to be drawn to Christ, the more His intimacy breaks-down the barriers which keep you from having a genuine, life-changing relationship with God.

This morning, let’s look at the encounter as a progression; Jesus extends three invitations - the disciples are drawn closer and closer to Him with each one - and the intimacy and responsibility grow deeper each time.

YOU CAST

6He said to them, "Cast the net to the right side of the boat ¨

The disciples had been out fishing all night. All they caught was seaweed and old boots. Jesus told them to fish on the other side of the boat. I would imagine they couldn’t help smiling at one another while they let the net down again; "Is this guy for real?¨ Can you imagine how their expressions changed when it came back up with 153 big tuna breaking the nets?

That’s the way it is with following Jesus. Everyone I’ve ever known who accepted the invitation to follow Christ pulled up an overloaded net of the joy of forgiveness! This is conversion of the first sort - to Christ.

This first conversion breaks the barrier of unbelief. It’s something that is promised in Scripture, that placing our faith or trust in Christ for salvation, our faith is validated, and assurance is let into our heart. You are invited to cast the net, and you find yourself drawn into God’s everlasting arms. You cast the net, you wind up caught!

YOU COME

12Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast.¨

Jesus was inviting the men to more than a fish breakfast that morning. He was inviting them closer into his heart and fellowship. Jesus wanted to draw the disciples even closer to each other.

This is conversion to the church, and it happens that we might be loved by Jesus through others - disciples, learners, growing in Christ. Disciples aren’t just being blessed, as with the "Bless Me, Lord¨ young believers - these are being strengthened, as the "Help Me, Lord¨ bunch. If you are going to grow mature as a disciple of Jesus Christ there is a change that must take place in the way in which you live.

There’s a story told of a husband and wife, both of who were doctors - one a doctor of theology and the other a doctor of medicine. When their doorbell was rung and the maid answered, the inquirer would often ask for "the doctor". The maid’s interesting reply was: "Do you want the one who preaches or the one who practices?" [1]

To "come to Christ¨, in the sense of discipleship, means changing our practices in order to be worthy followers. Conversion to Christ breaks the barrier of unbelief that stands between us and God. Conversion to the Church breaks down the barrier of unworthy living.

YOU FOLLOW

19 - .After this he said to him, "Follow me.¨

This is that third conversion - to the Christless.

When a person is converted to Christ, he is brought-in from the darkness to the light, saved from an eternity of separation without God.

When a person is converted to the Church he is brought-in from the loneliness of going it alone - he is held accountable to live worthy of the Christ he professes.

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