A New Year Challenge
"The Risk of Vulnerability"
Luke 5:1-11 "So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, 2 and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. 3 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.
4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, 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 and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” 11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him."
As the door opens into a brand new year, I want to launch it with a message series called "RISK."
This series is going to be a challenge to our faith, a challenge to "launch out into the deep" in order to experience the miraculous.
In the next 4 weeks we're going to cover...
The Risk of vulnerability
The Risk of obedience
The Risk of letting go
The Risk of Discipleship
I'm calling it "Risk" because a walk of faith always involves a "risk factor."
I don't mean irresponsible risk, or foolish risk, or presumptuous risk....
I mean the kind of risk that we all encounter when following Jesus requires letting go of security blankets, leaving what is familiar, stepping into the unknown, and walking on the Word!
I mean the kind of RISK Abraham took when he "obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going" (Heb. 11: 8).
Or the RISK Noah took when he "prepared an ark for the saving of his household" when there was no water to float it in!
Or the RISK the 10 lepers took when they obeyed Jesus and began walking to find the priest when as yet they were not healed!
Or the RISK Peter took in our story when, though he had fished all night long and caught nothing, obeyed Jesus and launched his boat back out to the deep end of the sea to fish yet again.
Faith always requires a level of risk---to our pride should we fail, to our comfort zone should it be threatened, to our security should we become endangered...
But without taking a Biblical, Holy Ghost--led RISK we will never walk in life-changing, devil-defeating, miracle-releasing faith!
So I want to take this account of Jesus commanding Peter to launch out into the deep and bring a WORD IN SEASON for 2016.....
That we would also take some risks and "launch out into the deep" this year!
I believe the reward will be "a great number of fish" or, as one man put it, a "net-breaking, boat-sinking load" of blessed results!
So, let's begin today by looking at "The Risk of Vulnerability."
We notice first in our story that Jesus is teaching a large crowd early in the morning.
The sun has just risen across a placid sea, causing the calm water to glisten like a million diamonds.
Peter and his brother, Andrew, have just wrapped up a night of ZERO results with their fishing....In East Texas we would say they got skunked!
I'm sure they're moving slowly in discouraged motions as they clean their nets and prepare to go home with nothing to show for a night of work.
Meanwhile, the young preacher with a huge crowd, Jesus by name, had a need.
The crowd had grown so large that they were "pressing Him" to hear the Word of God that flowed from His lips.
He looks around and sees two empty boats and steps into one of them, which happened to be Peter's.
Now, the first thing I notice here is that...
Jesus was looking for something empty to fill...
Peter's boat was empty, and this fit the bill for what Jesus needed---something empty He could get into!
You would be amazed at how many miracles in the Bible begin with something empty...
When Jesus performed his very first miracle at the wedding in Cana, He chose six empty water pots and said, "Fill the water pots with water."
He needed something empty to fill with a miracle!
When the Prophet Elisha wanted to do a miracle for the widow who needed a financial breakthrough, he told her to "go and gather from all your neighbors empty jars." (2 Kings 4:3)
She did so and every jar was miraculously filled with valuable oil she sold and paid off her debt with.
This widow took the RISK OF OBEDIENCE and experienced a miracle!
So I have Good News today! If you're empty, if you have lack, if you are poor in spirit and your heart aches for something you don't have...
Jesus wants to get into your boat!
He wants to fill you with what only He can give!
When we look at the life of Simon Peter, everything changed when he allowed Jesus to enter the emptiness of his life.
Jesus came into Peter's life in a moment of discouragement...
He had an empty net, an empty heart, and an empty boat...
And Jesus stepped into his EMPTY!
And He offers the same to you!
"Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me" (Rev. 3:20).
Now, what I want us to see today is that, in order for Peter to experience his very first encounter with the living Christ, and his very first miracle...
II. He had to make himself VULNERABLE.
Jesus was ready to step into his boat, but Peter had to say "yes."
You see, Peter's BOAT was his life....it was the source of his livelihood, his prized possession.
Peter's boat was an extension of Peter himself...
He knew that boat better than he knew himself; every square inch of that vessel was familiar to this salty old fisherman.
We might say today that Peter's boat was his special, private SPACE.
Peter got into that boat---not just when he needed to fish---but when he needed to be alone, when he needed to calm his nerves, when he needed to just get away from it all...
And when Jesus first stepped into Peter's boat, a decision had to be made on his part....
Do I let Him into my boat, or do I ask Him to find another one?
It was a defining moment for Peter, when to let Jesus stay required becoming VULNERABLE.
It meant letting Jesus into his special, private, personal SPACE; it meant trusting him with his STUFF.
ILLUS: When the Lord first began to deal with me about letting Him into my boat--(my life)--I remember having fear.
I wasn't thinking of what He might do FOR me, but was afraid of what He might do TO me!
What would He take away?
What would He require?
What would He turn me into?
In other words, it was one thing to let Him save my soul, to give me fire insurance for heaven....
But it was something else entirely to open the door to all the rooms in my soul that were under lock and key, the rooms only I went into!
The room holding my failures, the room holding my hurts, the room holding my secrets, the room holding my dreams...
We all have these rooms, and to open them to ANYONE BUT US is to become VULNERABLE.
But this is what Jesus asks for!
Listen again to Jesus, "Look! I have been standing at the door, and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me" (Rev. 3:20).
The Lord is doing more here than saying, "Believe in Me so you can be saved."
He's asking for access to our boat--to who we really are, to all of our secrets, hang ups, successes and failures, strengths and insecurities...
He's asking for us to open the door to our life, to become VULNERABLE to Him, which is what Peter RISKED doing when he first let Jesus into his boat!
So first, Jesus needed something empty to fill....
Second, He asked access to Peter's boat, which Peter gave to Him...
And then lastly....
III. Jesus totally transformed Peter's boat!
Think about it: Prior to Jesus stepping in, Peter's boat was the scene of discouragement, dashed hope, fruitless labor, weariness and emptiness...
But when Jesus got into his boat, it immediately became the scene of three things:
DIVING BLESSING---The Word of God flowed from the boat to the hungry masses.
DIVINE MIRACLES---A catch of fish unlike anything Peter had ever seen (which we'll look at next time), and third....
DIVINE DESTINY---The Bible says that when Peter saw the great catch of fish, "Simon Peter...fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, 'Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" (5: 8)
And Jesus replied to Peter, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men" (5:10).
On that boat, which just hours before had been a scene of discouragement and failure, Peter received his calling in life, his divine destiny unfolded before him...
And it all began with taking the RISK OF VULNERABILITY by letting Jesus into his boat!