Faithlife Sermons

The Gospel of Mark: I Will Make You Fishers of Men

The Gospel of Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus wants us to bring lost men into his kingdom.

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Test: Mark 1:16-20
Theme: Jesus wants us to bring lost men into his kingdom.
Mark follows his brief description of Christ’s temptation with an even more brief introduction to Jesus’ preaching ministry. At least six months have passed since Jesus’ baptism. From the other Gospels we know that Jesus has been in Judea, ministering there, and has introduced himself to Israel by cleansing the temple. It is during this period that John and Jesus’ ministry overlap. But John had prophesied that “I must decrease and he must increase.” I’m sure John had no idea how God would accomplish that. The Father accomplishes it though John’s arrest. It’s at that point that Jesus begins his public preaching and miracle working in Galilee.
He begins by calling his disciples and beginning the task of turning them into fishers of men.
Billy Graham once said: “If a man has a soul — and he has — and if that soul can be won or lost for eternity — and it can — then the most important thing in the world is to introduce the man to Jesus Christ.”
Every Christian ought to be a faithful witness to our Lord, Jesus Christ. Certainly everyone who has been saved should have a heart’s desire to see other people saved. There is, I believe, hidden away in the heart of every believer, a desire to make disciples — to see lost people come into the kingdom of God through repentance and faith. Yet we often shrink back from sharing our faith, and the Gospel message because we feel in adequate. We wish we could fish for men, but we really don’t know how. Some Christians even wonder if being fishers of men is any of their responsibility. After all, that’s what we “hire” preachers and church staff to do. But Jesus makes it clear, that anyone and everyone who follows him, ought to be fishers of men. It is not “just the preacher’s task” it is the church’s task, and if you are born again by the grace of God you are part of the church.
Jesus tells us in this passage if he will follow Him, He will make you fishers of men.

I. THE INVITATION — “Follow me . . . “

“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:16–17, NIV84)
1. Peter, and Andrew, James and John were by vocational fishermen
a. the Sea of Galilee supported a thriving fishing industry with at least sixteen major ports with hundreds of fishing boats
b. all indications suggest that Simon and Andrew ran a successful fishing business in partnership with James and John and their father Zebedee
2. one day Jesus came calling as they were busy with the ordinary things that kept them in business
a. it was what they were comfortable with
b. I doubt they ever dreamed of leaving the family business
3. but when Jesus came calling, and called them to follow him, suddenly their business was not terribly important
a. the Bible tells us that they dropped their nets and straightaway followed Jesus
1) Jesus called to them to ”come after him” and they “went after him”
b. in this passage, we see men who are willing to leave their livelihood and their families in order to follow the Savior
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26–27, NIV84)


1. each one here tonight, has been born of the flesh
2. you also need to be born of the spirit
“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:6–7, NIV84)
3. there is only one way to enter into the kingdom of God
a. it takes place when you are supernaturally regenerated by the power of God’s Holy Spirit when you take God up on his invitation to follow his Son, and put your faith in him
b. Jesus called this being born again
4. tonight, if you have not been born again into the kingdom of God, Jesus invites you, and the spirit pleads with you, and the Scriptures commands you to follow the Savior who takes away our sin
a. the reason that Baptists insist on having public invitations where sinners can come to Christ, is because Jesus publicly invites us to openly follow him
“I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9 But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:8–9, NIV84)

II. THE INSTRUCTION — “I will make you become fishers of men”

“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:16–17, NIV84)
1. Jesus calls us into fellowship with himself for any number of reasons
a. he calls us into fellowship, so that we might learn of His will
b. he calls us into fellowship, so that we might learn of His way
c. he calls us into fellowship, so that we might learn of His word
d. he calls us into fellowship, so that we might learn of His work
2. if you let him, Jesus will fashion you into a vessel of honor, sanctified and usable by God for his purposes
a. one of those purposes, is to become a fisher of men
b. this is joining our Savior in his work
3. it is very interesting, that many of the principles of fishing for fish are pretty much the same as the principles of fishing for people


1. if you don’t like fish, chances are you won’t like fishing
2. it you don’t love the lost, chance are you won’t fish for them either


1. all of the ‘stuff’ that the avid fisherman has exists for one reason — to get the bait to the fish
ILLUS. A lot of you know that fishing has gone “high tech”. You can spend a lot of money on the “stuff” you need for fishing. I like to trout fish. That means I have to have certain “fishing stuff” to do that with — waders (for getting out to where the fish are at), fishing vest (with dozens of pockets) ultra-lite fishing rods and reels, and flies so small that you’re hard pressed to seem them in the early dawn hours.
2. all the ‘stuff’ the typical Christian owns is the equipment we need to get the gospel to the lost
a. our cars, that we might drive to a lost person’s home to share the gospel
b. our homes, that we might entertain a lost person and his family
c. our jobs, that we might come into contact with lost people


1. there are lots of different kinds of fish to fish for
a. each has their own habitat and habits
1) some prefer deep clear water lakes
2) some like fast-moving streams
3) still others like the shallow backwaters
2. there are lots of different kinds of lost people to witness to
a. each has their own habitat and habits
1) there are the Builders
2) there are the Baby-boomers
3) there are the Gen-Xers and the Xennials and the Millennials and the newest ones ... the Gen-Alphas
b. each of these groups has their own unique characteristics
1) if we are going to win them we need to know that habitat and their habits


ILLUS. Johnny Bill and trout fishing at Bennett Spring.
1. different fish prefer different kinds of bait
a. some fish prefer live bait while others will swallow just about anything
b. you’ve got spinnerbaits, crankbaits, diving crankbaits, Shinners
c. but it’s not just using the right bait, it’s also using the right presentation
2. we’ve got to learn how to use the right gospel presentation for the generation we’re going after
1) the Builders are the traditionalists
2) the Boomers are the materialists
3) the Gen-Xers – also called the Busters – are the pessimists
4) the Gen-Yers are the optimists
c. all of these folks are reached by different music, and different programming, and different worship styles


1. you don’t catch fish on every cast, do you?
2. neither do we see a profession of faith with every gospel presentation

III. THE IMPERATIVE — “Immediately”

1. twice in this passage we find the word immediately used
a. we are told that James and John, and Peter and Andrew, instantly jumped at the chance to follow Jesus
2. there must be a sense of immediacy and following the call of Jesus and obeying the commands of Jesus


1. he longs to see people come to faith in His only begotten son
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10, NIV84)
2. can God save people without our help?
a. of course — but he chooses to work providentially through each of us as we share the word of truth, give our testimonies, and lift up Jesus
b. Jesus tells us, follow me and I’ll make you become fishers of men
Phillips Brooks, an Episcopal minister of the early 20th century, once preached a sermon on missions. After the sermon, a man came up to him and said that he was moved by the preacher’s words, but that he himself could never make a journey to a heathen land far away, so he saw little relevance of the message to his own life. Brooks patiently heard the man out, and then ask the gentleman like he did for living. The man replied that he was a railroad engineer.
“Is the firemen a Christian?” asked the preacher.
“I don’t know,” the man answered.
“Well,” Brooks replied, “You might start there.”
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