(A Series on Jesus)
C.R.11/22/87p.m. John 21:1-25
PROPOSITION:The resurrected Christ still stands on the
shoreline of our lives.......discouraged and hopeless we may be........and calls us to Himself to love Him, care for the sheep of His pasture, take up our cross and follow Him.
- GONE fishin'!
- THE barber on Mayberry RFD used to hang that sign on the door of his shop when the bass were biting......Gone fishin'.
- THERE is a little hole in the wall barbeque rib place down on Center Point Road....called Jim's Rib.....they serve the best bareque beef sandwiches you have ever tasted.
- BUT there is no guarantee when he will be open.
-YOU'LL go down there with your mouth all watering....and there will be a sign on the door......scratched out on a napkin that says..."Gone on a few days vacation"
- AND the food is so good you don't mind......you'll just wait until Jim is back from his trip.
- LIFE has become too fast and sophisticated for that kind of an approach today.
* Rockwell Collins wouldn't appreciate a sign hung off the front of your desk that says, "Gone fishin'."
- BUT I'll just bet there are many of us here tonight that have felt that way many times.
- THE pressures mount on all sides.
* Pressures in the family.
* Struggles with your attitude.
* Defeat in some battle with sin.
* Bills left over, after the paycheck is gone.
* People on your back over things that haven't been done.
* Little light at the end of the tunnel.
- AND if you could you would like to hang a sign on the edge of your life that says....."Gone fishin."
- ANYONE here had a time like that in your life?
- THE last chapter in our study of the life of Jesus, John 21, has just that theme......."Gone fishin."
- COME with me.....and, even though the circumstances may be a little different, put yourself into this story....the last one that John included in his gospel.
- THE trials, the mob scenes and the crucifixion of Jesus had really taken their toll on the disciples.
- THEY had been convinced that the kingdom of God, promised in Isaiah and Daniel and Isaiah, was going to be literally ushered in by Jesus then and there.
* That righteousness would reign and Rome be overthrown.
* That they would be a part of the rule of that kingdom.
* That the lion would lay down with the lamb....and there would uninterrupted peace forever.
- THEY caught a little of the flavor of it the day He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and the crowds turned out to welcome Him waving palm branches...and shouting "Hosanna!...Hail, Son of David!"
- THEN, in a day's time, it all fell apart....and even though HE had prophecied it all to them long before...even His resurrection....it didn't stay with them when the chips were down and it looked like they were soon going to be dead at the hands of the same angry mob.
- WITH the exception of John....they had run for cover....and Peter had run cursing any relationship he had had with Jesus.
- ALL their hopes and dreams about life with this great Teacher....and the kingdom lay in ruins.
- SO they had gone into a frightened retreat.......They had gone from a high of casting out demons and healing the sick.......to cowering in a small room above a friends house in Jerusalem.
- THEY had no aim.
- THEY had no purpose to life any more.
- AND, sure, Jesus was raised from the dead......and had walked through the door of that upper room to show Himself to them but, get this, all that didn't change the fact that they had let Him down when He really needed them....they had failed Him and were losers and had no place to go.
- AND, after sitting around a while longer, wishing they had treated Jesus better......getting more and more discouraged........and down on themselves.......and then, suddenly, out of the clear blue, Peter said, "I'm goin' fishin'"
- AND the motion was unanimously adopted.
- FOLKS, this is life.....real life.
- I GUARANTEE you there are people here tonight who have had high hopes in serving this Jesus.
* You were excited that HE would change your life.
* You knew He could save your spouse....or at least make him easier to live with.
* You believed that He would heal you...or someone you loved.
* You were excited about the kingdom of God...and the thrill of ministering in His name and authority.......and being close to Jesus.
* You sang with the crowd......lifted your hands and shouted "Hosanna!"
* And then, suddenly, one day everything fell apart. Everything you thought you were getting in the kingdom of God......seemed to end up on a cross.
* And in the pannick...you bailed out...or maybe you failed.......or really messed up your life.....or at least you went into hiding.
* You cannot believe how badly you believe, right now, that you have let Jesus down. You can't believe, even when He shows up miraculously in your life, that He really loves you.......
* SO, right now there is a sign hung up on your life and it reads....."Gone fishin."
* You have checked out.......brother or sister......given up hope that it can ever be any different.
* There doesn't seem to be any purpose or aim to your life......You've "Gone fishin"
- AND, do you know the bad thing about this kind of an attitude is that it is more contagious than the Hong Kong flue.
- ALL it takes, in a down, discouraged moment to say, "I'm going fishin"........and people around you on the verge of discouragment themselves will vote unanimously to do the same.
- NOW, watch the story.......they are fishing....all night and getting nowhere.
- ANY of that sound familiar?
- PLENTY of effort but no gain.
- WORKING all night long and nothing to show for it.
- SO, even in their retreat, they find no happiness or fulfillment.
- AFTER you have walked with Him.....talked with Him....heard His voice......known His touch....there is no way you will find happiness hidden away in some self-aborbing activity.
- THEN something amazing happens........but not surprising....Jesus shows up.
- BUT they don't recognize Him.
- ISN'T that the way it usually works when you check out on Him and go fishing?
- HE shows up, but you are so far from shore, and it is so dark and hazy out there that you don't realize that it is Jesus.
- BUT, finally, John sees that it is Him...and Peter jumps overboard to get to Him first.
- AND then, as an alternative to fishing, over breakfast, He calls them to four things.
- INSTEAD of fishing He asks of Peter....and those disciples....and you and me...four things.
- HE looked those weak, faltering, failing fishermen up.
- EVEN though they had let Him down so badly.....HE went out of His way to find them;
* Help them out with their fishing....
* Fix them breakfast and.....
* Invite them over to lift their spirits.
- AND the most exciting part of it all was that Jesus still had confidence....and a future for those fishermen....who thought for sure that they were all washed up.
- NOW, between verses 15 and 25, I find four things that Jesus says to Peter and these disciples......that apply to all believers who have gone fishing.
- THE first call of Jesus to all fishermen....is put here by the Master in the form of a question to Peter....."Do you love Me?"
-THE call is to love Him.
- DO you love Jesus?
- "OH", you say, "I let Him down so badly last week. I blew my testimony with my neighbor so badly."
- "I KNOW", He says,"Do you love Me?"
- "YOU should have heard me scream at the kids last week?"
- "I HEARD you", He says,"But do you love Me?"
- "I AM so discouraged I don't think I am growing in my Christian walk? I am not the man He wants me to be!"
- "I KNOW", He says,"But do you love Me?"
- AND so you drop your defenses, and realize that you could never please Him with your righteousness anyway......and you answer.....
- "YES, Lord, you know that I really do love you."
- AND HE smiles and says......"Now that's what I wanted to hear.....now we have a foundation from which I can work in your life."
- FRIENDS, the first thing He wants is your love.
- HOW do you love Him? By getting to know Him in His Word......and giving your whole life to Him.
- LOVING Him is easy. He is easy to love. That is not a difficult yoke to carry.
- COME out of your place of retreat. Put down your fishing gear....and fall in love with Him again.
III.TAKE CARE OF HIS SHEEP
- THE next call those disciples heard...out there at their retreat....their place of hiding....was....."Take care of My sheep."
- "OH, but Lord, I am too discouraged myself. I need to get myself in order first. I need some valium and six months of counseling before I will be able to take care of anyone but myself."
- "FEED My sheep."
- "BUT I have just been through two trials......a whipping.....the cross......All my hopes for the future have gone down the tubes. I even have secret feeling that you have let me down. I am in no condition to take care of anyone Lord."
- "FEED My sheep."
- IF you are discouraged....feel like you have let Jesus down.......have failed in some area of your life....the very best thing you could do.....as long as you love Him....is to give yourself to ministering to the sheep of His pasture.
- THOSE are the sheep that are already in the fold and those He has called but have not heard His voice yet.
- FEED My sheep.
- WHAT percentage of your 168 hour week is given to taking care of/feeding His sheep?
- ISN'T it time some of you came out of retreat...and laid your fishing gear down.....and forgot about yourself......and took care of some sheep?
- IT would be the best therapy some of you could ever have...and it would be free.
IV.TAKE UP YOUR CROSS
- THE next call of Jesus is found in verse 18 and 19, where He tells Peter that a cross lies ahead for him......it is the call of the cross.
- IT is death to self.
- THE work of the cross had already begun in Peter......he had died a little bit in those early morning hours when he had denied the Lord in Herod's courtyard.....and then had seen Jesus look at him.
- HE died a little, giving up on Jerusalem and the hopes of a kingdom.....and going back to fishing.
- AND, right there on the shore, by the fire, he was dying a little, with Jesus asking him three times if he loved him.
- HE was learning the way of the cross.
- WE all think that we have learned it.....and the someone crosses us the wrong way....or something we want doesn't come our way......and self gets up and begins to hollar....and we realize that the work of the cross in us is not over.
- THE CALVARY ROAD, by Roy Hession is an excellent book on this subject.
- LET the difficult times and the trials and the suffering of your life accomplish God's ----
purpose in you.....Take up your cross and lets self die so His life can come through. (The Release of the Spirit, by Watchman Nee.)