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The Fisherman and the Fish

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Although I am not much of a fisherman now, throughout my life I have had a number of occasions to go fishing.
I recall, as a young boy, the first fish that I ever caught.
I recall, going with my father to Green Castle Lake just south of Marshalltown, Iowa, where I grew up.
I recall, with my father and uncle, fishing in a river and my attempts to catch a very smart catfish.
I recall, while living in Savannah, GA, having the opportunity to go deep see fishing with men from our church and catching a red grouper and a shark.
However, this morning, we are going to discuss a different type of fishing. We are going to consider...

A Slaughter from Another World

Ephesians 6:12 KJV 1900
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
2 Corinthians 10:3 KJV 1900
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

Satan is the fisherman.

1 Peter 5:8 KJV 1900
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
While, in this verse, Satan is called “your adversary” and he is likened to a roaring lion, there are many other names by which he is known in the Bible. Here are just a few for us to consider:
In Matthew 4:3, the devil is called the “Tempter.” He tempts people to sin. He wants to bring out the worst in each of us.
In Matthew 13:39, the devil is called the “Enemy.” He is seeking to destroy us. He should be consider harmful and extremely deadly.
In John 8:44, Jesus made it very clear that Satan always has been and always will be a “Liar.”
As we already pointed out, in 1 Peter 5:8, the devil is called our “Adversary.” He stands in opposition to everything that is pure and holy.
From Revelation 12:9, we can rightly call him the “Deceiver.” Deception is what the devil is all about. He is a master at making good look evil and making evil look good. He is an expert at making a lie seem to be the truth and making the truth appear to be a lie.
From Revelation 12:10, the devil has earned himself the name “Accuser of the Brethren.” Once Satan has lured you into sin, he turns to God and with his accusing finger points at you, looks at God, and cries, “See, I told you they were no good!”

We are the fish.

In 1 Peter 5:8, it says that the devil is walking about seeking “whom he may devour:”
Who is that “whom?”
It is every family represented in this room.
It is every husband and father seated in this room.
It is every wife and mother seated in this room.
It is every son and daughter seated here this morning.
In short, it is you!
He has a particular distaste for Christians. He is not too concerned with the unsaved. He already has them. But Christians?
The Pilgrim’s Progress The Fourth Stage

Then Apollyon broke out into a grievous rage, saying, I am an enemy to this Prince; I hate his person, his laws, and people: I am come out on purpose to withstand thee.

The Pilgrim’s Progress The Fourth Stage

Prepare thyself to die; for I swear by my infernal den, that thou shalt go no farther: here will I spill thy soul.

The bait is a variety of deceptive tactics and worldly philosophies.

Colossians 2:8 KJV 1900
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Beware - be cautious; be careful; be on guard; avoid; keep your eyes open; look out; steer clear; watch out!
Every time you watch television or a movie - beware!
Every time you listen to music - beware!
Every time you check out social media - beware!
Every time you read a book - beware!
Every time you “hang out with friends” - beware!
The idea is of absorbing the foundational values of the world system around us. The world is and always has been the enemy of God.
2 Timothy 4:3–4 KJV 1900
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Satan’s bait is his lies that he tells to cause us to doubt the truth of God’s Word.
Turn to and read Genesis 3:1-5.

The bait is always attractive.

Genesis 3:6 KJV 1900
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Eve never saw the hook. She never saw the pain and destruction that would come if she took that fruit and ate that fruit.
Satan never shows you the hook. He just wants you to see the bait.
Illustration (Photo): What Ya Usin’ for Bait?
Mom and Dad, Satan will never show you the destroyed relationships.
Young Adults, Satan will never show you the ruined testimony and the forfeited plans and dreams of a bright future.
Teens, Satan will never show you the ruined health; the pain; the death.
1 John 2:15–16 KJV 1900
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Together, let’s ask God to help us to see the hook behind the bait. Let’s ask God to help us escape the slaughter that’s happening all around us; to see the world of the fisherman - the devil!

Seeing the Other World

When it comes to fishing, there are really two worlds - the word of the fish and the world of the fisherman. Ignorant, rather unintelligent life forms of all kinds float, swim, feed, and otherwise exist with somewhat repetitive and mundane lives.
Yet, just beyond the surface, just out of reach of fish senses exists a completely different world - the world of the predator.

There is a spiritual world beyond our physical eyesight.

2 Kings 6:15–17 KJV 1900
And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
2 Chronicles 32:7–8 KJV 1900
Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
2 Corinthians 4:18 KJV 1900
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
We can, with God’s enabling, literally see the spiritual implications - the other-world battles - that are hidden behind every circumstance, every trial, and every temptation of our lives.
We must realize, though, that being a successful fisherman depends as much on the ignorance of the fish as it does on the skill of the fisherman.

Our enemy depends upon our ignorance.

2 Kings 4:38–40 KJV 1900
And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets. And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not. So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.
There are moms and dad, young adults, teenagers, who are walking through this world gathering up “wild gourds” by the lap full; feasting on those wild gourds; completely ignorant of the fact that “there is death in the pot!”
As a Christian, you have the ability, if you choose to use it, to see and respond to the spiritual world. You have the ability to expose the fisherman and avoid his tricks. You have spiritual eyesight that you must use as you use your life.

Pray that “the eyes of your understanding” would be enlightened.

Turn to and read Ephesians 1:15-19.
Whether you see it of not, all around you is a constant spiritual battle raging for your life and your family. This spiritual battle is more real and more significant than any part of your spiritual existence, and yet so often we focus only on physical, temporary priorities in our lives and families.
We maximize the physical. We minimize the spiritual.
…to our own detriment!
This morning, it should be the prayer of every man, woman, and child here that God would open our eyes. We should pray that the enemy would be exposed!

Exposing the Enemy

As we uncover the lies of our enemy, it’s important that we understand how he attacks.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 gives us tremendous insight into the devils tactics.
2 Corinthians 10:3–5 KJV 1900
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Note: Let me encourage you to memorize this passage of Scripture.
We are in a spiritual battle. Our weapons must also be spiritual.
The attacks of Satan will be against our spirit. The initial result of a successful attack will be a wounded, broken, hurt, closed, angry, or an otherwise “twisted” spirit!
Your attitude, the spiritual condition of your heart is always the first to change in a spiritual attack!
In 2 Corinthians 10:5 Paul exposes the battlefield. He uses the word “imagination.” We must understand...

The battleground of the spiritual war in your life is your imagination.

Imagination, as Paul uses it here, is not a function of your human brain. It is a given thought. In other words, while you may only have one heart, that heart can imagine many things or have many imaginations.
In any given circumstance, there are only two perspectives or two perceptions. On the one hand there is the TRUTH - the knowledge of God, or “what God knows to be truth.”
On the other hand you have “imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God” - or what the devil would have you imagine (think) in a given situation to mislead your spirit, your attitude, and eventually your actions.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 gives clear indication that Satan and his messengers use the battleground of our imagination to work against the truth - the knowledge of God - in our lives.
Every teenager has thought, “I can never please my parents! They are always on my case!” That imagination is planted in a moment, and then it begins to exalt itself, to grow in fury, until that teenager become angry, bitter, and even acts out in harshness because of that imagination.
Every parent has thought, “My teenager doesn’t need me as much now as they did when they were little. I guess this is all part of growing up - we’ll spend less and less time together.” The truth is, your teenager needs you more now than ever, but that imagination, once implanted and accepted, becomes the catalyst of all kinds of destructive family changes and lost opportunities.
From there, we tend to take over. Once the thought is accepted, we tend to run with it, and imagination begins to exalt itself against truth.
Ultimately, these false imaginations lead to wrong actions and broken relationships.
So, how do we battle these “imaginations?”

We must take every thought captive.

2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV 1900
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Proverbs 4:23 KJV 1900
Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life.
Psalm 119:113 KJV 1900
SAMECH. I hate vain thoughts: But thy law do I love.
As we become aware of the devil’s tactics, we can begin to pause at first arrival of these lies. we can stop them at the gate of our mind and simply say,
“Lord before I run with this thought, before I accept this as truth - what is YOUR KNOWLEDGE in this situation?”
Before accepting the lie, we can give God the chance to expose it!
How differently might things have turned out if, when the serpent tempted Eve, she had responded, “Let me go check this out with God first?”
Philippians 4:8 KJV 1900
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
The word that Paul uses in Philippians 4:8 for “thoughts” has the same root as the word that Paul uses in 2 Corinthians 10:5 for “imaginations.”
As you begin recognizing and responding to your “thought life” - your “heart life” in this way - you will be amazed at how all of the relationships in your life will take on a completely different perspective.
You’ll become amazed at how many lies you were swallowing - how many imaginations were exalting themselves in your life against God’s truth.
You’ll be amazed at how the devil will flee when he is exposed as the liar that he truly is!
James 4:7 KJV 1900
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
This morning, there is hope; it is God’s truth.
This morning start by looking at the most significant relationships in your life - the ones the devil is the most interested in destroying - your marriage, your family, your kids, your parents, your church, your pastor, your godly friendships.
Imagination is the battleground, but key relationships are the target. Ask yourself, in what key relationships has the devil been planting lies?
Then, as God for His truth. Ask, “Is this thought, that I have been having, the truth?”
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