Faithlife Sermons

Following Christ, Fishing for Men

Fishing For Men  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Matthew 4:12–20 KJV 1900
Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Churches have been changing. They have begun focusing exclusively on the success of the church while sacrificing the way that God has given them to follow. More is thought of numbers in the church or the size of the offering than the spirituality of the congregation. A success in a church is not these things; it is whether those that make up the church are being conformed to Christ’s image in every area of life. To have spirituals ends we must use spiritual means. To win someone spiritually to Christ we must have Christ’s purposes at the forefront. We must first become followers of Christ to bring others to Christ. Many Christians are trying to become “soul winners” but have no idea of what they are winning souls for. When one follows Christ, they see the purpose of why they are winning souls. Let’s consider how Christ leads us to become fishers of men.

1. God wants everyone to be saved.

2 Peter 3:9 KJV 1900
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
To follow Christ one must first choose Christ over sin, light over darkness, truth over lies. One must repent of their sin controlled life and put their life in Christ’s control.

2. God uses people to do His work.

Matthew 28:19 KJV 1900
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
God has chosen to use people to accomplish his purposes in this world. A tract is fine to use, but God uses a verbal witness from people that He has saved and changed to bring people to Himself.

3. Every child of God is commanded to live a holy life.

1 Peter 1:6 KJV 1900
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
God has called us to be separate from the world. The world is full of sin and wickedness while God is pure, holy and undefiled. To qualify to be used of God we must choose to allow God to sanctify us to His use. We choose this by choosing to separate ourselves from things that are sinful.
2 Corinthians 6:14–18 KJV 1900
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
2 Timothy 2:19–26 KJV 1900
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

4. The Holy Ghost gives us power to live a holy life.

Ephesians 6:10 KJV 1900
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
You cannot live the Christian life in your own strength. Yo will grieve the holy Spirit with any heart of disobedience in you. A humble heart must be maintained for God to empower you to live a holy separated Christian life.

5. God does His work in the world through the local church.

Ephesians 4:11–16 KJV 1900
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
The best thing you can do is get involved in your local church. It starts with a submission to be disciple through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. You then have t settle yourself to work through the church in EVERY missionary endeavor or area of service as a believer. To endeavor to serve God on your own is a rebellious attitude. This attitude looks for position rather than pleasing God in the church. A true servant is one that doer snot care about notoriety and thus submits to serve as a body not an individual.

I. The Principle – “Everything we Do With and For Men Is Preceded By Our Time With God”

A. Our first call of God on our lives is to be “with Him”.

Matthew 11:28–30 KJV 1900
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
We cannot be truly used of God to our potential unless we spend time with Christ for everything we do.
A wife must be with Christ to be a successful wife to her husband.
A worker must first be with Christ to be a successful worker in God’s eyes.
No matter how hard you work or how diligent you are or well kept you are, it is impossible to be the person God wants you to be without spending time with Christ.
We must be careful to think that we are a good husband or wife or worker or pastor based upon how hard we work, things we know or the talents we have and forsake a complete dependency upon Christ for pour success in these areas. And as a result of this dependence we go to Him and follow Him carrying His yoke.

B. The greatest failure of our lives is when we succeed in areas of life that are not God’s will.

1. We must be careful of taking shortcuts.

We have a tendency to look for shortcuts to be what we should be. It takes time with Christ and study in God’s Word to become a good Christian. You will not automatically become one. If you are not careful you will short cut God out of your calling in life and end up doing what God has called you to do in the power of the flesh. This leads to bitterness, discontentment and failure. You do not want to succeed in any way without Christ.

2. We cannot be completely satisfied with life until we learn to be with Christ to fulfill His calling.

The worst thing is not that we fail, but that we have some sort of success in the flesh and continue in our self absorption. God has created us only to be deeply satisfied as we spend time with Him and be completely dependent upon His power to fulfill His calling in our lives. We have to become the person that God wants us top be because it brings us complete pleasure to do His will and fulfill God’s calling to please God exclusively.

II. The Priority – “Following Christ and Fishing For Men”

A. Christ’s greatest priority was to save the lost.

Luke 19:10 KJV 1900
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

B. If we do everything else right and do not make souls our first priority we are doing everything wrong.

Luke 10:38–42 KJV 1900
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
We can have programs and fellowships, but without making souls our first priority we are not pleasing God at all.
We can have a big church, with nice things, but we will be a waste of time to God.

C. If we make fishing for men our greatest priority, we will make following Christ our greatest desire.

We will see the importance of learning to be a good son and daughter not because of our parents, but because Christ has told us top be that when we were with him.
We will see the importance of being a good husband and father not because of our wives or children, but because of our time we spent with Christ hearing what He desires for us to do.
You will see the importance of being the good wife and mother you ought to be, because of your desire to obey Christ
It is amazing what we can do when we do it in Christ’s strength and for Christ’s glory.

III. The Progression“As We Follow Christ He Makes Us Fishers Of Men”

A. If we are not fishing for men, it is because Christ did not make us a fisher of men, and If we are not being made a fisher of men, it is because we are not following Christ.

The disciples first chose to follow Christ. They left their nets and follow Him. They left their livelihood and what they thought used to sustain them and trusted Christ to sustain them.
Matthew 4:20 KJV 1900
And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
You cannot escape the progression of what God is telling us in this passage. What an indictment on our Christianity and what a conviction to our souls. We pretend we are doing everything perfectly yet we do not seriously desire to win souls. If we do not desire souls we are not following Christ. Visiting with people is not fishing for men unless you are throwing out the life line.

B. You can go after the lost without following Christ, but you cannot truly follow Christ without going after the lost.

Our personal lives show no evidence of following Christ based on our attitudes and actions toward the people closest to us and yet we go out to win souls. We are fleeting ion our effort and most other things in life have priority over it. It is important that you realize that without following Christ in every area of your life, you will not be a consistent, joyful fisher of men.
Weekly Assignment # 2
1. Evaluate how much time you spend with Christ.
2. What priorities need to be changed to increase my desire for the Lord?
3. What is evidence in my life that I am truly following the Lord?
4. What are some ways I can become more faithful in following the Lord?
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