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Gone Fishing

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 Gone Fishing!

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

(Mt 4:18-22 NIV)

I.        Introduction

Jens Oveson was fishing for salmon in central Norway's Gaula River when he was swept away by a strong current. Kjell Wilhelmsen, 55, spotted the man's struggle. Wilhelmsen had fished the river for 25 years and knew where the current would carry Ovesen. Wilhelmsen ran across a bridge, waiting for Ovesen as the current carried him downriver.

Wilhelmsen later told a newspaper, "He seemed paralyzed. Only his face and the tips of his boots were above water. I decided to start casting."

His homemade lure hooked Ovesen's rubber waders on the first cast of about ten yards. But Oveson weighed nearly 250 pounds. Wilhelmsen used every trick he knew to reel in the big man without breaking his light line. He landed the half-conscious Dane and hauled him onto the shore. Oveson survived the ordeal.

Citation: "Fisherman Hooks Drowning Dane to Save His Life," The Wenatchee World (7-20-01); submitted by Jay Caron, Wenatchee, Washington

II.      Notice The Extended Invitation (Who It Was That Were Called)

A.      To Everyday People

***  If this world is going to be reached, I am convinced that it must be done by men and women of average talent. After all, there are comparatively few people in the world who have great talents.

   -- D.L. Moody, Christian History, no. 25.

***   Perhaps the way our teachers treat the Bible does not have the same effect on everyone, but I have learned through the years that by trying to make the biblical actors superhuman, we who teach often make them nonhuman and inhuman, and hence uninteresting, to those who are human.  Such, of course, was not the intent of the Evangelists, but we often distort their intent to suit our purposes and our fears.

   -- Andrew M. Greeley's introduction to The Robe, by Lloyd Douglas, paperback edition.  Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 11.

***   Missionaries who dressed like the Chinese suffered a few snags. In the gossipy colonial enclaves of Shanghai and Hong Kong, "going native" caused outrage and hilarity. When China Inland Mission workers first adopted Chinese dress, it seemed to other expatriates as if they were putting on the clothes of the enemy, "aping Chinese dress and manners." Western suits, the diplomats said, offered protection and prestige, the power of the flag.

   It seems so simple to adopt "the costume of the country" as a courtesy to one's hosts. But this "simple" policy of Hudson Taylor had some surprising ramifications.

   "Full Chinese dress" was one of Taylor's hardest and fastest rules, a symbol of his intention to create an indigenous Chinese church shorn of foreign trappings. "The foreign dress and carriage of missionaries, ... the foreign appearance of chapels, and indeed the foreign air imparted to everything connected with their work has seriously hindered the rapid dissemination of the truth among the Chinese."

   In a hierarchical society like China, however, where every button, every feather, every ripple of silk, denoted one's status, putting on Chinese clothes was no simple matter. How to choose the right costume? The missionaries did not want to be confused with Buddhist priests in saffron robes, nor with upper-class Confucian scholars.

   The CIM chose to dress like poor school teachers, a humble costume that befitted their goal of converting China from the bottom up. Such dress, they claimed, offered a sort of spiritual passport into the hearts and minds of the people.

   Indeed, this costume allowed CIM pioneers to make some of the most prodigious, and dangerous, explorations of inland China. In 1875, for example, two men and a Chinese evangelist walked across China in safety a few months after a British official named Margary--dressed in uniform whites, with a guard of soldiers--had been murdered.

   -- Alvyn Austin, "Hudson Taylor and Missions to China," Christian History, no. 52.

***Jesus Christ didn't commit the gospel to an advertising agency; he commissioned disciples.

   Joseph Bayly (1920-1986)

B.      To Employed People

- God does not call idle people to work for him, but he calls busy people. Who better to enlist for the work of the Kingdom, than those who are busy already? Who better to get the work done than those who already have a work ethic?

C.      To Entwined People

- If we wait until we are free from other relationships, to heed the call of Christ, we will never heed the call. If we were not entangled in relationships, we would not be of service to Christ, for it is not in the monestary that one is made useful, but it is in the everyday affairs of life. In order to fish, you must be out on the water with the fish.

III.   Notice The Expressed Intention (What It Was They Were Called To)

A.      That They Fellowship With Him

***   Many years ago I used to lead a thing at St. Peter's called The Children's Church. There was a little girl who was a member many years ago. Jillie was 10 at the time. We'd been studying Matthew's gospel, and in those days at the end of the year we set these poor kids an examination--a written examination. Having asked them 30-odd academic questions, I permitted myself a final personal one. This is what I said, because we'd been studying the Gospel of John, chapter 1: "Andrew brought Simon to Jesus. Philip brought Nathaniel to Jesus. Whom have you brought to Jesus?"

   Do you know what Jillie answered? "I have brought myself to Jesus." She was quite right. Have you? You can't bring anybody else till you've brought yourself.

   -- John R. W. Stott, "Keeping the Right Company," Preaching Today, Tape No. 46.

B.      That They Follow Him

***   If you walk out into one of the parking lots this morning and someone says to you, "How do I get to Chicago?"

   You say, "Well, get in your car." Well, that's good advice. That's the start of it. But you also need to say, "Start your car and head south and a little bit east ..." and give more detailed directions to see them through to the destination they have named.

   The beginning of evangelism is the information about Jesus Christ, how to get into him and to him; but there is much more. Evangelism is persuading a person to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

   -- Leith Anderson, "Making More Disciples," Preaching Today, Tape No. 165.

C.      That They Fish For Him

***Something is fishy if we aren't fishing for men.

***   The church is the only cooperative society in the world that exists for the benefit of its nonmembers.

   -- William Temple, Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 4.

***   From time to time we hear statistics about how people first came into church membership. These figures trace back to the Institute for American Church Growth, which asked 10,000 people about their pilgrimage. What led them in? Answers were: Special need, 2 percent; Walk-in, 3 percent; Pastor, 6 percent; Visitation, 1 percent; Sunday school, 5 percent; Evangelistic crusade, 5 percent; Program, 3 percent; Friend/relative, 79 percent.

   -- Wayne Zunkel, Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 3.

IV.    Notice The Excited Interest (What It Was They Were Called From)

A.      Not Prevented By Indecision

-          You don’t have to ask twice. What is it that makes you tick. Jesus called these men to fish on a higher plane. It did not take them two shakes of a trout’s tail to answer him.

***   If you don't make up your mind, your unmade mind will unmake you.

   -- E. Stanley Jones, Leadership, Vol. 17, no. 2.

B.      Not Prevented By Possessions

***Gold is the devil's fishhook.

C.      Not Prevented By Associations

- Jesus says those who do not love him above their mothers and fathers are not worthy of Him. How much more applicable must it be to those who place their business associates ahead of following Christ.

V.      Conclusion

The man who talked about going from a roofer to become a professional fisherman. You have to make it your job. You have to make it your business. Read everything about it, listen to others who are successful, spend time out on the water doing it.

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