Sermon from Luke 5:1-11 | From Fishermen to Fishers of Men

Man Fishing

From Fishermen to Fishers of Men (Lk 5:1-11)

We must serve as Jesus’ hands and do what he would bid us to do.

Jesus has a passion for winning souls. “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matt 9:13). “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28).

Jesus needs help winning souls—we must serve as his hands in reaching the lost.

Tonight, we want to examine the seven steps to calling me. This will help us be more capable to call men to Jesus.

Step One: Seeing a Vision of People, v 1

While Jesus was by the Lake of Gennesaret (the Sea of Galilee), a multitude pressed about him.

This crowd pressed about him so that they could hear the word of God. This crowd was hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Because this crowd was hungering and thirsting after righteousness, Jesus met the hunger and thirst of these people. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled” (Matt 5:6). “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst” (Jn 4:14).

Jesus saw the needs of these people. Yet, he saw that he couldn’t meet the needs of these people by himself: “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few” (Lk 10:2). After Jesus taught the crowds, he called Simon, James, and John to be fishers of men.

If we are to win others to Christ, we need to see a vision of people. We need to see those outside of Jesus as lost, without hope. Those outside of Jesus have no hope (Eph 2:12). The wrath of God is coming upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Rom 1:18)—God’s wrath will severely punish those outside of Jesus.

We need to see Jesus as the only hope of the world. “I amt he way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn 14:6). Paul referred to Jesus as “our hope” (1 Tim 1:1)—We have hope only through Jesus.

Do you see people as lost? Do you see Jesus as their only hope?

Step Two: Seizing Resources, vv 2-3

Jesus ahd to find a way to handle the throne of people both then and later. Jesus saw two boats by the lake. The fishermen from both boats had gone off them to wash their nets. He got into Simon’s boat and asked Simon to put the boat out a little from land.

Jesus sat down in the boat and taught the multitudes—Sitting was the common form of teaching in those days.

Jesus needed both the boat and the fisherman—the boat would become a pulpit and the fisherman would become a disciple.

Jesus seized the resources around him; we need to seize the resources around us. We are a small church—We do not have the money nor the resources to do mass evangelism. But we can seize the talents we have and evangelize this community.

Are you seizing your talents for winning souls?

Step Three: The Removal of Reluctant Obedience, vv 4-5

After he stopped speaking, Jesus taught Simon a lesson in obedience. The Lord told Simon to go out into the deep and let down his nets for a catch. Simon told the Lord, “We have worked hard all night and caught nothing. Yet, because you say to do so, I will let down my nets.”

Through this catch of fish, Jesus wanted to win Simon’s loyalty and discipleship. but, first, Jesus had to humble Simon. Jesus had to show Simon that as the Messiah he could take care of him.

Simon was reluctant to obey Jesus. After all, Simon was an experienced fisherman, and here is a carpenter trying to tell a fisherman how to fish. Simon caught himself in the middle of his objection, and obeyed. Simon seems to have obeyed for two reasons:

  1. He was fairly well convinced that Jesus was the Messiah.
  2. He was drawn to follow Jesus.

We need to remove reluctant obedience from our lives. It’s easy to look at our lives and find excuses for not totally obeying Jesus. “God, what if I talk with someone about the Gospel, and he gets mad?” “God, what if they think I’m a fanatic?”

We need to obey God unconditionally, with no strings attached.

The Fourth Step: Demonstrating Godly Power, vv 6-7

Jesus demonstrated his power. When Jesus told Simon to put his net into the water, he did so. Simon caught so many fish that his net was breaking. Simon and those with him signaled to their partners to come and help them. They filled the two boats with the fish; there were so many fish that the boats began to sink.

Imagine what Simon’s face looked like when he saw how large a catch this was. He would know with certainty that Jesus was the Son of God.

When we call individuals to God, we must demonstrate godly power. Without demonstrating godly power, we cannot win the lost.

There are two ways to demonstrate godly power:

  1. Turn people back to Scripture. Scripture points to the miracles of Jesus as evidence to who he was. John 20:30-31; John recorded Jesus’ miracles so that we could believe.
  2. Turn people back to godly examples. As we go through life, our lives should demonstrate God’s power. Husbands can be won to Christ through the example of their wives (1 Pet 3:1-2). 1 Peter 3:15—Why are people going to ask us about our hope if we don’t set godly examples?

Are you demonstrating godly power in your life?

The Fifth Step: Stirring a Deep Confession, vv 8-9

Simon came to the Lord and sad, “Depart from me, for I am sinful man, O Lord!” Simon called Jesus “Lord.” Earlier he had called him “Master.” That term simply refers to one in authority. However, “Lord” has overtones of deity. He was confessing his faith that Jesus was divine.

Simon had those with him were amazed at the catch of fish.

Simon did three things with his confession:

  1. He confessed his sin of disobedience and unbelief: “I am a sinful man.”
  2. He confessed Jesus to be the Lord, the Son of God: “O Lord!”
  3. He confessed a fear, a reverence, an awe for the Lord.

The same reverence Simon demonstrated has been expressed before in Scripture.

Job 42:5-6: Throughout Job, Job challenged God to show his face so that Job could question him: “Oh, that the Almighty would answer me” (Job 31:35). God answers Job from a whirlwind, and Job admits his error.

Isaiah 6:5. Isaiah became frightened when he saw the Lord’s glory. He thought he would die.

We need to bring people confess their faith in the Lord. One must confess with his mouth the Lord Jesus (Rom 10:9). This means more than just saying that we believe Jesus is God’s Son. We must confess that Jesus is the Lord of our lives—that he owns us.

Are you bringing people to confess their faith?

The Sixth Step: Challenging Men to Discipleship, v 10

James and John were just as astonished as was Simon.

Jesus told Simon, “From now on you will catch men.”

The call to Simon was to catch men; the call to us is to catch men.

Jesus chose his disciples to bear fruit (Jn 15:16). We must bear much fruit. Every branch in Jesus which does not bear fruit the Father takes away (Jn 15:2). “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15).

Don’t forget that we were saved to save others. We must teach those we baptize to save others. Are you saving others?

The Seventh Step: Watching for the Decision to Forsake Everything, v 11

When they brought their boats to land, they left all and followed him.

These men left everything they had: Their business, their professions, and the biggest catch they’d ever seen.

We must forsake everything to follow Jesus. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Lk 9:23). “Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Lk 14:33).

We need to call those we baptize to forsake everything. Have you forsaken all?

This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.

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