We read in the Bible that Jesus tells us to go out unto the world and become fishers of men. There seems to be a problem with modern Christianity. We no longer follow Jesus’ command. If we read the scripture and look at the process of fishing with a net then we should notice something is wrong.
I know very little about fishing with a net. I googled it and read several articles. If you want a quick explanation and the different ways you can fish with a net, then you can start here: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Fishing_net
What I noticed is that nowhere in the article does it say that the fishermen yell for the fish to get into the net. They don’t take rocks and throw at the fish to get them into their nets, nor do they beat them into the net. The fishermen simply cast out the net in a school of fish, and then pull the net back in. They must be quiet and talk in whispers or they will scare the fish away. Is it any wonder why Christ used this analogy when teaching His followers about how to spread the gospel?
I look at Ephesians later in this article, and Paul says that we are to not walk as unwise men and not to be foolish. This means that we all should read our Bible and teach our kids the lessons and history contained in it. The church is losing people fast! It’s not a slow process, they are leaving the faith and are leaving it at an early age. I am here to tell you that I have seen this happening. I have heard the questions from them, and if you simply say believe it because it is the BIBLE, then you have lost them. They will tune you out, and the world will take them.
Is all lost? No. God can do anything He wants. Since the Bible says that no one comes to the Father save the Spirit draws him. God can always send out His spirit to anyone that is lost.
That’s how it all begins. There does not have to be a weeping and wailing conversion experience. Christ says with the heart you believe and with your mouth you proclaim it. Salvation comes to you that way, and then you follow Christ. Don’t believe me? Read on…
Jesus Christ tells his apostles in Matthew 4:19 (AMP):
“And He said to them, “Follow Me [as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk], and I will make you fishers of men.”
I’ll even throw in another book just to prove I am not camping out in Matthew.
Mark 1:17 (NASB)
And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
Go to Bible Gateway and look at the translations. I could get more, but they all say “follow” me, then I will make you fishers of men.
Step one to becoming a fisherman for Christ is that you must follow Him. You don’t follow Allah, Vishnu, Krishna, Buddha, etc. You must walk His, Jesus Christ’s, walk and talk His talk. There is no wiggle room here for you to just be a fan, or a part-time fisherman, or argue that there are other paths to salvation. His instructions are clear on that matter. Christ will later tell his apostles the following:
Matthew 10:38 – And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. (NASB)
Matthew 16:24 – [ Discipleship Is Costly ] Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
Mark 8:34 – And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
Luke 9:23 – And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
Pick up your persecution and follow me. Pick up what is going to lead to your destruction in the eyes of man and follow me. Look death in the eye and follow me.
Deny self. Deny your passion that does not further the kingdom. Deny drugs, alcohol, sex, greed, etc. Anything that gets between you and God, you deny it.
That doesn’t mean you quit living and having fun. It’s what Paul said about moderation. Everything in moderation is “ok.” BUT, not all is expedient or good for you. I guarantee you that if you let Christ into your life, the things that need to be removed from your life will eventually leave. I’ve experienced it myself.
Did it take time? Yes.
Did I stumble? Yes.
Are there still things I am wrestling with? Yes.
Has God been there every step of the way telling me to not give up? Yes.
Have I failed and had to start over at square one? Yes. It’s called GRACE!!! That is what it is for. It’s not a cop out. It’s realizing that you are a miserable failure that can’t do right even though you know what is right. You can’t do it on your own. That is why Christ died for me and you. We get to have a do-over if we need it. But we always get up facing Christ and push towards that mark. The finish line is eternity, and you can make it.
What’s the Cost?
My old pastor used to say that most Christians don’t understand that they are in a war. It’s an honest to goodness war in which the outcome can be death and physical persecution – look at the current Christians in the Middle East. It is also possible that you could lose all your finances and be ruined for taking a stand on a position or for teaching the truth. It can also be ridicule and shunning by “friends” that you have had for years. It’s when you start talking about that Jesus fellow, and change the way you think and live that they determine that you have gone too far. People start distancing themselves from you.
This Christianity rightly practiced is going to make some people very uncomfortable. Paraphrasing Jesus, he says this teaching will bring life to some and death to others. It’s a heavy stone that will crush some, but some will accept the burden and it is light.
Speed & Time Are of the Essence
This passage from Paul’s writings to the Ephesians is another clear order to believers that were with Paul in the past and to those who would be reading his words in the future.
Ephesians 5:15-17 (NASB)
15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
I want to come back to a portion of this passage later, but right now I want to focus on time. He is saying that whatever you are going to do with your life do it now. If it is committing it to Christ, then quit waiting around and do it now; go all in. The days are indeed evil, so make the most of the time granted to you by God.
You want some more proof of the need for haste. Look at the Book of Mark.
Mark 1:16 (NASB)
16 As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
They IMMEDIATELY left their nets. Those disciples didn’t run back home and check with mom or dad. They didn’t talk to their significant others. All those men that Christ chose got up and went right after him. They had a sense of urgency and importance about his message. Why can’t we be like them. Our spirit is willing, but our flesh is so weak sometimes. Can you imagine what the church would look like if we all did this?
“But, I have obligations!!!”
You don’t think these men didn’t? What makes you so special? That was what the Parable of the Rich Young Ruler was about. He couldn’t give up the world and embrace his cross, loss of wealth, to follow Christ.
O God grant people is this day the ability to look past the material and into eternity! We lay up treasures in heaven that are unfathomable now to us, who see through a glass darkly, but those treasures will be known and then it will be too late to amass any more. I believe that God is looking for uncommon men and women to stand up now in this chaotic mess and march forward for the kingdom.
I’ve studied history down through the ages. The persecuted Christians could only be envious of the time we have for study and the wealth we have to spread the gospel. But … I think they would also weep to see what has become of God’s people as they have abandoned the tenets of His word.
We have all started to become like that rich young ruler. But, glory to God, we have an advocate who sits on the right hand of the Father, our brother and a savior that can give us His grace and turn us around if we only let Him when we fall.
As we make our way in this world and fulfill Jesus’ admonition, let us reflect upon what it means to “fish” for men, women, and children. Let us put away all the name calling, and our lust for vengeance on those with whom we don’t agree, and remember that those that are against Christ are the ones that He came to die for and to save. If we are so perfect, then we have no need of a savior. And if we are not sick ourselves, then we have no need of the Great Physician.
Pray for this country and pray for our enemies.
Grace & Peace to All,