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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

Let's Go A Fishing - July 22, 2007



Sermon of the Week #200729 – July 22, 2007

Peter said, I go fishing, and six others said, we also come and go with thee. So let’s join them, and go a fishing, because Peter seems to be a good fisherman. One time he did not have enough money to pay his taxes, and his tax consultant advised him to go a fishing. Peter went a fishing, and the first fish caught, had enough money in his mouth to pay the tax. Oh, by the way, his tax consultant was Jesus. You can read it in Matthew 17.

If one soul is worth more than the whole world, what shall a man be profited if he gain the whole world? How much is a net full of souls worth in the sight of God.

On another occasion Peter had gone a fishing, and fished all night, and took nothing: an ichthyologist, who was in the boat, advised Peter to try one more time, and he caught enough fish to fill two boats. By the way, an ichthyologist is an expert on the study of fish; his name was Jesus. You can read it in Luke 5. So here in John 21 Peter says I go a fishing, so come on, let’s go a fishing with him.

 Early in the ministry of Jesus he had seen Peter, and Andrew by the sea mending their nets, and he said to them follow me, and I would make you to become fishers of men. All the fishing they had done up to this time was on the Sea of Galilee; a sea honored above all the seas of the world. This was the sea where the Lord of the universe walked on the water, the sea where he stilled the tempest, and brought forth a miraculous catch of fish on two occasions, it was about twelve miles long, and eight miles wide, and it was the sea where he told them to launch out into the deep, a request that had a far reaching meaning that the apostles could not have understood at that time because the perimeters of their fishing would be enlarged to the ocean of humanity, where they would really be doing some deep sea fishing, because Jesus would tell them after the resurrection: “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned.”

They are still fishing for men today through the faithful preaching of the message Jesus gave the Apostles. Actually the main thrust of the work of the church today is the preaching of that word that so many seemed to have forgotten. The motto on every bulletin board outside the house of worship ought to have these words in large letters: “LET’S GO A FISHING.”

So they went forth, and that night they took nothing. That seems to be the experience of our fishing many times today. We cast out the gospel net many times, and catch nothing, and then we know how the Apostles felt by daybreak. All night they toiled those men of Galilee--Casting their heavy nets into the sea.

But then Jesus appeared on the beach, although at about a hundred yards away in early dawn they did not know him. He called, “Lads, have ye ought to eat?” They answered, “No! “

That question should have told them it was Jesus because he had asked them that same question several days before, in Luke 24, when he had appeared in the upper room, and they thought He was a spirit. He asked them have you anything to eat. They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and ate before them. Somehow they did not put the same voice and the same question together. Mary Magdalene in John 20 had the same problem when she looked into the empty tomb, and saw two angels in white that asked her, “Whom seek ye?” She said, “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.” She turned herself back and saw Jesus standing and supposed Him to be the gardener. They did not recognize the resurrected Christ by the sound of his voice or by sight; until that disciple whom Jesus loved took another look at the man on the beach, and said to Peter: "It is the Lord.” This is sometimes a common experience with many of us. A trouble arises in the program of our lives, and everything seems to be changed, and then after a while we have to say like John: “It was the Lord.”

In Genesis 28:16 is a statement that amplifies that thought. Jacob was fleeing from home, from the wrath of his brother who promised to kill him. He fell asleep in a desert place with a stone for his pillow. He had a dream of a ladder to heaven revealing to him a glorious future. When he awakened Jacob said, “The Lord was in this place and I knew it not.” This should come as no surprise to the Christian in his effort to fish for men. Did not Jesus say in the Great Commission: "Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world;" and he also said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” Peer through the dusk of disappointment, and you may be able to say: “It was the Lord, and I knew Him not.”

He said, “Cast the nets on the right side of the boat, and ye shall find.” They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. So it is with us. We work, and seem to get nowhere, and then cast the nets one more time and this time we get it right. Always fish from the right side of the boat, the left side is for liberals, you will never catch anything there. Then too, always remember whether you are fishing for fish or for men; always obey the directives of Jesus.

When Peter heard it was the Lord he put on his outer garment, Peter had evidently stripped to his under garments as he labored during the night. Evidently he did not want to come into the presence of the Lord looking like he just got out of bed until he was properly attired, so he wrapped his cloak about him, and cast himself into the sea, and swam the hundred yard to stand in the presence of the Lord.

But the disciples came in the little boat for they were not far from the land about a hundred yards off, dragging the net full of fishes. Jesus saith unto them, “Bring of the fish which ye have now taken,” and Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes a hundred and fifty and three, and for all there were so many the net was not rent.

The command of Jesus to Peter at this point is very instructive. They did not count the fish while they were still in the boat. This is the only true way to count the fish. They waited until they were safe on the shore, and then they counted the fish. There will be time enough for counting when the fishing is done. Not until we reach the shore of that sea John spoke of in Revelation 4:6 “the sea of glass like unto crystal,” will we know the full tally of the fishes we caught. But until that day let us continue to go a fishing. 

We need to note also the when Peter drew the net to land the net was not rent. Peter must have thought about that on the day of Pentecost when the gospel net was cast into the sea of humanity before him as he preached the first gospel sermon, and told them of the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. When the assembled thousands realized they had killed the Prince of life, they were pricked in their hearts and asked what they must do? The answer of Peter then, and now is the same; “Repent ye, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For to you, is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord shall call unto him. They then that gladly received his word were baptized, and there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls.” And it can be said for all there were so many; the net was not rent because the Lord added unto them day by day those that were saved. And they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine, and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Jesus had told Peter early in his ministry after the first great catch of fishes: "Fear not, from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” There is a difference in catching fish and catching men. In catching fish you draw up from the water a live fish and it dies. In fishing for men you draw up out of the water a person who has died to sin and is raised up to walk in the newness of life. Remember Paul says in Colossians 2:12-14 when we were buried with Christ in baptism we were dead in trespasses and made alive together with him. This is now the third time Jesus was manifested unto the disciples, after that He was raised from the dead. So let’s go a fishing.

When Peter drew the fish to land the Lord told them to come and break their fast. Then Jesus cometh, and taketh the bread, and giveth them, and the fish likewise. Jesus served as the waiter on this occasion, and this reminds us of other times when the Lord Jesus was the waiter serving their food both physical and spiritual. In the feeding of the five thousand, he brake and gave to them. In the feeding of the four thousand, he brake and gave to them. In the institution of the Lord’s Supper, he brake the loaf and gave to them. And at the second coming of Jesus there is the promise the Lord made in Luke 12 in reference to the second coming. ”Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, he shall gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and shall come and serve them.”

He brake the bread at this meeting of the resurrected Christ, brake the bread at the feeding of the five thousand, brake the bread at the feeding of the four thousand, brake the bread at the feeding at the Lord’s Supper, and he will break the bread at his second Coming. Evidently we are all helpless in sustaining life here on earth, and in heaven. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above ye heavenly host, Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

After this breakfast by the fireside Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. He remembered how he had denied the Lord three times at another fireside of coals, and now Jesus asked him three times if he loves Him at this fireside of coals. Jesus did not asked Peter if he was sorry he had denied Him three times, nor did He ask him if he promised never to do it again, He asked him if he loved Him. Jesus knew that was all that was necessary. If Peter loved Him the rest would take care of itself. Then Jesus told him to fed his lambs, tend his sheep, and feed his sheep.

After this Jesus told Peter that while he was young he girded himself and walkest whereever thou wouldest. But when thou shall be old another shall gird thee and carry thee where thou wouldest not. This he spake signifying by what manner of death he should glorify God.

Being born is the only one way a person can come into this world, but there are only two ways to die: In Christ, or out of Christ. Jesus said, “Except ye believe in me ye shall die in your sins.” Paul says in Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” Then in Revelation 14:13 “Blessed are they who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”

After this prediction Jesus said, "Follow me.” Peter saw John following and asked, “What will this man do?” Then Jesus said, “If I will that he try till I come follow thou me.” This may have been a reminder to Peter about the time Jesus walked by, and saw them washing their nets and had said unto them: "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And how could he forget a similar incident of the day early in the ministry of Jesus when he heard Jesus say, “Follow me,” when they had fished all night and taken nothing, and upon the advise of Jesus had caught a net full of fishes. On that day Jesus had told Peter, “Fear not from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” Let’s go a fishing.

Jesus predicted that Peter would die by crucifixion. Tradition tells us he was crucified upside down not being worthy to die as the Lord died. Paul speaks for us all when he declares in Philippians 1, “With all boldness as always, so now also, Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether in life, or by death. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Had Peter known the song he could have sung,  


Seeing that this day will come when I wouldest not, what shall we do until then? The answer of Jesus is,Follow thou Me.” Peter would later remember these words of the Lord when he said in his second epistle, "The putting off of my tabernacle cometh swiftly, even as our Lord Jesus signified unto me.” Peter lived the rest of his life under the shadow of the cross. In his first epistle he reminds us that Jesus gives us the invitation that we should follow in His steps. Jesus says to us as well as to Peter. “If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” There are enough crosses to go around for anyone who would respond to the Lord's invitation. FOLLOW THOU ME! Learn to live like Peter under the shadow of the cross, I can hear my Savior calling; I can hear my Savior calling; I can hear my Savior calling. Take thy cross and follow Me.

John concludes his gospel story of Jesus telling us:  "There are also many other things that Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose the world itself would not contain the books that should be written.”

But some of the other things that Jesus did are written if you turn the page, and read the first chapter of the Book of Acts 1:1-2 “The former treatise I made O Theophilus, concerning all that Jesus began both to do and to teach until the day in which he was received up.”   

What Jesus did in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, was only the beginning of what Jesus did and taught. His work continued on in the story of the book of Acts as example after example tells the story of the conversions of sinners: how they heard the story of the cross and resurrection, believed it, repented, and were baptized for the remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. And it will continue until the day when the trumpet sounds and the Lord returns.  All of these works are being written down now in a book, and will be read off on the Day of Judgment, when it is said in Revelation 20,  “And the books were opened.” So until that day when the book is opened that tells us what the Lord Jesus has continued to do, and teach through his servants through the centuries since he went away, let us remember Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” So come on: LET’S GO A FISHING!