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Note on sermon preached 18 July 2010 on Luke 5 v 1-11
Everyone who encounters Jesus is on a spiritual journey. The destination that Jesus wants us to reach is a place of complete commitment and surrender to Him. In this passage we see Jesus taking Simon on this journey.
Washing the Nets
At the start of this passage Simon is with the others washing his nets. The ministry of the word of God is going on around him and he probably has half an ear on it, but whilst he is happy to be in the entourage of Jesus and associated with him – he’s not really committed to it. His life is fishing – Jesus is a useful add-on. How many Christians are there like this? God is fine – in his place: but their priorities are elsewhere.
Making Yourself Useful
Jesus has a problem – there are too many people to hear him properly. So his solution is to use one of the boats close by. To Simon’s credit, he is willing to make his resources available for Jesus to use. What about us – are we available to be used, and for our resources to be used by God as he requires?
Whilst on this point it is worth pointing out that Jesus used whatever was available to Him to enable his word to be heard. That means He does not hesitate to use PA, radio mikes and whatever else is available to Him.
Hearing the Challenge
When the preaching was over Jesus turns to Simon. Jesus deals with the masses – but he also deals with us one at a time. And his instruction to Simon is remarkable: Jesus wants ot be involved not just in Simon’s spiritual life – but in his daily life as well. Immediately the barriers between Simon’s “God Box” and the rest of his world come down. The fact is that Jesus wants to be Lord, not only of our Sunday mornings, but of every part of our lives. There is no part of our lives that is not required to be handed over to Jesus. Are we willing for that?
Making the Choice
Simon is faced with a desperate dilemma. Every ounce of skill, expertise and experience tells him that Jesus instruction is ridiculous. The word of God seems a joke to those who come into contact with Him for the first time. The question is – are we prepared to do what God commands, even when it seems fruitless? You can hear Simon’s dilemma in his response. Bu to his great credit Simon ends with the words “because you say so…I will”. This is a turning point for Simon, and it will be for you as well. The question is: are we prepared to commit ourselves to following the word of Jesus in every area of our lives in every situation? Have you reached the stage where you can say with Simon. “Because you say so…I will”?
By the way putting out into deep water and letting down the nets was not am quick thing to do – it involved lengthy physical work – and the ridicule of the fishermen who were on the shore. Obeying the word of Jesus is not usually straightforward!
Reaping the Consequence
One of the laws of God’s creation is that it is not possible to obey him without blessing following. And what a spectacular blessing follows! You will never obey God without experiencing a genuine blessing.
A Natural response
Face to face with power and authority of God, Simon’s response is the most natural response in the world. “Leave me” is a typical response of anyone who knows they have come face to face with God. Simon knows that he can’t live with the holiness, the authority and the power of Jesus. He knows that he is totally unworthy to be Jesus companion and follower…yet he also knows that he can’t live without Jesus, and that only He has the answer to life’s problems. There has never been a servant of God who has not responded in a similar way.
A Great Commission
At once Jesus follows up with the call to be involved in the greatest job in the world: the call to work with Him in the building of His church, to win men and women for the kingdom of God and to see them disciples for Jesus. Notice how Jesus uses imagery which Simon can understand. He is a fisherman and has just seen a remarkable catch of fish. The imagery is obvious. From now on his work will be with Jesus to catch men and women for the kingdom to God. That is what we are involved with as disciples of Jesus.
Church is about making disciples – not about keeping you happy, and meeting your needs. Have you responded to the call of Jesus to be involved in the most important job in the world?
A Step of Commitment
Finally Simon (and his companions) take the step that Jesus has been leading them to. The “God box” has gone – now the whole of their lives is surrendered to Jesus. For these fishermen it meant leaving their jobs. For most it won’t – but it will mean deliberately and knowingly putting all of our lives under the authority of Jesus – with no return. Have you done that?
As the song says:
“And I will give my all to you
Surrender everything I have and follow you
I will follow you”