Monday, January 14, 2013

Fishers of Men

"Fishers of Men"

According to a recent study of church-going American Protestants, the #1 thing that Christian churchgoers struggle with most is sharing Christ with non-Christians.

John Wilke in August of this past year wrote an article titled, “Churchgoers Believe in sharing faith, but most never do”.  In this article he reported on a recent study conducted by LifeWay Research found 80 % of those who attend church one or more times a month, believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, but 61 % have not told another person about how to become a Christian in the previous six months. 

In an extensive discipleship research project focused on measuring spiritual maturity in individuals. LifeWay Research found eight biblical attributes consistently evident in the lives of maturing believers. Of those eight, "Sharing Christ" has the lowest average score among Protestant church attendees. 

From the very beginning of His earthly ministry we find Jesus exhibiting the practice of evangelism—of calling people to Himself.  And the reason He was calling them was in part to a “job”, but more importantly Jesus was calling them to salvation, by putting their faith and their lives in His hands.  A truth that we must always keep in mind is that if Jesus calls and we follow, He has done so not only to give something to us but as well to make something of us.

Matthew 4:18–22 (NASB95)
The First Disciples
18 Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
19 And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
21 Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them.
22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
In this passage there are three things to note for Christians:
  1. We're to be followers of Christ.
  2. We're to be fashioned by Christ.
  3. We're to be fishermen for Christ.
1.      We’re To Be Followers of Christ.
Jesus spoke much about our following Him.  The word “follow” occurs over 90 times in the Gospels.  Following Christ means we make Him Lord of our daily lives, seek out His promises and claim them, seek out His commands and obey them, and offer ourselves as living sacrifices for Him (Rom. 12:1–2).
2.      We’re To Be Fashioned By Christ.
“... and I will make you.” As we follow Christ, He in, on, and through our lives to be more like Him.  Christ cuts away and carves into us so that we become not what we desire, but what He desires.
Illus.—A school teacher who was bypassed for a promotion went to her administrator and complained, “I have twenty years of experience, and you promoted someone who had only been teaching five years.” The administrator replied, “No, you don’t have twenty years of experience. You have one year of experience twenty times. You’re still teaching the same things and in the same way you did your first year. You haven’t grown in your profession.”
Christ wants us to grow, to develop, to become effective representatives of Himself and for Himself.
3.      We’re to be Fisherman for Christ.
“...I will make you fishers of men.”
In Paul’s letters, he said that those he had won to Christ were his crown and joy, his trophies of grace. (1 Thess. 2:19-20)  When we look at the church (local) who do we see.  Are there any who were outside the church and have come in by our faithful efforts?  Is there anyone with whom we have shared Christ and seen God work in them the gift of salvation, which is eternal life in Jesus Christ?  It's not to brag, boast, or pridefully flaunt in our efforts and abilities, but rather to give glory to God that He first saved us, but also that He has chosen to use us as instruments and tools for His glory to see that others come to Him by the power of the Spirit through the person of Christ.  

Never forget that if Jesus calls and you follow, He has done so not only to give something to you but as well to make something of you.   If you are a follower of Christ you are called to be a fisherman for Christ.

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