04/29/12 Can We Go Fishing?

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Friday, May 4, 2012 Under: Sermon

Text: John 21:1-14 (NKJV)

1 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We are going with you also." They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No." 6 And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught." 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?"--knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. 14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.”

“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25

Intro: The baby bird leaves the nest, the cub is on its own, and the teenager goes off to college…. Something similar happened in all these situations. The disciples are no longer in the presence of Jesus, He is not there to protect or provide for them anymore, or is He! A relationship with Christ does give you 24 hour a day, 7 days a week protection. He hasn’t left!

Here we have 7 men of destiny. Three years earlier they left everything to follow Jesus. Three years later what do we do now? The agony of the crucifixion and doubt in the upper room; the joy of the resurrection and their obedience in going to Galilee
. In time, These Men Will Change the World! What potential in this small dedicated group. What memories they shared on the shore! But there was a problem; Jesus was no longer with them and Peter the ring leader says lets go fishing.

Application: Jesus is still with you!

1. Darkness & Defeat: vs. 3

“They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.” Interestingly enough these were experienced fisherman and the best time to go fishing in the Sea of Galilee was night time. So what is the problem?

Peter says “I go fishing” the other disciples said: “We also go with thee” Finally Peter could resist no more he was going fishing. Interestingly enough the other guys followed. Peter was the leader and others were following. We often forget there are others in our life that are watching and following. Our attitude will affect others, our influence brings great responsibility. Romans 14:7 (NLT) “For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves.”

So they go fishing and catch nothing. These seasoned, experienced fishermen caught nothing. A night of catching nothing, darkness throughout scripture refers to the absence of light, Christ was the light, and in Him there is no darkness no sin. Like the farmer who sows but does not reap, Like the doctor who administers medicine but heals no one, Like the salesman who calls but sells nothing what a frustrating night! All their labor was in vain. Have you ever been frustrated when you went fishing and caught nothing?

Peter acted without orders in returning to his fishing. He had forsaken all to follow Christ, and now he was turning back to the old life. Everything about this scene speaks of defeat, it is dark, indicating that they are not walking in the light; they had no direct word from the Lord; their efforts met with failure; they did not recognize Christ when He did appear, showing that their spiritual vision was dim. Peter led the other six men astray when he made his hasty decision. How tragic is a bad influence! We need to keep in mind that God blesses us only when we abide in Christ and obey the Word. “Without Me you can do nothing”. Too many Christians enter into well-meaning but unscriptural activities, only to waste time, money, and energy for nothing. Let us beware of impatience. It is better to wait on the Lord for directions, and then let Him bless, than to involve ourselves in useless activities.

2. Daylight & Deliverance: vs. 4-6

“But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No." 6 And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.”

Just as their disobedience had resulted in failure, the disciples’ obedience brought overwhelming success. The miraculous catch of fish and the meal He provided for them demonstrated to the disciples that Jesus could and would still meet their needs. This story also reminds all believers that obedience always brings blessing. The point at the historical moment this event happened and the primary sense of the event was to overcome the disciples’ fear of failure and weakness that was causing them to drift back into their old ways. What our Lord did here settled forever in the minds of the apostles that they were called to serve the Lord Jesus Christ for the rest of their lives.

The Lord, as always, uses weak and sinful people to advance His kingdom because there are no other kinds of people: “And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NKJV)

Christ came when it was morning “when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore.”

Luke 1:78 (NKJV) “Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us.” He brings morning to our lives!

The light of Christ will deliver!

3. Divine Direction: vs. 6-7

“And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea.”

When Christ appears on the scene, then the light begins to shine. He instructs them from the shore, and they catch a great host of fish! A few minutes’ labor with Christ in control will accomplish more than a whole night of carnal efforts! There are actually several miracles in this chapter, besides the catch of fish. Peter is given miraculous strength to draw up a net that seven men were not able to draw together.

The Lord began the second lesson by calling out to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” The disciples were no doubt exhausted and frustrated after their failed fishing expedition, and did not know at first who was speaking. They must have been tempted to tell this bold stranger to mind his own business. After all, they were experienced fishermen; who was he to tell them what to do? And did he think the fish knew the difference between one side of the boat and the other? But there was something authoritative in the voice that allowed for no argument or hesitance, so they obeyed His command. To their astonishment, they cast their net, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.

“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13–14

Today we are casting out the Gospel net, but often the nets break, there is seeming failure, and we do not know how many souls are really won. But when Christ returns the exact number will be known, and none will be lost. Today there are many boats and fishermen at work, but when Christ returns, we will see the one church and all the redeemed in the one Gospel net.

The fact that the net did not break is amazing. The fire of coals and the cooked breakfast were certainly supplied miraculously. The entire scene was designed to awaken Peter’s conscience and open his eyes. The catch of fish reminded him of his past decision to forsake all and follow Christ. The fire of coals would take him back to his denial.

Because Peter had denied Christ three times publicly, he had to make it right publicly. Christ fed Peter before He dealt with his sins. How like the Lord to bless us first, and then deal with us! The issue was Peter’s love for Christ. If a man or woman really loves Christ, their life will be devoted and dedicated.

Peter’s eyes are opened! He sees and quickly goes to Christ. Christ gives Peter a new commission: he is now a shepherd (pastor) besides being a fisher of men. He is now to shepherd the lambs and sheep and feed them the Word of God. All Christians are expected to be fishers of men (soul-winners), but some have been called into the special ministry of shepherding the flock. What good is it to win the lost if there is no church where they might be fed and cared for?

Could this be divine direction for the church? Cast it out again, but in the faith of Christ!

Conclusion: Jesus will and does take care of His own; He is still here with us!

For the first time in more than three years, they faced having to fend for themselves, since Jesus had provided for all their needs while He was with them. The Lord made it clear that He would continue to do so. This time He demonstrated His commitment to meet their needs through a living illustration. But before the disciples learned the lesson that Christ would continue to provide for them, they first had to be brought face-to-face with their own inadequacy. As a result, the passage illustrates two contrasting dependencies from which they could choose. The disciples could depend on their former trades and pick up on life as they had left it before Jesus called them, or they could continue in gospel ministry dependant on His power and provision. These two options face those who belong to Christ: are we on our own, or do we follow Christ? The answer is given here.

“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25

Blessed in what he does: can we go fishing? Can we spend hundreds of dollars to go to a football game, or basketball game? Can we go to the Daytona 500? Yes! God isn’t telling us that we can’t enjoy recreational stuff. He is telling us not to forget what He has done for us and how we should live our future in Christ who strengthens us. Jesus is our great shepherd and He does provide and protect those who Love Him. Do you Love Him?

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