Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Hi. Got a question for ya... Have you already made the thrilling discovery, that second only to experiencing the blessing, the fun, the great privilege and the glory in worshiping the Lord in spirit and in truth, comes the tremendous J-O-Y of leading another person to Jesus Christ?
If not, then I want to share an important parable with you.. not my parable here, but one that I believe will totally inspire you, one that is from the God who made you for a specific purpose. You will love these words I believe, for He does have a cool plan for your life and it's a plan that is really for your own welfare (as well as for others..) that will include a type of fishing that's exciting and enjoyable.. rather than boring as fishing for fish can sometimes get! Hey gang, if you're ready for this challenge I'm talkin' about, then bravely read on further...
"Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." ~ Jesus, Matthew 13:47–48, nlt
Interesting huh? What'd ya think of those words - what comes to mind? Man, I'm just glad to be tipped off in advance. Bible prophecy has been 100 percent accurate thus far, and I know this will happen just as Christ said as well. Aren't you glad to be tipped off in advance as well ..regarding something that's so important? I know you would want that. Yeah, no matter how hard it might be for any of us to hear, we really need to know in a nutshell what will really happen just around the corner. Sure, this is so good to know, and it's not from some bogus old fable here. This is from a big, loving God tactfully warning and getting' future reality down to the level of those that He felt it was important to get through to..so that they in turn could pass it on to us.
Have you spent any time at the beach or at a lake? Now, I grew up near some piers at the beach and have done some fishing from boats and from the San Clemente pier. It's quite down there, there are others normally around you with their rods extended over the wood railing, one or two might typically have a smaller net to cast out, you wait for a bite, you try different baits on the hook, you watch skilled fisherman reel in some fish and then clean em. Gross! But every now and then a fisherman will think they caught a fish and then learn that they caught some kelp, some other seaweed, some trash, perhaps an octopus, a piece of an inner tube, or perhaps an small shark ...and all that is what keeps things kinda interesting. You feel excited when you get a bite! You never know what's going to happen… or what you will pull in, if you pull in anything of value at all. Sometimes you go home without anything to throw in the grill, but you had a good time with the other fishers.
This is the reason why I can almost hear the sound of gulls and waves lapping up on the sand when I read this so called, Parable of the Dragnet, that Christ concisely explained in Matthew's Gospel, chapter 13.
The Kingdom of Heaven is somewhat similar to a big fishing net getting dragged through some deep inhabited waters, sifting and also takin' in good and bad creatures or mere junk.
It's a fight for their life. At the pier, I think about the fish wiggles with big round eyes.. gills moving, giving it their all, water splashing ya. But when witnessing, there is really a spiritual battle going on in the unseen realm around you. The minions of hell really do not want to lose even one person. I guess misery loves company.
So, with this fishing parable in mind, where do you and I come in as believers and hopefully red-hot spiritual believers, committed disciples of Christ?
Glad you asked. You knew I'd say that huh.
Well, we have an important part in this fishing stuff today and it's a real privilege too. Glad we were chosen for this.
Your mission and duty, if you choose to accept it, is to use effective bait that will attract a lot instead of repelling a lot.. yeah, because the fish in the area where you live just like it that way so to speak, and then it's to situate a net for best scooping (or baited hook for grabbing their attention and grabbing them), and then it's to carefully tug in that net (or hook) in such a way that there won't be any loss of its desired contents.
Sure, you and I are here to worship God, but we are also here to drag a net through the waters of our specific neighborhoods, schools, places of employment ..wisely.. and through the waters of where we go to socialize and businesses where we frequent and patrons..yes, through our entire townships and communities to snatch up whomever we can—the people there who are willing to turn away from their sin to Christ for salvation after clearly hearing Christ's Gospel.
Will we also net-scoop in some bad with the decent? Absolutely, that's just part of it. Will the angels eventually do the separating of what we tug and tug? Sure. Is it possible that we'll have false Christians as well and truly repentant believers with us? Without a doubt! But fishermen and fisherwomen, fisherboys and fishergirls keep returning to the shores and keep doing what they do, because they are confident that they will each indeed have bona-fied, genuine value in their catch as well.
Listen up. Check it out. Real born from above kinda Christians love to do this fishing! They sing as they do it. They just love to learn about it—the truth of how to do it better, or learn about the local fish more. They desire to know what the fish if you will.. really like, and hate, what draws and what needlessly repels em. Yes real believers want to know how the fish think and what they dwell on ..if they are doing that. We really want to know how they feel if we can, and even where they enjoy hanging out ..or are hiding out. Real believers want to learn about the best bait to use that won't taint or devalue em. They love to watch other experienced, straightforward, skillful fisherpersons reel in a catch. They just love to talk about Jesus Christ and His pure Gospel. How do they stay healthy and strong to do what they do?
False believers, false fishers, false apostles, false converts.. I mean merely lost religious folk here who are dead inside, simply do not like to do these things. They are interested in other things. Did you know that those in the cults like to focus on Christians in churches. That's where they get their numbers, so that is why we all need good biblical teaching, so we can discern the difference between truth and their lies.
Are you a real fisher of people yet?
You can be today, right now! Jesus Christ commanded, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19). Is this a scary idea for you? I think the Apostle Peter could relate to you. Jesus told Simon, "Don't be afraid! From now on you'll be fishing for people!" (Lk. 5:10).
So what does "fishers of men" even mean? Well, a good rendering of that could be translated, "catch men [or women] alive." That New Testament phrase is utilized one other time in the Bible. Where? It's in 2 Timothy 2:26. You remember where the Apostle Paul spoke of people who have been taken captive by the devil to do his will. Yup, that's it.
"Wait just a moment, Kurt! Dude, are you actually saying that the devil is a fisher of the people sucking air on this planet as well?" Yeah, that's exactly what I am saying and that is the reason why we need to work together—unified teamwork is what makes the Dream work! Yes, that's why we are to have an urgency inside about what we are called to do in Christ. There are only so many living fish in a pond, and experienced fishers know that if they get to that pond last, they might just catch a tire or a rubber boot. Who wants to go home with a slimy boot with algae and mud all over it?
Yes, our time to fish here is limited.
News Flash: There will be no fishing for souls up in Heaven.. ever. The time for that will be behind then.. yes indeed, forever! That's why we all need to do our best in the Spirit to edify, encourage, feed, nurture and help other fishers—true born again believers—become the best worshippers of God, and best fishers of people that they can become in Christ.
We have a decision today. It's up to each one of us. The chief Fisher of people will either use us to catch people alive (primarily you and I are His plan A for this great task in reaching em, and He really has no plan B..) or the devil will catch them alive before we act.
Will any angel ever preach at the end even a little bit? In that parable we see the angels sorting, evaluating what's in the net, and separating one from another, but sure, the Bible says, "Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, 'Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water'" (Rev. 14:6-7). They (or perhaps one angel) will indeed have a roll with this in these last days, but it's also clear that today you and I need to be about this fishing for peers and other peeps. This responsibility is way, Way, WAY important to take heed to!
And we each have a choice before us huh.
Question: How do you want it all to play out? I say we get with God in prayer daily, and then go fishing when we can ..for all kinds of people as His Spirit directs us to them, wasting no time at all. Look around you, none of us has all that much time to act.
People outside of Christ are literally hell-bound and like prisoners in unseen jails and chains. I know that these terms might sound so religious or churchy to you, but God's plan is about us finding them as they are.. as He uses us to deliver them into real freedom so they'll become those they have never been. It's a plan of regeneration in every nation, no matter your station!
We simply do our part and leave the results up to Him ..for Jesus is still Lord of the harvest. He alone is the Savior. You know that you and I can save no one. Yup, salvation is of the Lord and we are called to pray and participate in His work, as fellow laborers - as fishers.
So we, of course never ever want to pressure or coerce, or trap, or trick anyone into a decision to repent and believe in Jesus. That'd be stupid.
I've found that someone pushed and persuaded against their will ..is more than likely of the same opinion still. I like to give em an easy out if they say the must be going. It's their life, but if they have time, I want to merely explain the facts well and in faith give them an opportunity to become a real Christian.
But the fun is in listening, in seed planting, in faithfully watering, in fervently praying and in giving out the Gospel in an understandable way.. getting' out of God's way so to speak, as He is working on hearts in all of this.. and yes, simply allowing Him to powerfully work. That's where His greatest miracle happens. He guides us when it's time to reap, when it's the perfect time to set the hook and reel em in. It might not be a perfect situation to work in, when its God's perfect timing—He knows best!
"Soul winning is not a method; it is a command. We are supposed to go soul winning and do soul winning if our churches grow or if our churches decrease in attendance." ~ Jack Hyles
"I believe that if there is one thing which pierces the Master's heart with unutterable grief, it is not the world's iniquity, but the Church's indifferences." ~ F.B. Meyer
Do you live the life before them as an example or are you kind of a secret agent saint thinking they'll somehow have the gift to read your mind regarding the truth? Not putting you down here, because Jesus can help and change all of us. With all due respect, how much do your friends and family really matter to you? Please don't be offended at that question (to tell you the truth, many preachers could care less about winning people to Christ). But I mean.. do you pray and ever fast.. do you really expect to see God save people when you share the Commandments of God and the Good News of Jesus with your peers? You should expect to see people come to Christ to be born again! Do you expect to see these people grow so that they too will eventually go fish for others? Every saint should.. every big, small, rural, and urban church should expect to see and do this.
"Let's quit fiddling with religion and do something to bring the world to Christ." ~ Billy Sunday
"Old-fashioned, Spirit-filled, Christ-honoring, sin-hating, soul-winning, Bible-preaching. It is the hope of the church. It is the hope of the nation. It is the hope of the world." ~ Jack Hyles
Believer, will you join with us in prayer and in this kind of fishing? I admonish you—I dare you if I may! There is no more thrilling lifestyle to have. Not saying join me to follow me per se.
Our biblical vision of knowing the Lord well and then making the Lord well known worldwide ..starting from home.. is basically the vision if you will, of what God wants you to become involved with! Again, I'm not asking you to follow me, for I really want you to follow Jesus in fishing. Christ never said, "Hey, follow my people." He said, "Follow Me" (Lk. 9:23, 9:59, 18:22, Jn. 1:43, 10:27 and 12:26).
Yes, Jesus alone is to be your primary role model in fishing and in all of life. He is your Lord and really primo Mentor. Of course you don't need to do ministry of any sort exactly like any of us do it, but the important thing is that you be yourself in a Christ-honoring way, daily worship Him and then do what He tells you to do in regards to fishing for people. God will literally give you a desire to do ministry in a winsome Way! And you won't ever regret it!
You've really got to visit: Kurt von Schleicher at 9:37 AM