INTRO: One of the memorable events from the life of Jesus which seems to find its way into almost all of our preschool and primary materials is the call of the four fishermen: Peter, Andrew, James and John. Once again, we have accounts of this event in the three synoptic gospels. However, each of the narratives includes details not found in the others. The gospel of John makes no reference to this specific event, but he does make mention of an earlier relationship between Jesus and these men. This helps us to understand that the call of these men was not something abrupt and that their leaving their trades to follow Him was not likely something about which there had been no forethought.
I. CONSIDER THE MEN
A. They were Galileans
1. Jesus, of course, was from Galilee
2. Acts 10:37 - Peter marks the beginning of Jesus' teaching from Galilee
3. Acts 13:31 - it was Galileans who were the witnesses of His resurrection
4. but notice Acts 4:13 - this was the reputation of Galileans!
B. They were fishermen
1. men of very ordinary backgrounds - "earthen vessels" (2 Cor 4:7)
2. they were busy at their work - the kind of people one wants in a cause
3. qualifications? patient, persistent, productive
4. men who would, therefore, not be easily discouraged by hardship, etc.
II. THE CALL? COME AFTER ME
A. They were certainly familiar with Jesus
1. James & John may well have been relatives of Jesus
2. from Jno 1:40ff it is clear that several were involved with Him earlier
3. so, this is not a sudden appearance of Jesus and hasty decision on the part of the four fishermen without previous knowledge of Jesus
B. The significance of the call?
1. certainly, there was the aspect of "companionship"
2. however, by N.T. times there was a "discipleship" aspect in these words
3. so, Jesus will be the "teacher" - they will be His students & followers
III. THE PURPOSE? TO MAKE OF THEM FISHERS OF MEN
A. What an appropriate way to describe their mission!
1. these are men who understand what the nature of "fishing"
2. these are men who understand the occasional disappointments of it
3. these are men who understand the pleasure of the "catch"
B. Jesus would teach them to become fishers of men
1. before we can be effective in this, there are some things to learn
2. so, we need to "watch" the Master "fisherman" as He goes about his task
3. His compassion, interest in others, commitment to the word, devotion to the task, patience, impatience with hypocrisy, forgiveness ... so many qualities and examples which made Him the Master "fisherman"
C. Is there not a purpose here for us, too?
1. oh, I know that we cannot be apostles as the 12 were
2. but should we not have a great interest in the souls of others and be active in that interest?
3. Phil 2:15,16 - Rev 22:17 - "...let him that heareth say, Come..."
IV. THE RESPONSE? IMMEDIATE AND COMPLETE
A. Mark records their response as "straightway"
1. more recent translations will have "immediately"
2. compare Lk 9:57-61 - there are so many excuses for ones hesitating, procrastinating in such a decision
3. and, in all honesty, so many "would be" disciples are making excuses
B. Further, Mark notes that "they forsook their nets..."
1. notice Mk 10:28 - "...we have left all, and have followed thee"
2. is there not a sense in which every disciple must leave all in order to follow Him?
3. I wonder if this is not part of the significance of Mt 6:24 - our relationships, our possessions, our desires can (and too often, do) have a minimizing effect on our discipleship
4. Lk 14:33 - this is very strong language - are you His disciple?
V. THE PATH OF DISCIPLESHIP? THEY FOLLOWED HIM
A. This is the discipline of discipleship - a distinct path or course
B. We cannot follow Him while on paths of our own choosing
1. the world has so many people calling themselves His disciples
2. but they are not following His teaching, His example, His sacrifice
3. the New Testament sets out the path ... carefully follow it
CLOSE: The call to follow Jesus is a contemporary call. Are you ready to follow Him where ever He leads?
Cecil A. Hutson
02 April 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)