Making Fishermen Matt 4:19 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In Matt 4:19, Jesus said to Peter and Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” When we read about the early lives of Peter, Andrew, James and John, the disciples of Jesus, we see the process of making fishermen. We’ll study the Lord’s method of making fishermen in hopes of gleaning what he will do in our lives to make us fishermen and what we can do in the lives of others to help them become fishermen. Making fishermen involves:
Knowing Jesus – Jn 1:40-42 – you’re never going to be a fisher of men if you don’t personally know the Lord – in other words, you need to be saved and you need to know Jesus well enough that you can introduce others to him – in Jn 1:42, Andrew “brought” Peter “to Jesus” – though Paul saw Jesus the day he got saved [Acts 9] he testified to the Philippians that he wanted to “know him” [Phil 3:10] – so, you need to make sure you are saved and that you increase in your knowledge of the Lord [2 Pet 3:18].
Seeing Jesus’ supernatural work in your life – Lk 5:2-7 – once you are saved and you start getting to know Jesus you start seeing him work in your life – Jesus told his disciples that without him they could do nothing – and the episode of catching this great draught of fish was definitely a “God thing” in their lives – in other words, part of making fishermen is that the Lord gives you a testimony of his supernatural involvement in your life.
Learning to obey Jesus’ command – Lk 5:5 – Peter thought of a very good reason for not fishing that day – he had been out all night – he had already washed the net – and he had just listened to a long sermon [no doubt] – yet, instead of disobeying the Lord, he did what he was told – in catching men, we need to follow the prompting of the Lord to “go after them.”
Humbling yourself before God – Lk 5:8 – when you really know Jesus you really know that he is something and you are nothing – as one preacher says, you get a negative view of yourself and of man’s ability to do anything – this is where the mega church movement meets its dead end – they preach positive, motivating things about men – the “great” men of the Bible had a very negative view of themselves – Jesus said he was a “servant” – Job said he was “vile” – David said he was a “dead dog” and a “flea” – Paul said that he was the chiefest of “sinners.”
Getting over your fear – Lk 5:10 – Jesus told the disciples “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men” – Jesus knew that fear is a great inhibitor to catching men – and it is – we constantly face the temptation to run from opportunities to witness because of fear – but we need to “fear not” and trust the Lord as these disciples had to trust him about fishing this day.
Following Jesus – Lk 5:11 – fishing for men requires that you follow the Lord’s lead in dealing with men – God has to draw them to Jesus – and you cannot catch them if God has not drawn them – you can get prayers and professions out of them all day long if you are persuasive and know how to deal with people – but you can’t “catch” them by yourself – you must be following Jesus – the disciples fished all night and caught nothing and they fished when and where Jesus told them and they couldn’t handle the catch because it was so large!
And if you are going to do this in the full-time ministry then it involves:
Answering the call – Matt 4:21 – Jesus called them – there is definitely a call to preach and if the Lord is going to make you a fisher of men, then you are going to have to answer the call – there are men who have been called who did not answer because they wanted to keep “fishing” [or whatever occupation they are in] – they are still used by the Lord to catch men but they are working on their own terms not his and they often use man’s techniques rather than God’s supernatural power to “win” them – the result is that there are some “stuffed” fish – you see the skin on the wall but there’s nothing inside!!
Forsaking all – Lk 5:11; Matt 4:22, 22 – these fishermen left their nets, their ship, their father, their all – Jesus doesn’t need you to bring anything but you – he works with you just the way you are and he makes you a fisherman – he doesn’t need your occupation, your family, your connections, or any of that stuff you are involved in – he just needs you – and this is where some guys have a really hard time – they want to keep all of that stuff because they like it and the security of having it and they want God to use them the way he would use them if they were to leave it all and follow him completely – that will never happen.
Conclusion: now that you see what’s involved in making fishermen are you still “in” – would you like God to make you a fisherman – if the answer is yes then start by really getting to know Jesus and start looking for his supernatural work in your life – learn to obey his commands and humble yourself before him – get over your fear and follow him – he will lead you each step of the way to the souls of men for whom he is fishing – and if he calls you, answer the call and let go of anything standing in the way of you not responding fully to his call.