"Showing the way, Teaching the truth,
Experiencing the life in Christ"
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(Matthew 4:19, NKJV)
“He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”
Just prior to launching His personal ministry, Jesus moved from Nazareth where He grew up to Capernaum where He lived during His adulthood. Matthew wrote, “Leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali” (Matthew 4:13, NKJV). It was while residing in Capernaum that Jesus launched His evangelistic preaching ministry. Matthew wrote, “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 4:17, NKJV).
Evidently, some of the citizens of Capernaum who heard Him preach became believers. Among them were Peter & Andrew, and James & John. It was to these new believers that Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19b, NKJV). A careful study of the New Testament reveals that, at one point or another, Jesus calls every believer to “follow” Him! In fact, that’s what it means to be a disciple—it means to be a follower!
To follow Christ means to set aside our own goals and pleasures in order to pursue His goals—the things that please Him! Jesus defined what it means to follow Him when He said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, NIV). Following Jesus means to rearrange our lives so that advancing His kingdom and developing within us His righteousness become our priorities!
In order for a non-believer to be transformed into a follower of Jesus he must be willing to do two things. First, he must see himself as a sinner. Second, he must exchange his priorities for those of Jesus.
During a conversation with a rich ruler, Jesus revealed that this man did not see himself as a sinner, nor was he willing to exchange his priorities for those of the Lord. Therefore, he was not ready to truly follow Jesus. Mark wrote, “As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus asked. ‘Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’ ‘Teacher,’ the man replied, ‘I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.’ Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. ‘There is still one thing you haven’t done,’ he told him. ‘Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me’” (Mark 10:17-21, NLT).
The man said, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young’ (Mark 10:20b, NLT). His claim clearly indicated that he was unwilling to see himself as a sinner! He viewed himself as a good man. But Paul wrote, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10b-12, NIV).
This man was also unwilling to exchange his priorities for those of Jesus. The Lord knew that the primary love of this man was his money. Jesus challenged him, “Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. ‘There is still one thing you haven’t done,’ he told him. ‘Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me’” (Mark 10:21, NLT). His response to Jesus’ challenge reveals that he was unwilling to exchange his priorities for those of the Lord. Mark wrote, “The man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions” (Mark 10:22, NLT).
Because he was unwilling to see himself as a sinner and unwilling to exchange his priorities for those of Jesus, he refused to follow Him. Instead, “He went away sad” (Mark 10:22, NLT). What a tragic scene. This man wanted eternal life. He came to the right source to receive it—Jesus. He came with the right attitude—humility. But he wasn’t willing to see himself as a sinner, and he wasn’t willing to exchange his priorities for the priorities of Jesus. So he “went away sad” without eternal life, and as far as we know he never accepted Jesus’ invitation to “Come, follow me” (Mark 10:21b, NLT).
When Jesus called Peter & Andrew and James & John, their goal was to be successful fishermen. He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19, NKJV). At that point He was calling them to exchange their goal of being successful fishermen for His goal of being “fishers of men.” His promise was that if they would follow Him, He would transform them into evangelists! He will do the same for all who truly follow Him.
In Palestine during the first century, successful fishermen caught fish with nets, and by experience they had learned that their best fishing took place at night. We know that it was the practice of Peter & Andrew to fish at night because of the response of Peter when Jesus asked him to throw out his fishing net after He had used his ship as a preaching platform. Peter said, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5, NIV).
Why did experienced fishermen fish at night? They fished at night because they had learned an effective method of fishing. They used a very effective and powerful tool—light! Fish are attracted to light. The brighter the light, the more fish are attracted to it. Fishermen would put a light over the water. Then when fish were attracted to the light they would surround them with their nets. Jesus offered to teach them to use this same powerful and effective method to attract people to His kingdom when He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19, NKJV).
The light used by Peter, Andrew, James, and John was the light produced by an oil-burning lantern, but the light used by “fishers of men” is the light of Jesus Christ! Jesus Himself is our light. He said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12a, NIV).
When we receive Jesus into our lives, His light begins to burn within us…but it only begins to be visible to others as we learn to follow Him! As we follow Him and learn to think like He thinks, and respond like He responds to the circumstances of life, His light begins to shine out from us so that we also become “the light of the world.” That’s what Jesus meant when He said to His disciples, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14a, NIV).
Jesus also said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12b, NIV). As we follow Him, His light shines from within us driving away the darkness and attracting others to Him. We then radiate the light that brings life to others!
Jesus referred to this same principle when He said, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16b, NIV).
The more closely you follow Jesus, the more brightly His light shines from within you, and the more effectively you can function as “the light of the world.” That’s why Jesus promised those early disciples, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19, NKJV).
It is our responsibility to transform converts into disciples by baptizing them, and then teaching them to obey the commands of Christ. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20a, NIV).
Therefore, we must teach men and women that one of the commands of Christ is “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19, NKJV). “Follow Me”—that what disciples do! In fact, that is what makes you a disciple to begin with.
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Sunday service starts at 10am
1/2 mile south of Holcomb on Hwy 25.
Look for the BIG HOUSE
Sunday Service Times
Morning Worship: 10:00 a.m.
M*PACT Kidz: 10:00 a.m.
Helping Hands: 6:00 p.m.
ONE WAY Youth: 6:00 p.m.