Date: April 18, 2019 (Midweek Service)
Bible Text: Luke 5:1-11 | Byron Cromwell
Series: Transcribed Sermons
- Jesus met Peter at work (I Peter 3:15)
- Jesus asked for Peter's boat
- Used his own knowledge
- Jesus let Peter fail according to his own decision making (Jeremiah 2:19)
- Jesus let Peter see his sin
- Peter was carnal
- Peter promoted himself
- Jesus will give you a will greater than your own
It remains a sobering privilege to come behind the pulpit in any church, but more so in my home church where I have been trained and led and supervised now for going on 20 years. Good evening. Judy and I set out in our itinerant missions ministry full time about five years ago and we chose the name for it 'Have Sword Will Travel' and many of you know that. We saw missionaries and pastors facing immediate needs. In fact, when I was a year out of graduation, I remember contacting Pastor Armacost, do you know of anybody who is going to need help a year from now? When his response to me as I recall was, Byron, we do not get requests for help a year from now, we get requests from help tomorrow. And when we came back from Maine, we had served there for two years and, I was kind of frustrated that I was not being used. We bought the house, and then Pastor Damron invited us to his office. He said, would you consider going overseas to relieve Jason and Becky Muller for 2014, 2015 academic year? Um, yeah, sure, but we just bought this house. Oh, that is great because we need some place to put them and their five kids.
Now I am an Alaskan born and raised, and it is true, that you can get the man out of Alaska, but you cannot get Alaska out of the man. And that includes all my years sojourning here in Egypt. So one of the first things I did when I bought this house was to have a woodstove installed. And that was in July before we left and I am obviously not going to burn anything in a woodstove in July. So I collected all this firewood. Pastor Damron saw it. Then I get this Skype message from Jason and Becky that October and they are lighting the inaugural fire in my new woodstove. And that hurt! But that is part of the sacrifices we face in the ministry. But it has been 10 years now and God has led us to serve any one location for periods of between two and 24 months. Most of that time in service has been spent overseas.
Supervision from this church has been crucial. That house and the car represent $1 million in liabilities. So if amissionary or whoever is speeding away from the approaching tornado and they totaled the car and injure themselves, then $1 million worth of insurance kicks in. I am not going to put that lightly under anyone else's control. And I am grateful to this church. First I am grateful, of course, for God's leading in this ministry because I am so often challenged with, "well what are you doing right now." But also I am grateful for the degree of supervision that we receive. Not just the financial support but the direction, the attention of staff to our ministry and our service. So I am grateful for both of those. Our current assignment that we received is actually one of the most immediate we have taken.
Pastor Travis Burke of Cozzadale Baptist Temple in Goshen, Ohio, lost a teacher in his academy early this semester. And between meetings as is required, we serve Cozzadale Baptist Temple in their academy as substitute teachers. We will return there for two more weeks before the semester ends. At a missions conference out in Ottumwa, Iowa, we met Pastor Ed Basel whom I have been scheduling with. We will go up to see him at the Rosebud Indian reservation in South Dakota this coming August and we will spend a week with him as we lay the groundwork for a longer period of service and assistance, presumably around June of 2020. We will have those dates firmed up before we leave. And so God has kept us busy and I am grateful for that. One of the most exciting assignments we have undertaken was this last Christmas in Maine.
Now I know there was a brief report given about that. Let me flesh that out just a bit. We went to help pastor Trent Filer of Faith Baptist Church, Peru, Maine. He more or less met the previous pastor, shook hands with him and talked for an hour as that pastor collected his vacation pay and left. And then Pastor Filer was voted in to maintain incorporation of the ministry. That is why they wanted it done so quickly because Faith Baptist sits on a really nice piece of property and they did not want to lose that. So Pastor Filer inherited an empty church. His situation is not unique, he is like many bi-vocational pastors working alone. After three years service, he finally has a group of young men coming to church regularly in need of his counsel. Now he runs one and a half hours each way to work. That is the distances involved in Maine. Judy and I came there over Christmas.
We were able to tag team with him to work with these young men, and also go out and do personal evangelism. Really the only one there that did not have a full-time job in Maine was me. And so, we went out to Rumford, which is eight miles away. The biggest industry there is the paper mill. Then there is welfare and then there is pot, which is legal in Maine. I could tell you a bunch of amusing stories, but I don't want to waste your time. Except to say this, Pastor Filer advises us and my experience would, agree with this. He has never seen anyone come to Christ who was high or drunk. That is the way it is. There is a reason they call them spirits. Okay? And it is not a good spirit and it displaces the power of the Holy Spirit. I have never heard a concrete salvation testimony from anybody who was drunk at the time. I am not saying God can not do it. I am saying by far it would be the exception.
So we went out with these young men and basically putting feet to the imperative to go. We would meet out at a grocery store, a supermarket parking lot. Brother Cromwell, Pastor Filer just called, he hit a deer on the way home from work. And the police are there looking at him--he is okay, but what are we going to do? We are going to go. You can do that? Yes. Just to be an encouragement to those men we taught them how to go out. I think we covered 45 doors where we actually, went out and then followed up with those people. We taught them how to follow up, how to keep track of where they visited, how to keep track of where they have not, not step on each other's heels, how to get the names of the single grandmothers with their grandchildren in attendance at the apartment without looking like an FBI agent. You laugh, but all these people have in a lot of cases is their privacy. Everything else is given to them and they know that. And so we were able to leave these men in a position where Pastor Filer could delegate certain duties to them. And I am very grateful for that.
We prepare again to relieve Jason and Becky Muller in Mongolia starting late August, early September of this year. And while we seek support, of course, we also seek opportunities for service both in the United States and overseas. And we see God leading us generally about 16 to 18 months out and we are grateful for that. And that has been our ministry up to this point. And God continues leading. And as I said, we are very happy to be serving God and see how he has prepared us for this ministry.
Luke chapter five this evening, verses one through 11, "And it came to pass that as the people pressed upon him, (that is Jesus) to hear the word of God, He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, (which is Galilee) and saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word, I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him."
When Jesus asks for more. This Ministry would not be here except that some men responded when Jesus asked for more. Our separate ministries in which we serve would not be established and underway and successfully pursued at all to any degree of success unless we were willing to respond when Jesus asked for more. The nursing homes, the bus ministry, the counseling room, everything that we do, the office, all those of you who work in the back office and help me keep track of things or the ones that pick up the phone when I call and ask what's going on because I don't know because I am out traveling all the time. Somebody decided, a number of somebodies, to answer the call when Jesus asked for more. I believe faithful servants will recognize specific occasions when Jesus asked them to do more and that this is seldom high drama. Fulltime service follows an imperative to prepare, but we must let God prepare us in small steps in the way he chooses. Let God do his work in you in order to work through you. Now our flesh, throws up barriers to God. We choose to do only that which is convenient in a lot of cases. We act only within our limits that we know, and we make knowledge, a condition of obedience.
Faithful servants would seek, know and respond to God's will and every step He orders. And at some point He will direct next steps of obedience beyond what you would desire intend or even know. But the obedient step, the Holy Spirit will convict you is obvious if you wish to remain obedient in God's service. Are you prepared when Jesus asks for more? Are you willing to let Jesus prepare you when he asks for more and to be ready? Let's pray. Lord, we want to take a minute and thank you this evening for this opportunity to hear your word preached and taught. We thank you Lord, I thank you for the ministry in which you have placed my wife and I. And how you have prepared it for us even though we have not always seen and have seldom been as quick to obey and with the alacrity that you would command. I pray, Lord, that you would watch over me this evening, that the thoughts and the words would be what you want to hear and not what I find interesting or even entertaining. I pray, Lord, that your Holy Spirit would guide and direct in all truth as you have promised he would do. We pray, Lord, that He would convict of sin and righteousness and judgment as you have promised He would do. And I pray Lord, that your word would not return onto you void this evening as you have promised it would do. That you would help us to open our hearts and minds, puts the thoughts and the worries of the day aside. That we would hear your word and respond to it as you would have us to do. And we ask these things in Christ's name, Amen.
First of all, Jesus met Peter at work. Men and women, those of you who work outside the home, Jesus wants to meet you at work. This is an evidence of his salvation that you would be challenged specifically for your faith at work and that you would be convicted about it. Look with me please to I Peter chapter three verse 15, ... Hebrews, James, I and II Peter ... I Peter 3:15. The Bible tells us, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and with fear:" Challenges to our faith become opportunities to witness, and that is when God shows up. That is when -- don't look now, but the Holy Spirit is trying to work through you. He wants you to be ready to answer people who will challenge you about your faith. He wants a faith in you that causes people to ask questions.
I used to work at the Cookie Factory, the highest paid job I had since I left the Service. We came back from Maine. I prayed, I got a job at ServiceMaster. You know 'when the flood hits or the sump pump fails' and we will call the insurance to help. That was us. That was about for five months and then I got a job working at the Cookie Factory and I loved it. Those were a group of very rough men. They were born and raised many of them in Gary. Byron, it is not spring time in Gary till the first triple homicide. Okay. And they thought that was funny! And then they would talk about lewd subjects and about their past acquaintances and conquests. And it was not a conversation I wanted and I would back off. And after a while they got a kind of respect about that. Okay, Byron, look, there is nothing going on right now. Well we got to finish this conversation. You just hang out and we won't bother you. And then they would get done. And then we would plan out our day and get to work. And that is how work went.
I was preparing for the ministry and I was preparing for travel and I was given surveys to answer. And one of those surveys had a question about the Bible on divorce and remarriage. And I filled out an answer and I went through the Bible and I looked at what the New Testament had to say about it and what Jesus said. And then I brought it to Pastor Damron. Not that I need the Pastor to grade my homework, but because I wanted to make sure that I was accurately representing the testimony of my church on this subject. And we hashed that out a little bit and we turned in the survey. And ultimately, if they don't want me, they are not going to offer to support me, and that is fine. I did attend their missions conference.
Then a few weeks later, actually less than a week later, we were having a work meeting in the break room. Now remember, this is a group of men that you do not go up to and say, the Bible says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Okay, you are asking for problems. God did not give me peace to do that until they asked me less than a week after that survey went out. Byron, what does the Bible say really about divorce and remarriage. You know, God set that up. God wanted to be prepared to meet me at work. I am not some super Christian, I am just trying to be faithful. I am just trying to balance the needs of my secular employment and this ministry into which I was prepared to transition. Mind you, I thought it was just going to be a one shot deal and then I would come back home and go back to work. But God gave me a chance to witness to those men and to conclude my brief discussion by showing them how Jesus end in all of this is that we would come to him seeking forgiveness and an opportunity to witness of salvation. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to guide you according to the word of God. And that was a case of it, and the promise that the Holy Spirit will help you to prepare.
So Jesus met Peter at work and then Jesus asked Peter, can I use your boat? Now, Peter could have refused. Jesus owns everything but Christian, he will not take what he is not given. Starting with your soul and throughout your Christian life. Pastor Duffit preached once in Fairbanks, I was there to hear it. I remember that many Christian's favorite hymn is, 'Take My Life and Let It Be.' They want their Christian life their way, but that is not what God gives us leave to do. Jesus owns everything, but he won't take what he is not given. And then Jesus let Peter serve him in an important way. The boat was a big commitment and it was easy. Now Christian, understand this. Don't let the devil write his commentary into the word of God at this point. It is not wrong to serve God when it's easy. It is not wrong to serve God when it's convenient. God rewards obedience as we give from our abundance. And in many cases, this is a first step in service to God by God asking us to do something that we are good at. Sure, absolutely Lord, I'll do that. It is not a problem. My first ministry in church as an adult was steam cleaning carpets. The word came out that since the mushrooms were growing on the carpet in the kindergarten classrooms, the state inspector had threatened to shut down the Christian school. So they got this big rolling steam cleaner and you had to plug it into separate circuits. That was my ministry. It was like a second job. It got me out of the barracks.
There was a lot of sin in those barracks, and I was glad that they did ask me. And it got me alone where God could get at me. God rewards obedience as we give from our abundance. A life of sanctification and sacrifice begins in small steps like this. But you do not sanctify yourself by making things difficult. Oh, you don't remember how it was back when I went to school at Fairhaven and all of those restrictions, and now look at the place. They let the students wear off color shirts and not only that, they let them wear these gaudy neckties and that is just awful. I can't believe that you would allow the students to do this. It's neo! No, no, you are not making yourself more sanctified. Yes, standards. Yes, obedience. Yes, diligence in service. Yes, discipline in service. But not where you have made things difficult just to show people how to grit your teeth and pious you can be. That is not a becoming testimony.
But then after this, Jesus took advantage of Peter's willingness, to what? To use his boat. Then Jesus turned around and got into Peter's business. Look at verse four, "Now, when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught." This passage does not record what Jesus said and I don't think Peter knows what Jesus said either. I think, and I believe the context will bear out that Peter mended his nets while Jesus was preaching. You know, there are some people that only know when the preacher is finished. They are not paying attention to a word of the sermon until I would like to have every head bowed and every eye closed. And that's that. And then, uh, you know, Garfield and his stomach clock, that starts to go off sometimes maybe. You know, this common and convenient posture is a barrier to preparation.
Peter left unprepared because I believe he was not paying attention to Jesus. I don't remember most of the sermons I have heard here. I remember some and I now take a collection of CDs with me everywhere. When I was working in Maine, I would drive 35 miles back and forth to work and I would listened to a sermon. And I would listen to them because I remembered them, because it made an impact on me because God had something for me in that message. The truth is, I do not remember most of the messages I have prepared. I have them written down, but I do not remember most of them. If you were to ask me something that I preached on a given date, I would have to go back through my notes to tell you. I have a finite mind, we all do. But rather Peter left unprepared because of his attitude, which we will see in a few minutes. And you leave church unprepared if you do not come prepared to pay attention. You are not letting God train you to respond to His Word. This is about the posture on which we undertake to serve God as well as the object itself, which is the specific things that God would have to tell us.
Jesus, then in verse five, asks Peter to do something unusual. Start in verse four the Bible says, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets (plural) for a draught." See Jesus had asked Peter to do something unusual, put your nets out into the deep. Peter says he had been fishing all night. I worked two summers in Bristol Bay, Alaska on the slime lines. That's commercial seafood processing. The set netters would be entitled to a segment of surveyed width of about a hundred yards wide of the beach in an area. It is like opening up a hunting preserve. And they would run, it's like a mining claim actually, and they would run their nets out about 200 yards out from shore at low tide, fold them carefully and attached them to bouys. And as the tide came in, the bouys would raise, the nets were perpendicular to the shoreline and the fish would come along and swim into the nets. The state of Alaska Department of Fish and Game opened and closed the season by the hour to make sure that sufficient Salmon made it up the river to maintain wild stocks, and also to have to make sure that the fishermen got their share of catch. They flew airplanes over the site to make sure nobody was cheating. You could not cheat and get away with it. The nets were too big and it was too well patrolled during fishing season. The ideal position was to have the tide come in at night and the nets would float and the fish would come in and get caught in the gill nets. We would get those fish and they would be still flopping around when we put them on the process line. Then by the time we were done, we packed them in ice and put them on a DC-6 and the flew straight off the beach.
So you fish at night close to shore when the fish come to the surface to feed. Peter knew this, he didn't know about the set nets in the DC-6, but Peter knew how to catch fish. That was his job. He was in partnership with the sons of Zebedee. He knew this and he knew what he was talking about. Now what Jesus asked him to do meant Peter would face embarrassment. Coming up empty all night was not unusual, but going back in the day was odd you did not do that. And this was also inconvenient. See, the boat was important and it was easy. Peter had to sit in the back of the boat and mend his nets and tend the boat to keep it in position. While Jesus preached, Peter was mending is nets, that he had to do anyway, so that was easy. But now Peter would have to get up and do something about what the master said. Daytime fishing was not only inconvenient and possibly embarrassing, but it meant unscheduled work. We do not like unscheduled work, do we Baptists? We want to have everything planned out and if it goes against our plan, well there is something wrong with that. You know, ministries fail and souls go unreached for this dismissive attitude that it was not on my schedule.
Coming back to the lower 48 and buying a house in greater suburbia in the lower 48 was not on my agenda. I had gotten married, prepared, and an attitude having been a single soldier and having my time allotted and most of the money and all of the answers to move back home. I remember telling my mother-in-law, I said, look, if this does not change, I am going to be miserable here. If I just stay without anything to do, I am going to go home to Fairbanks and take Judy with me. I really wanted it to fail. I did not want it, I did not see what God had for me. I wanted to go home before my parents died and see them but that did not happen. Ministries fail and souls go unreached for this dismissive attitude, that I am not going to do it because I did not plan it that way. This lack of preparation, starting with not hearing the word of God, and now being brought up short when Jesus asked Peter to do something unusual, meant that Peter was then left to question the will of God.
You know, Satan uses small things to invite disobedience. Our pride likes to rejoice in the great things. Our pride likes to say that the boat was big and it is easy. Boat, no problem...but clean carpets. If they can not clean up the mushrooms growing on the floor in their church, that is their problem. Okay? I put in my five days of duty that is my time. I am not going to go to church and run a steam cleaner and spend all night working up a sweat. And then empty and clean that thing so it would not stink. And then make sure it is stored properly and that the extension cords do not get stolen and so on and so forth. No, I am not doing that. But God said, Byron, I need you to do this. And the church is one area where you can serve me in my house. And so I was willing to do that. Not because I am a super Christian, but because God showed me a need. You know, if you fight God's conviction about any small thing then it is important to you.
Teenagers, nothing demonstrates your disingenuity faster than to get into an argument and say it is not important, okay? Adults, it is the same way between us and God. If it is important to God to convict you about it, it is important for you to obey God about it. And if it is not important to obey God, why are you arguing? But see, Peter, all obedience glorifies God and God wants to bless you. God wants you to do small things, do not resent, rejoice. That was my carpet cleaner. Pastor would ask me, Byron is your machine okay? Mine, it is fine, Pastor. That was my machine. Yeah, the church has it and they can keep it. That was my machine when I was using it. God wants something unusual, don't doubt--do! He will bless you and reward you for it.
"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" Colossian's 3:17. That in the name of God does not just mean the hitting the send key to your prayer before the food gets cold. That means speaking in God's name, acting in God's name, means acting in God's authority, means acting in obedience to God. If I go over to outer Mongolia, it's not the end of the world, ... but you can see it from there. And I tell people, I'm here as Fairhaven Baptist Church, itinerant missionary to serve at Straight Paths Baptist Church. I am acting in the name of this church, which means Pastor Damon and I have to be on the same page and Director Olson too. We got to be on the same page and know what I'm doing, and know what we are trying to accomplish over there and work together.
It is the same way between us and God? If you are acting in God's name, you are acting out of obedience, and all of that obedience glorifies God. Again, I think the devil likes to insert his commentary about this verse that if you are not doing everything exactly right, then none of it counts. No. If it is obedient and it brings glory to God, God can use you and be glorified and he can bless you in that service. Do not be afraid to step out and do what God asks. But Peter was tempted like Eve because he had neglected attention to the word and preaching of God. Yeah, hath God said? Luke 5:5 "..Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing..." Peter applied his own knowledge. Did God really mean that? You never inform God of anything, christian. God knows the circumstances, the frustrations, your experience and the limits of your knowledge. Hebrews 4:12 tells us "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, ..." The verse concludes by saying, "... is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
You want to know what somebody else is thinking when they ask you about your faith at work. When your behavior draws attention from the Bible according to your biblical standards. You should have rehearsed in your mind or have knowledge of why you do things beyond just, oh, this is what my church says, -- you should have some knowledge. Give them the Bible. Maybe you can not remember the verse exactly. I know there was a group of women having a religious discussion about places in the church. What came to mind was the verse in Timothy about a rendering due benevolence as unto the weaker vessel. We ended that discussion in a hurry and we got back to work. Okay? It is the old adage, you bring a fact to an argument and it is not fun anymore, okay? It is the same, you bring the Bible to a religious discussion and it ends in a hurry.
It is the way the lost world behaves. They love to display what they know. That is not how God wants us to behave. He wants us to learn what he knows. He wants us to be prepared to answer every man and to allow God to prepare us to serve Him. Jesus knows what other people think of you and He wants to use your circumstances to reach them. We all think we know what we can do to help Jesus, but this is not necessarily faith. God wants you to do something maybe that you do not know about. Maybe God wants to use you in a way you did not consider. Maybe God wants you to learn something new about Him, that you had not known before. How many times have I been in church? I do remember this, that I am hearing something preached that I had read in my devotions over and over again, and all of a sudden the little candle sputters to light and oh, that is what that means. I never knew that before, God used his preacher to reach me.
Peter exercised partial obedience. First he argued, then he applied his own knowledge. Then he tried to tell God it was not important, he did not know what he was talking about. And so his obedience was partial. And what is partial obedience? -- it is disobedience. It was a small decision. He never used all his nets, he let down one net. Watch out for the small decisions, they will cost you a net, Christian. Your banter at work, that maybe in your race to the punch line to get there first, you run past Jesus. Watch out for your attitudes at school young people. Doing what you are told because you are told to do it, but I do not have to like it. You can have that attitude. I remember going to school tired, exhausted, and on edge. And I remember times when I thought I would quit. Honey, after this when we graduate, we are going home to Fairbanks. It is not ... I had it wrong, I miss estimated the will of God. God does not want me doing this and we are going home when it is over. And the thought of a direct assault on a 40, what is the point of coming here? Peters lack of preparation to serve or answer is where these attitudes will take you. You never know better than to obey God. Peter also did not reconcile himself to use all that he had the way God wanted. Hey, if it is not worth doing, it is not worth doing well. So I will let down one net, make a token effort, show God that I am, that I am keeping up with it. It is not the way you serve.
It also dulled Peter's sensitivity to God's leading. Growth for the Christian becomes a matter of leaning more and more on God. Becoming more sensitive to sin, of taking more and more decisions before the throne of grace and find mercy and grace to help in time of need. Not to find the winning argument, not to find the courage to take on an enemy by yourself, not to just motivate yourself with yes, I think I can, I think I can. No, it becomes leaning more and more on God. The devil wants you to think that you have to take the small decisions on yourself, because hey, you are a growing Christian. You can do that without God's help now, and you wind up taking the small decisions for granted. See Peter, but then Jesus let Peter fail according to his own decision making. Jeremiah chapter two verse 19 please, Jeremiah 2:19. Jesus let Peter fail according to his own decision making. How are we admonished here? The warning that we see in Jeremiah 2:19, "Thine own wickedness, shall, correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee ..." Peter's fear was not in the Lord at that time. Peter's faith was in himself. You can be a born again Christian and have that posture. Watch out for it, "...that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts." Peter failed to accomplish what Jesus told him to do and Peter's failure surprised him. He did not have all the angles. He did not have all his bases covered. He was out by himself because he put Jesus off.
It also costs Peter the singular testimony of a blessing. See, Peter was simply unprepared to receive what God had for him. He was out of the practice of listening to Jesus and as a result, his disobedience caused panic. Peter had to conclude that he was unfit to serve Jesus. Compare it also to Peter walking on the water when he saw the winds and waves boisterous, he got distracted and he was in it up to his neck. And that is where we are going to be, where you are going to be when you take your eye off of Jesus. If Peter had used all the nets, he would have had to use all his partners. Others would have seen Peter's success and shared Jesus' blessing and they would have glorified God. And they would have been prepared to receive this blessing. Imagine Peter saying, okay, James, John, the master has said that after fishing all night and finding nothing (he has used their boat), and now he says that we should go out and fish during the day. It is what the Lord told us to do. Let's see what God has us to do.
When I went to Mongolia the first time and I went by Cambodia, just to make sure. While you are over there, Byron could just swing by Siem Reap. That was that. That was memorable and to see what God had there, I was proving God's will for my life at that time. It made no sense to me that I would plan this. I was going to come back home and go to work. No, God said, go out and see Eli and Mari-lyn on your way home. God used this Pastor to do that. God sent me over on this second trip and I had not known, I had not seen what God wanted me to do. And so it is when I see Peter, I do not know why God said to do this, but the master has said that we should fish once during the day. Let's all go together and do what the master said. That obedience would have been a cause for rejoicing, the joy of the Lord is our strength. Instead, Peter just made a token effort. You can not serve God with a token effort. You have to jump in with both feet. Sometimes you can not see the bottom, God can, have faith. God teaches us to obey in all things so that we may be thankful and rejoice in peace.
God gives temporal blessings. These are not just spiritual blessings, but you cannot receive even God's temporal blessings in your flesh. You won't appreciate them. You won't be thankful for them, and you won't be able to use them to go on and secure greater victories in your life. And so Jesus let Peter see his sin. First Peter was carnal. Peter did not look beyond his flesh. Peter's self imposed limits were based on his own knowledge. He was not really expecting Jesus to do anything different than what Peter would recognize.
My late grandmother went into a nursing home across the road, about two or 300 yards from the church that I joined before I enlisted in the army. When she did, I told my mother, mom, Anton Becker is out of the church there, and he has a sing along at the nursing home. Maybe grandmother could go. As far as I know, my grandmother died unsaved. Maybe he could, the late brother Becker that went on to be with the Lord. He could talk to grandmother. And maybe ask the pastor if he would go and talk to grandmother about salvation? My mother's response, Byron, I am not going to, and I would not expect the pastor to do that. Why? Well, it just really would not seem right. Far as I know, my grandmother died without God. I witnessed to my grandmother. Her family was raised Jehovah's Witnesses. She believed in the annihilation of the soul at death. And that excuse was good enough for her. But this was the attitude that I encountered. We do not expect the pastor to do anything different.
I don't really want to have a lock on the pastor's thinking like that. I want to be prepared for when God changes plans. Plan -- yes. Let all things be done decently and in order, but be prepared for God to change those plans. This led to wicked seated posture. Peter thought he could handle all the decisions himself. You see, Peter was saved and he was on his way to heaven as a successful Christian businessmen. Peter did his work while Jesus preached to all those people that needed to hear it, but not to him.
Peter's small and false decisions showed a lack of faith, which began with an inattention to the word of God. You see, Peter had arrived. He knew all he needed to know and he was willing to serve God with all he had. And that was just the problem. See, Peter had promoted himself from servant to benefactor in the Lord's work, and thus out of the requirement to obey in small things. I have served, my wife and I have served in Mongolia, in Cambodia, in Mexico, in Africa, overseas and we have served at some ministries here in the states. When people begin to promote themselves from servant to benefactor, the first thing to go is personal evangelism. Going out knocking on doors, that is somebody else's job now. It is like those people that say Amen in church, they will get over it. And that is the attitude that you run into -- give out a tract? You know, I wll drive a long distance and fill a pulpit, and that is important. That requires an effort and I enjoy doing it, and it is convenient (sometimes) most of the time. But give a tract to the clerk at the hotel means you got to know what is in it. Means you have to pray for God's power as you bring it to her. You have to desire God to bless and expect him to use you in this small area, that takes time. Are you prepare to do the small things? Peter then put God aside to promote himself. Then this attitude was reasonably practiced, it was based on hard experience and it was undertaken with the best of intentions. Proverbs chapter one verse seven tells us that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Do not behave foolishly about the small decisions that will impact your testimony. When you put God's word aside, your own knowledge is all you have. Obedience in small, simple things prepares us to serve when God shows up. We must be faithful to hear and obey God's word and then we do not need to be surprised when things change, even when they seem to change against us.
Jesus responded with an answer to Peter's fear. First he told Peter to fear not. Jesus will be your helper in obedient service to overcome your fear. Choosing convenient answers, acting within your own limits and trying to know everything is the result of fear. I served in army intelligence for eight years. We are afraid of what other nations can do to us, so we operate trying to gain all the information we can get. Knowledge is power, it maybe power, but not necessarily good power. Fear demands control. Now, if you have trusted Jesus Christ for eternity than your eternal life is already underway, Philippians one six says, "Being confident (sure) of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Jesus will continue to keep you. Why don't you let God be in control through your obedience to Him and that includes the small things too.
Why don't you have joy, which is your strength to serve out of obedience? How do you know if something is obedient? Well, let's ask this simple question, can you thank God for what you did when you are done? There is a test I like to use. Am I going to be thankful to God for this when I get done doing it? And maybe not, but many Christians have no joy and are not strong in the Lord because of disobedience because we let the devil tell us we have to keep ourselves. We can't do that. And then look now at Luke 5: 10-11 again, And so also was James astonished at the draught to fishes ..."and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land they forsook all, and followed him." Jesus, will give you a will greater than your own. Jesus can see around corners as it were. He can see through circumstances. He knows where I am going to be 10 years from now. I don't know for sure. I have an idea. I have a plan. But the plan is only important enough for God to shake up the changes He needs to. You could be a Fisher of men if you will give God the power to save an authority to command. And that last one's a hard thing for the Christian. You must follow God in small things and in all things and let God command and bless on his terms.
First of all, are you thankfully trusting Jesus for here and now? Do you have a here and now salvation and aware that you return a life has begun now and continues from this point on through eternity. Not for when you die, but starting right now. And if so, are you willing to ask what more God wants you to do? Now let's have every head bowed. Stand up. Please. Have every head bowed, every eye closed as we started an invitation.