The mission of Jesus on earth had many components. The Lord knew that after his sacrificial death there would be a need for people to carry on his ministry and carry forth his message of the kingdom of God. So he called 12 men from different walks of life to be his followers.
And when he called, they immediately dropped what they were doing. From Chicago, this is The Moody Church Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching with Pastor Erwin Lutzer. Today we continue our series on Come and See Jesus, pictures of the Savior that teach us about his time on earth. Later in our broadcast, Erwin Lutzer will speak on Come and See His Disciples.
Pastor Lutzer comes now to open our service. We do invite you to take your hymnals and turn to number 12. Number 12, Holy God, we praise thy name.
And then the chorus. Number five, be exalted, O God, and also 35, the majesty and glory of your name. Our scripture reading today is by Pastor Mark Peary, who is our director of Christian education, pastor of Christian education here at The Moody Church.
You'll notice also that our children's chorus is singing. So we're going to have a marvelous morning as we think about God's grace and worshiping him. Let's pray and then praise. Father, in the name of Jesus, as we sing this song, indeed, may this be a credit to you, because our hearts have been brought in harmony with you and your work. In Jesus name.
Amen. All the world must have their way. All the world must have their way. In the name of God as your name, Let us praise thy name. Holy God, holy Son, Holy Spirit, pray, Holy Spirit, holy one, Holy one and only three, Let the holy man come here, Holy Spirit, praise to thee. All the world must have their way.
All the world must have their way. All the people must sing praises to thee, All the nation of God. All the citizens of this great, All the faithless, all the faithless, Be exalted, O God, for all the heavens, Let thy glory be over all the earth. Be exalted, O God, for all the heavens, Let thy glory be over all the earth. Be exalted, O God, for all the heavens, Let thy glory be over all the earth.
Be exalted, O God, for all the heavens, Let thy glory be over all the earth. Alleluia! Alleluia! God have mercy and glory over me, Alleluia! Alleluia!
God have mercy and glory over me, Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Our text is Isaiah 6, verses 1 to 3.
Please join with me on the bold print. In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, Seated on a throne, high and exalted, And the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, With two they covered their feet, And with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, The whole earth is full of his glory. If you could be seated.
Thank you. In the year that King Uzziah's dead, I saw the Lord, I saw the Lord, I saw the Lord. I saw the Lord, seated on a throne, high and exalted, And the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings.
One man covered his face, and one man his feet, and one man was dressed in flight. If you could be seated. Thank you. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, The whole earth is full of his glory. The whole earth is full of his glory.
Holy is the Lord Almighty. In the year that King Uzziah's dead, I saw the Lord, I saw the Lord, I saw the Lord. Roll, Jordan, roll to the land of Galilee, The land of wonder, the land of love, Where life is blessed by God above. Roll, Jordan, roll. Roll, Jordan, roll to the sea of Galilee, The sea of wonder and purity light, Miracles from the God of might. Roll, Jordan, roll. Roll, Jordan, roll. Sing, children, sing to the love that flows, So pray songs of praise about, Shout our songs to tales about, Shout our cheers to Galilee. Sing, children, sing. Roll, Jordan, roll.
Roll, Jordan, roll. Sing, children, sing, children, sing, And roll, Jordan, roll, Jordan, roll. I'd like to invite you to sing with us on this next song, Come and behold him, this Jesus.
You must come with an honest heart, Much like these children here. Let's sing together. Come and behold him, And see his glory. Come with an honest heart, Sing of his. We will discover All of his beauty. His light will burn away, O darkness we know. Come and behold him, Come and behold him, Come with an honest heart, And see of his. Come and behold him, When broken for him, Come with an honest heart, And see of his. Come and behold him, Come and behold him, Come see his mercy. Come find his tenderness reaching to you, Just as a mirror shows a reflection.
His burning spirit come, They're reflecting his love. Come and behold him, Come and behold him, Come with an honest heart, And see of his. Come and behold him, When bound before him, Come with an honest heart, And see of his. Come and behold him, Come and behold him, Come and behold him, Come with an honest heart, And see of his. Come and behold him, When bound before him, Come with an honest heart, And see of his.
Come with an honest heart, And see of his. Amen. We're going to pray together now, and I know that there are many needs that we have personally and nationally, but we're going to commit these to the Lord. And our Father, today we want to thank you that in grace you reach down to save us. Thank you, Father, for the children that you've entrusted to us. Thank you for our commitment to them, to families, to all those, whatever their age may be. And thank you that you've raised up Moody Church to touch this neighborhood, this community, and this city, and ultimately, through our missionaries, the world.
Then there are many personal needs. Some people have come here today with fear in their heart, fear because of decisions or events or fear because of physical, emotional, spiritual struggles. Father, again we turn to you. The choir sang just a few moments ago that we must behold you even as Isaiah did. Our great need, Lord, is to see you. And we pray that whatever concerns and burdens we have brought with us today, that these might be conveniently and confidently laid at your feet.
We give it all to you, Lord Jesus, in your name, amen. Today I begin with a story. On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks were frequent, a crude little life-saving station was built. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted crewmen kept a constant watch over the sea. With no thought for themselves, they went out day or night tirelessly searching for any who might need help. Many lives were saved by their devoted efforts.
After a while, the station became famous. Some of those who were saved, as well as others in the surrounding area, wanted to become a part of the work. They gave time and money for its support. New boats were bought, additional crews were trained, and the station grew. Some of the members became unhappy that the building was so crude. They felt that a larger, nicer place would be more appropriate as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots with hospital beds, put better furniture in the enlarged building. Soon the station became a popular gathering place for its members to discuss work and to visit with one another.
They continued to remodel and decorate until the station more and more took on the look and character of a club. Fewer members were interested in going out on life-saving missions, so they hired professional crews to do the work on their behalf. The life-saving motif still prevailed on the club emblems and stationary, and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where the club held its initiations. One day a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in many boatloads of cold, wet, half-drowned people.
They were dirty, bruised, and sick, and some had black or yellow skin. The beautiful new club was terribly messed up, and so the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside where the shipwrecked victims could be cleaned up before coming inside. At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club's life-savings activities altogether because they were so unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted on keeping life-saving as their primary purpose and pointed out that, after all, they were still called a life-saving station. But those members were voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives, they could begin their own station somewhere down along the coast. As the years went by, the new station gradually faced the same problems the other one had experienced. It too became a club, and its life-saving work became less and less of a priority. The few members who remained dedicated themselves to life-saving. They, in turn, then began another station. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit the coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along the shore.
Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown. Well, as you know, that story is the story of the Church. We're to be a life-saving station, and it could be very easily that we've turned into a club, and we have forgotten our primary purpose. The Bible says that Jesus, knowing that he was to die, chose 12 disciples. And the reason that he chose those disciples is that he had to convince them that they could carry on his work, and he had to equip them for the task. They were to be the life-saving station. They were to be reaching out to those who were drowning. And you and I need to know that the same Lord who called them calls us to a similar task, to similar responsibilities, and what I want to do this morning is to convince you that you can do God's work and also, hopefully, to even equip you.
That's the agenda. The passage of Scripture is the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, Matthew chapter 4, and the verses are few, and so I shall read them. Matthew chapter 4, where Jesus called two sets of brothers.
Two sets of brothers. Chapter 4, verse 18, While walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and John, his brother, in a boat with Zebedee, their father, mending their nets, and he called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father, and followed him. What are the steps that Jesus took to equip people as series, actually, I should say, of twelve men, one of whom was a rebel, to continue his work after his death? First of all, he called them.
He called them. Now I need to point out that there are really three callings that they experienced. The first was the call to salvation. When we read a passage like this, we think to ourselves, I mean, how could Jesus just be walking along and see two people, and they quit everything that they're doing and follow him?
Remember this, this is not the first time they met. If we had time, we'd turn to John chapter 1, where we discover that Andrew comes to Jesus, and he brings his brother Simon, and he says to Simon, who is Peter, Peter, we have found him of whom the prophet spoke. We have found the Messiah, who is called the Christ, and he brings him to Jesus. That's the call of the gospel that's given to everyone. And if you're listening here today, we say to our Jewish friends, the first call, the first call is the call to see Jesus as Messiah, as Christ, as Lord. There's a second call, and that is the call to be a disciple, to be a learner, and for that group, Jesus had quite a large number.
In fact, at one time, he sent out 70, the Bible says, who went out two by two, which means that they had 35 different teams going house to house. And then there was also, though, this specific call to be a disciple, the 12. Matthew chapter 10, verse 2 says that Jesus called the 12 disciples to them, and then it says, and the names of the apostles are, and it lists them as apostles. And Luke says, he called the 12, whom he also called apostles.
They were a unique group. They were going to spend full time with him. They are the ones who were going to follow him around, who would be with him in Galilee and in Jerusalem, and wherever this rabbi went, that's where those disciples were going to be. So he called them. Aren't you struck with the fact to me he didn't call? He didn't call the Pharisees. He didn't call the Sadducees.
He didn't call the elite. As I looked into this, I was astounded once again at the ordinariness of the men that Jesus called. And you know, they were slow learners. They were hard-hearted. One day, a multitude comes and they say to Jesus, well, send the multitude away so that they can buy their own bread. And Jesus said, no, you give them to eat. And Jesus wanted them to be the ones who would see the miracle, but they were quite hard-hearted. One day, people were bringing little children to Jesus so that he could touch them and bless them, and they said, are you busy?
And they tried to hinder the people from doing it. And Jesus said, no, invite the little children to come to me. And then this really astounds me. They had several arguments as to who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Can't you just imagine that happening? Wouldn't that be something if among the pastoral staff at Moody Church, there would be an argument as to who is the greatest? Wouldn't the elders, if they heard about it, fire all of us and start over again? I think so. And here you have disciples who are petty, who are self-willed, and who are calloused, and this is the group upon which Jesus put this responsibility, and these are the ones who are going to carry on after his death.
Wow. A friend of mine says that Jesus doesn't call the equipped. He equips those who are called. So first of all, I want you to know that he called them. Secondly, he challenged them.
The call was follow me. The challenge is and become fishers of men. Now notice how Jesus takes their vocation, which they were good at. They'd been out on the sea of Galilee for all of their lives, born into homes, were fishing, was the vocation. Jesus is saying, I'm going to take your vocation as a fisherman, and I'm going to translate that into someone who is going to catch people. And so Jesus makes that transition because he knew that there were qualities in fishermen who would be very, very good, good qualities, once they began to fish for people, namely to evangelize.
What are those qualities? First of all, fishermen are patient. Patient. I just marvel at the fact that there are people who go fishing early in the morning, even at Lake Michigan, and throw hooks into the sea and spend an entire morning drowning worms. This has been endlessly fascinating to me that somebody would do that. Patience.
Hour after hour after hour. And I say, have pity at least upon the worms, but there they are. Courage. In those days, their little boats out on the Sea of Galilee were often beaten by the waves.
The Sea of Galilee could have some tremendous storms, and so they'd have to go out. You want to be a fisher of men, a fisher of people, you want to witness for Christ, you're going to have to have some courage because sometimes it is not easy and sometimes it is not convenient. I think of knowledge. You need to know what bait fits what fish. Common sense. You stay out of the way. Let the bait and the hook do its work.
And of course, perseverance. Have you ever met somebody who's really in love with fishing? I mean, there are actual people who pay good American money to go up north. The country that is north of us has very, very good fishing. And they'll go up there and they'll fish. But if you ever talk to a fisherman and you say, well, you know, were you fishing yesterday? Yeah, I fished the whole day. Did you catch anything?
And he says, no. I challenge you to say to him, well, I guess that's the end of fishing. You'll never fish again in your life, will you? Fishermen say, are you serious? Just because I didn't catch anything yesterday doesn't mean that I'm not going to continue to fish.
I will fish, fish, fish, fish, fish, fish until I catch some. Aren't we that way in witnessing? I remember when I was in college, I made friends with a number of students who clearly did not know Jesus as Savior. And we used to eat lunch together. And I would give them some good reasons why they should believe on Jesus.
And to my knowledge, none of them did. And I remember how discouraged I came. I, in effect, said to God, God, why should I even bother if people don't believe? What a good fisherman says is, I'm going to do it and do it and do it and do it. If I don't catch anything, I'm going to do it, do it, do it, do it, do it.
Persistence. Now, listen to me carefully. God was going to take these qualities, fishing in Galilee, and translate them into fishing for people. You know, there's some of you here that are gifted in what we call sometimes secular vocation, though you're serving God in the secular vocation. I recognize that.
But you're gifted as bankers, and accountants, and computer geeks, and you have the ability. I mean, isn't that okay? Isn't that what they are? Let me tell you, they're sure something.
They're sure something. And you have the ability to be able to do this, and you're writers. And you don't understand that in the Christian community, your giftedness is desperately needed.
And some of you who are about to retire want to spend the rest of your life in sunshine, doing nothing, having all day to do it. Listen to me. God may be equipping you to take those gifts and translate them into the mission field, into Christian service, into work, for which you are uniquely qualified. And God said to these people, you're doing this kind of fishing.
I'm going to introduce you to a different kind of fishing. But the qualities that you need for this side of the work, you're going to need for the other side. Listen, you are uniquely gifted. Don't ever spend the last years of your life doing nothing. There are so many worthwhile things God has given you to do.
Isn't it amazing? Finally, when you get it all together, and you find out what it's all about, you leave it. Now, you transition into a brand new form of service. First of all, he called them. Secondly, he challenged them.
Thirdly, he partnered with them. And this story is found in the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Luke chapter five. Because you see, Jesus said, if you're going to be fishers of men, if you're going to be fishers of people, why then indeed, what I'm going to do is to show you that I know something about your secular vocation, and I'm going to prove to you that you can do my work.
I'm going to partner with you in the fishing business. This is a remarkable story because the crowd is pushing in on Jesus, remember. They're getting so near the shore that he feels that if he takes another step back, he'll be in the water. So what he does is, there are two boats there, and he says, I'm going to get into one of the boats, and I'm going to let it go out, maybe a hundred feet from the shore, and he sat in the boat, and the crowd was right up to the shore, right there, toes were touching the water, and he taught them. And we can imagine that he began teaching maybe at mid-morning, and now it's noon, and Peter is washing and mending the nets because Peter and his companion were out all night fishing. And Jesus said to him in verse four, put out into the deep and let your nets down for a catch.
Now you have to understand that this was a real, strange command for two reasons. First of all, this clearly was the wrong time. The fishermen in Galilee knew right well that the time that you do the fishing is during the night. You don't fish at noon. It's the wrong time.
Secondly, it's the wrong place. If anything, if anything during the day, the fish come along the shore, and that's where you fish. You do not fish in the deep at noon. There are no fish there, and if they are there, they will not come into your net. Now I think we could use our sanctified imagination here, to see a discussion going on between Peter and Andrew and some of the others and saying, you know, he's a great rabbi. But he ain't much about fishing. He really doesn't know what he's talking about.
You know, that's the problem when you're a carpenter and think that you know something about fishing. But Peter said, at your word, verse five. I like the translation that says, nevertheless, at your word. We're committed to you. We've decided to throw in our lot with you. We want to learn from you. You said it.
I'll do it. Wrong time, wrong place, but Jesus said it. Notice the text said, and when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish and their nets were breaking. What they had done in their own strength the night before, which proved to be unsuccessful, turns out now, under the obedience of Jesus, to be eminently successful.
Wrong place, wrong time, it matters not. Jesus said it, we do it, and we're successful. Even though we're fishing in the very same place where we fished all night when the fish were supposed to be swimming into nets, and now we're there, and lo and behold, the nets are full. Could I suggest to you that there are times when what we need to do is to fish again in waters that have been unfruitful. There are some of you who have witnessed to others and you've shared your faith and you've caught nothing. And there are times when under the obedience of Christ and depending upon his power we fish again, we fish again in the very places where we have not had success and we go trusting him because we do not know but that in that same water of failure there shall be success. You know of course what Jesus was saying to them, don't you? What he was saying to them is if I can prove to you that I can help you catch fish in Galilee you have to understand that we're going to become partners together catching fish, human beings for the kingdom and because I can do one I can always do the other. Why is it that we can fish with confidence? First of all because of Jesus Christ's power.
I love this. All night the fish swim past the nets and now suddenly when they're not supposed to be there by a divine impulse these fish come from God knows where and they're all headed to a net and by some spiritual compulsion all of these fish say there's a net there that's where I'm going. You know God gave to Adam authority over the fish of the sea the foul of the air and over everything that creeps upon the earth and because of the fall of man he lost that authority.
But Jesus here is the second Adam. So Jesus can speak and when he speaks he commands the fish and the fish come at his command. Why can we witness with confidence?
Because we're partners with Jesus. The Bible says no man can come to me except the Spirit draw him. And in the very same way when we fish when we share the gospel we may think to ourselves we're failures. Well at the end of the day the responsibility is for Christ because only Christ can command your heart to come. Listen up those of you who are not believers you've never received Christ as Savior even while I'm speaking I'm trusting the blessed Holy Spirit of God to be drawing you into the net of the kingdom. I'm trusting the Holy Spirit that voice within you that says that you should believe on Jesus that voice within you that tells you that you need him and that without him you will be lost that voice within you that urgency listen to that voice listen to that voice because without it you would never believe on Christ. We can do it first because of the command of Jesus the power of Jesus and secondly because he does command it he does command it.
Lord it's the wrong time it's the wrong place but at your word I'll do it. I'm not suggesting that we run around handing out tracts to everyone and buttonholing people for Jesus as we meet them. No we do listen to the voice of the Spirit most assuredly because there are situations that God sets up for us but we're not so naive as to realize that indeed we are commanded to witness and sometimes we do it because he says do it and unexpectedly he may cause fish to come into our net. Today I'm thinking of you who have been believers some of you for many years and never once have you witnessed to anyone about Jesus and the gospel. You say well Pastor Lutzer well I would do it if I just had a sign from heaven. I heard a story about a man who was like that a Christian man who sat in the bus and said Lord if you want me to witness to somebody today just send me a sign Lord send me a sign.
At the next stop a man got on wearing a three-piece suit. The man sat right next to this Christian bowed his head tears came to his eyes and he began to pray Oh God I don't know if you're there I have no clue Lord as to how I can be forgiven or I don't know whether or not you care for me Oh God please send somebody who'll tell me about how I can connect with you would you do that please? And the Christian is listening to this and he's saying Lord Lord is this the sign? Is this the sign Lord? He said Lord Lord I need another sign I need some confirmation Lord if this is the sign then turn the bus driver into a pumpkin then I'll know for sure.
What sign are you looking for if you're working with a colleague and you have never once shared with that colleague what is most important to you? Thank God for evangelism explosion that we have here at The Moody Church because that that is equipping people who are called. But even if you haven't taken evangelism explosion and I hope that at some point you do the fact is that that you can witness too if you've like someone says witnessing is really one beggar telling another beggar where he can find bread. Would you by God's grace make a promise this week? And I'll make the same promise that you will go to someone and say this to them would you mind if I were to tell you something that someone once told me that is very important and that changed my life? Would you say that to somebody? And then if they say oh well I've used that frequently never had anyone say no I'm not interested in what somebody told you some time ago that changed your life. I mean I've never had it they've always said oh yeah sure tell me. And then just simply say you know I was wandering along in life and some of you have adult conversion experiences as to how you came to know Christ and for those of us who were converted a little younger we can change it a little bit and we can say well you know I was growing up in this environment but I want you to know that as a result of my relationship with Jesus Christ this is what Christ has done for me and we saw that this morning didn't we? As we had these marvelous testimonies of God's grace converting an atheist converting someone of a different religion converting somebody who is in the pit of sin and God came and said swim into the net swim into the net and you see you'd think that after this experience Peter would say you know this is really great with that kind of an ability and by the way you know they did in verse 7 signal for partners in another boat to come and help them because the nets were breaking and that's what our missionaries do by the way they're saying you know we need help in Mexico we need help in the different countries of the world come over and help us and we try to do that but you think that Peter would say this my goodness with a miracle like this I would like to sign Jesus up for the fishing industry this would really be great we could make a bundle on fishing and of course give the proceeds to God no when Peter saw it I'm in verse 8 he fell down at Jesus knees saying depart from me for I'm a sinful man oh Lord he knew that he was in the presence of deity and holiness he wasn't thinking about making money on fishing that moment he could only worship because he was in the presence of someone who can cause fish to swim into a net and as we lead people to Jesus Christ we also we also fall down in worship and it's not an ego thing it is the most humbling experience to know that God used you in the fishing business back in the 1800s I'm told that in Cleveland I guess it is the Cleveland harbor where there's Lake Erie ships would come in and off in the distance real high they would have some upper lights and those lights were for ships that were coming in from a long distance and they could see those lights and they could know where they were supposed to aim the vessel but as the ships got closer what happened is there were some lower lights and those lights were there because the boats needed to know where the rocks were and to be carefully guarded into the actual harbor so you have the upper lights that give the overall picture and the lower lights that had more specificity well there is a story that a ship was coming along and because of a storm the lower lights were burned out and the ship hit rocks and many were drowned it was that event that caused Philip Bliss to write a song that is not in our hymnals but some of us who are a little older we remember singing it in church don't we and the hymn is let the lower lights be burning send a gleam across the waves some poor fainting drowning sea man you may rescue you may save we're not a club we're not here to make ourselves feel better we are a rescue station in partnership with Jesus whom we pray will cause fish to come into our net let's pray Our Father we thank you today that we are partners your word actually says we are co-laborers together with God in other words we cannot ourselves cause men and women to believe but we can put the message out there we can hold the lights and we ask Lord Jesus that you will burn within us the confidence we need to fish, to witness again where we've been unsuccessful all causes to be a witnessing church we pray to the broken hearted, to the defeated, to those in despair and now I can't conclude this message unless I speak to all of you and those who have never trusted Christ as Savior perhaps today God is causing you to swim into the net of the kingdom as Peter put down his net after the day of Pentecost and three thousand souls were saved would you at this moment say Jesus I see you to be the Savior I come now to receive you as my own you tell him that Father thank you for what you taught the disciples thank you for what you teach us thank you for the awesome privilege of working with you in your kingdom in Jesus name, amen, amen in fact those of you who have never trusted Christ you know that as we sing the concluding hymn which is three hundred and thirty come every soul by sin oppressed there's mercy with the Lord only trust him even if you sing that hymn in sincerity God will receive you on today's Moody Church hour Pastor Lutzer brought a message on come and see his disciples the third of eight pictures of the life of Christ in a series entitled, come and see Jesus the fame of Jesus grew quickly when he began healing the sick next week we'll relive the story of a dramatic healing and a ruined roof join us for Dr. Lutzer's message come and see his miracles our eight part series on come and see Jesus can be yours on CD for a gift of any amount to The Moody Church hour our thank you to you will be a set of eight messages you can hear and then pass on to others just call us at 1-800-215-5001 let us know you'd like to support Moody Church's ministry call 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at Moody Church media 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614 mention the series come and see Jesus when you write or call online go to moodyoffer.com that's moodyoffer.com join us next time for another Moody Church hour with Pastor Erwin Lutzer and the Congregation of Historic Moody Church in Chicago
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