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Following The Right Leader Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
July 21, 2022 1:00 am

Following The Right Leader Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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July 21, 2022 1:00 am

We are usually most comfortable with those who are like us or belong to us. But Peter’s journey of faith began when Jesus told him—a fisherman—how to fish. In this message, we learn the power and the command to witness in our offices, our homes, and our communities. If Jesus can draw fish into a net, He can save those even outside our comfort zones! 

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Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Peter's journey of faith began when Jesus told him, a fisherman, how to fish. The resulting catch proved that obedience to Jesus was the key. Peter would learn that the power of Jesus to save men is as total as his power to draw fish into a net.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, we're studying the life of Peter, a man chiseled by the Master's hand. In Luke chapter 5, Peter sees the great catch of fish and falls to his knees in the presence of Jesus. And you know, Dave, I can't think of a passage of scripture that is more encouraging when it comes to witnessing. I've often thought about this because the Lord Jesus Christ who brought fish from various parts of Galilee and made sure that those fish were swimming right into Peter's net is the same Lord Jesus who asks us to fish for men. And that means he's the one who brings them to faith.

Of course, we are the conduit. That's why I think that this series of messages is so encouraging. I want to thank the many of you who support the Ministry of Running to Win. If you are blessed, it's because other people have invested in this ministry. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner?

That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Now, of course, you need info. Here's what you can do. Go to That's And of course, when you're there, click on the endurance partner button.

Call us at 1-888-218-9337. And now let us learn to fish for men, as Jesus put it. It is because when God really comes to town, and when people really begin to see the glory and the wonder of Christ, all of us then find within our hearts inexcusable sin. Inexcusable sin. We are suddenly revealed for who we really are up against the holiness of a wondrous blessed pure God.

And that is a very uncomfortable moment. You say, well, isn't that pitiful? I mean, here is a disciple of Jesus Christ saying, depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord, going through a lot of existential guilt. The answer is no, this is not a pitiful moment. This was Peter's finest hour of hope.

It's his finest hour of hope. Because only when we see who we are in the presence of the risen Christ, it is only then that we can finally be forgiven of our sins and we can be hearing the voice of Christ say, you are forgiven, but our age does not like this. Someone sent me a cartoon, which I have on my door, of a pastor pointing to his congregation and saying, you know what the problem with Cain was? Cain's problem was low self-esteem. I can imagine someone saying, you know, that's why Peter did this.

He suffered from low self-esteem. I'll tell you something. It is only when we are willing to finally give up all of the game playing and see who we are in Christ's presence that we can hear him tell us we're cleansed and forgiven and belong to him. But now let me answer a question. I was talking to you about witnessing, about sharing the good news of the gospel. Why should we do that? Why should we cast out our nets into the deep? Why should we let our witness be made known in our offices, in our homes, and in our communities?

First, because of the power of Christ, the power of Christ. As I've already mentioned, it is because of Jesus that the fish came to these nets. In effect, Jesus said to the fish, hey fish, you see those nets?

Go for it. And so you have hundreds of fish going for the net. I want you to know that the same Christ has the hearts of the world in his hands. You say, well, it's one thing for Jesus to command a fish to go to a net. It is quite another for Christ to command the men and women to believe. But I want you to know that Jesus today is the Jesus of power.

He has, first of all, power to convict. When the Holy Spirit of God has come into the world, he will convince the world of sin, of righteousness and judgment. You and I can't do that.

We really can't. Three times in my life, I have met people who have actually looked me in the eye and told me that they weren't sinners. Could you imagine that? One even had the nerve to say that in the presence of his son. Thankfully, the boy corrected him. How can we convince men and women of their need for Christ? We can say the words.

We can present the truth. But unless God breaks into the soul and takes them apart, it is only when that happens they will say, I am a sinful man or a sinful woman. Jesus has the power to convict, and he has the power to convert. As the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickens whomever he wills.

And we can have the best net, and we can have the best scheme to catch fish, but unless Christ is in the middle of it, unless Christ speaks the word, we can toil all night and come up empty. But thankfully, Christ can save. And don't you ever say who he can save or who he can't save.

Don't ever say, well, you know, I have this uncle who is so hard. He may be. But Christ has saved some rather unlikely people.

Remember Mel Trotter, his story of how he was such an alcoholic that when his little girl died, he went into the funeral parlor and looked at her little body in the casket and took off her shoes so that he could sell those shoes for drink. But Jesus saved him, and he went up and down the country telling people that there is a Christ who can change and save individuals. Remember that, Christ's power. Remember in Hebrews, it says that he is able to save unto the uttermost those that call unto God by him. And the uttermost may be interpreted as a length of time. That's why my translation translates it, he is able to save forever those who call unto God by him.

But another possibility is to say that the word has to do with the depth of their sin. He is able to save unto the uttermost, we could say unto the guttermost, those who call unto God by him. Christ has power. That's one reason why we can witness with confidence. Secondly, we do it because of his command.

Peter said, look, Lord, this is crazy. But nevertheless at your word, based on your bare command, not because it makes sense, but because you said it, we will let down the nets. Do you think that they expected fish? I don't think so.

I don't think so. But because they were obedient to Christ, therefore Christ honored that obedience and he did a miracle because they obeyed. Sometimes we may witness and we don't necessarily have a lot of faith. We may not think that someone will believe. But don't ever underestimate what Christ might do in the human heart simply because people have heard the strength and the power of the gospel.

It may well fall on soil that has been prepared and grow and change people forever. It's not for you and me to decide where we should fish and with whom the gospel should be shared. Now, when it comes to catching real fish, I am not a fisherman. I just marvel at the patience of some people who can spend an entire morning drowning worms.

That does take some ingenuity. But one day on Lake Michigan, perhaps 15 years ago, I was on a boat and this man had several different lines that he was running and he said to me, let this one be your line. And eventually a fish bit and I actually saw it.

But you know something? If you are really a fisherman, and there are some like that who apparently are perfectly normal in other ways. If this really just is deep within your soul and you're just committed to being a fisherman, there are people who even continue to fish after they have a bad day.

There are. Have you ever gone to a fisherman? I mean a true fisherman, not me, but a fisherman. And you say, did you catch anything? Nope.

Well that means then you'll never be going out again, right? Oh no, no, no, no. Where would you get that idea? And yet so often when it comes to catching men and women, we say, you know, I tried it and it didn't work. I explained the gospel to somebody. I expected him or her to believe.

They didn't and therefore I'm finished. Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

Wait a minute. At thy word you do it again and again and again and in God's good time fish will result. I noticed something else in the text that is very encouraging. You know, since Jesus did a miracle here, he could have done it without the disciples. He could have done it without the nets. He could have simply said, now what I want you to do is to get into the boat and go and you'll have some fish. And Jesus, who is king of the earth, one who has all things in his hands, could have very easily caused the fish to come up and just jump into the boat. Why bother with nets?

In fact, why bother with a fisherman? He could have brought them all to shore. He's God. Oh, he could have, but he didn't. What he said was, I want to make you partners in this miracle.

You go out, let down the nets, and I'll take care of the rest. You know that Jesus could do without us. He would not need our witness to save anybody. He could save people just like he converted the Apostle Paul on the way to Damascus. A light comes out of heaven and there's a revelation from God directly and Paul gets zapped.

Instantly he believes and he recognizes Jesus as the Son of God. Christ could do that to people today because he's God. Did you know that Jesus doesn't need our money? Always beware of somebody who says, you know, without my money that place would collapse. Oh, come on.

Come on. What an insult to the Almighty. He doesn't need our money, but you know what God says? He says, I want you to be partners in my ministry on earth.

I want you to be letting down nets. I want you to be giving generously and contributing because in the process I will reveal myself to you because we will be coworkers, co-fishermen on earth. What an incredible privilege to have a partnership with Christ in ministry to know that we've been chosen by him to play a role in what he is accomplishing in the world. Someone has said that today we are not fishers of men. We are keepers of the aquarium.

We are more comfortable only here with those who belong to us and who are a part of our fellowship and we have that comfort zone that we protect. But I want you to know today that sometimes we can find fish in the most improbable places at the most inappropriate time and even among impossible people. Now here's what I want you to think about. Think about someone whom God has placed in your path to whom you will have the opportunity of sharing the gospel. Resolve right now to do it. And I might say that I say this also to myself and I already know exactly who it is that God has brought to my mind with whom I must share the good news of the gospel. Let down the net at Christ's word.

Something else. You may be here today and you've never believed on Jesus. You can't be a fisherman because if we may use the analogy, you are today still a fish. You're a fish.

You're out there swimming around and what you need to do is to be caught. You need to be one to saving faith in Jesus Christ through his work on the cross. You need to be brought to believe in him. Maybe as I was speaking there was something that resounded in your heart when you recognized your sin.

That's a good place to begin. Like Peter, you perhaps cry up as all of us have on occasion. Depart, oh Lord, because I'm sinful.

You've seen me. I remember the words of David in a Psalm. He said, oh Lord, rebuke me not according to thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Behold, I am vile, he said.

I will lay my hand upon my mouth. That is not a terrible state to be in. It is terrible only if you don't go on to believe in a Christ who came to save big sinners, big sinners. Have you believed in him? You know, here at the Moody Church, if you go up into our Sunday school area, you come to a hall and that hall happens to be named after John Harper. It's called Harper Hall.

Some of you have seen it up there. Back in the days when the Titanic left Europe for the United States, John Harper was on the Titanic en route to Moody Church. And remember how that big ship went down.

My daughter became very interested in the Titanic last summer, reading books, seeing a movie that has been made on it that is absolutely awesome when you think of what took place on that Titanic because it sank over a period of hours. John Harper's name, by the way, is in one of those books. We looked at the back and found out that he traveled second class. Just wanted to check out these pastors to see how they booked themselves on these big ocean liners. But as he was going down in the water, there he was bobbing in the cold water. You recall the story because some of you have heard it, how that someone that came near him hanging onto a life raft and Harper shouted to him, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. And then they drifted off into the ocean and then they came together again and Harper said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved. And this went on a couple of times and that man hanging onto that life raft believed in Christ and was saved six miles above the bottom of the Atlantic.

Harper went on down, by the way. He drowned and soon he disappeared. You say, well, how do you know that the other man believed? It's because years later in Toronto, Canada, he stood up and told the story that I am telling you because his life was spared and he said, I was John Harper's last convert.

But there, in desperation, he believed. You say, well, today I'm not drowning. I'm not going under. I'm going to live until tomorrow. Don't be too sure, by the way.

But secondly, let me tell you this. If God has responded to you, if you have sensed his work in your heart, would you today be saved? Because if he's pointed out your sin, it shows that you need him to be your savior.

Thou art guilty. Thou art self-righteous, Christ is saying. But to you today, he says, you can be cleansed, forgiven, changed, accepted forever.

And let us pray. Our Father, we want to thank you today for Peter. Thank you that in your good time and according to your grace, he understood how sinful he was and then he believed. We pray that you might help those who do not know you as savior today to come to saving faith.

And may they believe even at this moment. And then for those who know you, we think, Father, of the lost opportunities and we blush for shame, for we are guilty. Oh, God, at thy word, let us let down the nets. Bring to mind those to whom we must share the good news of the gospel in trusting the results wholly to you, the miracle worker. And thank you for the privilege of making us co-workers with you in the great task of fishing. In Jesus' name, Amen. My friend, this is Pastor Lutzer and I want to thank you so much that you are partners together with us in the great task of fishing. It's always wonderful to read stories about people who have come to saving faith in Jesus Christ as a result of the ministry of running to win.

I'm holding in my hands a letter that is just a little different from that. This is from a young woman who's in college who says that she has struggled with constant lies from the enemy, thoughts of self-hatred, doubts about her salvation. And she says, as a result of running to win, I'm learning to resist the enemy. My friend, you have a part in testimonies just like this. And when people come to know Jesus Christ as Savior, it's because together we are making a difference and this ministry is possible.

Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? Now that's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. And of course, the amount that you give is entirely your decision. Here's what you do. You go to

Let me give that to you again. RTWOffer, of course, that's all one word. When you're there, click on the endurance partner button. Or if you prefer, you can call us right now at 1-888-218-9337.

Go to, click on the endurance partner button, and we trust that we shall hear from you. It's time again for another opportunity for you, the listener, to ask Pastor Lutzer a question you may have about the Bible or the Christian life. Today's question comes from Jack, and Jack lives in North Carolina. A number of churches and radio stations in our area have switched from hymns with piano, organ, and orchestra to contemporary Christian music, accompanied by guitars, drums, bass, and so on. My question is, what would our Lord have us do, according to the Bible, with regard to Christian music?

Well, you know, Jack, I'm smart enough not to give a very specific answer to your question. Because as you know, the matter of music has been a point of sharp contention among Christians, and I'm not really qualified to adjudicate all of these matters. But I do have two extremes I think we should avoid. First of all, we should avoid the notion that the only hymns and the only music that should ever be played on Christian radio is the kind that we like. I think that we have to recognize that taking a stand like that is wrong. There are other people who may enjoy a different kind of music and a different kind of singing, and we have to recognize that. We are not the standard by which all music should be judged. And then secondly, I think it's important to realize that Christians should not always be pushing the envelope. And I think that that is a very important point as well, because there is no doubt that sometimes they sound as if they are simply imitating the world. Now it is somewhere between those two extremes that we need to be very cautious. And I pray that God will give us wisdom to know exactly how to respond to modern music.

And fortunately, fortunately there are radio stations that have such variety that you can choose what you like to listen to, maybe at the end of the day, that will help us in resolving this dilemma. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer, for your discernment in this very controversial area. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. One thing Peter and the disciples learned real fast was that Jesus was no ordinary man. He had command of the laws of nature, something they'd never seen and never would have believed possible. Next time on Running to Win, Peter takes one small step for a man on the sea. Don't miss While Walking on Water, I Sank.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-21 12:09:37 / 2023-03-21 12:18:01 / 8

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