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Fishing Lessons From a Carpenter

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
September 8, 2021 12:00 am

Fishing Lessons From a Carpenter

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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September 8, 2021 12:00 am

When Jesus began to call his disciples, He first tested them, and challenged them, to step out in faith. As we take a look at the first recorded moments between Jesus and Simon Peter, we will explore the mindset of Peter as he is challenged by God, tested by God, and ultimately, takes a leap of faith. At the end of this journey, Stephen Davey will show us that our calling is higher than anything we can understand, and He wants to use us in ways that we cannot imagine.

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So right there on the boat, Peter collapses at the knees of Jesus where Jesus is seated with the realization of what this miracle means. In fact, Simon Peter becomes the first person in the Gospel account to address Jesus as Lord. Notice, I am a sinful man, oh Lord. He was master earlier. It was a title of respect earlier.

Now it's kurios, God. When Jesus began to call his disciples, he first tested them and challenged them to step out in faith. He knew that the quality of their faith would directly impact their ministry. Today, our teacher, Stephen Davey, will explore the mindset of Peter as he was challenged by God and tested by God. He ultimately took a leap of faith. This is wisdom for the heart and today you'll see how your calling is higher than anything you can understand and that God wants to use you in ways you cannot imagine.

Stay with us. I have read the account, now something of an urban legend, regarding a concert one evening by Poland's most famous concert pianist and prime minister, Ignace Paterewski, more than a hundred years ago. The concert hall was packed with a standing room only. Everyone was filled with a sense of anticipation and excitement. One young mother had purchased tickets and brought her young son in order to encourage him as he had only recently begun piano lessons.

They'd found their seats near the front. This young boy was awed by everything including that massive grand piano on stage. Soon the mother found her friend to talk to and unnoticed he slipped out of his seat and suddenly the crowd was arrested by the sound of that piano. They looked up and saw this young boy seated on the bench innocently picking out twinkle twinkle little star. They gasped.

Some began laughing. Some grew rather irritated and began to shout for him to get off that grand piano. Before his embarrassed mother, you can only imagine, could find the stairs, Paterewski heard the commotion, realized what was happening and quickly walked out on stage moving toward the boy. Instead of doing what they expected, shuffling him away, he whispered, don't stop, keep playing. He leaned over, reached down with his left hand, began filling in a bass part. His right arm reached around the boy encircling him, adding a running obbligato and together beautifully the old concert master and the little boy held the crowd mesmerized. All the while, Paterewski whispered, don't stop, don't quit, keep playing.

And after a couple of times through that little song, they ended to a standing ovation. One of the first lessons the early disciples are going to learn is to offer the Lord what little they have, even if it's twinkle twinkle little star. In fact, one of the first commands of the Messiah to those who are going to follow him are essentially don't quit, don't stop. It might not be much, but I'll join you.

And together, your little efforts and my sovereignty will accomplish much. The lesson doesn't take place in a concert hall, of course, or in a synagogue, but on the Sea of Galilee. Let's watch it take place. We're now at chapter five in Luke's Gospel. And I want you to notice just the first phrase. We'll take it slowly. The text opens on one occasion. We don't know, by the way, how much time I'll ask between the last verse of chapter four and this verse.

Could be weeks, not long, more than likely. On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God. Now, stop. You might want to circle that expression. The word of God. And draw a line down as I have to verse five.

At your word. This is the emphasis of this account. The word of God.

It's been the theme in our singing today. The word of God. One of Luke's favorite expressions, by the way. He's going to use it 17 times in his two-volume series, the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts, which is volume two. This is the foundation of the church. This is the source of the authority of the church.

And every Christian to this day, we believe, we follow, we preach, we teach, we obey the word of God. Jesus is modeling the role of true preaching here. He's about to demonstrate, in fact, the authority of God's word. His own word in a moment. Now, at this point, Jesus is literally being pressed by the crowd to the point of potentially being backed into the lake.

He's either going to get wet or he's going to have to walk on water more than once here. There's another solution, verse one. He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. Another word for the Sea of Galilee.

Another term. And he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets, getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's. He asked him to put out a little from the land. This will be his pulpit. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. Now, from other Gospel accounts, Jesus has already met Simon Peter, Mark chapter one. Peter has already seen Jesus perform miracles.

He's amazed at the power of Jesus. He hasn't been officially called to follow him yet. It's going to happen later. But at this point, Simon hasn't even connected all the dots yet.

That's going to happen over time. After pushing his boat back out a few feet from the lake, he's renting out his nets, listening to Jesus. By the way, he's still in the boat with the Lord. Next to him, still on shore, he's been drugged up on shore, are his business partners. That's the word used later in verse 10. These are his business partners in this fishing enterprise, James and his brother, John. And by the way, this is going to matter later on here this morning, but the word for nets here is a reference to the large nets used for nighttime fishing.

Not daytime fishing, nighttime fishing. That's what they just completed. Once again, we're not given the Lord's sermon notes. We're not given his transcript. We don't have any idea of his exposition. I wish we were given it. It would probably change the way I preach if I just had a listen to it.

But at any rate, we're not given any of that. We just know here he preached the word of God, some Old Testament text, and he opened it up. But even though we're not given his sermon, we are given his closing point of application. You see, he isn't just going to preach the word. He's going to show us the power of his word.

Here it comes in verse 4. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch. Now, the first command to put out, singular, he's delivering this to Simon. Simon evidently steering the boat. He probably always steers the boat.

The second command, let down your nets, is plural. It indicates others are on board. We're not told who they are. It could have been Andrew, more than likely his brother. Maybe some other hired hands are there. Well, Jesus finishes his sermon.

We don't know how long it lasted. Evidently, he wants fish for dinner. So Simon, you know, let's go fishing. Let's go fishing. Steer this boat out into the deep.

Don't miss what this command means, by the way. Simon, take us back out to where you just spent all night catching nothing. No fisherman is going to do that. It's obvious to Simon now that the carpenter is trying to get some fishing lessons. Jesus obviously doesn't know much about fishing. He's evidently good with a hammer, and as a healer, a preacher, not a very good fisherman. So he responds to Jesus' command to let down the nets. Look at verse 5. And Simon answered while biting his tongue. That's in between the lines.

Master, that's a title of respect. We toiled all night and took nothing. We were out here all night, all last night, and we caught nothing. How hard is it for a fisherman to admit that?

We caught nothing. Notice, but at your word, I will let down the nets. Now, stop for a moment. Don't misunderstand this, but at your word. I've heard this preached and taught. This is a great statement of faith. It really isn't. This isn't a statement of faith. This is what you could actually call reluctant obedience. Peter's thinking to himself because he knew.

He knew more than Jesus knew. These are the wrong nets. This is the wrong time of day. The fish can see this coming. This isn't going to work.

Well, I got to tell you this. He's at least to be commanded for dropping the nets, right? At least he's going to do that much.

At least he's going to play a little song. So the nets are lowered into the deep, probably no more than 30 to 40 feet from the seashore. Now, notice verse six. And when they, that's the crew with him, had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats so that they began to sink. Now, immediately you can imagine here the chaos. They reluctantly dropped the nets into the water and instantly swarms of fish literally swim into their nets. And they packed them so tightly they began to tear. And so they were told signal to James and John, which means they screamed at the top of their lungs, to come help us. Now, notice verse eight.

When Simon Peter saw it, that is after taking it all in, he fell down at Jesus' knees saying depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord. I doubted you. I didn't deserve this. I had wrong thoughts about you that fortunately are not recorded in Scripture.

I don't deserve to be in the same boat with you. So right there on the boat Peter collapses at the knees of Jesus where Jesus is seated with the realization of what this miracle means. In fact, Simon Peter becomes the first person in the Gospel account to address Jesus as Lord. Notice I am a sinful man, O Lord. It was master earlier. It was a title of respect earlier.

Now it's curious. God calling him Lord along with bowing before him is a recognition of the sovereignty of Christ. Jesus' response to Simon in the middle of verse 10 here, Do not be afraid. From now on you will be catching men. Mark's Gospel puts it, You'll be fishers of men. And when they had brought their boats to land, they quickly added Jesus to their fishing business and fishing was never the same again.

Oh wait, that's what I would have done. Man, you talk about a fisherman to add to your boat. No, they left everything, the catch of their lives and followed him.

This is the beginning of the formal discipleship as followers of the Lord for Simon, James, and John. They are leaving their boats. This is the greatest fish story of all time. It's a little turn on this phrase. Catching fish is usually fatal for fish. It's bad news for fish. Jesus uses the idea of fishing, but he turns it to refer to catching people alive, that is to give them life.

That's the idea. Now this is, by the way, in contrast to the fishing enterprise of Satan, he's a fisherman too. He traps people and trapping them, luring them, catching them. 2 Timothy 2, 26. People caught by Satan are destined to die without hope. Those caught by the disciples are destined to live and have life eternally.

That's the idea. I want you to catch people with the net of the gospel alive. Now I want to spend a little time highlighting some lessons on fishing taught by this master carpenter who is also the creator. First of all, catching nothing all night was as much a part of God's plan as catching a boatload the next day. See, don't overlook the fact that for Peter, James, and John, catching nothing was as much a part of God's will as catching a netful. God wanted them to spend the previous night without catching anything. That was his plan as well. Can you just imagine that night, some fish swimming near the net and God's going, don't go in there.

Turn around. They're fishing against God's power. Jesus is going to take Simon Peter back to the place where he failed all night long in order to show him that he had not failed at all. It was actually God's plan for him to catch nothing. It reminds us then, it's going to remind Peter and James and John and you as believers and myself, just be faithful.

Just drop the net. It's all you can do. If it comes up empty, it is just as much a statement of success in the eyes of God as a net that is suddenly overflowing. We define success and failure according to what we can see. God is working at ways we cannot see. We again get so caught up in, did you see that?

Did you hear that? Secondly, God often takes us to places where we are confident to remind us how much we are truly dependent. I love the fact that the Lord took Peter back out to the place where Peter knew everything. He knew what he was doing.

Peter had spent hours and he had done everything right. The Lord is essentially teaching Peter and James and John and you and me why. Why it is that one day they will catch people alive and it will have nothing to do with the right expertise or the right experience or the right time of day or the right kind of net. It will be the result of his will and his word.

We throw the net. God's word does the rest. In fact, a few years after this event was going to happen, Peter is going to get up and out there on the porch of the temple and he is going to preach the opening sermon of the church age on the day of Pentecost. We do have that sermon, the Spirit descends, the church is created. Somebody is going to come up to Peter after he preached that and that day and say, wow, Peter, what a sermon, what a delivery, 3,000 people believed, what a catch.

Look at the boat. Peter would have said, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. It wasn't that sermon.

It wasn't me. Yeah, I did my part. I dropped the net, but it was the power and the authority of the word and the will of God. Third, God's call for disciples may not change your profession in life, but it will rearrange your priority in life.

The verb tense the Lord uses here for these men to start catching people alive indicates this is going to be an ongoing lifelong engagement. This isn't going to be like fishing season or hunting season where for those of you that do that, and I'm happy for you when you do that, you get your license, you bag your quota and you're finished for the year and you got to stop. In fact, one of my students this past fall here at Shepherd Seminary lives in the northwest. He's zooming in to take my class and he asked permission if he could miss class one week because elk season was opening and he and his family were going to live off that meat the winter. I've never had a student asked to be dismissed from class to go hunt elk, but I did.

I agreed. He had a brief window of opportunity for Peter and these men. They're not fishing for a season. The idea here is they're going fishing for people as a vocation.

This is going to change the direction of their lives. This season of fishing will not end until the Lord takes them home. For some of them, we know John will end up in Ephesus and Thomas will go to India and Matthew will go to Ethiopia and Andrew will fish right there up into the borders of Russia. To this day, the Lord's commission might mean for some to leave their boats and their businesses and their extended family and head out into what we call vocational ministry. In fact, our church leaders are praying that many in our own congregation will do just that, that maybe you will be the one to join others to take the net of the gospel to some other land. However, the Lord's commission isn't just vocational. It's congregational. It's for all of us.

It involves all of us. It might not mean you change your profession, but it does mean you live with a different kind of priority. We have to live with that sense. One more lesson from the carpenter on the subject of fishing. Fourth, sometimes special surprises in life are hidden behind doorways labeled simple obedience. It doesn't look all that magnificent.

It doesn't seem all that heroic, like playing a little tune on the piano, while others can play better than you. Then the master comes along and what does he do? He encircles you and ends up using what little you offer and composes this eternally designed composition. Peter, what do you got to do? Just lower your boat. I mean, lower your nets out of the boat. Just lower your nets.

That's it. Just drop your net over the side of the boat. The net that will not catch fish in the daytime. The wrong net.

Just drop it over the edge. The vice president of a missions organization, which I can't remember which organization it was, I do remember the testimony he gave of a 70 year old woman who came to faith in Christ late in life. It seemed that God was impressing her heart to try to do something to reach out to students at the University of Melbourne near her home just a few blocks away. So she got a stack of cards, three of five cards and wrote on those cards these words, quote, are you homesick? Come to my home for tea at four p.m. She then went and posted them on the announcement boards, the job boards where students would gather to check out the opportunities while they're in the university.

Are you homesick? Come to my home at four p.m. for tea. She went home, prepared tea and when four o'clock arrived, she sat in her living room and waited and waited and nobody came. Days went by and weeks went by and nobody came.

She didn't quit. She kept making tea every afternoon at four, praying and waiting. Then after weeks of waiting, the doorbell rang.

An Indonesian student stood there at the door rather awkwardly wondering if he'd made the right decision. She answered the door and when he saw her, he just immediately relaxed and came in. He admitted to her that he was homesick and he was eager to talk and she served him tea and listened. He went back to campus that evening and told his friends, hey, I met a really nice lady who's a lot like my grandmother. She has some good things to eat and makes some pretty good tea and he brought a few of them back a few days later. In a few weeks, more international students were showing up at her door, some homesick, all of them thirsty for something more than tea. Her quiet testimony brought many of them to faith in Christ and during what ended up being the final 10 years of her life, she caught many of them for life.

When she died just past the age of 80, her funeral nearly shut down the university. There were 70 honorary pallbearers alone from countries like Indonesia and India and Malaysia and many more. Hundreds of international students had come to her home for tea and had found her creator, the Messiah, this carpenter, this master fisherman who, by the way, caught me. Has he caught you? And will we as a congregation join him in doing what little we can, dropping our nets to catch others unto everlasting life? I'm so glad you are with us today here on Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. Stephen is working through a series called The Ministry Begins. Today's message is entitled Fishing Lessons from a Carpenter.

I shared some time-sensitive information yesterday and I want to repeat that again today in case you didn't have time to respond. Stephen is the pastor of the Shepherd's Church in Cary, North Carolina. This coming Sunday is the 35th anniversary of Stephen launching and leading that church. I think it would be encouraging for Stephen to hear from you. If you'd like to send him a note of encouragement or congratulations, we have two ways to receive it from you. Our email address is info at Once again, that email address is info at Our mailing address is Wisdom for the Heart, P.O. Box 37297, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27627. Thanks again for joining us. Be with us next time for more wisdom for the heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-02 16:49:30 / 2023-09-02 16:58:16 / 9

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