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Going Fishing

    The gospel is for all.  Is it really?  John 3:16-17 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”  Later in the same chapter we read about John the Baptist who makes this passionate statement regarding Jesus, “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.  He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:35-36).  Jesus knew that He needed help in spreading the gospel - the good news. This was His purpose and mission while on this earth.  He recognized that the help would come from finding able men who could be His disciples and learn His message to help save the lost of this world from eternal destruction.

    “And walking by the sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was 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.’  And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him.  And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them.  And they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him” (Matthew 4:18-22; cf. Mark 1:16-20).  These first disciples were not forced to follow Jesus.  They had a choice to continue to fish since they did not know this total stranger.  But, there must have been something they saw in Jesus, or what He said, that struck a chord in their hearts. There was a certain power in His statement that caused them to want to know more.  We later learn the names of the other apostles in the book of Matthew.  Jesus gave them strict instructions regarding their behavior when sending them out into the world to spread the message of the Gospel.

    In Acts 2 we learn more about the disciples and their love for Jesus.  How awesome it must have been for them to know Jesus personally and demonstrate their love for Him.  Being able to spend time with Him and to know His purpose, especially after being filled with the Holy Spirit, had to be undeniably the greatest experience they would ever know.  These fishermen would show their skills when delivering the message to those on the day of Pentecost.  We are all well versed that on that day when about three thousand souls were saved after being baptized.  What a big catch!

    We today must learn from their example and follow it.  We understand that we too must not be afraid to cast our net.  It is very simple: we must take the story of Jesus, and the message He has given us, and speak it out into the world around us.  Romans 10:14 states, “And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?”  Our net is the gospel.  You must cast it to catch the heart of lost souls. Don’t expect to make a catch every time you cast your net, but keep trying. 

Things to remember
▸    Be patient.  
▸    Understand the risk and the rewards.  
▸    Focus on the casting, not on how many fish (people) you catch.  
▸    Understand our “nets” will require mending and repair at times. (Continue bible study and learn a growing knowledge of the best approach.) 
▸    It’s okay to take more time if you don’t get the results you want at first.  
▸    Don’t give up.  
▸    Cast again and again.  
▸    Keep sharing the gospel.  
▸    You don’t need to have any special talents; just try.  
▸    Remember to catch them before you try to clean them.  (Start with preaching Jesus first, and allow other instruction to continue over time.)   
▸    You need to have a love for the Word and a desire to help save the lost.  
▸    You can’t catch anything if you don’t cast your net.  

    It’s ironic, when you fish, you take your catch out of the water.  When you convert, you take your catch (people) into the water (the water of baptism).  Continue the legacy of the original disciples to be fishers of men.  Remember the great commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19).  So, yes, the gospel is for all.  Now go, cast your net!