Becoming Fisher Folk

“Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17).

There is a call upon the life of every follower of Jesus to share with others the good news that His kingdom is breaking into history one heart at a time.  Our witness is more than our words. It’s the life of Jesus formed in us and released through us.

His calling is more than a command — it’s a promise.  The Lord promises that if we commit to follow Him, He will cause us to become the Fisher Folk that He purposed.

In this series of lessons, we will examine the process whereby Jesus forms His life in us and then releases His life through us.  That’s what it means to be Fisher Folk — Jesus living His life and ministry through us.

Our first lesson, “Follow Me,” discusses what it means to abide in Jesus and obey Him and His promise of transformation as we abide and obey.

Our second lesson, “Why Do We Need Fisher Folk?” examines the reality of a fallen world, the devastating, universal impact of sin and the reality of redemption.

Our third lesson is entitled, “I Love To Tell the Story (But There Are Some Reasons Why I Don’t).”  In this lesson we discuss the reasons that can cause us to back away from our calling as witnesses and God’s specific promises to meet us in our weakness.

Our fourth lesson, “Power to Serve,” looks at the life of Gideon and celebrates God’s promise to empower ordinary people for extraordinary ministry.

Our fifth lesson, “Formed in Christ,” examines the life of Samuel and the process of spiritual formation in a servant of God. The influences in Samuel’s life were both Godly and ungodly yet God prepared him for service. So with us.

Lesson six, “The Journey,” follows the path of Simon Peter from a spiritually hungry seeker to a Spirit-empowered witness of the risen Christ.  Our journey is no different.  We once were seekers, now we are witnesses — Fisher Folk.

Lesson seven, “Calling and Promise,” underscores the truth that our most impactful witness is not what we say but how we live.

Lesson eight, “There Had to Be An Easter,” retells the good news and reminds us that no one will hear the story if we do not share it.

Lesson nine, “Fishing for Folks,” provides a brief overview of how people come to know Christ. 

This world desperately needs Christ sharers — Fisher Folk — for it is a lost, broken and dying world, separated from its Creator.  Whoever calls on the Lord in faith will be saved — restored to fellowship and everlasting life with God.  But how will anyone call on the Lord unless they hear about Him? And how will they hear unless someone shares?

Jesus says, “If you will commit to follow me, I will enable you to become Fisher Folk.”

Becoming Fisher Folk #1

Becoming Fisher Folk #1 

Follow Me

“Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of God and saying, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.  As he was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.  And Jesus said to them, 'Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men’" (Mark 1:14-17).

Jesus began His ministry proclaiming the kingdom of God breaking into history. The kingdom of God is the dynamic, present rule and reign of Almighty God.  It is the rule of mercy and grace breaking into the lives of those conquered by sin and the cruelties of a fallen world. It is the rule of joy and peace breaking into the lives of those overwhelmed by the grief and tragedy of a dying world.  It is the rule of light and truth breaking into the darkness of lies and deception. 

It is the rule of liberty breaking into the enslavement of captives who were overpowered by the seducing destroyer. It is the rule of abundance breaking into the desolation of those plundered by the demonic thief. 

The message of the kingdom is the good news of forgiveness for the guilty, liberty for the captive, healing and deliverance for the broken and bound, reconciliation of sinners to the holy God.  Jesus came preaching the good news of the kingdom but His first action was not to buy property and build a building.  He called people to follow Him.  He is still calling.

Jesus has a purpose for our lives  — that we become people who can share the good news of His kingdom with others, people who can bring others to Him — Fisher Folk.

In calling to Peter and Andrew, James and John, Jesus said three things.

A. Follow Me

We cannot follow in the physical steps of Jesus as could His first friends but we can follow just as closely as they did.  Following Jesus means abiding and obeying.


Jesus said, “Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4,5).

The promise is that if we will submit our lives to Jesus, allowing Him to live His life in and through us, we will live meaningful, fruitful lives, fulfilling the unique purpose that He has designed for each of us.  How do we abide in Jesus?

1. We abide with Him in His Word.  

The Apostle Paul tells us, "Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).  How are our minds renewed?  As we feed on God's Word with understanding.

Merely reading the Bible does not necessarily renew my mind.  I read several pages of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, once, and could not comprehend even the simplest phrase.  It had no effect on me.  To be impacted by something, there must be some level of understanding. Our comprehension of something determines its level of influence on us.  The more we understand the truth, the more deeply it can transform our thinking and our living.

It is the same with the food we eat. Merely eating food, putting it in the mouth, chewing and swallowing it, does not nourish the body.  We must digest it, break it down and absorb it.  If a person has a problem breaking down protein or various minerals contained in the food, then no matter how much they eat, they will not be adequately nourished.

So it is with the Word of God.  What matters is not how much we read.  What matters is how much we break down and absorb — that is, how much we understand. 

This is why the Bible exhorts us to study the Word of God with discipline and listen humbly to those who teach it with skill.  Paul exhorted Timothy,

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (I Timothy 2:15).

David said to his son, “Hear my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8).

Having studied and listened to the Word skillfully taught, we should meditate on it, soak it in: 

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly … but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on that law does he meditate both day and night" (Psalm 1:2).

Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of mine and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31,32).

The Bible presents itself as bread, milk, light, life — inspired by God.  As we feed on it with understanding, we are feeding on the very life of God.  Jesus was the Word made flesh.  To abide in His Word is to abide in His very life.

2. Following Jesus also means abiding in worship.  

In Psalms 22:3, we read, "Yet you are holy, O you who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel."  Another translation would say, "Yet you are holy, O you who inhabits the praises of Israel.” 

God dwells within, inhabits, is enthroned upon, the praise of His people.  When we choose to praise and worship God, God makes a place of habitation in our worship.  We abide in Jesus as we worship Him and His presence resides in our worship.

3. Following Jesus also means abiding in prayer.  "Pray without ceasing" said the Apostle Paul (I Thessalonians 5:17).  Since the Spirit of the Lord lives in those who have been redeemed, since He goes before us and walks beside us, then we are able to carry on a constant conversation of prayer with our Lord, wherever we are.

Following Jesus means abiding in His Word, in worship and in prayer.


Following Jesus also means obeying Him.  We not only learn His will as revealed in holy Scripture.  We also live it, we walk it out.  After the death of Moses, God said to Joshua,

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all this is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have success” (Joshua 1:8).

Jesus said, 

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15).  

"Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46).  

Abiding in Jesus means not only abiding in His Word. We must also live what we learn. This is the life of obedience.  

What does it mean to call Jesus Lord? It means we are submitted to His Lordship.

I was reading a story by Mark Twain about a company of soldiers which he briefly joined during the early days of the Civil War.  All of the soldiers in his unit were fiercely independent and absolutely opposed to any exercise of authority by anyone.  When it came time to go to sleep, no one would stand guard, so they tied a horse to the door of the barn, figuring it would neigh if anyone came near.  They put their lives at risk rather than obey anyone!

The concept of submitting to the rule and reign of absolute Lordship is unfamiliar to many of us.  We don’t have kings and queens who exercise dominion over us.  But this is what it means to follow Jesus.  Participation in the Kingdom of God requires yielding to the sovereign rule of the King.  

Following Jesus means abiding in Him and obeyingHis Lordship. What happens when we do?

B. “I will make you become.”

Submission to the Lordship of Jesus is not harsh.  Jesus tells us that if we will follow Him, if we develop a lifestyle of abiding and obeying, then it is His responsibility to enable us to fulfill His command.

"Follow me”— that is a command.  

"I will make you become” — that is the promise of divine help.

Notice the word become.  In the moment we placed our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, we were born into the family of God as children of God.  But God wants us to become, to grow up into mature, fruitful disciples.

As we follow Jesus — abiding and obeying — He makes us, creates us into that which He desires.  His responsibility is to create.  Our responsibility is to develop the lifestyle receptive to His creative power.  Follow and become.

As we commit to follow, Jesus commits the power that enables us to become.

In John 15:1-8, the Lord gives us a picture of the abiding life and its fruitful result.  Jesus is the vine, we are the branches.  The branch draws its life from the vine, shares in the life of the vine, and fulfills the nature and goal of the vine.

So it is with us. At our new birth in Christ, the Lord came to indwell us.  As we cultivate this fellowship by abiding and obeying, we come to share His life, draw life from Him and thus fulfill His purpose.

In John 15:5 Jesus promises that fruitfulness is the natural result of abiding in Him.  As we follow Him, He make us, creates us into that which He desires and brings us to maturity.  His responsibility is to create.  Our responsibility is to develop the lifestyle receptive to His creative power.  

Follow and become.  

Become what?

C. Fisher Folk

What are Fisher Folk?  

Jesus said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).  Jesus is a seeker of lost souls.

Following Jesus, we become what He is, we learn to do what He does.

We become seekers of lost souls, inviting the world around us into the rule of God’s grace.

Having submitted our lives to the rule and reign of Christ the King, He now dwells within us (Galatians 2:20, Romans 8:9-11). We are the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16).  We carry the treasure of Jesus in the earthen vessels of our lives (2 Corinthians 4:7).  

Following Jesus — an intentional lifestyle of abiding and obeying — allows Him to conform our life to His life, to fill our life with His life, to overflow our life with His life.

Witnessing to others, fisher folking, is simply the release of our Lord's life through our lives.  He is not asking us to "drum up" some works of discipleship.  He is asking us to allow Him to live 

His life through us.

Whatever we say to the world, they will not believe us unless they can see Jesus in us.  Our witness is least of all our words.  Our witness is who we are.  Who we are is a function of Whose we are.  Fisher Folk are people filled with the life of Jesus, speaking His truth, sharing His love, through whose lives Jesus is doing the work of the kingdom of God.

Many years ago I heard a pastor tell the story of how he was speaking in a large city, staying at a downtown hotel.  He had trouble getting to sleep one night, so about midnight he got up and went to a diner across the street.  

After a while some ladies came in, ordered coffee.  As he sat there and listened to them talk, he realized they were prostitutes, warming themselves, taking a work break.  Listening to them, he heard one of them ask, "Do you know what day this is?"  No one answered, so she continued, 

"This is my birthday."  No one noticed, they kept on chatting.  In a tiny, pathetic voice, she said, "I've never had a birthday party."  But no one noticed.

Presently they finished their coffee, paid, went back to work.

The pastor turned to the cook behind the counter.  "Did you hear that?"  

"Hear what?" came the gruff reply.

"She said it was her birthday, said she had never celebrated it."   

"So what, she's a whore.  Who cares?"

They were alone again, the diner silent except for the clatter of dirty dishes being stacked into a bus pan. 

"Hey, are they gonna be back tonight?"

"Yeah, you can set your watch.  Five o'clock in the morning."

"Why don't we have a birthday party for that lady?"

The cook turned and stared at the pastor — he was incredulous.  "You're crazy" he snorted, but there was something in his voice that had not been audible a moment before.

The pastor persisted.  "I'll pay for it — will you bake a cake?  Maybe serve up some ice cream and coffee?  I'll see if I can find one of those all night stores and pick up a few favors."

"You really are crazy."  The cook shook his head in disbelief, but there was a softness in his words.  "Sure pal, I'll bake a cake.  Why not."

At five o'clock the ladies came trooping back in.  Out came the cake, complete with candles, ice cream, hot coffee, some little knick knacks.  

The pastor launched in, ”Happy birthday to you ..."

The birthday girl jumped up, startled.  "What is this?"

"It's your birthday."

She ran out the door.  The others stayed and ate, then, one by one, drifted back out into the near sunrise.

Two solitary men remained in the diner, one silently washing dishes, one finishing his coffee.  

After a few moments, the guest walked over to the counter, paid his check, turned to leave.  As he reached for the door, the cook called out to him.

"Hey buddy, are you a preacher or something?"

"Or something, I suppose.  Why?"

"Where's your church?"

"Not here, I'm only visiting.  Why?"

"Because I've always wanted to attend a church that gives birthday parties for prostitutes."

What was he really saying?  Do you suppose he was saying, "Hey, if your God cares about them, do you reckon He'd care about me?"

Can you sense the heart of Jesus yearning over those ladies, over that cook?  What was Jesus looking for in that diner?  Someone who would be a contact point, someone through whose life He could release His life.  

No, you may never witness to a prostitute or a cook in a greasy spoon at Five A.M.  But you are surrounded by hurting, broken, lost people.  And Jesus is yearning to be released into their lives.  

Those who say "Yes" are Fisher Folk.

"Follow me and I will make you to become fishers of men."

Question Outline #1

Question Outline 1

Follow Me

"Follow me and I will make you to become fishers of men" (Mark 1:17). 

A. Follow Me

To follow is to abide

1. What does the Word of God have to do with abiding?  (John 8:31,32)

2. What does worship have to do with abiding?  (Psalms 22:3) 

3. What does prayer have to do with abiding?  (I Thessalonians 5:17)

To follow is to obey

1. What does obedience have to do with following Jesus?  (John. 14:15) 

2. How do we prove the Lordship of Jesus in our lives?  (Luke 6:46)

B. I Will Make You to Become

Notice the word become.  In the moment we placed our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, we were born into the family of God as children of God.  But God wants us to grow up into mature, fruitful disciples.

1. As we follow Jesus (abide, obey) what does He cause us to become?  

2. What is the Lord's responsibility in this process?

3. What is our responsibility?

4. From John 15:1-12, what would you say is the natural result of abiding in Jesus?

C.  Fisher Folk

1. In 2 Corinthians 4:7  6:16, in Romans 8:9-11 and Galatians 2:20 we are told that we carry something special within us.  What is it?  

2. What does abiding, obeying and becoming have to do with this “treasure”?

3. Being Fisher Folk means sharing what?


We carry the treasure of Jesus in our earthen vessels, our lives.  Following Jesus — an intentional lifestyle of abiding, obeying — allows Him to conform our life to His life.

This is necessary, for whatever we say to the world, they will not believe us unless they can see Jesus in us.  Our witness is not merely what we say.  Our witness is who we are.  Who we are is a function of Whose we are.

Fisher Folking, bearing witness of the kingdom of God breaking into history, is simply a matter of allowing Jesus to fill us with His life and spill out of us into the lives of those around us.

"Follow me and I will make you to become fishers of men."

____                                                                                          ____


Discuss your impressions of this lesson.  Pray for one another.

at home:  

Reflect on this lesson, asking God to show you areas of strength and weakness in your abiding and your obeying.  Are you becoming a Fisher Folk?

Very briefly, maybe in two or three sentences, in your own words, who or what is a Fisher Folk?

Becoming Fisher Folk #2

Becoming Fisher Folk #2

Why Do We Need Fisher Folk?

Before we can be effective Fisher Folk, we must be convinced of the need for Fisher Folk.  Your community desperately needs a vital, witnessing church.  There is nothing more necessary anywhere than people through whom Jesus Christ can release His life and proclaim His kingdom.  Are you convinced of this?

Why does the world need Fisher Folk?

In the first three chapters of the book of Genesis, we read that God created a marvelous, highly gifted creature — the human being.  God created us to know Him, to have intimate fellowship with Him as we enjoyed His creation and exercised wise dominion over it. 

That we would be able to know Him, God created us in His image.  Since God is Spirit, this means that He gave us a spiritual component.  This enabled communion between God and people.  In Genesis 3:8 we read that the Lord walked "in the garden in the cool of the day.”  It sounds as though it was a common occurrence and though I cannot imagine what that was like, surely it was precious friendship.  

However, there was a limit to our fellowship with God and our dominion over creation — we could never be God.  We could only be who we were created to be — wondrous creatures made in the image of our Creator, but only creatures.

God gave humanity a choice — we could choose to enjoy friendship with Him or reject Him, enjoy His love and blessing or reject Him, obey or disobey His wise counsel.  That is, we could choose to be a creature in loving relation to our Creator, or we could be a creature divorced from our Creator.  This was an act of love on God's part.  True love never forces itself on its beloved, never demands love in return.  True love merely gives itself and invites response.

Early in history, humanity chose to believe the lie that we could be our own Source of life and law, could be our own God.  We chose to reject the true God, to live in separation from the true Lord of life.  To this day God lovingly continues to give us this choice and humanity proudly continues to believe the lie, choosing to go its own way.

All Have Sinned

The problem of sin cannot be relegated to the category of ancient history or abstract theology.  It is a personal problem — we have all sinned.  The Bible says very simply, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Upon reaching the age of accountability, and that would differ for each of us depending on our rate of maturity, we made choices which violated God's revealed will.  We chose to go our own way irregardless of what we understood to be God's way.

People ask, “If there is a God, why is there so much trouble in this world?”  Because God created people with the freedom to know and love and obey Him, or reject and disobey Him.  When people reject God and spurn His commands, there are consequences.  Those consequences come under the general category of trouble.

Sin Separates People From God

God created us to live in relationship with Him, drawing life from Him, life flowing from His Spirit into our spirit.  If God were a vine, we would be branches.  If God were a spring of water, every human life would be like a stream flowing from the well-spring.  God is our Source. The life we live issues forth from His life.

Sin is that self-centered, God-rejecting thought, word or deed which separates us from God, as the Lord said through Isaiah the prophet, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God” (Isaiah 59:2).

To be separated from the Creator and Source of all life is to participate in death.  There is no simpler revelation of truth in the Bible than this, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  

If a branch is severed from the vine it dies. If a stream is separated from its well-spring, it dries up. The death and tragedy which mar this world are the result of humanity's choice to live apart from God.

The Reality of Judgement

In Ezekiel 18:32 we read, “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, declares the Lord God.  Therefore, repent and live.”  God wants to see us live and live in His blessing.  

Therefore He calls us to turn to Him, the Lord of life. 

Yet God cannot suspend the moral laws of the universe.  Those laws are woven into the very sub-atomic structure of creation and if anyone chooses to turn from God and live in violation of His just order, then that person will suffer the consequences, both in time and at the end of time.

In Revelation 20:11-15 we read of a terrifying judgement at the end of history.  Though the love of God is measureless, He is also holy and just.  In a moral universe, governed by a loving, holy and just God, there must be an accounting for the sin that violates His being and His world.

If we choose to separate ourselves from God through sin, then we will live apart from Him.  If we die in that state of separation, we will be separated from God eternally by that sin which we choose.  A holy God cannot ignore our sin and does hold us accountable.

The Reality of Redemption

The most amazing truth in all of history is this, that God dealt with our sin by being born in human form and taking our sin upon Himself, offering Himself as a holy Sacrifice for sinners.

What unimaginable good news!  The sinless God took upon Himself the sum of our rebellion, paid our debt and redeemed us from sin's penalty, which is everlasting death apart from God.  

In Romans 5:8 we read, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born in human form and died for us on a Roman cross.

What did Jesus do on that cross?  He took our sin upon Himself, as if it were His, and redeemed us (ransomed, purchased us) from slavery to sin and death (see Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 9:27,28, I Peter 1:18,19 and 3:18, among many other Scriptures).

What currency did He use in redeeming us?  Not silver or gold, but His own precious blood.  This marvelous sacrifice, the atonement for our sin, is a historical fact.  It happened.

Restored Relationship

“God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them … He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:19a,21).  

Now, because the sin barrier between God and humanity has been removed, God is able to offer forgiveness, eternal life and restored relationship with all who will receive.  

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).


Who is eligible to receive God's gift of new life?  All who turn from their sin — this is called repentance (Acts 2:37-39  Psalm 51:16,17).  Repentance is a sincere sorrow for our sin and a commitment to turn from it as we turn to the Lord.

Receive by Faith   

As we turn from our sin, we turn to the Lord and call upon Him in faith (see Acts 2:37,38  Acts 16:30,31   Ephesians 2:8-10).  

What is saving faith?

Faith is not simply believing there is a God.  Faith is believing that God has acted in history in Jesus Christ, that Jesus died for me, atoned for my sin with His blood and rose from the dead.

Confess My Faith

“Because if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation … for whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved”  (Romans 10:9,10,13). 

Faith says, “Jesus, I believe you are who you say you are.  I believe you have done what you say you have done.  I turn from my sin, I turn to you and I surrender my life to your Lordship.”  

When anyone confesses that sincerely, God washes away their sin, raises them from spiritual death and brings them into new, eternal relationship with Himself.  God does this to demonstrate His kindness and His grace.

Result of My Faith

1. We are made alive in Christ (Colossians 2:13,14   Ephesians 2:1-5).

2. We are born anew, we become new creations (John 3:3  2 Corinthians 5:17  I Peter 1:23)

3. We are redeemed / ransomed from enslavement to our sin and a life of futility (I Peter 1:18,19).

4. We are reconciled to God and adopted into God’s family (Colossians 1:19-23  Ephesians 2:12,13, 18-22  Galatians 4:4-7).

5. We are delivered out of the power of this world system (kingdom of darkness) and into the kingdom of God (kingdom of His beloved Son, Colossians 1:13,14).

Share My Faith

How will anyone know that this grace is available?

The Apostle Paul asks the same question in Romans 10:14,

“How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?”  

How will anyone know about this wonderful offer of forgiveness and new life in Jesus, unless someone tells them?

In Acts 1:8 Jesus said, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses."  He was speaking not only to those immediately present.  He was speaking to all of His followers.  

Go and share the Good News — the stakes are high:

“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned’” (Mark 16:15,16).

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

The stakes are high.  Those who believe the message will be forgiven of sin, reconciled to God — saved. Those who disbelieve, who choose to continue to live and die separated from God, will be condemned to live forever in a conscious state of separation. This is called hell.

To all of us who have experienced His kingdom of grace breaking into our lives, who have surrendered to His Lordship, Jesus says: “You are my witnesses — Fisher Folk.”

We are exhorted, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (I Peter 3:15).

Have you ever noticed the paradox of giving?  The more you give out of your own soul, the greater the gift grows within you.  You never really know what you have until you begin to give it away. We come to appreciate the magnitude of God's grace and mercy as we become messengers of His grace and mercy.

Question Outline #2

Question Outline 2

Why Do We Need Fisher Folk?

Before we can be effective Fisher Folk, we must be convinced of the need for Fisher Folk.

Why does the world need Fisher Folk?

1. Genesis 2:15-17  3:4-6

a. What choice did God give humanity in Eden?

b. Which choice did humanity make?

c. Does God still give us this choice?

2. Romans 3:23

a. Who has participated in the reality of sin?

3. Romans 6:23   James 1:13-15

a. What is the result of sin?

b. Why is this so?

4. Ezekiel 18:31,32    Revelation 20:11-15

a. Does God enjoy judging people?

b. Because God's love is perfect, does that mean He never judges sin?

5. Rom. 5:8,9     Ephesians 1:7     Hebrews 9:27,28      I Peter 1:18,19  3:18

a. What did Jesus Christ do for us on the cross?

b. What is redemption?

c. What "currency" was used for our redemption?

6. Romans 6:23   2 Cor. 5:21

a. What does God now offer?

7. Romans 10:9-13  Acts 2:37-39  Ephesians 2:8-10 Romans 10:9,10,13

a. Who is eligible to receive God's gift?

b. What must we do to receive?

8. Ephesians 2:1-5    2 Cor. 5:17   I Peter 1:18,19   Col. 1:13,14

a. What is the result of repentance and saving faith?

9. Romans 10:14    Acts 1:8

a. How will any lost person know what God is offering?

b. Who is called to be a witness?

c. Why do I need to be a Fisher Folk?

_____ ______


1. Why does this world need your witness?

2. Why do you need to be a witness?

At home:      

Meditate on the following verses:   John 3:16    Romans 6:23     Romans 10:13,14

In one or two paragraphs, summarize why the world needs Fisher Folk. What happened? What is God’s response? What must a person do to be saved?  How does anyone hear the Good News?

Becoming Fisher Folk #3

Becoming Fisher Folk #3

I Love To Tell the Story

(But There Are Some Reasons Why I Don't)

The Lord Jesus has spoken clearly concerning the evangelistic mission of His church.  We are to be Fisher Folk, witnesses that His kingdom, His rule of grace, is breaking into history one heart at a time.

Sometimes though, we know what God wants and we want that too, but because of personal weaknesses we are limited in our obedience.  Pressure or manipulation will not make us better witnesses.  How much more effective to face our weaknesses in the healing light of God's grace.

Do any of the following obstacles hold back your witness?  Let’s list some of them and let’s examine the Lord’s response.

1. Emotional:  I'm too shy, too fearful, too anxious when I try to share my faith.

How has God responded?      

The Apostle Paul said that he did not witness to the church at Corinth with “superiority of speech or of wisdom,” rather, he was with them “in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.”  He knew nothing among them “except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:1-5).  

Paul may not have been an impressive speaker.  He only shared the good news of a crucified Savior and a church was built.  What was the key?  Not the power of the speaker but the power of the message:

“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18).  Paul adds in 1:24 that the message of the cross is both “the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

The power of your witness is not your personality or your talent or your verbal skill.  It is the message itself.  Tell the story of Jesus and He releases His life through you.

Paul advises us to “be anxious for nothing” but in every circumstance, we lift our prayers to the Lord and He will fill us with His peace (Philippians 4:6,7).    

Paul reminded a young Timothy that, “God has not given us a spirit of timidity (fear) but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).  Claim God’s gifts to you and claim God’s calling on your life — you are a witness, a Fisher Folk.

2. Financial:  I'm too busy making a living to be a witness.

How has God responded?    

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).    

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)

“Seek first the kingdom” doesn’t mean we quit our jobs to tell people about Jesus. In fact, your primary mission field is wherever God has placed you — at work, at home, in school. The Lord has given you talents, abilities and opportunities so you can make a living and as you honor God in your vocation the Lord will resource your life.  

But get the priority straight — seek first to honor God. 

3. Spiritual:  I don't have the spiritual power to be a witness.

How has God responded?    

Jesus said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses … even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Jesus has promised to provide us with the spiritual dynamic needed to share His ministry.  That dynamic is His Holy Spirit now living in us.  The word which we translate power is dunamis from which we derive the English words dynamic, dynamo, dynamite.  The Spirit of the living God indwells us and He is the power generator enabling us to share ministry with our Lord.

Paul prayed for the church that we would receive “a spirit of wisdom and revelation” concerning “the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:17,19).  The same power with which God the Father raised Jesus from the dead now works in us (1:20).

Paul reminds us that the Lord “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us” (Ephesians 3:20).  

Therefore he rejoices, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

You can do whatever the Lord has called you to do.  He will empower you.

4. Intellectual:  I don't have the knowledge to be a witness.

How has God responded?    

Paul reminded the church at Corinth that “in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and knowledge … so that you were not lacking in any gift” (I Corinthians 1:5,7).

Jesus said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26).

Whatever resource of wisdom or knowledge which we need to be effective witnesses, the Lord will provide through His indwelling presence.

5. Physical:  I have a speech impediment, I feel awkward talking with people.

How has God responded?    

When God called Moses to be the deliverer of Israel, the man objected, saying, “Please Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past … for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Exodus 4:10).

The Lord’s response is priceless, “Who has made man’s mouth … Now then go and I, even I, will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to say” (4:11,12).

God enables what God commands.  Anything that God calls us to do will be matched by His provision.  Again, hear the apostle Paul, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

We must also remember that our most eloquent witness is not our words but our life.  Jesus living His life through us is the most powerful witness any Fisher Folk will ever make.

6. Rejection:  I'm afraid of being rejected when I share God's plan.

How has God responded?    

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad” (Matthew 5:11,12).

“The one who listens to you listens to me and the one who rejects you rejects me and he who rejects me rejects the One who sent me” (Luke 10:16)

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you … A slave is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:18-20).

Don’t be surprised when some people, even friends and family members, reject your witness. Pray for them, love them.  It’s not you they are rejecting — it’s Jesus and His offer of grace.

7. Foolishness:  I feel foolish talking with people about salvation and judgment.

How has God responded?   

We quote again the words of the apostle Paul, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18 also through 1:31).

Yes, the message of God born in human form, dying an atoning death for our sins and rising from the dead — yes that message is foolishness to people who are spiritually dead and blind to the truth. But we too were once dead in sin and unable to see the truth.  

How is that we were awakened out of death and darkness?  Someone spoke the truth to us with a living, loving witness and Jesus broke through into our lives. Someone risked being a fool so that we could live and not die.

We will all be a fool for something.  Whose fool will  you be?

8. Time:  I don't have time to be a Fisher Folk.

How has God responded?    

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matthew 7:21).

The kingdom of heaven / kingdom of God is that sphere of being where God is ruling.  It is a rule of grace and when we turn from sin and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, we become citizens of the kingdom of God.  How do we know we are living in the kingdom? Because we are doing the will of the King.  If someone says, “I don’t have time to obey the King,” how can they say they are living in the kingdom?

Anyone not actively living out the commands of Jesus is building their life on sand (Luke 6:46-49).    

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

9. All of the above:  it's too hard and I'm too weak.

How has God responded?    

Paul had a terrible problem plaguing him. We don’t know what it was but he called it “a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan” ((2 Corinthians 12:7).  He prayed three times that the Lord would deliver him from it and God did not.  Instead, the Lord promised, “My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Paul’s response is an inspiration to us all:

“Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecution, with difficulties for Christ’s sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9,10).

Paul’s very weaknesses and disabilities served as grace multipliers.  His lack caused him to rely on the Lord which brought him into a greater dimension of wisdom, power, love and boldness than he would have experienced relying only on his own resources.

Think of your weaknesses as grace multipliers.  They drive you to Jesus and the end result is more of Christ living through you.  You are wiser for your lack of wisdom, stronger for your lack of power.  

A Fisher Folk is someone through whom Jesus is living, ministering and proclaiming.  Let Him live in you and through you.  Fulfill your high calling as Fisher Folk.

*****                                                                                                               ****

one-on-one:  Are there some reasons why you don't share The Story as you would like?

Will you share these reasons with each other and pray for each other?

at home:  

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you any problems in your witness.  On a sheet of paper write the problem and a corresponding Scripture.  Spend the week confessing God's answer for your problem and thanking Him for His release.       

Question Outline #3

Question Outline #3

I Love To Tell the Story

(But There Are Some Reasons Why I Don't)

We know we are called to be Fisher Folk but sometimes personal weaknesses limit our  witness.

1. Emotional:  I'm too shy, too fearful, too anxious when I try to share my faith.

Where was the power in Paul’s witness? (I Corinthians 1:18    2:1-5) 

Rather than be anxious, what are we to do? (Philippians 4:6,7).    

What has God given us ? (2 Timothy 1:7).  

2. Financial:  I'm too busy making a living to be a witness.

As followers of Jesus, what is our first priority? (Matthew 6:33).    

What is God’s promise to kingdom people? (Philippians 4:19)

3. Spiritual:  I don't have the spiritual power to be a witness.

What has Jesus given us? (Acts 1:8).

What is God able to do in and through your life? (Ephesians 3:20   Philippians 4:13).

4. Intellectual:  I don't have the knowledge to be a witness.

What has God given us? (I Corinthians 1:5,7).

What does the Holy Spirit provide us with ? (John 14:26).

5. Physical:  I have a speech impediment, I feel awkward talking with people.

What did God say to Moses regarding his speech problems?  (Exodus 4:10-12).

6. Rejection:  I'm afraid of being rejected when I share God's plan.

How does Jesus tell us to respond to rejection? (Matthew 5:11,12).

Who are people really rejecting when they reject the  gospel?  (Luke 10:16  John 15:18-20).

7. Foolishness:  I feel foolish talking with people about salvation and judgment.

What is the word of the cross?  (I Corinthians 1:18 also through 1:31).

8. Time:  I don't have time to be a Fisher Folk.

How do we demonstrate our love for Jesus?  (John 14:15).

9. All of the above:  it's too hard and I'm too weak.

What does God promise to us in our weakness?  (2 Corinthians 12:9).

How is weakness and disability a grace multiplier?  (2 Corinthians 12:9,10).

*****                                                                                                               ****


1. Are there some reasons why you don't share The Story as you would like?

2. Will you share these reasons with each other and pray for each other?

At home:  

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you any problems in your witness.  On a sheet of paper write the problem and a corresponding Scripture.  Spend the week confessing God's answer for your problem and thanking Him for His release.       

Becoming Fisher Folk #4

Becoming Fisher Folk #4

Power to Serve

Have you ever sensed the call of God on your life to perform some act of discipleship but though your heart was right, you were hampered by feelings of fear, self doubt, inadequacy?  Have you ever said, "I'm so ordinary, how could God ever use me?"

What is it that enables ordinary men and women to do extraordinary works in the name of the Lord?  We know it is the Lord working through them, but how?  How does God release His power through powerless people?  Can this happen in our lives?  How can we avail ourselves of the power and strength of the Lord?

Gideon might have asked these questions.  He certainly wrestled with fear and doubt and feelings of inferiority.  His story is that of a very common person used in uncommon ways by a mighty God.  But isn't this the story of anyone whom God as called and used for His glory?

As we read Gideon's story, we may see something of our own.  For we too are ordinary people, who, in the hands of a mighty God, can be used in extraordinary ways.

Gideon's Time    (Judges 6:1-10)

Gideon's time was characterized by sin and sin's devastation.  The state of the nation is summarized simply in the opening words of Judges chapter six, "Then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord gave them into the hands of Midian seven years. The power of Midian prevailed against Israel" (Judges 6:1,2).  Having sown evil, the people reaped evil consequences.

Midian is a symbol here of Satan, coming in to steal, pillage and destroy the blessing and inheritance of God's people.  That the Midianites were able to do so testifies of Israel's waywardness.  God lifted His hand of protection from the nation that had rejected Him.  When we walk in sin, we forfeit God's blessing and protection.

Yet when the Israelites cried out to God, He immediately responded, sent a prophet who reminded them that though they had abandoned God, God had not abandoned them (6:7-10).  It was God who had brought them out of slavery, God who had given them this land, asking only that they obey and worship Him.  "But you have not obeyed me" said the Lord who was still faithful and still present to them, judging that He may save, saving that He may not judge.

Typically, the people had no sense of their sin (6:13).  It is the nature of evil to blind as well as seduce.  Therefore, the people were not only separated from God in their iniquity, but they had no discernment that it was they who had separated themselves.

Gideon's time was characterized by moral wickedness, idolatry, spiritual blindness and consequent destruction.  Thankfully, it was also a time of divine response.

Gideon's Call    (Judges 6:11-24)

"Then the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak."  Isn't that marvelous?  I do not mean to detract from the awesome majesty of God, but the humility of God is astounding.  We worship a God of glory, but we fellowship with a God who has met us in human form.  He is a responding God, a calling God, meeting us right where we live.

We meet our hero, Gideon, threshing wheat in the wine press (the older King James says by the wine press, there is some latitude here in translating, but it is much more likely that he was in it).  You don't thresh wheat in a wine press unless you are afraid and trying to hide, which is exactly what Gideon was doing.  He was hiding his harvest in the wine press.

"The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior," the angel said in greeting (6:12).  I have always imagined Gideon looking over his shoulder to see if the angel was speaking to someone behind him.  "Me?  Valiant warrior?  Only one of us down here boss, are you sure you have the right wine press?"

Yeah, got the right one.  God is meeting Gideon in all of his fear, inferiority and failure, meeting him with the assurance of divine presence, calling to a Gideon who does not yet exist.  God is present and speaking into Gideon's life, calling Gideon the valiant warrior which he is not now but will be someday.  The key to valor is the presence of God, not the courage of Gideon.

God is not merely revealing who Gideon will be, He is releasing a living Word into Gideon that will create the new Gideon, the Gideon who is not bound by the moral and spiritual failure of His community. Does Gideon have it in him to be a valiant warrior? Not yet, but God will speak the reality of courage and valor into his life. God will create in Gideon the qualities necessary to live out the destiny that God has purposed for him. The key to valiant living, courageous living, is not the resources of Gideon but the presence of God speaking into his life.

Gideon’s reply in verse 13 indicates a complete lack of spiritual perception, “O my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?”  He does not understand why hard times have come upon his nation.  He thinks God has abandoned them when in fact, it is they who have abandoned God.  Evidently the words of the prophet did not have any impact on him.  He is a man without any spiritual discernment, unaware of personal sin, national sin or the consequence of sin. He is blaming God for his own failure and the failure of his community.

The Lord responds by saying, "Go in this your strength and deliver Israel” (6:14).  What strength?  Gideon is hiding in a wine press. He is not a man of courage or spiritual insight.  He gives no indication that he is a candidate for Mighty Deliverer school.

But notice the words of the Lord, ”Have I not sent you?”  The key is the presence of God.  Gideon’s strength is the God who is present and commissioning him.

Now Gideon confesses a deep sense of inadequacy, “Behold, my family is the least … and I am the youngest,” troubling limitations in a clan-conscious society (6:15).  The youngest member of the least family is a man with nothing to boast.

Again the Lord responds, "Surely I will be with you and you shall defeat Midian as one man” (6:16).  It is not about Gideon. It is about the God who is present.  “I will be with you” results in “You shall defeat Midian.” We are reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord” (I Corinthians 1:31).

I hear this voice echoing out of the wine vat, "I am nothing."  The Lord pokes His head over the edge and echoes back down, "I am everything."  The world says, "Put on a good front, don't admit your weakness."  God says, "Forget the front, we both know what's in the barrel.  Confess your need and take hold of my provision, my resource, my presence, my victory.”

Can we relate to Gideon?  Have we also hidden our harvest (resources, gifts, talents) for fear of our times? Have we also failed to spiritually discern our times?  Have we also wrestled with feelings of inferiority?  Have we too, like Gideon, jumped into wine barrels, hoping to hide but instead hearing the voice of a God who is present and calling, Who says,

"I know you're in there and I'm showing you these things about yourself not to embarrass you but so you can grow, so you can stand, so you can face the challenge of your times and be a deliverer for your generation.”  

Like Gideon, we must learn to recognize the presence of a God who meets us in our adversity and offers His abundant power and provision.  It is alright to admit who we are not and what we do not have, as long as we do so in the presence of the God who will supply our need.  

The key to being a mighty person of valor is the presence of the Lord.  Anything we attempt in our own strength will be of no use in the kingdom of God.  But in the strength of the Lord, we can do mighty exploits.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that God’s work of salvation in our lives is entirely the work of God on our behalf, “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8).

So here is the call of a great man of God — a fearful man, spiritually ignorant, undiscerning, inadequate.  But he is called by God.  That call is based on the presence of God and the promise of His faithfulness.

Gideon's Preparation    (Judges 6:17-32)

"So Gideon said to Him, 'If now I have found favor in your sight, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me’” (6:17).  God has shown extraordinary favor to Gideon in meeting him, calling him, promising deliverance and victory.  God’s favor toward Gideon had not been at all questionable, but He meets us where we are with such patience and mercy and is ready and willing to prove Himself to us.  In fact, this is part of the way He prepares us for service — He continually proves Himself to us.

Gideon brought an offering of meat and bread, laid it on a rock. Notice the transition in his character — instead of complaining and accusing, Gideon brings an offering which is consumed in fire. The meat and bread represent Gideon's life, he had to work to produce that bread and meat, it's the result of his labor and it is the substance that sustains his life. God responds with fire, which represents the holiness of God. The fire of God's holy presence consumes the stuff of Gideon's life.  

When we present God with our life, God will prove Himself. He will pour out His holy fire upon us and sanctify what we offer Him. 

Gideon now builds an altar (6:24). Notice the beginning of spiritual discernment. Gideon realizes he has been in some kind of holy presence, whether an angel of the Lord or the Lord, there is a sense of the sacred. He responds as a worshipper.  

Notice how Gideon is growing. Previously, his response to everything God said was to criticize God and focus on himself, his inferiority. Now He responds by focusing on God and worshipping. The transition of focus from self to God is a mark of maturity.

Notice also the humility of God — Creator of an unbounded universe, marvelous and awesome, holy and Almighty, yet meeting us beneath our oak trees and in our hiding places, sanctifying our gifts, blessing our altars, pouring out holy fire on our offerings, proving His faithfulness to our doubting souls.

But no sooner does God prove Himself than He makes a demand.  That same night God told Gideon to tear down the family idol and build an altar on the same spot (6:25,26).  His family, as with all of the Israelites, had picked up on the idols and demonic deceptions of the surrounding culture — acknowledging God but mixing in a bit of  devil worship.  Just trying to keep up with the times.

God won't have it.  He cannot use a compromised life — there would be no flow of divine power.  You can build a ministry on culture gimmicks, but the ministry will not last and lives will not be changed.  If people will come to know God and be set free from the slaveries of sin, it will only be through the power of God.  And that anointing, the release of divine power, requires single-minded worship.

If Gideon is to move on in preparation for ministry, he must disentangle himself from false worship.  He cannot be used as an instrument for the salvation of his people if he is participating in the sin that destroys his people.

So with us.  But idols are seldom as visible as wood and stone.  They can be very subtle.  An idol is anything that commands our attention or affection to the exclusion of or competition with the Lord.  There are many entanglements with which Satan cannot approach you.  You would see them and refuse with indignation.  But there are points of vulnerability in every life.  

So Peter warns, "Be sober, be vigilant, for your adversary the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8).

Notice that God calls the idol a stronghold (6:26). A stronghold is a place where the enemy is strong, a fortress where the enemy holds on to power and resists God, a place of seduction and eventual enslavement. This is why God calls Gideon to tear it down. Gideon cannot live amongst idols without suffering evil impact, no matter how many altars he builds.

In the middle of the night Gideon took a crew of ten servants and he obeyed God, tore down the offending idol and built an altar to the Lord.  Even though he did this at night with some help, we must not underestimate the growth here.  It is not easy to renounce and crush anything which has commanded our devotion; how much more difficult when the action provokes violent disapproval from our peers.

The people were such slaves to sin that when Gideon tore down their idol so God could begin to set them free, they wanted to kill Gideon. They're more angry about losing their idols than losing their harvests, possessions, their children, being plundered by the enemy. They are more comfortable with familiar slaveries than with the challenge of reclaiming and restoring their lost inheritance.

Notice though, that Gideon is responding in positive ways now — standing up to personal and community sin, an altar builder, a worshipper. God is making holy demands, Gideon is obeying, growing, preparing for ministry, becoming a man into whose life God can release His power.

Gideon's Empowerment    (Judges 6:33,34)

Right at this moment the Midianites jump up and charge.  Naturally.  Satan is aroused, his kingdom is threatened.

Gideon might be tempted to say, "Hey, I've obeyed God.  I've done what He asked, now look at the mess I'm in."  No, look at the confrontation you are in.  God was looking for someone through whom He could confront Satan and you are the chosen, yielded, prepared instrument.  

God is not going to abandon you.  It is His battle and you are His sword.  You are invited to share in the victory of the Lord on your behalf.

"So the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon" (6:34).  More literally, it could be said that the Spirit clothed Gideon.  Notice that the Spirit did not come upon him until the idol came down.  

There had to be a cleansing — God cannot clothe sin.  But there is an anointing for battle, for spiritual conflict which the Lord gladly bestows upon every consecrated life.

Under the New Covenant we would speak of this in a different way.  The Spirit of God does not come upon us because He already indwells us.  But there is a rising up of the Spirit of God in fulness, a rising up in gift and might and wisdom and power when we have yielded to the cleansing preparation of the Spirit. 

"He blew a trumpet" (6:34).  Notice the growth.  Gideon is not only an altar builder.  Now he is also a trumpet blower.  It is a reasonable progression in the life of a servant of God.  The worshipper becomes the spiritual warrior, endued with spiritual power.

The man who was hiding in a wine press is now blowing a trumpet in the face of the enemy.  The Spirit of God is clothing a prepared life.

Gideon's Obedience (Judges 7:1-8)

“And the Lord said to Gideon, 'The people who are with you are too many’’’ (7:2).  There followed then a stripping down to absolute dependence on the God whose presence is victory.  

The army was whittled down to 10,000, then 300 men.

The Lord is going to ridiculous lengths here to demonstrate that God plus anything we lay on the altar equals victory. God plus Gideon with all his inadequacies, God plus 300 farmers, God plus you results in triumph.

God will never call you to ministry where your ability outnumbers your need. If He did, then you would rely on your own strength and the results would be disastrous: you would not grow, no one would benefit, and God would receive no glory.

"Cast out into the deep water" is always the divine summons.  God always calls us in over our head.  It is to our advantage — that way we are forced to cast the burden of life and ministry on the Lord where it belongs.  

How wonderful that God is not asking us to be self sufficient.  He is asking only that we allow Him to live His life through us.

"I will deliver you with the three hundred men" (7:7).  God delivers and allows us to share in His victory.

Gideon's Refreshment  (Judges 7:9-15)

"Arise, go down against the camp , for I have given it into your hands.  But if you are afraid" (7:9,10).  If you are afraid?  God knows Gideon perfectly, knows exactly what is in his heart.  Evidently there is still some fear pressing against faith, but notice the gentleness of the Lord's approach.  Now is not the time for confrontation.  Gideon simply needs some refreshment.      

There is nothing wrong with going aside for spiritual renewal. The kingdom of God won't collapse if we pause for refreshment. So the Lord takes Gideon down into the Midianite camp where he hears a prophecy of Israel's coming victory.  With confidence aroused and faith revived, he returns to his men and declares, "Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand” (7:15).

That's the fellow who had been hiding in the wine barrel not too long ago.

Gideon's Action  (Judges 7:16-22)

There is a time to act in the power that we have.  It is God's battle and therefore His victory.  But we are the servant, the Spirit-empowered instrument of divine triumph.

Gideon went forward to face the enemy and God delivered Israel.

How could God have looked at Gideon and seen victory?  

God created a universe with His spoken Word.  He believes He can do anything, anywhere, if He has a person through whom He can release His life.

God wanted an Isaac, He called an Abraham and Sarah. The fact that Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah was ninety and barren, was irrelevant.  God knew what He was doing.  God wanted a Red Sea divided, He called Moses.  God knew what He was doing.

God wanted Fisher Folk.  He called you.  

You are living in an unraveling culture, surrounded by broken dreamers and broken dreams.  The Midianites of demonic oppression are pillaging the people.

God is still looking for men and women like Gideon, ordinary people who, in spite of doubts and fears, are willing to submit their lives to His extraordinary power.  

Jesus said, "I am sending forth the promise of my Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).  

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8).

God has not changed.  The needs and challenges have not changed. Neither have the results changed when God finds a Gideon filled with the Spirit of the Lord.

Question Outline #4

Question Outline #4

Power to Serve

We hear the call of God but are troubled by feelings of fear, doubt, inadequacy.  "How could God use me?"  The answer to this question lies not in our own resources but in the power of God.  

In the life of Gideon, we see the Lord doing extraordinary good through an ordinary man.  In his story we may see something of our own, for we too are ordinary people who, in the hands of a mighty God, can be used in extraordinary ways.

1. Gideon's time:  Judges 6:1-10

a. What had Israel done to incur judgement?  (6:1)

b. How was it that Midian prevailed against the people of God? (6:1)

c. What was Israel's response to their oppression? (6:6)

d. How did God respond to Israel's response? (6:7-10)

In every age, God responds to sin and sin's devastation.  Why?

2. Gideon's call:   Judges 6:11-16

a. 6:11 Gideon's fear: How is it revealed?

b. 6:12 God's reassurance:  What is the basis of God's reassurance?

c. 6:13 Gideon's questions: What do they reveal about Gideon?

d. 6:14  God's reassurance:   What is the basis of God's reassurance?

e. 6:15  Gideon's inadequacy:  How would you describe his self concept?  

f. 6:16  God's reassurance:    What is it?

g. What does this interplay reveal about the character of Gideon and the nature of God?

h. What is revealed about the purpose of God?

Confession of our lack is necessary to fully realize God's provision.  Why?  

3. Gideon's Preparation:  Judges 6:17-32

a. God's proof: 6:17-24

Why does God delight in proving Himself to us?   

b. God's demands: 6:25-32

What is the first demand?    (6:25)

What is the second demand? (6:26)

Does God have the right to make demands on us?

c. Gideon's response:  What is it?    (6:27-32)

Disentanglement from idolatry is a precondition to the release of God's power.  Why?

4. Gideon's Empowerment:  Judges 6:33,34

a. Is there a connection between the attack in 6:33 and the events preceding it?

b. What gift did God bestow on Gideon in 6:34?

c. What is the relationship between the threat in 6:33 and the gift in 6:34?

God empowers yielded people.  Why?

5. Gideon's obedience:  Judges 7:1-8

a. What does God tell Gideon to do with his army? (7:3-7)

b. This is typically absurd.  What is God up to?  (7:7)

God requires obedience / dependence from empowered servants.  Why?

6. Gideon's refreshment   Judges 7:9-15

"I have given … But if you are afraid"  (7:9,10)

a. What is going on in Gideon's heart?

b. What is God's response to Gideon's need?

God knows when and how to refresh His servants.  Is this embarrassing or reassuring?

7. Gideon's action:  Judges 7:16-22

a. Gideon and 300 men against 135,000 Midianites (8:10).  How did the battle go?

b. The Spirit of God plus a prepared servant equals what?

c. What is the determining factor in your discipleship — your past, your weakness, your inadequacy or the anointing of the Holy Spirit?

God is still looking for men and women like Gideon, ordinary people who, in spite of doubts and fears, are willing to submit their lives to His extraordinary power.

Jesus said,  "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8).  God has not changed.  The needs and challenges have not changed.  Neither have the results changed when God finds a Gideon.

Have you ever prayed a prayer like this?

Lord, I know I am called to share your life with others.  I humbly confess my weaknesses, the parts of me that are not adequate.  But you have promised to fill me with your life so that I can be an effective witness.  I thank you that your Holy Spirit dwells in me and I ask you to release in me now your power and life.  I ask this in Jesus name, and I thank you, Amen.

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You are called to be a Fisher Folk, a witness of the kingdom of God breaking into history one heart at a time.  Are there some hindrances in your life?  Can you talk about that?

At home:  

Ask the Lord to reveal to you any areas of your life that inhibit your witness.  Spend the week confessing God's desire to release you and thanking Him for this.   

Becoming Fisher Folk #5

Becoming Fisher Folk #5

Formed in Christ

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19).

As we follow Christ — abiding and obeying — He forms His life in us and shapes us in conformity to His life.  Formed in Him, He releases His life through us into other lives.  This is what it means to be Fisher Folk — Jesus expressing His life and ministry through us.

While we were still in our mother's womb, God saw us, knew us, purposed our lives (Psalm 139:13-16).  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and end of all things. God sees it all, understands it all.  Long before we were born, God knew all about us.  While we were forming in the womb, He began His formative influence in our lives, loving us, hovering over us as His Spirit once hovered over the formless deep.

Then we were born and began to grow.  God was present, seeking to turn every circumstance of life into a revelation of His presence, His nature, His grace.  Long before we knew His name, He was reaching out to us.

Possibly in the life of Samuel we can glimpse something of our own childhood journey.

1. Good and bad, there were influences in the home. 

In I Samuel chapter one we read about Samuel's family.  He grew up in a culture where men had multiple wives and this created multiple problems in the home — jealousy, competition, bitterness.  There was strife in Samuel’s home (I Samuel 1:1-8). 

Yet as we read about Samuel's birth we see a father and mother who worshipped God (1:3,19).  We see a mother who, though greatly distressed over her inability to bear children, cried out to God, cast her cares upon the living God (1:9,10).

As Samuel looked back upon his childhood, he could see influences both good and bad.  Most importantly, though, he could see a God who was present, reaching out to him, acting through Godly parents and present even in ungodly circumstances.

Isn't this something of your story too?  Though you were born into a different society than Samuel, you too knew strife, maybe even trauma and tragedy, certainly those fears and anxieties common to all children.  There may have been circumstances jagged and scarring.  But were there not also men and women who knew and worshipped God?  

If not in your immediate family, certainly close by there was someone who called upon the name of the Lord.  There may have been someone who prayed for you by name.

For some people, the remembrance of childhood is painful, the negative influences outweigh the good.  For others the memories are mostly pleasant with many strong, positive influences.  The point is that God was present, reaching into your soul, seeking to turn you to an awareness of His loving plan for your life. You may not have been aware of it but God was present.

God was present to Samuel before Samuel knew His name.  So for you.

2. Good and bad, there were influences in the church.

In I Samuel 2:12-23 we read of corruption in the religious system of Samuel's day.  There were three main problems.  First, the priests were motivated by greed.  When the people brought their sacrificial offerings, the priests were taking a greater share than was allotted to them by the Law of Moses (2:12-16). 

Second, in “despising the offering of the Lord,” they were profaning the holy rituals which God had ordained for them (2:17).

Third, there was sexual immorality among the priests (2:22).  The inevitable result of multiplied sin was that it was rare to hear from God in those days (3:1).

These are not altogether ancient problems.  There are those who have misused offerings in our life time, using ministry as a means of personal gain.  Holy rituals have been trampled.  Immoral lifestyles have mocked the holy character of God.  The result is that even in the midst of multiplied churches and ministries, there has often been a famine of the Word of God. 

Maybe some of these factors were at work in the church in which you grew up.  Possibly there were aspects of your religious experience which turned you off to God.

But look at I Samuel 2:26,  "Now the boy Samuel was growing in stature and in favor both with the Lord and with men."  How could this happen in a corrupt religious system?  

Because God was present — present in godly circumstances and ungodly.  Present among Godly people and ungodly.  God was present and Samuel was responding before he could recognize the presence.

You and I have been impacted by religious systems which were godly and, at times, ungodly. But God was present, reaching into our lives, seeking to awaken us to the reality of His love and grace.

3. There are moments of authentic experience.

In I Samuel 3:7 we read that Samuel did not yet know the Lord.  But his life was positioned in such a way that God could act upon him in increasingly significant ways.  Samuel was walking in holiness, seeking to obey, refraining from immorality which would have prevented close communion with a holy God.  He was available, listening, serving, living a lifestyle into which God could act and speak.  

In time, “The Lord called Samuel” (3:4).  The moment came when Samuel's heart was turned to God in such a way that he could authentically experience this present God.  He heard, though awkwardly at first, uncertain of the voice of the Lord (3:5-8).  Then, through the Godly counsel of Eli, Samuel responded to the authentic voice of God, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (3:10,11).

There may have been times in your younger life, when in the midst of good and bad influences, you became aware that there is a God and His desire is to reveal Himself to you.  Though you may not have known His name or understood His Gospel, you became conscious of His existence.  There was a gradual awakening to the presence of God.

"The grace that comes before grace" is an ancient doctrine of the Christian faith.  It was by grace that the Lord awakened you to His grace, prepared you for His grace, turned you to His grace.  

An old anonymous hymn expresses it best:

"I sought the Lord and afterward I knew

He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me

It was not I who found, O Savior true

No, I was found of thee”

The effect of sin is so great that we could never have come to know God except that God moved us to know Him.  How could God move us to know Him while still allowing us freedom to refuse Him?  Only a perfectly wise and all powerful God can do this.

How could Samuel be growing in the Lord (2:26) and not yet know the Lord (3:7)?  Only God can answer this.

Impacted by good and bad, there came a time when Jesus Christ turned your heart to Himself.

4. Drawn to Jesus

"No one can come to me, unless the Father who sent me draws him" (John 6:44).  Only God can draw us to God.  No, I can't explain how He does, but I know He does.  And I understand this, that from the womb God was calling, wooing, awakening and drawing us to Himself.  There came a time when we responded, just as Samuel did.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that once we were dead in trespasses and sins, dominated by the values and demonic powers of this dying world (Ephesians 2:1-3).  “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6). 

Awakened in Christ.

Forgiven in Christ.

Raised from death to everlasting life in Christ.

Now, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

We are Christ’s workmanship.  He is crafting us, shaping and molding us, forming His life in us for “good works which God prepared beforehand.”

What good works?  

Jesus has drawn us to Himself and is forming His life in us so that He might release through us His life and ministry. We are Fisher Folk, proclaiming the kingdom of God breaking into history one heart at a time. 

Jesus will live through you in ways that are different from anyone else, based on your unique combination of talent, personality, experience and opportunity. You are a once in a universe event.  There will be another Fisher Folk like you. 

Notice the word beforehand (in Ephesians 2:10).  Before we were born, while we were in the womb, in fact, from eternity, God saw us walking with Him as a Fisher Folk, sharing with Him in the glorious task of reaching souls.  He purposed our lives before we were born.

And so through all these years of your journey He was calling, wooing, seeking to awaken us and turn us to His grace.  Then He raised us up from death to life and now shapes and forms His life in us.  

He was never the author of the trauma or tragedy that you experienced but He came and stood with you in each event, working through the bad and the good, the Godly and ungodly.  As He drew you to Himself, now He draws others through you.

Believe this — Jesus can work through us.  He is looking for contact points.

He says, “There is the need, here is my grace.  Let me touch them through you.”


Question Outline #5

Question Outline #5

Formed in Christ

Following Christ, we are formed in Him.  Formed in Him, He releases His life through us into other lives.  But His formative work in our lives began before we knew Him.

A. Psalm 139:13-16    

Before we were born, God knew us.

1. What does that mean, God "knew" you?

2. If God knew you, is it reasonable that He would want you to know Him?

B. I Samuel chapters 1-3    

As we grew, the Lord was reaching out to us.  Possibly in the life of Samuel we can glimpse something of our own story.

1. What influences, good and bad, were in his home?  (1:1-11,20)

In your home?

2. What influences, good and bad, were at work in his "church"? (2:12-23   3:1)

In churches you attended?

3. What does 3:1-10 reveal in Samuel's spiritual journey?

When did you began to authentically experience the presence of God?

C. Whatever our past contained, the Lord was active toward us and we eventually responded — Jesus drew us and we chose to respond.

1. What does it mean in John 6:44, “Unless the Father draws Him?”

2. What does Jesus mean in John 15:16, "I chose you?”    

D. Ephesians 2:1-10    Saved and crafted

1. Was the gift of salvation something you had to work at?

2. What does it mean to be God's craftsmanship?

E. God knew you while you were still in your mother's womb, watched over you and reached out to you as you were growing up, called you, gifted you with salvation and is now shaping / recreating you so you can live His eternal vision for your life.  Part of that vision includes being filled with His life so He can release His life through you in the glorious task of Fisher Folking.

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1. How old were you when you first began to have your own authentic experience of the presence of God in your life?

2. When did you begin to realize that Jesus Christ loved you?

3. When did you choose to respond?

At home:

Can you begin to formulate, in simple sentences, how you came to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

Becoming Fisher Folk #6

Becoming Fisher Folk #6

The Journey


"Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17).  The making of Fisher Folk is a process of spiritual development, a becoming through the creative power and love of Jesus Christ.  

In the life of Simon Peter we witness that development as he grows from a young man seeking God to a more mature man who encounters and recognizes God in Christ Jesus.  Possibly in tracing the steps of his journey we can see something of our own.  This is valuable, for as we see more clearly the Lord's grace acting upon our lives, we can be more effective instruments of His grace in the lives of others. 

1. Searching, spiritually thirsty  (John 1:35-42)

Our first encounter with Peter is in the narrative of the ministry of John the Baptist.  This takes place in Judea, many miles from Peter’s home in Galilee.  He had traveled a far distance, probably on foot, to hear the preaching of the Baptist.  His sojourn had led him through a desolate wilderness — hot, dry, barren country.

He was spiritually thirsty and willing to endure all manner of physical and emotional thirst if only he could find refreshment for his soul.  He understood, at this young age, the words of the Psalmist, "As the deer pants for the water brooks so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1,2).

This thirst, this desire to seek living waters — this implies a spiritual stirring.  It is not the dead soul which seeks the living God.  It is the weary soul, the troubled soul, the soul near enough to death and far enough from life to know what it has not. 

In our natural state, spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-3), separated from God (Isaiah 59:2) and blind to spiritual truth (2 Corinthians 4:4), we do not seek after God. Therefore we read in Romans 3:11, “There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God.”

Yet we see Simon Peter longing for God, seeking God. Obviously the Spirit of God has been moving upon him, stirring him, awakening him.  Long before we recognize God’s hand, the hand of the Lord has been upon us.  How else would we ever come to know Him?

Now the Spirit of the Lord has quickened Peter to travel south, but not merely to hear John.  One greater than John is present, though Peter does not yet know this.

Andrew meets Jesus and hurries to tell his brother, "We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41).  He brought Peter to Jesus and the Lord greeted him.

No recognition, yet, on Simon's part, no burst of faith.  Just "hello" to the One by whom, through whom and for whom all things were created, who upholds all things by His word of power.

That's all.  A passing encounter with the Creator of the universe.

Can you recall times of searching before you came to know Jesus? 

Were there "passing encounters" with the Lord?

That was the Spirit of the Lord stirring you to seek Him.

Are you aware of people around you who are spiritually empty and searching? They could not be seeking the Lord except that the Lord is stirring them.

2. The call of Jesus  (Matthew 4:18-20)

Peter and Andrew are home in Galilee now, back to work in the family fishing business.  As they labored one day, casting their nets into the sea, Jesus passed by and called to them, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men."

How typical.  Jesus meets them in their common, every day experience.  Meets them on the job.  But now He is not merely introducing Himself.  He is calling.

They left their nets and followed, though not in total commitment.  In spite of Andrew’s previous profession that they had found the Messiah, they still are not entirely certain of Jesus' identity, much less are they absolutely committed in faith.  But they sense divine authority in this Man, a holy anointing, an inexpressible love for them.

"Follow me" is an invitation to watch, observe, become personally acquainted.  The Lord their God has met them, has called to them, has begun to capture their attention.

Can you recall a time in your life when you were sensing God's love reaching out to you in a personal way and you were attracted, desiring to follow, but not yet having a very deep understanding of Who was calling and how much was involved?

3. Receiving the Lord's testimony  (Matthew 4:23-25)

Jesus was going about Galilee teaching, proclaiming, healing.  Simon was hearing and seeing truth proclaimed.  Not just hearing truth but seeing what truth looked like in Jesus and in the lives of those who were transformed by the Lord's ministry.

The Lord was testifying.  As Simon receives this testimony, his perception of Jesus is deepening and ripening toward true, saving faith.

When a person says, “I have come to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior,” they mean that they have come to know who He is and what He has done on our behalf and have surrendered to His Lordship.  But how would they know anything about Jesus except what they have seen and heard in the lives of others?  

This is why Jesus calls us to yield ourselves as contact points into other lives.  How will anyone believe in Him unless they have heard, seen, encountered His testimony in us?

Praise God for that climactic altar experience where you surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus.  But long before that, the Lord was testifying, calling, awakening you to His presence.

Can you recall special events in your reception of the Lord's testimony?

How did God use people, Fisher Folk, to bring you His testimony?

4. Peter recognizes himself  (Luke 5:1-11)

Jesus was preaching one day, and when He finished speaking, He said to Peter, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4).  There is a time when Jesus finishes speaking, insofar as the prelude is concerned, concludes the introduction.  Then He confronts.

When God confronts a life He does so with infinite gentleness, love, respect, but also unflinching firmness and absolute truth.  He meets us at the place where we think we are strongest but in reality, we are weakest.  

Simon Peter was a proud man, no doubt an excellent fisherman and he would not hesitate to tell you that he knew the business as well as anybody and better than most.  His boat and nets represented his ability to provide for his family, to stand tall in the company of men.  Naturally, Jesus will confront him at this point of his greatest skill and loftiest pride.

"Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch."  Peter resists, of course, reminding the Lord that He, Jesus, does not know much about fishing. “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing.”  C’mon boss, the fish just aren’t out there right now.

Nevertheless, he obeys, casts out, lets down the nets and encloses such a quantity of fish that the nets begin to break and the boats begin to sink.

Something began to break in Simon Peter also.

We love to quote the verse, "Behold, I make all things new" (Revelation 21:5).  But before God can create the new, He must break that which would prevent the new.

In the midst of the breaking and sinking, humbled Peter fell down at Jesus' feet saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."

In this miraculous revelation of the Lordship of Jesus, Peter sees himself — a sinful man.  In the presence of One who is awesome, holy, majestic, Peter sees in his own soul that which is contrary, antithetical, to all that Jesus is.

Ironically, as we begin to draw near to Jesus we begin to gain a sense of our distance from the Lord. God is not seeking to condemn people.  He is seeking to save us from the condemnation we are already under.  But before anyone can be saved, they must realize they are lost.

You can tell when the Light of the world is beginning to penetrate into a person's soul — they gain vision of all in their soul that is not light.  You can tell when a person is beginning to see — they become disillusioned (dispossessed of their illusions).

With shattering insight, Simon Peter suddenly sees himself, "Depart from me Lord, I am a sinner!"  But Jesus did not leave — He already knew who He was dealing with.  He did not get in the boat because Peter was a saint.  He got in to make him one, to cause him to become all that God had purposed for him.

Immediately Jesus reassured Peter of His acceptance of Peter and of the divine calling upon his life, "Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men."  Though that day of co-laboring with Jesus was far distant, Jesus sees the end from the beginning, calls those things which are not as though they are (Romans 4:17).

Simon Peter looked up into the face of perfect love and for the first time in his life he realized that in the presence of Jesus, it is alright not to be alright.  Basking in the gracious glow of divine compassion, he was able to confront and confess that which was neither gracious nor loving in his own life.

Peter now realizes that he needs more than a little religious refreshment, more than a bit of moral reformation.  He is "dead in trespasses and sins,” lost and in need of a Savior.  He addresses Jesus as Lord, sensing in Jesus all that his soul requires.   

"They left everything and followed Him."  In this moment of conviction, which the world disdains as nothing more than religious guilt, Peter is ready to absolutely abandon himself to Jesus.

True liberation does not come through denying or rationalizing our sin and the real slavery which sin creates.  Liberty comes through acceptance of our lost condition in the presence of the unconditional love of Jesus.

Now that Simon Peter knows who he is, he is ready to truly follow and discover who Jesus really is.  This will result in life at its fullest, most meaningful and most abundant — Fisher Folking.

Can you recall a specific time or times when you gained new insight into your true nature, your need for a Savior, your lostness apart from God?

5. Recognition of Jesus  (Matthew 16:13-17)

Peter follows and in the transforming fire of Jesus' love, in the all-revealing light of eternal truth, comes to that moment when he says by divine inspiration, I know who you are, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).  

Jesus replied, "Simon, people did not tell you this — my Father told you."

The Father is always seeking to reveal Jesus to souls that are thirsty, souls listening to the call of the Spirit, souls willing to receive the testimony of the Lord, souls willing to recognize their true condition and confess their need.  To these, the Father reveals Jesus. 

Simon Peter knows now who he is — a sinner in need of a Savior.  Now he knows who Jesus is — the Son of God who came, "To seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

He is a committed follower of Jesus now and almost ready to become a Fisher Folk.

Can you recall moments when you came to realize who Jesus is?

6. Choosing Peter (Luke 6:12,13)

Simon Peter was not yet ready to be an apostle. On the day of Pentecost, he would act with apostolic authority but that day was at least a year or two in the future. On this day, Jesus calls him what he will be someday — an apostle.

God had deposited in the heart of Peter the calling of apostleship and the gifting which enabled him to act on that calling, though no one could see the calling or gifting but Jesus. There are gifts uniquely placed in each of us which signify us for unique calling. Comparison and competition with others invites destruction and inadequacy and failure to appreciate the unique calling and design of our own ministry.

Don’t compare yourself with others. Don’t compete. Don’t be discouraged if no one else sees in you the gifting and calling of God. It is enough that Jesus knows who you are.

Jesus said, “You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit and that your fruit would remain” (John 15:16).  The Lord designed us and chose us for His particular purposes as Fisher Folk.

7. Holding Peter (Luke 22:31,32)

Jesus knew that Peter would deny Him in that crisis hour in Gethsemane. But the Lord prayed for Peter, “That your faith may not fail.”  Jesus knew that though Peter’s courage would fail, his faith would not. He would be restored. 

Jesus knew this would happen because He prayed for Peter, specifically, that Peter’s faith would not fail and whatever Jesus prays for will come to pass. He prays in perfect agreement with the mind of the Father and the Holy Spirit, prays with perfect knowledge of all truth that could ever be true. He prays with perfect authority and power to carry out His will.

Jesus prays for us too and it is His prayers that hold us when we fail. This is the Christ who said, “No one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).

Can you recall times of failure?  Be assured, Jesus prayed for you and you were held.

8. Denying Jesus, Forgiven in Jesus  (Matthew 26:69-75  Luke 24:34)

In the trauma of Jesus’ arrest, in the fire of violence and intimidation, when the pressure was on, Peter denied that he knew Jesus.  But after the Lord rose from the dead, He appeared privately to his fallen apostle. We know nothing of this encounter, only that it happened. It is as if the Holy Spirit drew a veil across the story and allowed no one to write of it. 

This speaks of the tenderness of Jesus. Peter had fallen but the Lord who designed a purpose for his life did not intend that this purpose would be lost. A fallen man needed to be restored. The Lord did this privately and no one has ever been privy to the details. 

Though Peter would be restored publicly as a leader of the apostles at the Sea of Galilee, this private meeting was for the personal restoration of relationship between Jesus and Peter. Whatever was said or done, Peter left the meeting and returned to his place in the upper room.

Can you recall personal, private moments when Jesus met you with restoring grace and reassured you of His unconditional love?

9. Following Jesus  (John 21:15-19)

Several weeks passed since the resurrection of Jesus. He had sent His disciples to Galilee and they were waiting for Him to visit them again.  They went fishing one night and in the morning Someone is waiting for them on the beach — it’s Jesus.

Three times the Lord asks Peter to reaffirm his love, his commitment — once for each denial.  

Rubbing it in? No, rubbing it out. It is as if Jesus is saying, "For every time your love for me fails, I will give you an opportunity to reaffirm your love for me.”

As Peter humbles himself before the Lord, he is invited again into the ministry purpose and vision that God designed for his life from eternity: “Feed my sheep, tend my lambs." 

Then Jesus commands, "Follow me.” Peter followed and became a leader of the revolution that began to turn an upside down world right side up. 

Are you certain of this, that as you continually repent of sin, reaffirm you commitment and follow, the Lord will enable you to fulfill His purpose for you?

10. Filled by Jesus  (Acts 1:4-8)

On Pentecost, the Spirit of the living God filled all who were gathered in the Upper Room. Peter then stepped into the streets of Jerusalem, preached his first sermon, and three thousand souls were drawn into the kingdom of God.

So with us: following Jesus, filled with His Spirit, we take our place in the work of the kingdom, fulfilling Christ’s design and purpose.

"Do you love me?" We hear His voice echo across the centuries.

"Yes, Lord," we reply.

“Then feed my sheep, tend my lambs. Follow me and I will make you to become Fisher Folk.”

Question Outline #6

Question Outline #6

The Journey

"Follow me and I will make you to become Fisher Folk."  

The making of Fisher Folk is a process of spiritual development, a becoming through the creative power and love of Jesus Christ.  In the life of Simon Peter we witness that development as he grows from a young man seeking God to a more mature man who encounters God, recognizes God, and is able to go and share the Christ he discovered.

In tracing the steps of his journey we may see something of our own. The more aware we are of our own journey and story, of who we are in Christ and who He is in us, the more readily we can share our Lord with others.

1. Searching, spiritually thirsty      (John 1:35-42)

a. This is miles from Galilee — what is Peter doing here?

b. Can you recall times of searching before you came to know Jesus? 

2. Jesus calling      (Matthew 4:18-20)

a. Can you recall a time in your life when you were sensing God's love reaching out to you in a personal way and you were attracted, desiring to follow but did not yet have a clear understanding of who was calling and how much was involved?

3. Receiving the Lord's testimony      (Matthew 4:23-25)

a. Peter hears the teaching, sees the miracles.  What is happening to his spiritual perception as he sees and hears truth?

b. Can you recall special growth events in your reception of God's testimony?

c. How did God use people, Fisher Folk, to bring you His testimony?

4. Simon recognizes himself      (Luke 5:1-11)

a. Peter realizes how far he is from God. Can you recall times when you gained new insight into your true nature, your need for a Savior, your lostness apart from God?

b. What is repentance and what is the connection between seeing ourselves and seeing our need for God?

5. Recognition of Jesus     (Matthew 16:13-17)

a. "You art the Christ, the Son of the living God."  What is happening in Simon's life as he recognizes and confesses Christ?

b. Do you recall how you came to recognize and confess Jesus?

6. Choosing Peter   (Luke 6:12,13)

a. Did Peter look or act like an apostle yet?

b. Does Jesus see exactly who He has designed you to be?

c. Are you convinced that Jesus has chosen you?

7. Holding Peter   (Luke 22:31,32)

a. Are you assured of this, that when you fail, Jesus is praying for you?

b. Are you assured of His power to hold you?

8. Denying Jesus, Forgiven in Jesus    (Matthew 26:69-75  Luke 24:34)

a. Can you recall times when Jesus met you with restoring grace?

b. Are you convinced that Christ’s love for you is unconditional, everlasting? 

c. How does this enhance your ministry to others?

9. Following Jesus   (John 21:15-19)

a. Are you certain of this, that as you will continually repent of sin, reaffirm you commitment and follow, the Lord will enable you to fulfill His purpose for you?

10. Filled by Jesus   (Acts 1:4-8)

a. Do you seek the Lord for fresh empowerment in His Holy Spirit?

b. When are we ready to share Jesus with others?

*****                                                                                                           *****


Talk about your journey in the light of Simon's journey. 

Are there similarities? Differences?

At home:      

Make some notes on the stages of your journey.

Becoming Fisher Folk #7

Becoming Fisher Folk #7

Calling and Promise

"Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). 

"Follow me” is a command.  

"I will make you become” is the promise of divine enablement.

As we commit to follow, Jesus commits the power that enables us to become, to grow into mature, fruitful disciples who are able to share the good news of His kingdom, His rule of grace, breaking into history one heart at a time.

Christ’s responsibility is to shape and form us.  Our responsibility is to develop the lifestyle receptive to His creative power.  Follow and become.

Our greatest witness is not what we say, not memorized formulas or “repeat after me” prayers.

Our most impactful witness is who we are.

Simon Peter knew what it was like to fail as a witness for Jesus and he knew what it was like to be restored.  When he wrote his two letters, he was writing from personal experience. Listen to what he said:

“Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.  Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (I Peter 2:11,12).

Peter says that we are only sojourners and strangers in this world — we’re just passing through on our way to an everlasting city. But we are living now in the midst of this present world order and we must “abstain from fleshly lusts” and “keep (our) behavior excellent” among the people.

Why?  So that in “the day of visitation,” that is, the day when God visits a man or woman for salvation or judgment, they may glorify God with a profession of faith and full surrender. He then adds, “That by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men” (2:15).

The greatest tool for evangelism is doing right.  Our most eloquent witness is not what we say. It is who we are. We keep our behavior excellent, we abstain from the lusts so that we will not discredit our testimony.  The testimony of our living will validate or invalidate the testimony of our words.

Isn’t this what Jesus meant when He said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

Everyone can see the light of our living.  A righteous life glorifies God, silences critics and brings people to believe in the transforming power of Jesus because they see transformation in the life of the believer.

Peter was calling the church to live a righteous life in a hostile environment, in a society that not only rejected the Lordship of Jesus but violently persecuted those who follow Him.  He exhorted the church to take hold of this primary truth, that by the way we live we will either confirm the militant disbelief of the world or we will draw people to saving faith.  

We must understand this: the way we live will either affirm the disbelief of unbelievers or, as we confirm the validity of our faith by our lifestyle, we will draw people closer to repentance and saving faith.

We must be sober in our assessment of the societies in which we live. We are scattered among people with values, goals, ethical standards and truth statements which are contrary to our own.  We are exhorted to rise above these values not with culture war arguments but with a disciplined, holy, loving and consistent manner of life.

This is a struggle, Peter admits, for our lusts (the unrestrained desires of our unredeemed flesh) “wage war against the soul.”  Our unredeemed appetites not only rise up within us but are expressed all around us, feeding into us. We must resist these influence while cultivating the inner life of righteousness and purity.

Our testimony as Fisher Folk begins with a disciplined inner life expressed in behavior that is outward and public.  The quality of the transformed life must be visible to the unsaved, “So that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

The testimony of our life can cause an unbeliever to glorify God or deny God in the day when God visits them.  On that day they may remember the living witness of faithful, holy, loving, truthful believers they have known and that witness will lead them to faith.  It is essential to our testimony that we live godly lives. More important than what we say is how we live.

Therefore Peter continually exhorts the church with words such as these, “ As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior, because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’”(I Peter 1:14-16).

“You shall be holy” is both a command and a promise. God commands us to live a holy life, putting aside the unrestrained appetites of our  former life. But this is also a promise — “You shall be holy.”  God promises to create His holiness in us as we yield our lives to Him.

Peter further exhorts us, “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” (I Peter 2:1).  Notice the word hypocrisy — that’s the Greek word for an actor (mask wearer).  We put aside the deceit of a double life. We’re not actors. We are witnesses.

Peter goes on to say, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (2:2).  As a baby desires milk, we are to desire the nourishment of God’s truth so that we may grow into the witnesses Christ has called us to be.

Peter then reminds us, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (2:9).

Why are we to put aside our old, sinful habits and grow in holiness? So that we can proclaim the excellencies of the Savior who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.  We live a godly life so we can show forth the wonders of the God who redeemed us from slavery to sin and death, who forgave us and raised us up into everlasting life.

In his second letter, Peter reminds us that God, by “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” so that we “may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Peter1:2,4).  

It is the Lord’s promise to transform our lives by His power.  How can we live holy lives in the midst of so much corruption?  Because God has committed to recreate us from the inside out, changing us by His Word energized by His indwelling Holy Spirit, supporting us by His resurrection power at work within us.

Peter reminds us that, “The proof of your faith (is) more precious that gold” (I Peter 1:7).  How do we prove our faith? By living it day by day. How is this more precious than gold? Because a living faith glorifies God and leads people to believe the gospel.

When we validate our faith with our life, when we validate our words with our lifestyle, we are proving the genuineness of our faith and this proof is more precious than gold.  Surely it is for we cannot purchase anyone’s salvation with gold, but we can draw them to Christ with the treasure of a holy life.  People can dispute your words but they cannot argue with the reality and the beauty of a transformed life.

I cannot transform my life from corruption and slavery to sin and death into a life of purity, beauty, freedom and resurrection.  Jesus can and the witness of that power is undeniable.

This is the good news: Jesus transforms sinners into holy men and women.

This is our testimony, this is our witness.

If we commit to follow, He commits to make us into Fisher Folk by His power and for His glory.

Question Outline #7

Question Outline #7

Calling and Promise

1. What promise does Jesus make to those who follow Him?

2. What is your most impactful witness?

3. How does a transformed life influence unbelievers?

4. By whose power are we enabled to escape the corruption of this world and live a righteous life?

5. How do you prove your faith?

6. How is it that the proof of your faith more precious than gold?

*****                                                                                                           *****


Talk about how the life of Jesus is visible through you. Are there areas where you need to grow?

At home:      

Make some notes on the life you live in front of the people around you.  How impactful is your life?

Becoming Fisher Folk #8

Becoming Fisher Folk #8

There Had To Be An Easter

Jesus had told His disciples that He would be arrested, put to death and then would rise from the dead.  They never understood what He meant.  

Now it is Easter evening, the disciples are gathered, mourning the death of their Lord two days earlier.  Suddenly Jesus appeared in their midst.  They were terrified, awed, joyful and amazed.  Jesus said, "This is what I told you while I was with you.  All the things written about me in the Scriptures had be fulfilled, that the Messiah should suffer and rise again from the dead." 

It's as if He was saying, "Don't you understand?  There had to be an Easter."

To understand that, we need to go back to Eden, the Garden of the Lord.  This world that we know today — a world where people are hurting and lonely, sick and dying, devastated by unspeakable brutality, famine, plague and war, drowning in meaningless wealth and perishing in excruciating poverty, a world where hardship, grief and tragedy are common experiences, a world in which the powerful and the powerless are only refugees from the garden of our beginnings — this is not the world which God created.  

The Bible says that God created the heavens and the earth and all the plants and animals of the earth and looked at what He had done and called it “good.”  Last and best of all, God created the human being for the purpose of having intimate friendship with God.  He created us to delight in Him as He delights in us.  He created us to behold the beauty of His glory and praise His glory.

God gave to humanity all of creation as a garden, a paradise for us to enjoy as we enjoyed fellowship with God.  When God had completed the work of creation, He looked at all He had created and called it "very good.”  

That means there could not have been anything in creation harmful or tragic for God could not have called that "very good.”  Imagine living in a perfect paradise, having perfect fellowship with a perfectly loving God!

Humanity's original relationship with our Creator could be compared to a branch on a tree.  Even as a branch depends on the tree as the source of its life and nourishment, so God created the human being to depend on Him as the Lord of life, the Source, the Wellspring of our life.  We prospered as long as we remained in intimate, loving fellowship with our Creator.

But humanity chose to sin against God.

Early in human history humanity chose to believe the lie that we do not need to obey God, do not need to live in intimate, loving fellowship with our Creator.  We believed the lie that we could be our own source of life, our own god.  We turned away from our Creator.

Humanity freely and consciously chose to sin against God.  It was as if a branch said to the tree, "Hey, I've got my own ideas about growing, blooming, bearing fruit.  I'll do it my way."

The consequences of this sin were immediate and tragic.  To sin against God is to reject Him — therefore to be separated from Him.

How tragic to be cut off from our Creator, the Source of all life.  What happens when a branch becomes separated from the tree?  It withers and dies.

So it was that when humanity sinned, death entered creation.  The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).  Wages are what we earn.

The terrible condition of the world today — the death, brokenness and grief — is the result of humanity's tragic rebellion against God and our resulting separation from God, ourselves and others.  But most tragic of all is the fact that if a person dies in this condition of being separated from God, then he will live forever in the torment, the hell of everlasting separation from God.  

This is true for two reasons.  First, because God is holy and sin cannot abide in the presence of a holy God.  If we enter the next life separated from God by sin, we will not be able to live in His presence.

Second, God will never violate our will, our freedom to make choices.  He does not want us to love Him because we must, but because we freely choose to.  If we choose to reject Him and live apart from Him in this life, God will allow us that choice.  But we will have to live with the consequences of that choice in this life and the next.

This problem of a world separated from God because of sin is a problem we all need to confront personally, for we are all personally involved in the problem.  The Bible says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God"  (Romans 3:23).

Jesus defines sin as any thought, word or deed that falls short of God's righteousness.  The Bible even says that knowing the good choice and not doing it is sin.  According to this standard, we have all sinned in thought, word, deed and omission.

We try to get off the hook by saying that we have not sinned often or badly.  This misses the point.  How far off a tree does a branch have to be to die?  Six inches?  Half a mile?  All fallen branches are equally dead.

This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, "You were dead in your trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1).  He was not being rude, merely realistic.

The reality of sin and its deadly consequence is a reality which we all must confront. 

So must God confront the reality of sin — broken law.  We would not expect a local judge to ignore broken law and neither should we expect God to do so.

Because God is just, His universe is based on law.  All law carries corresponding penalty.  A just God must allow the penalty for broken law to be exacted or else God would be denying His own just character and the foundations of this universe.  Which is to say, when humanity separated itself from the Lord of life and thereby invited death into this world, God could not suspend the laws of the universe on our behalf.

Further, because God is holy He must respond to that which is unholy.  Sin is unholy and God must respond to it.  God is love and must respond to that which hurts and mars the objects of His love.  Sin destroys; therefore God must respond.

Some people say, "God is love, He will not judge anyone."  Is that love?  Is it loving for parents to say to their children, "We love you so do whatever you want.  Teach yourselves, do you own thing, make your own rules, play in the street?”  That attitude is not love — it is the absence of love, the antithesis of love.

Because God is just, holy and loving He cannot ignore broken law, sin.

But God knew that humanity would perish beneath the penalty of broken law.  Sin means separation from God.  Separation from God means physical and spiritual death.  And if a person dies in the condition of separation from God they will be separated eternally.

Because God is just, holy and loving He cannot ignore sin and neither does He desire that we perish in our sin.  "'I have no pleasure in the death of anyone,' says the Lord God, 'so turn and live’"  (Ezekiel 18:32).

So God sent a Savior to do for us what we could not do for ourselves.  "For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Most people are familiar with the Christmas story — the birth of Jesus — but not so familiar with His death.  When Jesus died on the cross He took upon Himself the sin and death of every person in the world.  "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross" (I Peter 2:24). 

He also took upon Himself the Father’s judgmental anger toward sin and experienced the death and separation from God that was rightfully ours.  Jesus took our sins on Himself, bore sin's penalty for us.  Then He rose from the dead. 

Now God offers to every person who will receive it the forgiveness of sins and the free gift of eternal life with Him,  "For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord"  (Romans 6:23).

God has offered the gift of forgiveness and everlasting life to everyone, but not everyone has taken hold of the gift.  How do we reach out and take hold?

First, we agree with God that we need to change.  According to Jesus, the distance between God and humanity is so great and the need for change in a person is so radical that the change can only be compared to the experience of being born.  Jesus said, "Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

We admit that we are who God says we are, a sinner who through thousands of self-willed choices has been separated from Him like a branch fallen from a tree.  We need new life.

We must choose to turn from that which has separated us from God — our sin.  We need to renounce it — this is called repentance. Repentance is a change of mind which results in a change of life and a change of direction.

We turn to Jesus in simple, child-like faith, believing that He is who He says He is: the Son of God who came to earth, the Lamb of God who died for us.  Believing that He has done what He says he has done, taken our sins upon Himself, paid our penalty, died our death.  Now we trust that He really has risen from the dead and is offering to all who will receive Him the free gift of forgiveness and everlasting life.

The Bible says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved"  (Acts 16:31).

Turning to Christ and placing our trust in Him, we invite Him into our life to rule and reign as Lord.  Jesus will never violate our will — we must give Him permission to enter.  He said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into Him and eat with Him and He with me" (Revelation 3:20).

“Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:130.

What marvelous good news!  Jesus is knocking at many doors right now.  But many do not hear Him and many do not know how to open the door.

“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things’” (Romans 10:14,15).

Your greatest testimony is not so much what you say.  It is the life of Jesus lived through you.  He forms His life in you and expresses Himself through the particular gifts, talents and opportunities that He gives you.  

Follow me — that’s His calling on your life. 

I will make you to become — that’s His promise.

“Follow me and I will make you to become Fisher Folk.”

There had to be an Easter.  You are the messenger.

Question Outline #8

Question Outline #8

There Had To Be An Easter

1. What world changing event occurred in the Garden of Eden?

2. What was the result?

3. What was God’s response?

4. What did Jesus do on the cross?

5. What does God now offer us as a result of the sacrifice of Jesus?

6. How do we receive this gift?

7. How will people know about God’s gift?

*****                                                                                                           *****


Summarize the story that we are called to share with the world.

At home:      

Make some notes on ways that you can share the story with the world around you.

Becoming Fisher Folk #9

Becoming Fisher Folk #9

Fishing for Folks

How do we lead people to Christ?

It is not a matter of repeating a formula or, “Repeat this prayer after me.”

Salvation is a sovereign work which God performs in the life of anyone who awakens to His grace.  It is God who awakens sinners to His grace, God who reveals His grace, God who grants repentance and saving faith. 

However, God uses people.  We are called to be Fisher Folk.

The Lord will use us to draw people to Himself as we practice these simple principles:

1. Live the life of Christ in front of people. 

No one will believe our words about Jesus if they do not see the reality of Jesus living in us. The Lord will release His life and His ministry of grace through us if He is truly living in us.

2. Pray for those who need to know Jesus.  

Separated from God by sin, people are spiritually dead, dominated by the world system and the powers of darkness, spiritually blind and unable even to seek the Lord (see Ephesians 2:1-3,  2 Corinthians  4:4,  Romans 3:10-12).  Only God, by His resurrection power, can raise a sinner from death to life.  We must pray for the power of God to be released into that life.

3. Love those who are separated from God.

What motivated Jesus to leave the riches and the glory of heaven to be born in human form, to seek lost sinners, to die an atoning death on our behalf?  It was love.  Jesus loved us while we were His enemies (Romans 5:6-10).  It is God’s kindness that brings us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Therefore we are exhorted to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).  

Why would anyone listen to just another unloving, unlovely peddler of words?  Would we?  But the love of Jesus released through our love can soften the hardest heart.

4. Speak the truth without compromise.

We can’t say we love people if we will not tell them the truth about the human condition.  What is that truth?

a. Sin creates a barrier between people and God.

“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God” (Isaiah 59:2).

Sin separates us from God and as a result of our separation from the Lord of life, all are dead in trespass and sin (Ephesians 2:1-3).  If we die in that state of separation, we will be separated form God for all eternity in hell.

Why? Because God is holy and sin cannot enter His presence. And because God is just and must judge that which is unholy and unjust.  In Revelation 20:11-15 we read of a terrifying judgement at the end of history.  In a moral universe, governed by a holy and just God, there must be an accounting for the sin that violates His being and His world.

b. Jesus Christ, on the cross bore our sin, bore God’s judgment against sin and died in our place.  

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Jesus is the holy Substitute, the Lamb for sinners slain. It is He who redeemed us (ransomed, purchased us) from slavery to sin and death (see Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 9:27,28, I Peter 1:18,19 and 3:18).

c. By Christ’s atoning death, the sin barrier between God and humanity has been removed and God is able to offer forgiveness, eternal life and restored relationship with all who will receive.

“God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:19a,21).  

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

d. Now in Christ all may be made alive forevermore.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7).

e. We access God’s gift of salvation through repentance and faith.

On the day of Pentecost, after Peter finished preaching, the people were pierced to the heart by the truth and they cried out, “Brethren, what shall we do?  Peter said to them, ‘Repent’” (Acts 2:37,38).  Repentance is a turning of heart and mind that results in a change of life.

Faith is the God-given capacity to believe and confess that Jesus is who He says He is: the Lamb of God who died for our sins and the Lord of life who rose from the dead.

Those who sincerely turn from their sins and place their faith in Jesus as the only means of reconciliation with God, may be certain that their sins are forgiven, they are reconciled to God and will enjoy eternal life with God.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

Question Outline #9

Question Outline #9

Fishing for Folks

1. What is the most impactful aspect of your witness?

2. Why is prayer an essential part of leading people to Christ?

3. Why is love a necessary component of our witness?

4. How would you summarize the truth of our story?

5. How do people access God’s gift?

*****                                                                                                           *****


Make a list of people you know who do not know the Lord.  Are you praying for them daily?

What are some ways you can share the love of Jesus with them?

At home:      

In your own quiet time with the Lord, ask Him to show you ways that you can share your witness with those for whom you are praying.  

Let the Lord know that He can bring others across your path who do not know Him.

Your  commitment is to follow. His promise is to make you a Fisher Folk.

Are you committed to follow?

Are you confident of His power to transform you and make you His impactful witness?

Thank Him that He is able to build His life in you and share His life and ministry through you.