This blog post is the part of a six-post series paraphrased from the sermons of Pastor Mark Hughes of the Church of the Rock, Winnipeg in connection with the ‘40-Days of Community’ small-groups initiative. 40-Days of Community is a method of extending love in the way Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback church has demonstrated. Ideas in this series are not mine, I have only a paraphrasing role.
In the bible fishing is the metaphor for soul winning: boats are the churches and nets, the relationships.
Now examine two biblical episodes of fishing. Although most of Jesus‘s disciples were fishermen, they are not shown as good fishermen in the gospels. They could be called boaters.
Examine two instances when the disciples are fishing. Scene -1 is when the first disciples were conscripted. The fishermen are having a hard time catching fish, but on Jesus’ bidding they catch a lot of fish. Sure enough, they catch so much fish that the net begins to break.
Luke 5: 4-6
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for catch.”
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.
Fast forward three and half years and scene – 2 appears. Sea of Galilee again. The disciples, who were fishermen- nay, boaters – are at it again, toiling without catching any fish. Now the risen Jesus appears and instructs them to cast the net on the opposite side of the boat.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Studies of ancient Galilean ships have shown that the ‘other side of the boat’ is only 7 ½ feet across and indeed the fish could swim. Come to think of it, there really isn’t any difference in left side or right side of the boat as far as the fish is concerned. Is there a fishing sweet spot? However, they did catch lots of large fish. But amazingly the net doesn’t break this time. Contrast this with the previous instance when the net began to break.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, but even with so many the net was not torn.
In the second instance, Jesus makes the net or the relationships stronger. Little wonder that three weeks later, Peter is able to preach and influence 3000 Jews to follow him.
NET is the acronym for Bigger Together.
N : Kneel –
2 Corinthians 4: The god this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.
Paul gives a clue why his blindness was lifted.
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews(A) who have been in prison with me.(B) They are outstanding among[a] the apostles, and they were in Christ(C) before I was.
Andronicus and Junia had probably been praying for Saul!
If someone asked Andronicus and Julia in those days of cruel Saul, they would likely say: “He’s an idiot, but we are praying for him.”
Kneeling is the first step in winning the souls.
E – Extend: It was found in a survey that 3 out of 5 people are willing to attend a church if invited. In other words, people are not going to churches because no one invites them.
Jesus was seen at the feast of a rich tax collector and Jew, Levi. He was known as a friend of sinners. He famously contended that only sick people needed a physician. We find this sinner, Levi, as Mathew the disciple. It is the power of extension. Jesus’s disciples were an unlikely motley crowd of opposites – Simon the zealot and Mathew the tax collector, both served in the same disparate group. A Jewish zealot is against the Roman occupation, whereas tax collectors want to see the regime stay.
T- tell: There is no argument against your personal story. You may not be as good as your audience in the other theories of the world and the audience can outsmart you.
IN SUMMARY N-KNEEL, E- EXTEND, T-TELL, MAKE UP THE ‘NET’ FOR SOUL WINNING.