Series Title: ‘Encountering Jesus’
Message: ‘Jesus calls us to go deeper’ Text: Luke 5:1-11
Intro: Pastor Steven Cole tells the following true story: Years ago the British agnostic Thomas Huxley had to leave early one morning to go from one speaking engagement to another. So he got into a horse-drawn taxi to go from his hotel to the train station. He assumed that the hotel doorman had told the driver of the carriage to go to the train station. So when he got in, he simply said to the driver, “Drive fast.” And off they went.
After a short while, Huxley, realized they were actually going in the opposite direction from the train station. He yelled to the driver, “Do you know where you’re going?” Without looking back, the driver replied, “No, sir, but I’m driving very fast.”
If that doesn’t describe the American lifestyle I’m not sure what does. I also believe it includes the lifestyle of many Christian. And for them, for us; that ‘full steam ahead,’ fast paced life, is also not such a good thing.
- We may be going fast, but are going fast in the right direction?
- And that right direction can only be, following after God; His Word and His Will.
You see, by moving fast through life, we often miss what God wants us to see.
- And by missing what God wants us to see,
- we may actually pass by defining moments on our journey of faith.
What’s a defining moment?
- It’s a time when our character is revealed.
- It’s a time when our faith is challenged.
- It’s a time that’s often not convenient,
not comfortable, or easy.
- It’s a time that’ll determine how we choose to live in the future.
- It’s a time that’ll come often to those who persist at seeking God’s face.
- It’s a time that’ll always require our full obedience to God’s Word and Will.
Defining moments, are times when God will ask you to go deeper in your relationship with Him.
Simon Peter, and those with him in our text this morning, will have a defining moment. And it’ll forever change their lives.
Transition: Open your Bibles to Luke 5:1. For it’s there we’ll see that Jesus calls us to go deeper.
- Luke 5:1-3 Jesus teaches a crowd
Read: Luke 5:1-3
Jesus’ popularity with the people was increasing.
- Perhaps it had something to do with His miraculous and abundant healings.
- But I think it also had something to do with how He showed compassion for the people, something, the religious leaders of that day failed to do.
On this particular day, the crowd was quite large. In fact as they gathered towards Jesus, they were forcing Him closer and closer to the water’s edge at Lake Gennesaret (also known as the Sea of Galilee and the Sea of Tiberias)
It seems that Jesus added ‘open air’ teaching to speaking in the synagogue on the Sabbath. And I think John Wesley was highly motivated by what he read in this text, when he wrote:
- I love a commodious (spacious) room, a soft cushion and a handsome pulpit, but field preaching saves souls. (William Barclay)
Anyway, in order to speak to this huge crowd, and not do it waist high in the lake, Jesus asks Simon to take Him out a bit on the lake in his boat, so He could teach the people. Simon agrees.
Just a little background on his agreement:
- Fisherman in that day fished all night, until the sun came up.
- Simon, and those who were with him, had finished a long night of fishing and were repairing their nets for their next night of work.
- In other words, Simon and those with him, were tired. Yet, they obeyed Jesus and took Him on the lake in their boat.
- And Jesus began to teach the crowd.
Again some background:
- This is not the first time Jesus meets Simon.
- We know from John 1 that Simon, John, James, Andrew, Phillip, and Nathanael had started following Jesus… at least part time, as a result of John the Baptists ministry.
- But, while they did do some traveling with Jesus, they were still full time fishermen.
Simon and his friends knew Jesus, had spent some time with Jesus. But their relationship to Him was casual and non-committal at best.
Here’s the point of Luke mentioning this event:
- Jesus was about to bring a defining moment into the lives of Simon, John and James.
- He wanted to take them from part-time followers, to fully committed disciples.
- And how they responded to that defining moment, would forever change their lives.
- Luke 5:4-7 Jesus teaches Simon
Read: Luke 5:4-7
Jesus finishes speaking to the crowd and tells Simon to head out to deeper water and let down their nets to catch some fish.
We don’t want to hurry past this. There are a few important truths we need to hear before we move ahead.
First, notice that after Jesus teaches the crowd, He takes the opportunity to focus His teaching on Simon.
- Listen, gathering to hear God’s Word on Sunday mornings in SS School and Worship, on Wednesday nights at Mid-Week Prayer & Praise, Friday nights at Women’s Walk and Saturday mornings at the Men’s Breakfast, are all essential ways to grow in your faith.
- But, what Jesus is showing us, is time alone with Him, seeking His face, is also essential to our journey of faith.
Jesus teaches and meets the needs of the crowds that followed after Him. But His main focus was and still is, on the individual, on you.
- Remember last week I said that Jesus was committed to His gospel because Jesus is committed to you.
Here’s the thing, the church goes, as the individual Christian goes. In other words,
- What we’re able to accomplish as a church, a community of Believers in Jesus Christ,
- is directly related to the depth of each of our individual relationships with Jesus.
So, understand this: Your walk with God, has a direct impact on all of us, as a church body.
Second, while Jesus’ call for Simon to take his boat out into deeper water was truly physical in nature… it’s also spiritual, in that Jesus will always challenge us to go deeper in our relationship with Him. More on that later.
Jesus tells Simon to go out into deeper water, to lower his nets to catch some fish. Simon’s response is both similar and dissimilar to how we respond when Jesus tells us to do something.
Remember I said that Simon and the guys were up all night fishing. Obviously from what Simon said, it wasn’t a good night because they didn’t catch anything.
- Now, here’s Jesus, a former carpenter turned rabbi, a really good rabbi, but not a fisherman, telling a professional fisherman how to do his job.
- In other words, Simon begins by making excuses why he shouldn’t have to do what Jesus told him to do. Because he didn’t understand how it would help.
That’s happened to each one of us. We’ve done that, we’ve made excuses for why we don’t want to do what God has clearly told us to do. God:
- I tried that and it didn’t work.
- I’m tired… I just can’t right now.
- I’ve got too much going on with the kids.
- I’m just too busy right now.
- I don’t understand why You want me to do that.
But folks, that’s where the similarity often ends for most of us. Simon, tired, not understanding why Jesus was telling him to go deeper, says:
- But at Your word, I will let down the nets.
Simon didn’t know it, but this was a defining moment for him. And he met the challenge by faith and obedience to the word of Jesus.
What happened? Their nets began to break and their boat began to sink with the amount of fish they caught.
What’s the takeaway?
- It’s not: if you’re obedient to what Jesus says, you’ll reap huge financial rewards.
The takeaway is:
- God wans our obedience to His Word and Will, even when it might not make any sense to us.
- And, our obedience to God’s Word and Will, will take us into the deeper waters of faith, where we’ll be forever changed.
Folks, I believe Jesus is telling us at CBC to go out into deeper waters, to let our nets down and trust Him for the harvest.
And that will require a greater level of faith on our part.
More will be at stake, much will be unknown… except one thing…Jesus will be with us.
The question is:
- How will we, as a church, choose to respond?
To be honest, the even greater question is:
- How will you, as an individual follower of Jesus Christ, choose to respond?
III. Luke 5:8-11 Jesus calls Simon to go deeper
Read: Luke 5:8-11
This is the high point of Simons defining moment. Jesus calls him to stop ‘kind of’ believing, and start placing his life in Jesus’ hands.
- Jesus wants to take Simon from someone who kinda believes in Jesus, to someone who’s fully committed to Him.
And listen, that’s Jesus’ desire for each one of us who say we’re a Christian.
- To change us from a spectator to a player.
- To change us from part-time to full-time on our journey of faith.
- To change us from just ‘being a Christian’ to being a ‘disciple’ of Jesus Christ.
And notice how that happened.
- In obedience to Jesus’ Word, Simon agreed to go deeper and let out his nets… he trusted Jesus.
And notice when Simon saw what Jesus had done, he saw Jesus in a completely new way. This is seen two ways in our text:
First, notice that Simon now called Jesus Lord when previously he referred to Him as Master.
- Master is the Greek word Epistata which means boss or supervisor.
- Lord is the Greek work Kurious meaning supreme, and is a title of God.
Simon’s obedience led to seeing Jesus in a whole new way. And I promise it will for you too.
Second, Simon had an encounter with Jesus that day and it changed his life.
- Simon, because of that encounter, acknowledges his sinfulness and tells Jesus to depart from him.
- This comes from a place of great humility.
Simon realized that Jesus was not just a man. I don’t think he fully believed He was the Messiah, that’ll come later, but certainly someone sent by God.
- Simon, felt deep within his heart, that because of his sinfulness, he was not worthy to be in Jesus’ presence.
But it’s at that very place, Jesus can best use us. Because it’s at that place, we truly see our need for Him.
Jesus, knowing Simon’s heart and the holy fear that was flooding through his veins, does what He does best… he comforts Simon by telling him:
Do not be afraid. It’s as if Jesus was telling him:
- Simon, you’ve done the right thing. You’re in the right place. You have the right heart.
- Now, commit to me, follow me, be my disciple.
Jesus called Simon, to be a fisher of men… In other words Jesus was calling Simon to participate with Him in spreading His Gospel.
- Well, not only did Simon leave everything to follow Jesus, so did the men in his fishing co-op.
Let’s put this all into perspective.
These professional fishermen had just made the catch of their lives. The money they would get from this catch alone would have probably lasted them for months.
Not only did they leave all that behind, they also left their boats and other fishing supplies. Which if sold, would have brought them a pretty good price.
You see, when that defining moment comes and you say YES to Jesus;
- material possessions, money, career,
- take a distant second place,
- to God’s call on your life.
Jesus’ call to obedience will always lead to a deeper commitment to His Word and His Will. And that will come at the expense of our will.
Later in Luke, after Simon confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus says this:
- …If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. (Luke 9:23b–24)
To be a disciple of Jesus, is not a partial commitment, or a casual relationship… it’s death to self.
- What might Jesus be calling you to forsake in order to be His disciple?
Conclusion: Pastor Francis Chan said this:
- How can we have rooms of people who claim to have the Holy Spirit inside their bodies. Almighty God inside you. And your life looks just like everyone else. No wonder they’re shutting down churches. We’re either followers/disciples of Jesus or we’re not! (Youtube video)
That was hard.
- But too many Christians are afraid to go deeper with Jesus,
- to trust Jesus enough to be His disciple.
Because they’re afraid He’ll change their lifestyle. And I’m here to tell you, chances are… He’ll do just that!
Once you have a defining moment you’ll never be the same.
- You’ll either have a deeper walk with Jesus through your obedience to His Word.
- Or you’ll flounder (pun intended) in your walk with Jesus by your disobedience.
Today, is a defining moment for you. God’s call to go deeper was not just intended for Simon and his friends that day. It’s a continual call He makes to all those who are His by faith in Jesus.
It’s a call
- to a deeper faith,
- to deeper level of commitment,
- a deeper level of obedience.
It’s a call
- to say Yes God, I will do what You say.
- I will follow as You lead,
- I will go deeper, even when I don’t understand where you are leading me
- or why You are taking me there.
And listen, if you’ve never given your life to God by placing your faith in Jesus, this definitely is a defining moment for you.
- William Barclay (a theologian) once said: There are two great days in a person’s life: the day we are born and the day we learn why. (Jeff Strite)
Your defining moment may manifest itself by feeling the guilt of your sin. That’s because the Spirit of God is working in you, just like it did Simon that day in the boat.
- Like Simon, you can choose to humble yourself before God and admit your sinfulness to Him.
- Then, accept Jesus’ life and death on the cross, as full payment for your sin against God.
- And ask Jesus into your life, call Him Lord, as Simon did.
And you’ll find that what Barclay wrote was true:
- You were born to have a lifelong, loving relationship, with the Creator of the universe.
Folks, the church, this church is in need of a defining moment;
- to set the course of our walk with Jesus
- to look beyond ourselves, and what we can do,
- to trust God, with what He’s calling us to do.
But to get there, we’ll have to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus.
- Jesus is calling.
- Are you willing… to go deeper?