Catching Plenty of Fish For God
Jim caught this 62-pound king salmon in Alaska’s Kenai River.
Alaska’s remote Goose Creek was deserted as my friend Jim and I arrived with four excited children. We were early, a full five hours before the midnight opening of the king salmon season. We propped up our fishing rods on that wilderness river bank, spaced a few feet apart. That reserved the prime fishing spots for the midnight opening.
Looking into the clear water of the pool at the bend of the river, we saw fish — plenty of fish! Large king (chinook) salmon were thick in the pool. After what seemed like an eternity, the midnight opening arrived. Casting in the still-bright Alaska summer night, we struck it rich! Within 30 minutes we had three large king salmon on the bank. More cries of “Fish on!” could be heard up and down the river.
A thrill-of-a-lifetime fishing trip? For sure! Interestingly, fishing imagery occurs frequently in the New Testament. In their catching plenty of fish, Peter and his friends used fishing nets, not a rod, reel, and line as we did on that remote Alaskan river. But how and what these biblical fishermen did offers insights for us in gathering souls for the Lord.
Today we will focus our attention on two portions of Scripture: Luke 5:1-10 and John 21:1-11. (It would be helpful for the internet reader to take a few minutes now and read those verses.)
Luke 5:5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything….
Luke 5:5 “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
(2) Obedience to the Lord’s Leading
Luke 5:9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken.
John 21:2-3 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
(3) A Corporate Effort
Luke 5:6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.
John 21:11 Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153 [of them]…
(4) Expect occasional large harvests.
John 21:6 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.
(5) Sometimes the catch is on the “other” side of the boat — that is, a change in methods or strategy.
So the net is drawn in, catching plenty of fish, and the kingdom of God is populated, when:
1. Christians persevere in casting the net.
2. Christians seek to hear the specific voice and leading of the Lord.
3. “Body ministry” is functioning — each doing his or her part.
4. Faith is growing for large catches of souls.
5. We are willing to be open and flexible to the Lord leading us in different ways from our past comfort zones.
Preached at Medford (Oregon) Christian Center, May 3, 1995
A related sermon on effective soulwinning is our Fishers of Men.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of the Zondervan Corporation. All rights reserved.
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© 1995, 2006, James H. Feeney, All rights reserved.
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Additional Pentecostal online bible studies and free sermons on speaking in tongues, divine healing, gifts of the Holy Spirit, divine inspiration, traditional marriage, pro-life vs. pro-choice, apostles and prophets today, and more may be linked to or viewed at Online Bible Studies and Free Sermons by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D. (http://www.jimfeeney.org).