Menu

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am

Jesus calls His disciples and He calls us Matt. 4:18-25

July 13, 2014 Series: The Gospel of Matthew

Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Matthew 4:18–4:25

  • Downloads

Trepidation;

IF the book of Matthew were a tale of a journey similar to Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, we would say that we are far enough along that we can no longer see the beginning. We've walked along, up and down some hills, little stresses, nothing unmanageable, foothills, and now we are in a lovely meadow. Surrounded by green, and the path is stable. There are strawberries growing if we decide to stop and enjoy them. And we will.

The problem is - we can see the far side of this meadow, we'll arrive there today (I think), easily, and when we do, there is a gigantic mountain, a 20,000 footer, and no way to get where we're going except to climb it. I'm talking of course, about the Sermon on the Mount. It's just over there on the other side of this meadow. How did we get here so fast?

I've had those thoughts for weeks.

Matt. 4:18-25  Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
23Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.
24The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. 25Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.

Immediately almost, upon being given the opportunity to fill this pulpit, my mom was conversing with another lady most of you know, and of course mom mentioned that her son would be occupying the position of pastor at this church.

Understandably, the first thing the kind lady wanted to know is, what are his credentials. Where did he go to school? Where was he ordained?

That rings well with our topic this morning, I think. Fair questions all, and worthy of consideration. And I'm going to give you an answer too!

I went (and continue to go) to the same school that Peter and Andrew and James and John attended. My problem is that they graduated in 3 years. I've been a remedial student for 43 years, including a wandering in the wilderness similar to Israels.

Last week I labored over Jesus message, His gospel; "Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand."

2 kingdoms. 2 authorities. In mortal conflict with each other. Diametrically opposed to each other. The world is in rebellion against the God who created and sustains it. Most people are in that "kingdom". The rebellious one. The bible says it is headed quickly for utter and everlasting destruction.

Jesus says, The opposing kindgom is here! Join up! Come out of Satan's kingdom and enter into battle with the other kingdom. God's kingdom. Join the side that ultimately wins! Flee the coming destruction!

Of course there is more involved than those simple overviews. There is real sorrow over having lived a life of sin that offended the Creator and Sustainer. There is forgiveness of sins. There is belief in the sufficiency of the death of the sinless substitute, the Lord Jesus to expiate, to pay in full for all of your sins. There is faith in those truths. There is newness of life in the Holy Spirit who comes to indwell those who turn away from Satan's kingdom in true repentence.

That happens on the inside. Unseen. I pray that transaction has taken place for everyone in this room!

But, what does that look like on the outside. Is there evidence that you've made a radical change from Satan's army to God's army? That's what Jesus' preaching demands. "Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand."

Look at the proximity of Jesus message to our study this morning. There's a connection.

Think about it. Jesus, over His 3 year ministry perhaps put 1,500 miles on the michelins on the bottom of His huarache sandals. He canvased the entire region of the world surrounding Jerusalem, from Tyre and Sidon, way up north out of the commonwealth of the land God gave to Israels sons, to Bethany south of Jerusalem.

North and South, East of the Galilee, and West through Samaria. He never stopped, long. And at the end of the day, preaching His message of repentence and the Kingdom, He had gathered about 120 believers. About 40 a year.

At that rate, if He hadn't been crucified and just stayed alive on earth for the entire 2,000 years since then, He would have a grand total of 80,000 converts for 2,000 years of walking and preaching. Hardly the sand of the seashore kind of numbers God promised Abraham.

So, hopefully there's another plan besides that.

There is! And we're going to look at it this morning. My plan is to challenge you this morning. I want us to ask questions about our very identity as a church. Who are we and why are we here? Is the Lords supper and our community supper on opposing bi-weekly schedules enough?

18Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

It's one of the most famous passages in the whole Bible. Who else besides me remembers singing "I will make you fishers of men, fishers of men, fishers of men, I will make you fishers of men, if you follow me...

You read this and you think, oh, look, He's calling His disciples. Except Johns gospel sort of blows that up. These guys were down along the Jordan, following John the baptizer, and when John said, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, they left John and followed Jesus.

Last week when we noted that the Pharisees had taken note that Jesus was baptizing more than John had who was cast in prison, remember the little note in parentheses? 4:1 Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2(although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), 3He left Judea and went away again into Galilee.

I think the chances are pretty good that these men, were the ones helping in the baptizing. They were His disciples.

Let's pause for a second and look at that word. Disciple.

The bible uses that word a lot. A disciple is simply a "follower". And we can picture at least 3 catagories of disciples.

One is used right here in our passage this morning. 25Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.

These are people, lots of them, who have come to see the Jesus show. He spoke with mesmerizing power and authority. He healed all their infirmities. He cast out demons, He ruled over the Spirit world. He did miracles. He created food. You might get a meal out of this deal.

For lack of a better word, let's call these type 1 and 2 disciples. Type one is interested in the spectacle. Something out of the ordinary is here. Barnum and Bailey would do just as well.

Then the next group, type 2 and these have some buy in. They're listening to what He says. Is He a prophet? Is He Elijah? Is He the messiah?

Then the final group, the believers. These guys are committed to a lifetime of learning.

What we'll see though is that Jesus doesn't attach Himself to half committed followers. Just before the story about Nicodemus, in John's gospel (btw, John is the most radical calvinista when it comes to sovereignty of God over salvation of all of the gospel writers. He's just blatant).

Back to Nicodemus, just before the account in chapter 3 (and remember, there are no chapter breaks in the original autographs) of John where Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night to inquire about salvation, we have this passage;

Jn. 2:23-25 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. 24But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, 25and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.

We'll see this again and again. There'll be a large crowd of 'followers' in quotes, and Jesus will start in with the hard sayings and send them packing;

Luke 14:25 Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. . . . 33“So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

Two places in Matthew he'll say 24Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

In John 6 He gives the great teaching about eating His flesh and drinking His blood and completely disperses the crowd of followers. All the disciples - gone. And He says to the 12, Will you leave also? And they say, no, we're confused too, but you've got the words of eternal life. We're stuck to that like glue. galli transliteration.

Why does He do that. He'll get a big crowd of followers, disciples, and He'll blow them up. BAM! And they're gone. And Peter and James and John are scratching their heads thinking, 'here he goes again with the hate your father and mother and drink my blood stuff' Crowd dispersed.

I'm just like you. And we're in good company because the 12 asked the same question. Who can be a christian then? Remember, in Luke 18, when He sends the rich young ruler on his way, and the disciples are just shaking their heads, and Lk. 18:26 They who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.”

We all dream of having someone come up to us and ask, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" He comes in humility. He asks the right questions. His responses are viable. And Jesus makes the cost so high, that he doesn't just go his way, it says he went his way in great sadness.

What's the difference between Saul of Tarsus and this young man? The parallels are incredible. Top of their class in the world of Jewishness.

And we would look at the 2 and think, the rich young ruler would be far easier to convert to the Kingdom of God than Saul, the radical guy who's out killing christians.

We think in human terms. We think, the rich young ruler is soooooooooooo close! He's almost in, this will be so easy! He's asking the right questions. He's begging to get in. Somebody, please, close this deal!

OK, now re-wind the tape and re-think this in view of what Jesus said. It's impossible for either one to be saved. Saul, impossible. RYR, impossible. That's what Jesus said. But it's not impossible with God. And God stops Saul of Tarsus in his tracks one day on the way to Damascus, and saves him.

It's the same thing in John 3 with Nicodemus. How can I DO this. Can I get back into my mothers womb?

Jn. 3:4-8Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7“Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Now, you read through that again when you get home and tell me where Nicodemus has any control from a human level, at all, over salvation. He's just as confused as we all are. Maybe less so, he actually gets it. This is impossible, is what he's saying. Nobody can do this!

And Jesus says, you're right. 8“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Now that I've thoroughly made hyper-calvinists out of all of you, and you're thinking salvation is impossible, for humans, and I'm human, so I'm just going to relax and leave this whole business up to God, I'll take you back to our text this morning.

18Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Do you see any similarities here with the account of Paul's call on the Damascus road?

Matthew just tells us what we need to know here. The minimums. But Luke's account just turns this sparse canvas into a Van Gogh I think.

For one thing, when God calls men into His service, He normally doesn't ask the man's wife for permission.

When my brother said, can you just do your sunday night thing and switch it to sunday morning, I immediately saw an open door and said YES. Pam was in Reno that weekend, babysitting her boys and probably had a doctors appointment.

When she got home and I told her, she just said, Oh boy, here we go...

In Luke 4, I think Jesus makes a special concession to Peter's wife. I believe this is the day previous to the call of Andrew and Peter and John and James. 38Then He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her. 39And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them.

Did He do that special miracle just to endear Simon's wife? Maybe.

Then the fishermen work all night long trying to catch some fish. And we pick the story up in Luke 5;

1Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret;
2and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 3And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat.

Crowd control. None of us can imagine being pressed on all sides by people. I don't expect anything like this to happen during my preaching career.

4When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”

We're going to do a little mind reading here. The fish don't hang out in the deep water. Any fisherman knows that. And these guys worked hard all night long, they're exhausted. Simon's thinking 'this is the dumbest idea I've ever heard' but he says;

5Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” 6When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. 8But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”

How come none of the people who see Jesus while they're shaving or driving the car in traffic, or go up to heaven and come back, ever have this reaction?

9For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” 11When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.

Follow me. Do I need to point out those words mean radical abandonment.

Mt. 4:20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

Now right about here most teachers will talk about how fishermen are the perfect choice for this job because of all the qualities necessary to be a good fisherman in the first place.

When we were young, my best friend's dad was a Los Angeles fireman. So one day Georgie Clark calls him up and asks him if he'd like to be a boatman on the colorado river.

Georgie ran river raft trips for like 48 years. And she needed boatmen to help her. She didn't pay anything. The adventure was payment in full. But she got all of her boatmen from the LA fire department. Why? Because they were rock solid men with all the training to lead people in a death defying adventure.

She nicknamed my buddies dad 'Silkie'. My buddies mom never got used to that. But that's another story. My point is; her obvious wisdom in getting boatmen from the fire department. They were more than perfect candidates. Pre-trained in every thing she needed. Worked for free.

And you'll hear this almost every time someone talks about this passage. Everything fishermen bring to the equation. blah blah blah.

Bosh! These guys didn't bring anything! About all they bring is that they actually bring so little to an impossible task, that it gives the rest of us hope!

These guys bring nothing to the equation. zip. He didn't pick them because he had that catchy fishers of men thing all worked out and couldn't think of something for other professions.

He chooses the weak - the base - not many mighty, not many noble. We're here because of what we don't bring. Trust me, if God glorifies himself in this church, no one is going to look at us and say, well, anyone can see why. They're all fabulous. This is me building you up. Edification.

Follow me, and I will make you fisher's of men.

He isn't saying 'follow me for the rest of the day and I'll get you home on time to have a great meal and later on sex with your wife'

There is cost involved here. Radical abandonment! These men were successful businessmen. They had capitol investment. Boats, nets, customers. They had families to feed.

What about Zebedee. He's probably my age. Glad that he's got 2 young bucks doing the heavy lifting. His plan is working well. He had sons and as he's getting older, they're making it all happen better than he ever did. He's a powerful man! His nickname is 'thunder'. Probably a very strong personality!

What about wive's who say, you're gonna' what?? Are you completely lame? Have you gone mad? Fine, me and the kids will starve to death and be a laughing stock while you go follow the 'pied piper'.

But, the four of them had seen God at work that day. He created fish where there were no fish. Maybe there's so many fish Zebedee can retire.

What we do understand is this. When God gets ahold of you and calls you into fellowship with Him in His kingdom, there's nothing on earth that matters. They had seen the pearl of great price, and when He said, follow me, they dropped everything. Literally!

They've found the buried treasure and are willing to sell everything. Wives. Kids. Fathers. Mother in laws. Everything in order to have the treasure.

This is a turning point in the earthly ministry of the Son of God.

On His left hand He has enormous crowds of people pressing in on Him to get a front row seat at the Jesus show. On His right hand He has these 4 guys. There will be others, soon, but right now He has these 4. What's the difference between the pressing crowd and the 4 fishermen? Listen to what He says in the High Priestly Prayer in John 17;

vs. 6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.

From now on, He's going to pour His life into a small group of men, later on He'll designate them as apostles, but it begins here. A small group of men who He is going to disciple and you'll note that He says;

I will make you fishers of men. He's going to accomplish this transformation.

Here's how it works. It's impossible, remember. God calls who God calls. For men it's impossible. So why bother?

Here's how it works. You put the worm on the hook and cast it into the water. God takes care of the rest. Ask Peter about that.

For the next 2 1/2 years or whatever it is they have left, Jesus is going to be teaching these men how to do that. And He does it by spending time. Time. More time.

Discipleship is hanging out and fishing together. It isn't a 12 week class.

The rest of the passage this morning is a microcosm of the rest of the book of Matthew;

23Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. 24The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. 25Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.

Time. Everywhere He went, these men were along, watching Him interact with every kind of broken human being the cosmos could churn up.

It isn't about the healings, or the diseases, or the demons or the miracles or anything else. It's about hanging out with Jesus and learning what He does. It's about proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom.

What about us? Does any of this have anything to do with us? Today?

What kind of disciples are we? Are we the type 1 and 2. Interested, with some buy in, but not fully committed if there's cost involved?

And why not? Those folks are all saved, right? Why go bonkers on this stuff. We've got cake and eat it too christianity. Right?

Why would I leave all? The gospel doesn't seem to require it. Why would I move from #2 casual listener to #3 committed for the rest of my life.

Show me the casual listener christians in this book. Read through the book of Acts this afternoon and write down every name of every casual listener self centered #2 type christian. That's your homework. I'll start you out. Demas. You go find the rest.

Somebody show me this double tiered christianity that we glibly accept in America, in this book, please, because I can't find it.

And second, I'm starved for miracles. I want to hear Jesus say "put down your nets for a catch..."

Not likely in Tonopah, you say. It wasn't likely in the deep water in Galilee either.

I want miracles. Right here in Tonopah. With this body of believers. I want so many stories of what Jesus is doing that we can't keep up with them all.

How do we get there? Well, I'm pretty sure there will be discipleship involved. And evangelism. Christians hanging out together, learning from each other the things in this book. And while we're doing that, we may as well fish.

Anybody want to go fishing?