Luke 5:1-11, NLT
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” 9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
I love the stories in the gospel of Luke. Any story involving Jesus is exciting but these stories are not for mere entertainment: each story has a message. Within this story, we discover a lot of principles that the church should be practicing. We live in a lazy culture. People do not work as hard as the use to. We are pampered, spoiled and we want everything the easy way but missions and evangelism demand work, hard work. Today, we are going to talk about things that the modern church works to avoid.
The first thing I want you to notice is that Jesus is not in the synagogue. He is not inside a church building. Some many people have the idea that church takes place in the building but Jesus was at the lake and they had real church. I’m not saying that we should all meet at the lake next week but I am not saying we shouldn’t. There are always more people at the lake than in our buildings. It might not be a bad idea to take Christ to the lake but that would be work and we don’t like work. You might say that PEOPLE ARE MORE IMPORTANT TO JESUS THAN BUILDINGS.
The second thing I want you to notice is that Jesus preached on the banks of the lake and then got in boat and taught the people. Literally, in the Greek, the word for preach or teach is not in the text. Literally the text reads, “the people crowded around Jesus to listen to the word of God.” One thing sure, He was communicating the word of God. Traditionally, we Baptist have had bible study and then worship [preaching]. What if the NLT has it right: what if Jesus preached first and then had bible study? Would we be willing to follow Jesus patter if it went against the grain of our tradition? One thing is certain, COMMUNICATING THE WORD OF GOD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TRADITION OR SCHEDULES.
A third thing I want you to notice and this requires no stretch of the imagination. OBEDIENCE PRECEDES WORSHIP. I never heard the term “Worship Wars” until two decades ago but there is no doubt about it, churches are divided over worship styles. It is really nothing new, there were wars to get hymns and hymn books incorporated into worship. But worship style is not the issue; our problem is disobedience. We study the word of God, but we do not put it into practice. Our spirit of obstinacy and disobedience kills are worship. Disobedient people cannot worship Yahweh; they cannot glorify Jesus they can’t get into worship because of their disposition. This problem of disobedience has lead to narcissistic worship. We are not worshipping God, we are worshiping ourselves and using God’s name as a cover for our self-will.
Two things I want you to notice:  Jesus outrageous command and  Peter reluctant obedience. Peter was a fisherman by trade: Jesus was a carpenter from Nazareth. There is no place to fish around Nazareth. Peter has been on the lake all his life. The command makes no sense to Peter who is confident that he knows more about catching fish than a carpenter. But, Peter does exactly what Jesus says even though he doesn’t understand why He said it. It is after Peter obedience to Jesus command that he falls to his knees and cries out, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” If Peter had not obeyed, there would have been to awe and worship. Peter saw the deity of Christ and at the same time saw his wretched depravity. Peter fell to his knees without a worship leader telling him what to do. His worship was real: He knew he was in the presence of God. We have great services and I enjoy them but do we worship? Do we sense the presence of God they way Peter did? Do we fall to our knees and cry for mercy?
There is something else I want you to notice: FOLLOWING PRECEDES DISCIPLESHIP. There are no self-willed disciples. A disciple lives for his master. He has no will. His master’s will is his will. A disciple lives to serve. In the body of Christ you cannot lead until you learn to follow. Look at the text, “they left everything and followed Jesus.” Discipleship demands absolute surrender.
One more thing: Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” Would you say that Jesus was talking about EVANGELISM? Here is the problem we are facing: we are too lazy and to indifferent to fish. Fishing for men is hard work: first there is TRAINING, rigorous training. Then there is the incredible PATIENCE it takes of fish because some days they are not biting. Then there is the DICIPLINE: You have to fish when you had rather be doing something else. Which had you rather do, go out to eat or go to the gym and work out? It takes a fourth thing: PASSION. You have to fish until you love to fish whether they are biting or not. Evangelist Junior Hill use to take his mother to the creek and leave her for the day. She would sit on a 5 gallon bucket and fish all day long. Junior said, “It didn’t matter if mama caught fish or not, she always wanted to go back because she love fishing more than catching fish. Catching fish was a bonus but she was going whether or not she caught fish.”
What if every true believer in the congregation got one person on their heart and began praying for that person’s salvation and made themselves available to share their faith? Do you think it would change our church? In a sense, there is no problem that Evangelism will not cure.
Max Lucado tells the story of two men taking their sons on a fishing expedition. When they reached the mountain lake and set up camp, it was time to go to bed. When they woke up the next morning, it was raining so they stayed in the tent and played cards hoping for a better tomorrow but it rained the second day also and the cards got boring and the gear was getting wet. Everyone was getting ill with each other; the boys started fighting and the dads followed suit so they loaded up and went home. The moral of the story is WHEN FISHERMEN DON ‘T FISH, THEY FIGHT.