• Matt Beaney

#465 (22/10/21) FISH FOR PEOPLE



INTRODUCTION

Over the last three weeks, our devotionals have been based on our vision at CCP. If you are not a part of our church, I trust that you are still finding these reflections helpful.


Our vision is to be a church community that is,

“Bringing people to Jesus - myself, one another and my community”




This week we are focussing on what it means to bring ‘Our Community’ to Jesus.




The account that we are reading today ends with the words, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” Whatever different roles we have in life: home, work, friendships, volunteering… in all things we are to ‘fish for people’; there is no facet to our lives that is not, in some way, to be involved in helping to bring people to Jesus.

Today, we are going to be learning from Luke’s account of how Jesus introduced Himself and called these first disciples to follow Him. Luke begins,

‘When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a 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. So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.’ (Luke 5:4-11)

DEEPER WATER

Initially, Jesus spoke personally to Peter. Jesus wants, firstly, to speaks personally to you and I. Like Peter, for you and I to be effective at reaching our community for Jesus, we need to have a relationship with Him. We need to listen and respond in obedience. Peter was asked to ‘put out into Deep water’ and we need to ask and listen to Jesus regarding the ‘deeper water’ - the practical steps that He wants us to take in order to bring our community to Jesus.


I’VE WORKED ALL NIGHT

Peter’s response hints at discouragement and disbelief. He says to Jesus, ‘“I’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything…’ Jesus wants to meet with you regularly so as to combat the discouragement that we can all feel regarding our mission.


BUT BECAUSE YOU SAY SO

Peter can sense that there is something unique about Jesus. Peter responds, “But because you say so, I will let down the nets…” Jesus wants to give you fresh faith to persevere in sharing your faith as you meet with Him.


WHEN THEY HAD DONE SO

We read of how they have to work together in order to bring in this catch. Can you imagine if when the others were asked to ‘come and help’, they had been too distracted to work together! Like them, we need one another if we are to bring our community to Jesus. We must invest our time in working together in various practical ways to serve, invest and invite those in our lives.


Jesus is orchestrating this event to, firstly, reveal that He is the Son of God and is to be followed. However, He is also showing us this object lesson to teach the method of successful evangelism: If we will listen and obey Him together, we will ‘fish for people’ with the same kind of success.



PRAY AND WORSHIP OUT OF THE BIBLE

In keeping with this aim of developing a personal relationship with God through prayer and worship out of the Bible, we’ll be developing our skill in meditation and prayer using the structure that we are taught in The Lord’s Prayer.


If you look at The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), you’ll see that it can be broken into 4 major themes of Praise (6:9), Petitions (6:10-11), Peace-making (Matthew 6:12) and Protection (Matthew 6:13).


Using the Lord’s prayer structure (below) to help you to pray through Luke 5:4-11.

‘When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a 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. So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.’ (Luke 5:4-11)

1. Praise - What does this text teach me about God? What can I praise Him for?

2. Petitions - What does this teach me about His will for me and others? What could I pray for from this text? This is a good time to pray for our non-believing. friends. It’s good to ask, Is the Holy Spirit leading me in any specific response?

3. Peace-making - Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin for which I need forgiveness? Do I need to forgive others?

4. Protection - Ask for God’s protection generally and for any specific areas of vulnerability. Am I believing lies regarding the truths in this text?


COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Let's be praying and actively preparing to invite friends to our carol service on 5th December. Please make sure this is in your diary

2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?



3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

Running up to our carol service on the 5th December we would like you to spend more time on the SIV (Serving, Invest and Invite) aspect of our time together. Therefore, there will only be fewer questions each week on the Sunday message so as to give plenty of time for praying and sharing about our mission.


On Sunday, we completed the third part of our vision series. Our vision of ‘Bringing people to Jesus - Myself, One-Anther and My Community. This comes out of what we read in John 7:37-38.

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”’ (John 7:37-38)

During this brief series, we’ve been weaving in the words that are spoken of Peter and John,

‘When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.’ (Acts 4:13)

Our message on Sunday was principally focused on how we can help to bring our community to Jesus - reach the people and places that God has given to us.


Firstly, it's as we spend time with Jesus personally and together that the mercy of God and the message of the gospel will flow out of us to our community. People will 'take note' and be 'astonished' if we will seek Jesus in prayer personally and together.


Secondly, we must take faith action. We also talked about our strategy of 'SIV' - Serve, Invest and Invite. We are to prayerfully seek to take practical action to help to bring people to Jesus. Prayer needs to be followed up with loving action in the places and relationships that God has put us into.


Discussion questions

1. Of the three aspects of our vision - Myself, One Another and My Community - which do you find hardest and why?

2. Why does effective evangelism begin with personal and corporate prayer?

3. Did God speak to you, or what do you plan to do in response to Sunday's message or this vision series as a whole?

4. SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories or any plans in this regard?

5. SIV - Who are you planning to invite to the carol service on 5th December?

6. Prayer - Let's spend some time in prayer regarding this week's message and anything else that you would like to pray about.






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