BEING CAUGHT IN THE NET OF SALVATION
BEING CAUGHT IN THE NET OF SALVATION
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
5 FEBRUARY 1995
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
1 Samuel 24:1-7
In our Bible lesson for this morning, Luke 5:1-11, we are given an example of evangelism that is similar, in a way, to that of fishing, or more precisely being fishers of people, with the net being the word of God.
Let's listen to these words again.
1. Now it came about that while the multitude were pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret;
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the people of this community crowded into this church, today, as they crowded around Jesus on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, which we may better know as the Sea of Galilee?
But we have to consider one other point.
Were they all gathered there to hear Jesus' words, that they might be saved?
Or, were they there out of curiosity, or for the entertainment aspect of the gathering?
The correct answer is probably both.
2. and He [Jesus] saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them, and were washing their nets.
3. And 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 multitudes from the boat.
The crowd was so tightly gathered around Him that he had to go out in a boat so that he could speak to all the people who gathered there, and not just the few who pressed tightly around Him.
The "Good News" of salvation is for everyone.
4. And when He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch."
5. And Simon answered and said, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but at Your bidding I will let down the nets."
Sometimes the requests of the Lord may seem like foolishness, for we have already tried the same things on our own without success.
But, as with Peter, we must be willing to try again.
6. And when they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish; and their nets began to break;
7. and 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.
When the Lord asks us to do something, we shouldn't fear, even when the results seem overwhelming.
The Lord isn't going to ask us to do something that will cause us harm, even though I personally struggle over the harm brought upon the fish.
8. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"
9. For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken;
It is here that the real catch is found.
The fish really have very little to do with this lesson, other than the fact that being fishermen, Peter and the others would realize the significance of what was taking place.
And because of this miracle, Peter realizes that the Lord Himself is in his presence, and that he is not worthy to be in the Lord's presence.
Peter is convicted to the very depths of his soul, and thus he repents.
10. and so also 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."
11. And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
But people consider themselves much smarter than fish.
Most people, when they see the net of salvation being lowered near them, flee, lest they be caught in the net and, as they think, lose their freedom to do as they please.
They don't want to change the lifestyle they have become accustomed to in this corrupt world, a lifestyle conforming to the will of Satan and not the will of God.
They don't realize that true and everlasting freedom begins only with our conviction of being a sinner, and our repentance, when we are caught in the net of salvation.
In 1 Samuel 24:1-7, we are told about two types of nets, so that we may be able to distinguish between them.
1. Now it came about when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, saying, "Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi."
2. Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats.
Saul was trying to trap David in the net of his destruction, that he might kill David, as the fishing net brings death to the fish.
3. And he came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of the cave.
4. And the men of David said to him, "Behold, this is the day of which the Lord said to you, 'Behold; I am about to give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.' " Then David arose and cut off the edge of Saul's robe secretly.
David could just as easily have killed Saul, as he was intending to kill him; but he only cut off the edge of Saul's robe.
He wanted Saul to understand the difference between them: that he wouldn't kill Saul, as Saul was seeking to kill him.
5. And it came about afterward that David's conscience bothered him because he had cut off the edge of Saul's robe.
6. So he said to his men, "Far be it from me because of the Lord that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the Lord's anointed."
7. And David persuaded his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul. And Saul arose, left the cave, and went on his way.
The net of salvation is intended to catch people alive, not dead.
David had already been caught in the net of salvation; and in the conviction of his heart and soul, he realized that any deception, no matter how innocent, is not the thing to do.
David was convicted by the word of God, much in the same way as we are told in Hebrews 4:12-13.
12. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
No matter how hard people try to fight against the word of God and avoid the net of salvation, they still are aware of the truth; for as we are told, the Lord sees the intent of the heart and the motives behind every action.
Our job, as followers of Jesus Christ, is to lay down the word of God, the net of salvation, upon our community, and beyond, with love, and without hypocrisy; that some might be convicted in their hearts and souls, and thus be saved and brought to the Lord.
And even though the previous harvest has been poor, who knows what will happen the next time we let down the net?
Keep the faith, and the harvest will follow.
Your Comments are welcome
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