Last April 15, I was privileged to speak at the all church camp 2009. Here is the outline of the message the Lord allowed me to give.
Text: Matthew 4:18-20
Title: Walking With Jesus in Soul Winning
Introduction: In verses 12 to 25, we see Jesus starting His earthly ministry. Christ established His church with the calling of the twelve. With that, they were also given their job descriptions, what they were to do. The 4 Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) are also known as the synoptic Gospels – meaning telling one story from different angles.
This account is also found in Mark 1:16-20. Here we are studying the account of Matthew.
I. The Enlisting of Soul Winners – v18
A. They Were Busy Men – “they were fishers”
“Walking to Galilee” – Not for his recreation and diversion, or by accident: but on purpose to look out for, and call some, whom he had chosen to be his disciples.
Peter and Andrew had already met Christ. This was a call to service.
40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
Fishers – Of this mean employment were the very first persons Christ was pleased to call to the work of the ministry; men of no education, who made no figure in life, but were despicable and contemptible: this he did, to make it appear, that they were not qualified for such service of themselves; that all their gifts and qualifications were from Him; to show His own power; to confound the wisdom of the wise; and to let men see, that none ought to glory in themselves, but in Him.
Until a man makes himself nothing, God can make him nothing.
It’s always the busy people who Christ is looking for.
B. Jesus’ Call To Them – “follow me, and I…”
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The Only alternative to Soul Winning is disobedience.
“Follow Me!” is a call to obedience. It is no mere invitation, but an imperative command.
You may do a lot of “good” things in the church but if you’re not involved in soul winning.
II. The Equipping of the Soul Winners – v19
A. Following the Lord – “Follow Me”
He is our Example.
1. Indicates a Priority of Devotion –
They are to follow the Lord, have a heart for Him!
Follow me – Christ was telling them to “receive my doctrines, imitate me in my conduct – in every respect be my disciples.”
“Follow me is the same expression as rendered in Mark, “Come ye after Me” (Mark 1:17). We are to Pursue God, follow after God!
1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
Hudson Taylor – In great measure, according to the purity and perfection’s of the instrument, will be success. It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus.
Spurgeon – The best training for a soul-saving minister is precisely that which he would follow if his sole object were to develop the character of Christ in himself., The direct road to success in saving souls is to become like the Savior. The imitation of Christ is the true art of sacred rhetoric.
True soul-winners are not self-made, but Christ-made.
Our Goal is God
We never make goals out of the by-products of serving God. Our goal is to please the Lord.
Great by-products such as Blessings, Growth, Fun
Blessings – ’tis the Blesser not the Blessing. It’s His presence not His presents.
Fun – Great by-products. But poor goals.
Growth – Growth is not the goal, God is the goal. God gives the growth. We don’t worship growth we worship God.
Our Goal is growth in our relationship with the Lord.
Growth that does not flow from a fixed heart in the Lord is not growth at all it is mere excitement. Excitement is good but that is not growth.
You can have a crowd – Circus can gather crowds, but they don’t have the Word of God!
When you sacrifice Truth for Growth/Work – That’s wrong. When you compromise the truths of the Word of God for gain… that’s wrong.
2. Indicates a Fixed Focus on Christ- “Me”
He was to be their example, the center, the reason, their purpose, their love, their passion.
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
You ought to have an audience of one! – How do I please Christ!
Never let people set the agenda, let God set the agenda.
They were not to create new methods of fishing, but to follow him.
B. The Lord Alone Enables Them. “I will make you…”
It was not their own strategies of fishing for men.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
2 Cor. 3:5
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
Note – is our strength!
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
III. The Emptying of the Soul Winners – v20
A. They Forsook Something.
That is, as soon as he had called them, they left their worldly employment, and followed him; they gave up themselves to his service, and became his disciples; they not only left their “nets”, but their fishing boats, and fishing trade, and all that belonged to it, even all their substance; and also their relations, friends, and acquaintance.
1. Their stuff. “nets”
Christ call was a call of sacrifice & suffering.
As Soul Winners, we are to prioritize Soul Winning in our lives.
2. Their Future Plans- fishing
21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
B. It was done Immediately. “straightway”
4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
Jonah – 5 Days too late.
called to Nineveh. Backslid to a ship to Tarshish. You know what happened…Whale… repented, went back… Great revival.. but he was 5 days too late.
All who died in 5 Days went to hell…
Talk about wasted years… God counts wasted days!
Note – We will give an account for those backslidden days we could have gone Soul Winning but did not because we were so busy making money.
Conclusion: Enlisting, Enablement, Emptying.
May God continue to speak to our hearts to Follow Him as He leads in fishing for men! Let’s be faithful!