Uniting The Church For His Final Great Call

 

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Luke 5:5   And Simon (later called Peter) answering said to him, Master, having labored through the whole night we have caught nothing (no fish), but at thy word I will let down the net.

Have you ever felt like Peter…that you were out on the open sea ‘without a compass’ in your Christian service for the Lord?   I think we have all been there at times.   What I would like for us to consider from this event is how Peter and a few fisherman’s lives were changed from a night of ‘no fish’ to a life of a ‘heavenly harvest.’

Let’s see what happens after Peter followed the directions of the Lord.

Luke 5:4-7   When He had finished speaking, He (Jesus) said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5  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.” 6  When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7  So they signaled 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.

We see that Peter was all night without a ‘catch’.   After being in the presence of the Lord however Peter went out again, this time following the Lords instructions.   They received  not only a great blessing of fish but a divine confirmation from heaven.    It is interesting to note most fishing boats of that time worked in pares and attached a drag net together for the greater catch (Lk 5:2).  Going out during the day and just ‘dropping’ nets would usually not render a sizable catch.  Peter yielded completely to the Lords direction and received a miracle blessing.

Luke 5:8-11  When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9  For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, ….Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11  So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Incredible true story.   If we view this miracle ‘on the surface’ however we can jump to some hasty conclusions.  To receive  the Lords  abundant catch or fruitful ministry, we might think all we need to do is tell the Lord to show up each morning  to ‘program’ our day.   Better yet, we could suggest having our agenda given to us like a schedule… so we can read it between the sports and entertainment section on our coffee break.   Our life or ministry of ‘no fish’-or no meaningful directions and blessings from the Lord-would thus have a simple fix.    If you are like me though, I have discovered ‘my simple fix’ does not always match Biblical instructions.  There needs to be more days of ‘a great catch’ in my life as defined by this event that changed not only a few fishermen’s lives….but the whole world.   For on this day the Lord activated the church and started a ministry that would open the heavens to all that would receive Him.

John 1:12   Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

The church needs more days of divine direction from the Lord…I need more divine direction from Him…there must be more to this teaching!

A Closer Look At ‘The Great Catch’ On The Sea of Galilee

It is important to note that some of you reading this article may have several ‘fish’ that you are working with in your ministry.    It just may be that there is not enough direction from the Lord, or –as many have said to me-Bill, I just seem to be ‘spinning my wheels in service’.   I truly don’t feel the Lord is standing on the beach calling me to Him with His directions.   I have heard sooo many times sincere brothers and sisters in the Lord saying the same thing…I go out, try my best, but my walk has become such a routine.  Friends, please hear these next words-what so many in Christian service are saying…I feel so isolated and alone when reaching out.   There seems to be a majority of believers  saying the same thing…I need to again feel ‘connected’ to the glory and presence of the Lord…right in front of me-on the shore of Galilee…filling me with His directions and blessings.   I want to be encouraged in the Lord-so I can know He is beside me working in my ministry!

To understand what may be happening to many in church, we need to revisit the shores of Galilee.   Imagine that you are a fisherman with Peter.    Relate this story to a time in your life when you felt the most isolated and alone in your Christian ministry.   You are in the open water at night …and again…empty nets.   The sun comes up and you head to shore-the tedious routine continues (is this close to the way you have felt in your ministry)?   You have heard about this man who many have called a prophet.   Some say He might be the one sent from God, the true Messiah.   The one we have listened to in the wilderness has proclaimed Him to be so

Matthew 3:1-3  In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”… ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ 

You have even been around the one whom they call Jesus on a few occasions…and He teaches so differently than the others.   When He speaks…it feels like the fire from heaven lights inside of my heart.   I do not feel alone or discouraged when He speaks…I feel connected to God Himself.

As you come close to shore you see the One they are talking about.   He is standing speaking to others, but as you approach He gazes at you and your partners in the other boat.   He has set His attention directly to you and your tiny group of fisherman.   He looks at your friends and treats them as if they were the only boats in the whole Sea of Galilee.   Then He gives a simple command.   You look at Him and know instantly this is not a normal request…something incredible-life changing is about to happen.   You feel that that all powers of heaven are with you and nothing in this world can stop this blessing.  Before you cast the nets down…your heart is pounding…not just because you know what is about to come up from the sea…but what is about to be sent down from heaven.   The Messiah, the Eternal  God with Us (Isa 9:6). has chosen to bless you- not only from among the thousands of fishermen one the sea, but also from all the men on earth the at that time!  It is worth reading again…

Luke 5:8-11   When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9  For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, ….Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11  So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Would it be fair to say, if this event happened to us, our ministry meltdown would turn into a ministry rocket!  The God of the Universe has come down and chosen those in your group to be by His side.   Out of all the ages of time, out of all the men (and women) of this world…He has come and sought you out directly.   The magnitude of that day would  not begin to register in our hearts…why us Lord?

As we continue to look at these scriptures, it is important to note that the Bible tells us we all can be part of this calling because the Lord does not show favoritism with His children

Romans 2:11   For God does not show favoritism.

Acts 10:34   Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.    Praise God for this impartiality!  See James 5:16-20

If the above verses are true… and they are, why did the Lord pick men from just two boats out of all the sea of Galilee

Luke 5:2  He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen….

Some historians have indicated that on a given day in Christ time there could be as many as 4000 fishing boats on the Sea of Galilee.   Even if that figure was reduced to the hundreds, why did the Lord focus on some of the men from only two boats?   This part becomes critical to our Christian walk.   This simple number of ‘2 boats’ will give us a important clue for today’s church.

All Christians (those who have been truly born again-in Him) can be part of the group chosen by the Lord (see above vs. Rom 2:11) , but not all Christians have their hearts willing (truly broken and yielded )  to cast down their nets when He does call.

Let’s look again

Luke 5:10-11   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.”
11  So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Theologians tell us that if you had a skill in that day, generally speaking, your either carried that family skill throughout your life or become as a peasant, a worker of the farm.   Hired workers of the land at that time lived in poverty.   Leaving your family and vocation was not an easy task.

As the above scriptures indicate, their hearts were prepared ‘before’ the miracle of the fish (Lk 5:8-11).  Jesus knows the hearts of men

John 2:25   and because he had no need that any should testify concerning man, for he himself was knowing what was in man.

He saw the willingness and true humility of the men in those two boats.   Jesus knew they would be devoted to God with their hearts when He called them.

Jeremiah 20:12   LORD Almighty, you who examine the righteous and probe the heart and mind… for to you I have committed my cause.

We need to ask an important question.   Was it Jesus who excluded the hundreds of other boats from coming to Him….or was it the multitudes who were not truly prepared and broken in heart to heed the His call when He activated the church?  See The Way 

John 6:66-69   From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.  “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.   Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.   We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Of all the thousands of fishermen on the sea that day, many were in the synagogues on the Sabbath.   Many were dedicated and attended service.   Many were fulfilling the Jewish traditions and customs.   Many followed the ways of the Bible and we would enjoy spending time with them.     While all the fishermen were invited to be shown the truth this day (He shows no favoritism Acts 10:34)  only a small group of  men had  hearts  that were truly prepared (broken and  hearing from the Spirit).    They were able therefore to understand the Living Emanuel was on the shore of Galilee.

Let’s stop and think.   If the others knew there was even a chance of this man Jesus being the eternal Messiah, savior…giver of divine and earthly blessings (Eph. 1:3, Ps 67:6-7)-would they not of dropped  everything and  sought  Him whom John the Baptist was proclaiming to be from God

Luke 1:76   And you, my child (John the Baptist), will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,

Only two sets of fishermen were thus truly prepared to hear (and be willing to carry out) this special direction from the Lord.    They were connected to God in a special way and they felt honored to have Him speak to them.   All the boats of the sea were invited, but only a few were close enough in the Spirit to be drawn to the shore.

We can start to see…there is a difference between going to church and being able truly hear a ‘Divine Calling’ for the church.    Doing things…even ‘wonderful things’ that we think might please the Lord, does not put us in a place to hear His special calling for the church.

Deuteronomy 4:29   But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Matthew 16:17  Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

Note:  It is important to point out that being able to discern His divine calling for the church does not mean these disciples (early and current) were perfect, they had very real shortcomings  (Matt 26:34, Acts 15:2 & 39).   They are by no means ‘superior’ or ‘special’ -for a Christian’s works are filthy rags outside of the grace the Lord has for all of us Isa 64:6.  For all born again Christians  are special by our son ship-His eternal gift to us.

1 John 3:1   See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

As explained later, the bible teaches that Christians that hear His divine calling are ones that are keeping their heart awake by abiding in Him.   This remnant group (some with different occupations)  had hearts that were ready to receive this truth (Matt 9:9-13).

Jeremiah 33:3   ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

The Great Call for Today’s Church

Today, we have what Jesus calls a mustard seed church to begin  His ‘Last Great Call’.   This small group will grow into a radiant church that will become the great body of Christ that will touch the heavens with His Glory.

Mark 4:30-32   Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like,.. It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth.  Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

Ephesians 5:27   and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Matthew 5:14   “You are the light of the world. A town built on a mountain cannot be hidden.

This friends, is the only place where our ministry can truly ignite in Gods glory. Pull up your anchor…tell the 1000 (ish) other boats (ministries) you love them but you’re going ashore where He is calling.   Jesus says they won’t understand for a season (until they see your ministry ignites with the other few boats-the remnant radiant church (Jn. 6:66-69, Matt 16:17, Mk 4:30-32).

Tell the other boats…throwing seeds out in the open sea just isn’t working for you…you want to be part of ‘the good ground Matt. 13:8′.    This can only come from being connected with the body of Christ that is awake and can hear from God-for sleeping does not mean you’re dead…it just means you can’t hear Him talking from such a distance.

1 Thessalonians 5:5-6   You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.   So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.

Even though you see the Master in the distance, before you set sail, please… give a compass setting for those you are leaving.   They probably won’t understand now…for they have taken a liking to the company and  gatherings of the other boats.  Make sure you tell them if they are willing to leave everything- if they are willing to leave all the traditions taught by others and –with all their hearts-look away..to the Lord they will indeed find Him like you….on the shore.   This is His promise to you

Jeremiah 29:12-14  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.   You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the LORD,

We must remember, most of those that are out in the sea (ministries at sea) are not evil men, just men that have not invested their lives waiting, watching and praying for the ability to see and hear His great call.  For we all at times have been guilty of not seeing with His eyes.

Romans 3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Those that are have come with you are not proud that they have His voice beside them, but they are sincerely humbled that they have been honored that He has spoken to them about His purpose for His church-His bride.

Isaiah 62:5   As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.

 

How to Set Sail to the Shores of Galilee

We can think of the mustard seed church, or the church that is awake and the church on ‘good ground’ -for the most part- as one in the same.   To make sure we are on the shore when He arrives…let’s look closer at theses verses so that we can know that we will truly be hearing from Him when He arrives.

1) The mustard seed church.

Mark 4:30-32  Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it?   It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth.   Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

For now, let’s keep this teaching simple.   As the above scripture teaches, the church that brings down the kingdom of God with His ‘Final Call’ will start out small, ignite and grow into a haven for all the radiant churches and their true teachings.

 Matthew 5:14  “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

The small remnant church will be made up of those who truly desire to hear from God and will be taught by the Holy Spirit, not the traditions of man.

John 14:26    the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things

 John 4:23    Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

Please see the 1st 4 articles on the Kingdom of God

 2) The Church that is awake

1 Thessalonians 5:5-6   You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.   So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.

Sleeping spiritually always has negative consequences (Isa. 29:10, Rom 13:11-12, 8:11, Eph 5:14, Matt. 24:43-44) .  Sleeping does not indicate spiritual death (we can still have the Holy Spirit) but does mean we cannot hear from the Lord accurately,-and that we can be easily overtaken and off course in our Christian walk.

Our hearts need to be continually activated to truly hear from God.

Psalm 25:12-14   Who, then, are those who fear the LORD? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose. ..  The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.

We have to devote our lives to hear from the Lord.  That was the different between all the other fisherman and the Lord disciples when He arrived.  He made His Covenant know to them.

Personal Note:  To be honest with you, this is one my greatest concerns for the church today.   The Holy Spirit gives Christians ‘windows’ of opportunity to follow His truth and correct their error.   The Spirit will move and try and show them…the Lord is on the shore…go in that direction, or – this teaching is in error, spend your time and search His Word and Heart…cry out to find the truth and I will show you (Jer. 29:13).   Surrender all your ways, goals and attachments and come to Me and I will show you My way, the greater way. (Isa. 55:8-9, Prov. 19:21).  This lack of seeking God, fearing His name will affect all; from the lazy servant to the most zealous…we have to diligently seek His purpose in all areas of our walk.  (Prov. 8:17, Deut. 4:29-31)

See The Remnant Church

3) Church on good ground….

Matthew 13:3-9    Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9  Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

While one can write a book on this passage, we can make some quick observations

Jesus explains the passage in the following verses in Matt. 13:18-23.  We can thus summarize the difference between bad and good ground.

Bad Ground

A) Allowing the devil to come and influence our lives-or steal our seed.  Matt. 13:19 ‘the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path’.

Putting on the full armor of God (Eph 6:10-20) means we live our lives prepared for the daily battle against our enemy the devil.   As we read Eph. 6, we train whole heartily with each part of our armor,  not sleeping spiritually so that  the devil  will be unable plant his tares in our heart.  (Matt. 13:24-26).

B) Not abiding in Jesus the vine and letting the worries of this world turn our heart into rocky hard ground.  Matt. 13:20-22 the seed falling on rocky ground refers to  those who…have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

John 15:1-2   “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful

Good Ground

Good ground are those that bear fruit.   They have to cultivate their soil constantly.   They ‘violently’  turn  over their soil  to rid their lives of sin…continually examining themselves-throwing out  the hard rocks in their lives.  This brokenness of ground (our heart) can thus be open to the Lords seeds of truth and direction, yielding fruit   a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown Matt. 13:8. 

 Summary 

What we are  experiencing today is exactly what happened when Christ first came and activated the church.

Thousands attended service and did ‘wonderful things’.   Many participated in the church and community activities.    Only a few however spent their hours seeking the face of God, desperate to hear from Him…knowing just how weak their flesh is and how much they needed Him-His calling in their lives…

Luke 5:8  When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, … Lord; I am a sinful man!

John 15:5   Jesus said “I am the vine; you are the branches…apart from me you can do nothing.

How many of the thousands of fisherman would have listened to Peter…if he came to them before the time of the Pentecost miracles and  said – Our Messiah has come-and pointed them to the shore, away from ‘their catch’.

Beloved, it is time not to believe in any one article or direction from man….but to totally surrender our catch-our thinking and ministry to the Lord.  To put it at the Lords feet and say Father…I want to know Your way…Your Last Great Calling.   I don’t want to be part of the thousands who have missed Your calling…and have to be dragged to the shore later.   I want to honor You and be the first and not the last to hear from You.   Make my heart and ministry one on good ground…one by the shore with the Lord.  Don’t let me miss Your Last Great Call.

Make this prayer the true purpose of your ministry.   You family, congregation and those who you influence have to be directed toward the truth and nothing else.   If we have not invested our lives, the time and dedication needed to truly hear from the Lord…then how can have the assurance we are leading those we love in the correct direction given by the Lord? (Ps. 25:12-14)

The Holy Spirit does not teach different truths (Jn. 14:26).   We have to be hearing the same call, from Him!  Scripture tells us it is the united church (with the Holy Angles) that work together to dethrone Satan (Rev. 12:7-11)…we have so much work to do.  see 1st 4 articles on the Kingdom of God

Let’s hear the same Voice, the same Call and walk on the same path,  His path.

I can’t wait for those who truly have sought the Lord’s direction…to finally see the great glorious love that will enter their hearts and ministry when the Holy Spirit unites those who are also like minded.

Philippians 2:2  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article.   There will be such a joy when the church unites ‘In His Spirit’ and brings in His Kingdom Glory.   Praise His Name!

 

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