Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Learners - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Learners - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Learners - Part 2
TOPICS: Church On Purpose

It's a privilege to be with you today. We're going to conclude our study on "Church On Purpose". We're specifically talking about being learners. I want to give you an invitation, because there's a temptation for those of us who sit in church routinely. We wanna imagine we know it all. We don't think we know it all, we just think we know all the important stuff; and when we envelope that attitude, and we embrace that, we shut ourselves off to significant changes that the Lord would invite us to. So, I want to invite you to become a beginner again, to become a learner, to say to the Lord, "I wanna have the same wonder of a child. I wanna learn to hear your voice in a new way, to say yes to you with new courage". If we will do that, God will write a new chapter for our story, and we will see his Kingdom extended and Jesus' name lifted up. Grab your Bible, open your heart.

Now, I wanna take the minutes we have left, and we have minutes, and take one event from the ministry of Jesus, and see if we can glean from it some lessons that will add some momentum to our own journey; after all, we're Jesus-people, more than we're church folk, we're Jesus-people. The story is in Luke chapter 5. I selected this one, because it's such a critical part of the disciples' journey with Jesus. This is the recruitment event for Peter, James, and John, the three disciples that Jesus is closest to. They will be his inner circle. And this is the event that really brings them on to the team. They're gonna spend three years following Jesus. They're gonna see miracles, and travel with him, and hear him teach, and watch the whole thing. They will see him arrested, they'll see him die on a Roman cross and be buried in a tomb, and they will see the resurrected Lord.

But after the resurrection, the events of this miracle are duplicated; it happens a second time to them, almost the identical story we find with the disciples and Jesus post-resurrection. The first time it happened, it was their recruitment, they were being recruited to be Jesus' disciples. I think the second time it happened, they were being recruited again, but this time to be advocates for Jesus in a whole new season: Jesus is leaving. And this time, they understand he's commissioning them for a whole new assignment. Do you believe Jesus is still recruiting disciples? I do. I wanna be one of those. I don't wanna give you a nickel to play church, I'm not interested, I'm really not, but I have a passion to be Jesus' follower. He's changed my life. I want to cooperate with him more fully, and I think this little narrative will help us with that.

Let's look at it. It's Luke 5 and verse 1, it says, "It happened that while the crowd was pressing around Jesus and listening to the Word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret". Turning pages. It's the Sea of Galilee, "and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake, but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, which were Simon's, and He asked him to put out a little away from the land. And He sat down and began to teach the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, 'Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.' And Simon answered, 'Master, we've worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.' When they'd done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so 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. And when Simon saw that, he fell down at Jesus feet. 'Go away from me, Lord, for I'm a sinful man!' For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they'd taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, 'Do not fear, from now on you'll be catching men.' And when they brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Jesus".

Pretty straightforward story, it's not complex or complicated, the words are simple, but it's a transformational story, and I just wanna walk through it with you quickly. In that first verse, it says that there was a crowd that was pressing around Jesus and listening to the Word of God. There's a large group of people, it's the beginning of Jesus' ministry. He's on the shores of the Lake of Galilee, and the crowd is such that the sight lines aren't good, so, Jesus borrows a boat and says, "Can we push out a little bit into the water? I can sit, and they can see, and it's a better opportunity". But in that original collection of people, the crowds are gonna grow in the months and the years ahead, 'til they're numbered in the thousands; but on this particular day, it says there was a crowd, and they were listening.

And there's some that are gonna be learners. There's three components in that audience that day. There's the people that are the crowd, they wanted, they've heard about Jesus, they've heard something, there's something going on, they wanna see what it. They're a part of the crowd. There's some that are listening, they're actually paying attention; they're trying to decide. But then there was a smaller group of people that are the learners. They're the ones that are gonna be changed by this day. They're gonna walk away from this encounter to a completely different life.

Now, I would submit to you, when we come on the weekends, we come in the same way. There's a crowd, there's a group of people that heard it might be fun, "I wanna go see what it is, I'm a little curious". There's some that come to listen, they're gonna evaluate and use their brain, we're kind of like Olympic judges, is it good or bad, and how would I score it? And then there's people that are learning about Jesus. And those people go away being changed. Not at one time, but many times, time after time, with a greater insight, a greater understanding, with a more fully yielded, we're learning to follow Jesus.

Now, just some simple observations from what happens that day. In verse 3, I'm sorry. It says, "Jesus got into one of the boats which was Simon's, and he asked me to put out a little way from the land. And he sat down and began to teach the people from the boat". Simon's at the center of this story. And it seems to me that it's because he's available, and then he gets invested that he's gonna get to the outcome. He doesn't get to the outcome if he isn't available, and he's not willing to make a little investment. He's not the only boat here. This is the northern end of the Sea of Galilee. It's the most fruitful part of the lake for fishermen. There are warm springs on the northern end of Galilee until today; it makes the fishing better. The towns you know from the Gospels: Capernaum, Bethsaida, Chorazin, Migdal. They're all little towns, fishing villages on the northern end of the Sea of Galilee. It was the area of the lake where the fishing was the heaviest, it's where the fish were.

So, I promise you on this day, there were many boats lining the shore of the lake. This is a God moment. This is a divine appointment. Jesus says to Simon, "Could I use your boat"? You can't help but wonder if he'd asked somebody else. Luke didn't include the people that said, "No, it's not a good day for me". Simon was available, and he's willing to make some investment, "Yeah, you can". He fishes at night, he's fished all night, he's finished his work shift, he's headed home. It's time for him to rest, and now an itinerant rabbi wants to borrow his boat for a presentation. Don't you know, he was psyched to get to hear a sermon? "Yes, you can use my boat". Verse 4, "When he'd finished speaking, Jesus said to Simon, 'Put into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.'"

Now Jesus is giving him a personal invitation. A minute ago, he wanted to borrow something from him, but now he's getting an invitation. "Peter if you'll put your boat out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch..." Okay. Jesus didn't invite everybody else with a boat to do that, he didn't say, "Hey, this is a great time to catch some fish," this is a personal response to Simon. It's a response to Peter's investment. See, sometimes we want God to respond to us when we have not responded to God. That's a very easy posture to slip into. See following Jesus adds momentum to what God can do in your life. We don't follow perfectly, we follow rather haltingly, truthfully, but we create God opportunities. "Peter, let out into the deep water, push out into the deep water, let down your net".

Jesus is still extending invitations, if we're willing to be available, and we're willing to invest ourselves. In verse 5, Peter responds... I love Peter, it's the same response that would have rolled out of me. He said, "Lord, Master, we've worked hard all night, and we didn't catch anything". He said, "You know, I appreciate you, nice sermon, good message. Several good points, I wrote two or three down. I'm gonna like him on my Facebook page. That'll get some traction this afternoon. But maybe you didn't know, I worked all night. You know, we fish at night here". That's true. Sea of Galilee's fresh water; they fish at night. It's more productive. He said, "We worked all night long; we didn't catch much. It's not the right time of day to fish, bless your heart". He had reasons.

You know, I find I often have reasons why God's instructions to me seem kind of goofy. Lord, I heard what you said, but let me explain to you why I was right. How much time have I spent making my case to God? How he doesn't understand how hard I've worked, how little the fruit may have been. Why he should pay attention to me in a different way. You trying to talk God into agreeing with you; good luck with that. You know when I get really desperate, I start quoting his Word to him, like he doesn't remember it. Like if you can find a more obscure verse, God's gonna go, "Oh, I forgot that was in there". But look, the last half of verse 5, it's where the whole story changes. "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as you say and let down the nets".

Peter's got a big mouth, and it fires too quickly, but he has a unique heart. "I'll do what you said. I'll do what you..." Do you know how hard that is? I have a friend that's a fisherman, I mean he loves to fish. Fishing's okay with me, I like fish, but I mean, he loves to fish. Yeah, he said to me one time, he goes, "Would you go fishing with me"? And I said, "Sure". I thought Stone's River or Percy Priest. He showed up the next week and said, "I blocked out three days". Well, no, I could crawl the Stone's River before three days. He said, "No, we're going to the Gulf". Wow. "We drive all night, we can be on the water in the morning". Wee.

So we went fishing, and it occurred to me as we're heading out into the Gulf, he was not looking to me for direction. And if I'd a said to my friend, "My friend," not a stranger, "I think we should do it this way," the compliance factor would have been zero. Well, Peter has a carpenter in the boat, and the carpenter is telling the professional fisherman how to get a good catch. And Peter tries, he said, "Lord, I worked hard all night, bless your little heart. But because you said so". Nobody else is going out with Peter, he's the only boat; can you see him? He's already cleaned the nets, they're folded in the boat. He's gotta take a couple pulls on the oars to get out into the water. His friends are going, "What's he doing? Does the rabbi wanna go for a ride"? And they see Peter reach over for the nets, and they go, "He has lost his mind".

I'm thinking James and John are making fun of him at this point. You know the story, we read it together. Verse 6, it says, "When they'd done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish and their nets began to break, and they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come. And they came and filled both of the boats so they began to sink". Two crises. The nets go over, and the fish start to strike the net. And they start to pull the nets into the boat, and the nets are breaking, they're so heavy with fish. So, this is more than a single person operation now, so he's calling for James. "I need help". So now they're climbing into their boats to go out and help their friend. And now when they get there, and they're filling the boats with the fish, now the boats are sinking. Net breaking, boat sinking blessings; sign me up.

Now I often time (and I encourage you to do it), when I read the Gospels, I'll put myself into the crowd, the narrative. I try to imagine what's going on. This story is more difficult for me. I can't quite decide whether the guys are working so hard to get the nets out of the water, that they're just hot and sweaty, and they're not really paying much attention. Or maybe there's an accountant in the group that he's already run the numbers on the bottom line, "This is gonna be a great payday. Could we bring the rabbi fishing tomorrow"? Maybe they recognized a miracle's going on, and they're doing it almost in an excited way. I'm not sure on this one. Some miracles are easier for me to understand.

Remember the story where they fed a multitude with the little boy's lunch? Jesus said to the disciples, feed the crowd, and they said, "We don't, you know, it'd take eight months wages". And he says, "Well, what do you have"? They said, "We got one boy's lunch". And Jesus said, "Well, tell the people to sit down in small groups". And then it said, "He took the food, and he blessed it, and he gave it to the disciples and said, 'Serve the people.'" Well, that miracle, I got a little more, let's imagine I said to you, "I'm gonna feed everybody lunch. I have a Happy Meal. Okay? French fries for everybody".

The health nuts, just go with me for a minute, okay? Well the people on the front row, you know, Cary might have some hope of a French fry 'cause I'm standing here, and I got a Happy Meal, and he's close to the front of the line, so, he's in pretty good shape. The second row might have some slight anticipation, because you never know, there might be extra fries. But if you're on the third or the fourth row, you're thinking, you know, this is a stupid idea. But if I start sharing the food I have, and I clear the fourth row, and they get French fries, and I get all the way back here to you, we're having a party 'cause we're like awake that something's going on.

You know, at the end of that story, it says they picked up 12 basketfuls of leftovers? You know my opinion why they did that? It wasn't because they were environmentally friendly, and they didn't want to leave any organic matter in the field. I think they wanted to see just how much food there really was after everybody ate. I think they were aware that something crazy was going on. Well, in the boat this day, it's not that clear to me. I'm not quite certain what they're all processing, but I can see Jesus in my imagination. He's sitting right there where he was when he was teaching the people, just grinning. "Did you fish all night, Pete"? Do you think Jesus is talking just a little smack? "Is this where you fished last night"? Same spot. "Maybe you oughta get James and John out here. Hey fellas. Pete's needing some help. Your boat's sinking". Net breaking, boat sinking blessings. Don't tell me following Jesus will diminish your life.

Verse 8, it's where the real change comes. It's a harder change than the fish part. When Simon Peter saw that, saw the fish, he fell down at Jesus' feet and said, "Go away from me, Lord, for I'm a sinful man". Peter was just as sinful an hour before as he was now; he just has a new awareness. You see, what Jesus will bring to our lives is a new awareness. We'll be the same person in the same world, but we'll have a whole new awareness. We'll see ourselves differently, we'll see the people around us differently. And there's a God space that comes into that. "Go away from me, Lord". And Jesus in his grace and mercy does just the opposite. He says, "Not only am I not leaving, I wanna ask you to come follow me. Let's spend more time together".

You see the things that you and I imagine separate us from God, commend us to him. Our great failures, our tendencies towards ungodliness, we don't have to hide them, the Lord knows about 'em. And if we're willing to follow Jesus, he will help us overcome them. It's a wonderful, wonderful invitation. It's a life changing thing. And then I love verse 10. It says, "Jesus said to Simon, 'Don't fear from now on.'" That's a timing phrase. Those three words, you oughta circle them, "from now on". "Peter, you started the day as a fisherman. You lived on the northern end of the lake, and you spent your nights fishing, but from now on, you'll be catching men".

And when they brought their boats to the land, they left everything and followed Jesus. And for three amazing years, they followed him through the hills of Galilee, they followed him down the Jordan Valley and up to Jerusalem. They follow him to the Mount of Transfiguration. They followed him to the cemetery where Lazarus was. They followed him down the Mount of Olives. They followed him into the garden of Gethsemane. And he needed a friend, and they all ran. At a distance, they followed to the foot of the cross. And on resurrection morning, they followed the invitation of the women, and they ran to the tomb. And they saw Jesus again that evening. They went back to Galilee, and they were in the boat, and Jesus said, "If you'll drop your net on the other side". They didn't know who he was, until the fish began to strike the net. And John said, "It's the Lord".

You wanna know what Pete did that time? He dove in. He said, "Y'all can haul fish if you want to". And that time they get a commission that changes the rest of their lives. Folks, the greatest honor we have is being considered in the church of Jesus Christ, to prepare the way for the people. I know we have day jobs, we're butchers, and bakers, and candlestick makers, and we have families and assignments, but don't ever be apologetic, don't ever be ashamed, don't back up, don't back down. We are Jesus-people in the earth, and it's the highest privilege of our lives. Amen. I brought you something. We close every service with prayers, prayers with one another and for one another, and I don't want to diminish that, but I wanna give you something to take with you this week, in an intentional way.

I brought you two passages of Scripture. You know your words have authority? Your words carry with them spiritual authority. Some of us have jobs and life assignments where our words have authority, maybe political authority or legal authority. You may be a judge or a police officer, or you may be working some place where your words have authority over people. You may be an umpire or referee. Some of you may think your words don't have any authority, but everybody's words have spiritual authority, everybody's words.

Now, I know that idea can be misused and leads you into some goofy places, but it doesn't diminish the truth of that. I learned a little phrase as a child. It went like this, that sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. It's a nice phrase, but it's a little childish 'cause I think we can heal more quickly from a rock thrown at us oftentimes, than we can some of the words that are thrown at us. Your words carry authority. Now, if it's true in the negative, I promise you it's even more true in the positive. And what I want to encourage you to do is use your words so that the purposes of God may have fuller expression in our world, so that we don't spend all of our energy just complaining or criticizing or saying, "Why"? But we actually give our strength. You see, we have a limited time here and a limited number of opportunities to even use our words. The Bible describes us as flowers.

Now flowers are beautiful things, but when you see a flower in the field, you don't think, "Oh, I wanna come back in three years and take a picture of that". You understand it's a temporary expression of something remarkable. Well, you and I are here on a rather short-term assignment from God's perspective. So, to use our words for his purposes is a sacred trust. Now one way to do that is to say what the Word of God says about us. And I brought you two options. We're gonna say one of them together, but let me explain them. Sometimes you're having a great week, everything works. Your laundry folds itself, you know, it's just one of those weeks, just God bless 'em, every, you get one of those, and if you're having one of those weeks, you don't want to ignore God.

Success is more dangerous than failure, 'cause you get, "Me do it" syndrome, and you think, well, I don't have to pray this week, I'm working, look at my laundry. And if you're having a good week, I brought you a proclamation. It's from Psalm 145. There's just 7 verses. Say them out loud for yourself every day this week. And then sometimes you go through weeks that aren't so great, it's a bit more of a struggle, a lot of reasons. Sometimes it's physical or financial or emotional; a lot of reasons struggles come to lives, they come to all of our lives, and sometimes in those places, it's tempting to say, "Well, you know, it doesn't help anyway, why should I pray"?

And I wanna to make that proclamation with you this morning. All right, if you're having one of those perfect weeks, you can just say it with us, all right? Just make it an investment against the week that could come. But why don't we stand together, and we're going to read Psalm 86, the first 10 verses together as a proclamation over our lives. But I wanna give it to you as an assignment, if you'll accept it, to take it this week and, in your life at least once a day this week, you take the passage that makes the most sense for you in that day as a proclamation of God's intent for your life. Use your words to unleash the authority of God. Amen?

All right. Let's read Psalm 86: "Hear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am devoted to you. You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me. Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God". Amen. Hallelujah.
Are you Human?:*