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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Found Fishing

Steven Furtick - Found Fishing

Steven Furtick - Found Fishing
TOPICS: Easter

You might want to open your Bible to John, chapter 21. If you didn't bring a Bible, that's okay. I brought the biggest Bible I have ever owned. I found this at a flea market the other day. It said "Large Print Bible". I did just turn 43. Look at how cool that is. Isn't that cool? I like it. The words just feel more powerful that big. It's like, "This is the Word of God. We need a 37 font on the Word of God". I like to joke I preach from a big Bible because you're fighting a big battle, and I want to encourage and equip you today to the best of my ability, and beyond my ability, through the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.

The Word of the Lord says this. John, chapter 21. Let me give you verses 1 and 2. Verse 3 is where my message really starts. "Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee". A lot of good things happened in that location over the last three years. "It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 'I'm going out to fish,' Simon Peter told them, and they said, 'We'll go with you.' So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, 'Friends, haven't you any fish?' 'No,' they answered. He said, 'Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.'"

That's good news when you're out there hungry. So let's try it. The Bible says, "When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish". Then verse 7 says, "Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It is the Lord!' As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, 'It is the Lord,' he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water". He's not thinking straight, putting on clothes to jump in the water, but that's Peter. I want to go back to verse 6 for a moment and share with you a resurrection reflection from John 21:6 where he said, "'Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.' When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish". I want to preach to you today about Found Fishing.

Father, I thank you that you always find what you're looking for. May you find faith in our hearts today. May your Word meet our faith and miracles be the result, and the fruit of it will be great. I declare it, and I believe it, and I thank you for it. In Jesus' name, amen.

It's a strange time for the boys in the boat. On one hand, they're happy because he got up. On the other hand, they are a little bit confused about what to do next. The disciples are here in between what God did and what they are going to do next. That is a strange place to be. It's a strange place to be when you realize what he did, but you're left with the question, "What do I do"? I want to be honest with you. These in-between places are the places where Jesus reveals to us, sometimes, the greatest things about himself and, really, about ourselves…in the in-between places. I've heard preachers use this passage to pick on Peter so many times.

I think that's why I like to preach it almost every Easter, because part of me wants to defend the disciple named Peter. I've even heard preachers say here that Peter went back to the boat because he still didn't have faith that Jesus was risen from the dead. Well, that's kind of dumb because he already saw him twice. I think he was pretty sure Jesus had risen from the dead. He went and saw the tomb himself. He was an eyewitness. But that doesn't stop preachers from taking Peter apart. I've heard preachers say everything about Peter. When he said in verse 3, "I'm going out to fish," and they said, "We'll go with you," it almost sounds like he's going back to his old life, what he did before he met Jesus.

So, I hear a lot of preachers, when they preach on this passage, take it there, where Peter is basically going back to the boat, like he's going back to the bottle or something, like there's something wrong with fishing, like the eleventh commandment is "Thou shalt not fish". I'm sure he had a license, so I'm sure it was completely legal, and Peter wasn't doing anything wrong fishing that I can tell, but we like to make it sound like he was going back to some horrible life. I even heard one preacher… This takes the cake. He said, "When Peter said…" (I'm going to do it in a country preacher accent, because those of y'all who go to church here know I love country preacher, because I am a country preacher in my heart.) He said, "I'm going out to fish," and they said, "We'll go with you". They said, "When you go back, you always drag other people back with you," and made it like a bad thing.

Y'all, I saw a skit one time that a youth group did where, in the skit, this girl died in a car wreck, and then she was in hell. She was screaming from hell at her friends who were in heaven, "Why didn't you tell me about Jesus"? I heard a preacher one time after that skit talk about Peter going fishing, that he was such a bad example he led all of these other fellows to hell with him. He didn't lead them to hell. He was trying to feed them something to eat. They had to eat. Why do people get so stupid when it comes to the Scripture that they forget we have practical matters we have to attend to? "No, I just need the Word of God". And you need indoor plumbing. And you need transportation to work. And you need good medicine when you get sick. And you need a good job so one day you can move out of Mom's house and get married and provide for somebody, and you don't have to go live in her dad's basement after three years.

You need a lot of things. You need a lot of things. (Some of you all said that with too much emphasis. I think you offended your neighbor.) Here's the tension in the text that I see. It's not that Peter is going back fishing because he wants to go back to a life of sin; it's just that he's going back fishing because he doesn't know what God has next for him. It's not like he's going back to the meth lab. It's not like he's going back to gang activity. It's not like he's going to a life of crime. He's going fishing. Why? Because we have to eat tonight, and there's no manna falling from heaven that I'm aware of. What else is he going to do but fish? What else is he going to do? Wait around for Jesus to walk through locked doors again? I mean, that doesn't happen every day.

In fact, I think it's kind of cool that he went fishing, because I think maybe there's something deeper happening here than Peter just keeping himself busy while he waits for what's next. I think there's something he's trying to remember and recall that will help him as he waits for his next season to be revealed. God sent me to speak to somebody this Easter. You're waiting for God to reveal to you what he has next for you. You don't really know what that is. You know he has risen, and you know he's real. You believe in God, and you trust in God, and you have a relationship with God. You believe he's capable, and you believe he's great and the stone is rolled away. That's fine, but the stone can be rolled away and you still be stuck.

Now listen to me. This word is not for the people who know exactly what God has planned for you to do. You're like, "Right, because then I'd be dead. I'd be in heaven". Exactly! This is an in-between Bible story where Jesus is risen, but what he has for me has not yet been revealed. This is such an amazing story for us to think about, because in the light of the empty tomb, Peter still hasn't personally been restored yet to the Savior he denied just a few nights ago. It has only been a few nights, remember, since Peter warmed himself by the fire and said, "I don't even know Jesus". It has only been a few nights since he cursed and said, "I don't know what you're talking about. Jesus who"? It has only been a short time since he denied the very one he pledged his allegiance to, his undying discipleship to. It hasn't been that long.

So, not only is he uncertain about the future, but he's still dealing with that thing within himself that kind of feels like, "I let him down". Even though Peter has seen Jesus risen, he hasn't yet received personal restoration for it yet. He knows what Jesus did. "He died for my sins". He knows what Jesus did. "He rose from the grave". But the question isn't what he did; it's "What do I do"? I believe God sent me for a message for a person who's saying, "I know what he did, and I believe in what he did, but I came this Sunday morning wanting to know 'What do I do?'"

As a matter of fact, it's more specific than that. It's a message for somebody who's wondering, "Can he still use me? Does he still want me? Is there still time left for this to be turned around or have I wasted my chance? Did I miss my opportunity? Did I blow it so badly I can't recover? Is the addiction too strong now? Is the hurt too deep now? Did I watch it walk away, and I should have stopped it, but I couldn't? Did I miss it? Is it over for me? I know he got up and the grave is empty, but I kind of feel empty too, because I'm not sure what's next for me". It's an in-between message for in-between people. Raise your hand if you're in between right now. Everybody not raising their hand needs a class on self-awareness, honesty… Do you know what they need? They need a good flat tire after church. I pray a nail under your front right tire on the way home from church. Lying to the Lord like that on his holy resurrection birthday Sunday.

I want to take up for Peter for a moment, just for a moment, and take up for every person under the sound of my voice who believes that what he did is awesome, but there are some things you've done that make you wonder. No, no, no. I'm not talking about just big things. "I've never killed anybody". Neither did Peter. I think the challenge of getting through to you with a message like this… We kind of want an abstract message about resurrection without having to do the real, deep work of saying, "Okay. How do I make this idea that Jesus got up from the dead more than just a special occasion where I take Mom to church once a year, and then I have to come back on Mother's Day too? Sheesh! This is all kind of stacking up. Those are kind of close together".

How do I take this thing of a relationship with God and a resurrected Savior and get it beyond the point of being a special occasion and make it the operating system of my life? How do I get it down deep in me? That's what Peter needs in this moment. He needs a deep encounter with a risen Savior, and he's about to have one. So are you. The Lord spoke to me. He's going to do for somebody today what he did for Peter back then. He's going to restore you. Today, he gave me a very specific word. He said, for some of you, this is going to be a reset Sunday. You all never played the original Nintendo Entertainment System, but if you're playing Punch-Out, and you're getting beat badly enough, the only thing left to do is hit that button that says, "Reset".

I brought my Bible today so maybe we could find a reset button in the Word of God and find a reset button in your situation and find a reset button on this Easter Sunday. Somebody shout, "I'm ready". Say, "I'm ready for a reset". "I don't want to stay just where I was. I don't want to stay just in what I did. I don't want to just carry shame. If he's not in the grave, why is this shame on me? If he's not in the grave, why won't this depression let me go? If he's not in the grave, why am I looking for the living among the dead? I'm ready". When the reset comes, it means there's going to be a brand-new "you" for you to look at in the mirror on Monday morning. I want a Sunday resurrection to get in a Monday morning mirror so that when you look in the mirror tomorrow morning, you say, "Hello, let's go. God has something in store for me". This is reset Sunday.

So, Peter said, "I'm going fishing". They said, "Peter shouldn't have even still had his boat. Why did he keep his boat? See? Peter didn't have real faith. That's why he kept his boat. He followed Jesus, and he left his nets, but he kept his boat, because he wanted a backup plan in case it didn't work out. Then when it didn't work out and Jesus went to the cross, he went back to his boat. If you really want to follow God, you've got to get rid of your boat and burn your bridges and go forward and don't let anything stop you". He kept his boat so he could drive Jesus around so he could preach from it! I don't think he was running from Jesus. I think he was looking for him in the last place he felt confident in his calling. I think Peter was tired of sitting around wishing he didn't do what he did.

You know you can spend the rest of your life wishing and call it repentance? Wishing you didn't do it isn't repenting, and feeling guilty about it doesn't make God feel better about it. He died for all that stuff. So, when Peter said, "I'm going fishing," I don't hear it like he's saying, "I quit. This is stupid. He didn't even tell us what to do next. He dies on us and rises from the dead and makes us look bad because we all ran…except you, John, the one he loves". I love how John gets that in there. He said, "The one he loved turned to Peter and said…" He's talking about himself. I love it.

Now watch this. In your mind you have to smell the fish. You have to smell the fish Jesus is already cooking on the shore. That's verse 9. I didn't read that to you, because I'm on a clock today, and I can't get to verse 9 today, but maybe I will put it on my YouTube channel. Y'all, I've been putting these extra sermons on my YouTube channel. You have to go subscribe. It's these little teachings. I'm going to put more of them out just to help you really get the Word of God, to break it down. It's called The Basin. You have to look for it soon. I might put a part 2 on The Basin. But for today, I just want to talk about…What was Peter looking for when he went fishing? He said, "I'm going fishing," and they said, "All right. We've got nothing better to do". The Spirit hasn't come yet. Jesus hasn't ascended yet. It's that in-between period. "We don't know the next thing. He hasn't told us our next assignment".

So, what do you do when you know what he did, but you can't get over what you did, and you don't know what he's calling you to do? Go fishing. I know it's a controversial Easter message. You used to hear everybody preach about Peter going fishing like he made the wrong move. I think that's the exact right thing to do. See, three years earlier Peter went fishing. Three years earlier, he cast his nets all night long and caught nothing. Three years earlier, he pulled his boat on the shore, and he was cleaning his nets. This wonder-working rebel priest named Jesus Christ of Nazareth pulled up on him and said, "Can I use your boat to fish? But I'm not fishing for what you're fishing for. I need to catch some people". Peter was like, "Uh, is that legal? Do you have a license for that"? He was like, "Yeah, I have the license. I'm the Lord of heaven and earth. I am the Word that existed before time began. I am the Word made flesh dwelling among… I've got a license to fish. Push out a little".

They pushed out a little, and Jesus preached a little. Then he said, "Now push out a little more," and they pushed out. Jesus said, "Now that I've got what I'm looking for, I'm going to show you what you're looking for. Throw down your nets". When they dragged them up, Peter wasn't happy; he was scared. He said, "Oh, no! This is bad. If you knew those fish were in that water, you know the sin that's in me". And he fell down at Jesus' feet and said, "Go away from me, Lord. I'm a sinful man". Jesus said, "I'm not going anywhere but inside of you to show you what I put in you. I'm going to make you a fisher of men". He knows what's in you, the good and the bad. He knows what's in you, the gifts and the weaknesses. He knows what's in you, the trauma and the testimony. He knows what's in you and chooses you and calls you.

That was three years ago, three years before that moment Peter would deny him, three years before that point that Peter would disappoint him, three years before he would let him down. Three years have gone by, and Jesus has done amazing things, including but not limited to the healing and opening of blinded eyes; including but not limited to the loosing of tongues; including but not limited to the raising of dead people after their body was already stinking and covered in maggots and wrapped in grave clothes, and everybody else gave up and started crying and went home to comfort the sisters. He did all of that, and Peter denied him. Peter said, "I'm going fishing". It makes you wonder. Was he fishing because he lost his faith or was he fishing so he could find it again?

"I remember three years ago when I let him use my boat. I remember three years ago when I put out a little and he started teaching. I'd never heard anybody teach like he taught. He taught with authority, but he was gentle, but he was commanding". Maybe Peter wasn't saying, "I'm giving up". Maybe he was saying, "I'm going back". Before we judge him, before we penalize him, before we tell him how he should have sold his boat, and we don't even come to church when it's rainy outside… (Look straight ahead. They won't know I'm talking about you. Watch the screen. Watch the screen.) Peter said, "I'm going fishing, because I was fishing when he called me".

If you don't know what to do, do what you know to do. But don't run from what God has put right in front of you. There is some stuff you can't run from forever. So go fishing. I know you thought you came to church today, but you really came fishing. All right? Those of y'all who sat in the front row, if you get splashed, it's not my fault. This is the splash zone. I might spit on you if I get fired up, but it's holy spit, because I'm fishing. I'm fishing for somebody today who God wants to reach and teach and preach to. Who are you? God has had you in a season where you haven't known what's next. God has had you in a season where perhaps you even thought it was over. Maybe even other people said it was over. Maybe you think there's no way forward after what you did, and here comes Peter to tell you, "No, no. If you will go back to the place where you saw him do a miracle…"

If you will go back to a place of childlike faith… If you will go back to the word you know to do… You know enough. You just have to get back to Galilee and go fishing. You just have to praise him. You just have to rejoice in him. You just have to thank him. You just have to wait for him. He's looking for you. He's not waiting for Christ to come find him on the couch. He said, "I'm going fishing. I'm going to do some stuff". You know, you can psych yourself out sometimes and be like, "I don't know what to do". You do. If you don't know what to do about that, you know what to do that will help you know what to do about that. I'll give you an example, a great example, if I say so myself. I think getting in a place of gratitude is one of the most important skills you develop as a grown-up person in life or as a growing Christian.

How many of you know I'm right about that? Don't make me work too hard. You might not even believe in the crucifixion and the resurrection, but just speaking from a human, practical wisdom standpoint, the best way for me to make a decision about what I don't have or what I don't know is to be thankful for what I do have and what I do know. All right. So, how come we know that, but we don't do that? Why do we get up in the morning sometimes…? I'm just asking the question because it is Easter Sunday morning, and Jesus did appear in the morning. Why is my morning routine sometimes looking at stuff that's going to stress me out? Why do you get on Facebook first thing in the morning and fish for something to be offended about? If you know that going on your phone first thing in the morning, scrolling past the app that says "Holy Bible" and scrolling to that hellhole called Facebook or Twitter or… I can't even say, "Instagram". The spirit of Saul comes on me. I feel spears flying at my head.

I'm saying that you will find what you fish for in this life. I'm saying if you're looking for a reason to be down today, you can find six, and the Devil will line them up and put them on a buffet. But if you're looking for a reason to praise him, if you're looking for a reason to give him glory, do this. "And let everything that has breath…" Let everything that's still standing, and let everything that's not tied down, and let everything that has been forgiven, and let everything that has breath… Come on, we're fishing! Let's pour out praise. Let the Devil know it's the third day! He got up! God is looking for a praiser. God is looking for a worshiper. God is looking for a grateful daughter, a grateful son, a grateful fisherman. I can do it anytime I want. I learned the secret of being content.

If I'll go down inside of me where God is… You say, "No, God is up there". You missed the whole point of Easter. He got up so he could send the Spirit back down. Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world! So all I have to do is fish for it. High-five Bartholomew next to you and say, "We're going fishing". Come on, you're going with me. You're not staying down in that pit. I see you crying, but you're not alone. This is church. This is the body of Christ. God sent a word into this house to raise you up! Come on, you be Paul, I'll be Silas, and let's give him a praise! Confuse the Enemy. Give him a praise! I'm going fishing. This is great, because when you talk to your friends who don't like church or think Elevation is a weird cult church, or whatever like that, you don't have to tell them you came to Elevation today for Easter. Just say, "I went fishing on Easter". "What did you do Easter Sunday"?

You don't even have to brag to them and say, "I heard a hermeneutical masterpiece of a sermon out of John 21, which transposed the resurrection of Jesus Christ over the restoration of Simon Peter, his beloved disciple". Just tell them, "I went fishing". When they ask, "Well, did you get anything"? ask them, "How long do you have? Because what I got I can't contain in a cute little two-minute list". I got goodness. I got mercy. I got healing. I got joy. I got the oil of gladness. I got blessings, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over! My nets are heavy. My heart is full. My life is saved. I've been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb! That's what Easter is. I feel like fishing now. God, thank you for waking me up this morning. God, thank you for giving me another chance. Thank you that everybody doesn't know all the dirt they could know on me. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for clothes on my body. Thank you for food on my table. Thank you for those snacks in my pantry. Thank you for it, Lord.

Somebody say, "Thank you, Lord". Thank you for songs to sing. Thank you for a melody at midnight. Thank you for my wife in her hot pink Easter suit, looking good, giving the word of the Lord. She's holy and hot. She's burning up hot. I'll catch you like a fire. Woo! I've got something on the line, y'all. Help me pull it in! Thank you for my big print Bible. Thank you for a size 50 font word from almighty God! That's why he went fishing. That's why he showed up. Jesus had an appointment with Peter. Peter wasn't the only one fishing that Sunday. Do you know how I know? Because what Peter did when he realized it was Jesus… Nobody does this stuff if they're in their right mind. Nobody does this stuff if they're in control of themselves. That's why some of you all are like, "I didn't plan on standing up during church today. This is not normally how I worship God".

When that Holy Ghost gets a hook in you… You can try to look mad, but I see joy coming up. You can try to look hateful, but I see hope coming up. You can't fight it. Can I show you verse 7? Watch what Peter did. Peter went fishing. We know that. But watch what else happened. Verse 7: "The disciple whom Jesus loved…" Humble brag. "…said to Peter, 'It is the Lord!' As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, 'It is the Lord,' he wrapped his outer garment around him and jumped into the water". Question, Easter Sunday church Elevation 2023. Question, eFam around the world. Question: Did Peter really jump in or did something pull him? Question: Was Peter the only one fishing? So, who else was fishing? When he looked on the shore, he saw somebody. He should have known who it was the moment he heard his voice. He knew that voice. That's the voice that said, "Lazarus"! and a dead man got up. He should have known that when this voice speaks, you can't stay where you are.

All of a sudden, something happened to Simon. He no longer was fishing for what he did wrong. He no longer was fishing for what might go wrong next. He no longer was fishing in the sea of forgetfulness where God had cast all of his sins. All of a sudden, when he heard it was Jesus, something started pulling on him. I think Jesus is the real fisherman in John, chapter 21. I think while Simon was doing this with his nets, Jesus was doing this. Because he knows how to reel me in. "Oh, Pastor, there's no reel in the passage". You're wrong. You're just spelling it wrong. You're spelling it with two Es. I'm saying R-E-A-L. God is bringing the real me in, the new me, the one that not only knows he got up… I feel the Spirit of God pulling on someone right now, saying you thought you were going to church, but you're really not even the one fishing.

It's God who drew you here. It's God who wants to give you a reset, not just so you fish on the right side of the boat but so you live on the right side of the empty tomb, so that you live forgiven, so that you live free, so that you live knowing there's a God who knows all that is in you, and he's greater than all of it. I see Jesus still on the shore today. It has been 2,000 years since he pulled Peter in, but maybe today is the day he's pulling you into his kingdom too, because he has an assignment for you. He wants to change you and remake you, and this is your moment. This is your moment. He's reeling you in. Right now, stand to your feet, everyone standing. The Spirit of the Lord is drawing you.

That's why you're still breathing. That's why your heart is still beating. Although you denied him, he cannot deny himself. He is faithful. You thought you were coming to the lake looking for fish. He came to the lake and caught fish before you got here. Breakfast is already cooked. You don't have to pay for anything. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet of his mercy, but you have to come. How much more will he have to do? He died for you. Don't you remember what he did on Calvary when he stretched his arms, when he took every sin you would ever commit, all of that stuff, and cast it to the bottom of the sea where he posted a "No fishing" sign, saying, "Their sins and lawlessness I will remember no more".

But this moment is not about him fishing. This is a moment about you coming. He has been looking for you. He has been calling for you. Your grandmother has been praying for you. God brought you here today; I didn't. God had you log on to this message; I didn't. He's fishing for you. He will leave the 99 to find the one. Are you the one? Bow your head and close your eyes. I'm going to pray a prayer right now for those who are at that moment of decision, and you want to give your life to God today and receive his life in you, to be forgiven of your sin and have a brand-new life, to commit your life to him. Right now, I'm going to pray, and I want you to repeat this prayer out loud after me. If you're ready to come to God or come back to God, I want you to pray this prayer out loud after me, church family praying for the benefit of those who are coming to God in this moment. Repeat after me.

Heavenly Father, today is my day of salvation. I'm a sinner in need of a Savior, and I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and today I make Jesus the Lord of my life. I believe he died that I would be forgiven and rose again to give me life. I receive this new beginning. I am a child of God.

On the count of three, if you prayed that, shoot your hand in the air. One, two, three. Jump in the water right now. Let's celebrate. The lost is found. The dead are coming alive. The chains of sin are broken. The chains are broken. The grave is empty. The blood was enough. Let's take about 23 seconds and celebrate the greatest Easter day, the greatest decision ever made, that God became sin that we might become the righteousness of God. Lift every hand! Lift every voice! Lift every heart! He is not here; he is risen!
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