"Come, follow Me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."
John 1. we learn that these men were previously called to discipleship. It was well that they should have a time of fellowship with Christ before they were further called to the service of Christ. Observe how the full idea of the Messiahship was gradually unfolded, stage by stage. Our Lord never hurried. He set a noble example of "doing the next thing;" and all the Divine plan for him gradually but surely unfolded. These men were fishers. Our Lord used a figure which was quite familiar to them, and would be very suggestive. These thoughts would surely have come to their minds. As the fish have to be gathered, to be skilfully gathered, and to be persistently gathered, so have men. Christ wants us to fish for men as, during these long years, we have fished in this lake for fish. Here will come in careful descriptions of the boats, nets, and methods of the fishermen of Galilee.
I. MEN HAVE TO BE GATHERED. Morally, and in view of their independence and self-willedness, men are like the fishes that roam free in the water, going this way or that at their own pleasure. But this freedom is moral peril. There are foes for men in their freedom, as there are for the fishes. Gather the fish and deliver them from their foes. Gather the men into the allegiance of Christ, and so deliver them from evil.
II. MEN HAVE TO BE SKILFULLY GATHERED. Few occupations involve more skill than fishing. The fisherman must judge the weather, decide on his net or line, adapt his bait, and know the habits of the creatures. So the Apostle Paul, as the great gospel fisherman, would make himself" all things to all men." Illustrate by the conversions recorded in the New Testament, pointing out how different were the methods used in each case in order to effect the ingathering.
III. MEN HAVE TO BE PERSISTENTLY GATHERED. Because there is a natural resistance which is too often successful, and must be dealt with again and again. Show where the fisher-figure fails. They who fish for men gather them in order that they may be everlastingly saved. - R.T.
Follow Me.1. Follow Christ as your Teacher.
2. As your Example.
3. As your Friend.
4. If you see to the following what will Christ do?
(D. B. Hooke.)
1. These heavenly fishermen follow Christ personally.
2. They follow Him circumstantially.
3. They follow Him singly, with a single eye.
(H. Cole.)The great lesson of the text may be summed up in this — that successful work for Jesus must spring out of a devout imitation of Him. "Follow Me," etc. In the example of Christ there are two points which it is important to look at.
I. The estimate Jesus Christ gave to humanity in contrast with all the other objects that engaged His attention. In comparison with the claims of man, everything else was regarded as subsidiary.
II. His whole career was evolved from this central conception in regard to humanity. To save men — that was His mission. I must work — that was His motto. These thoughts were always present to His mind. Our grand central controlling purpose must be the imitation of the Master, in striving to become the servant of all.
1. Christian work must so far resemble Christ's work as to be inspired with the soul of earnestness.
2. The possession of yearning pity and interest in humanity.
3. The cultivation of a spirit of large self-denial.
4. Persistency in effort.
5. Prayer. Does this command stir your soul to nobler work and better service, etc.? What is your response?
(W. Kelynack.)I. WHOM? .Not simply a human teacher, but Jesus, who qualified Himself by His earthly life, with its temptations, toil, and suffering, to be the efficient leader of men.
II. How? We cannot follow His person as the disciples did; but we may — Obey His precepts and copy His example.
III. WHY? We cannot direct our own course — there is no leader equal to Christ — if we follow Him we shall be in good company. Only thus can we escape spiritual danger and eternal death.
IV. WHITHER? To God: "I am the way," etc. To heaven: "In My:Father's house," etc.
V. WHEN? NOW. Always.
(Seeds and Saplings.)
(J. B. Brown, B. A.)
Fishers of men.I. The APPROPRIATENESS of the figure. The world is the sea, the scene of their labours.
II. The DUTY TO BE DISCHARGED. This net must be employed — constantly, diligently, skilfully.
1. Let the Christian fisherman rightly understand his net, and the appointed way of using it.
2. Let success be the grand object of attention.
3. Be cheerfully devoted to the work.
4. Our resources are infinite and exhaustless.
(Dr. Burns.)1. To fish well, it is necessary to study the peculiarities of fish.
2. You must go to the fish.
I. What was His call? They were to leave their work that they .might engage in higher work.
II. How shall we hope to be successful?
1. We must follow Christ.
2. We must submit to His teaching and influence.
3. Christ only can qualify us for the work.
1. A fisherman must be acquainted with the sea — we must know the locality in which we have to work.
2. A fisherman must also know how to allure fish.
3. The fisherman must be a man who can wait with patience.
4. A fisherman is one who must run hazards.
5. The fisherman must be one who has learned both how to persevere and how to expect.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
(Dr. d. Harris.)
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