This week I read Luke 5:1–13 [passage at the bottom], in this passage we see Peter struck by the glory of God in such a way that made him fall on his face and worship. Peter had been fishing the entire day [if you didn’t know Peter was a professional fisherman]. He got to the end of the day and he was exhausted. To make matters worse, he didn’t catch any fish! I imagine that Peter isn’t very happy when Jesus walks up to him and says, “hey Peter you want to go fishing?” [paraphrase mine] Out of obedience Peter agrees and they catch a tremendous amount of fish. Now, most of us read this story and miss the point- the point isn’t if we obey Jesus we will get stuff. The point is that God was showing Peter [and by extension, you and me] that when we are at the end of ourselves God tends to do his most amazing work. Why? Because that is where trust begins. You see, we can summarize up the entire Bible in a few words and one of those is dependence. God cares so much about you that He graciously reminds you that you cannot live independently of Him. After Peter falls on his face in amazement Jesus reveals the purpose of his fishing exposition. He tells Peter that all of the fish they caught was simply an analogous exercise to show us that if we trust God and follow Him we will see an abundance people come to faith. He tells Peter that in the same way that they caught all of these fish he will be a “fisher of men.” Peter’s only response was to fall on his face in worship.
This year has been an amazing year. At the Summit Church, we have made our mantra, The Year of Disciple Making. By labeling the year this way we have set out to have everyone at the church share the Gospel with at least one person and [by the grace of God] see numerous people come to faith.
It is the middle of May and I have personally witnessed God move in people’s lives and draw them to Christ. On Easter Sunday I had the privilege of sharing the Gospel with an UNC professor, who came to faith and was baptized with her boyfriend on the subsequent Sunday. As a matter of fact, we had the privilege of baptizing 143 people on April 23rd. That isn’t simply a statistic, it is 143 people who have names and stories and had their eternities changed by the Gospel.
This is amazing, but it shouldn’t be all that surprising because we are talking about the God of the universe. When we come back to the Gospel and realize the meta-narrative of the Scripture that God created the heavens and the earth, he created us uniquely and set his affections on us, that he pursued us and loved us even when we were unlovable, and ultimately God put on flesh to live a sinless life and restore the relationship that we broke by rebelling against Him. When I think about that God it amazes me that we haven’t seen 10 fold the number of people come to faith.
So, here is my conclusion: If we want to see our world changed by the Gospel we first have to be struck by the amazing love of Christ again. Isn’t it true that we talk non-stop about the things we love? I love football and I love my family, these two things have arguably had the most effect on my life [outside of my relationship with Christ]. If you spend any time with me you will hear a lot about football and my family. I will tell you everything there is to know about my sweet little girls and how they have turned me into a major softy. Why? Because they’re my world and I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without them. Have you been struck by the Gospel? Can you imagine your life without the awestruck joy found in your relationship transformed by the blood of Jesus? Do you talk about sports more than God? If so, you may need to revisit the Gospel and ask God to open your eyes to His amazing grace. When we are struck by the beauty of something we cannot take our gaze off of its’ splendor and we will talk much about it. I wonder what difference it would make in our world if believers were so in love with Jesus that we talked passionately about him everywhere we went.
Can you imagine what our city, nation, and the world would look like if we would stop trying to change the world on our own and were simply struck by the love of God. We could infuse a unity into our cities that the world has never seen. We could express the love of God by how we serve one another and we could show the world that the joy they are longing for is not found in things but in the person of Jesus Christ.
Are you weary like Peter? Jesus says, good now trust me and I can do amazing things through you. In this year of disciple making, I want to challenge you to take God at his word and begin again in the Gospel. Go back to the beginning to the things you know so well and be struck by the simple yet amazing message of the Gospel. You were dead and have been made alive through Christ.
The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. [Luke 10:2]. This means that God is prepared to do amazing things in our world if we will simply fall in love with Jesus and speak about the thing that we love.