FISH IN SCRIPTURE - NO 2

Reading: John 21:9-19

INTRODUCTION

[a] As a child, I remember, when on holiday, sitting for ages on the edge of a pier, fishing, along with my dad, who grew up beside the sea. If I caught anything more than two inches long, well, I was a wonderful fisherman!

[b] This  morning  we  looked  at  a  few  ‘fishy  tales’  of  Scripture, and this evening, I want us to look at a few more!

[c] Amongst other things, this morning, we thought of how Jesus calls us with the express purpose of being FISHERS OF MEN! WE MUST FULFIL THE CALL!

POINT 1 - THE CURRENCY FISH

[a] I don’t know how many times as a child, I was asked, “Do you think money grows on trees??”

I suppose if you owned an orchard you might say “YES”!

[b] Alternatively if you were a fish merchant, you might say, “There’s money in fish!”

[c] In a Bible incident in Matthew 17, we find the  statement true in a very literal sense.

The first thing we notice is  that  the Conservative or Labour Government didn’t invent taxes - they had them thousands of years ago!

The Bible says Jesus was in all ways tempted like as we  are, and we find in these verses that HE EVEN HAD TAX PROBLEMS!!

[d] Peter comes to Jesus and  says,  “Lord,  the  tax  man’s after us, what’ll we do!”

“Yes” said Jesus, “We’ll need to pay it - GO AND  CATCH  A   FISH!”

GO AND CATCH A FISH?????

“BUT LORD THE TAX MAN.....” “GO AND CATCH A FISH PETER!”

[e] Jesus went on, “You’ll find the tax money in it’s mouth”

Now obviously it took place just as Jesus said, or  Matthew  would not have recorded it here in his Gospel writings!

[f] However, it could only have happened,  if  Peter  firstly believed this very strange statement of Jesus - and then went and proved his faith by catching the fish,  and  then finding  the necessary money in it’s mouth! IT TOOK A STEP OF FAITH!

[g] Very obviously, God in His foreknowledge and  wisdom  had provided the means, long in advance of the actual need. The  only  thing which could stop it happening was Peter’s faith -  or  rather lack of it!

I wonder how many things we miss out on, because we are afraid to step out in faith?

But obviously, Peter laid hold of Christ’s promise in faith  and acted upon it, causing the miracle to happen!

Do YOU believe God’s promises to you? Claim them in  faith, and you will find them true and reliable!

[*] If you're here tonight, and you have not yet had your sins forgiven - He says to you, that "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  (1 John 1:9)

What it takes is for you to step out in faith and take God at His Word!

 

 

 

POINT 2 - FISH OF JUDGEMENT

[a] The children’s chorus says,

Come listen to my tale of Jonah and the whale,

Away down in the middle of the ocean.

Now how did he get there, Whatever did he wear,

Away down in the middle of the ocean.

A preacher he should be at Ninaveh you see,

But he obeyed a very foolish notion

But God forgave his sin,

Salvation entered in,

Away down in the middle of the ocean.

 

[b]  The  story   of   Jonah   and   the   great fish   has always captivated children the world over!

Sometimes we get people saying that whales  can’t  swallow  a man - it would be impossible! Their throat is too small etc.

[c] In 1891, James Bartley went off to catch whales  near  the Falkland Islands, and as an enraged whale turned on the  boat splintering it and throwing it’s crew into the water, he  was recorded, “LOST, PRESUMED DROWNED!”

 The next day, as another boat cut up the whale which they had, by then, killed, they to  their  amazement  found  James Bartley in it’s stomach.

For two weeks he remained a gibbering maniac, after which he began to recover. His skin which had been exposed  to  the whales  gastric  juices,  was deathly   white,   dried   and shrivelled like an old piece of parchment!  (Weekend Magazine - 3/9/93)

[f] If Jonah looked like that after his ordeal, no wonder the people of Ninevah repented when he preached to them!!

He must have looked like a zombie returning from the dead!!

[g] What must it have been like  inside  the  belly  of  that whale? Not very pleasant I’m sure!

[h] Jonah tried to disobey God!

 

Time and time again, I have warned people to be  careful  not to fly in the face of God - because sooner or later judgement will come.

[i] In Jonah’s case, it was  a  corrective  judgement,  which brought him to the right decision - to  follow  the  will  of God for his life!!

LET US LEARN WELL FROM ANY CORRECTIVE JUDGEMENT GOD  HAS  HAD TO BRING INTO OUR OWN LIVES, AND NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES AGAIN!

 

POINT 3 - FISH OF CHALLENGE

 

[a]  In  our  Bible  reading,  we  find  the   Risen   Christ confronting Peter, in the wake of his denial of his Lord, and very  bluntly  asking  exactly  where  Peter  stands  in  his commitment to the Saviour!!

[b] I have  preached  many  times  down  the  years  on  this chapter, and brought out the fact that here, over  this  meal of fish, on the seashore, Jesus was reaching into  the  heart of Peter to find his DEPTH of commitment!

[*] It is possible to sit amongst God's people - that's where Peter was on the seashore - it's where you are tonight!

Peter was partaking of the food provided - it's always good to do that - whether it's spiritual food, or some of the lovely home-bakes so often provided by the ladies of the congregation for those special occasions.

[c] After all, this was the Peter who  had  said,  “Even  if everyone else deserts You Lord, I’ll be true - Why I’ll  even die for you!!”

Yet a few short hours later, he  was  cursing,  swearing  and denying with oaths that he had  even  known  Christ  -  just to save his own wretched skin!!

[*] We must be so careful about the promises we make to God! He never takes them lightly! In fact the bible says, (Deuteronomy 23:21) "When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee."

 

CONCLUSION

[a]  When  we  come  to  God   in  thankfulness and  praise,  are we frightened to  look  into  our  hearts, and say, “Lord you’ve done so very much for me, does my commitment, my love, my dedication for You match up??”

[b] Remember that the Apostle John says, “We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1st John 4:19)

[c] Jesus asks you and me, as He asked Peter so long ago, “HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE FOR ME? CAN I DEPEND ON YOU? DO YOU JUDGE YOUR LOVE FOR ME BY THOSE AROUND YOU?”

[d] When Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me more than these others?" (Phillip's translation of  John 21:15) He was asking that very question!

ONLY YOU CAN ANSWER THAT QUESTION BY YOUR WILLINGNESS TO BE AT THE LORD’S DISPOSAL FOR WHATEVER HE MAY REQUIRE OF YOU!

PERHAPS THERE IS A DECISION THAT NEEDS TO BE MADE ON THIS ANNIVERSARY SUNDAY, AS YOU EXAMINE YOUR COMMITMENT TO THE LORD.

"I'll not turn back, whatever it may cost."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEETING PLAN

 

Song  336                                                  (TUNE 725)

Prayer Chorus -  41 in Happiness & Harmony

Prayer Time

Song 1105 in Songs of Fellowship

COLLECTION & ANNOUNCEMENTS

Song  43 in Happiness & Harmony

TESTIMONIES & CHORUSES

YP STORY

BAND

POEM

Song no 673 in Songs of Fellowship

Song no 897 in Songs of Fellowship

Song no 703 in Songs of Fellowship

SOLO

BIBLE READING    John 21:9-19                   

SONGSTERS

Chorus no 232

MESSAGE

Prayer Song 605                                     (TUNE 193)

Song 45 in Happiness & Harmony (Band)