INTRODUCTION / STRIVING ON YOUR OWN IS UNSUCCESFUL)
Morning. Happy July to you.
David Sorn. Welcome to Renovation Church. I’m the Lead Pastor here.
A few years ago, there was a man named Jack who was walking along a steep cliff when he accidentally got too close to the edge and fell.
On the way down he grabbed a branch, which temporarily stopped his fall.
He looked down and to his horror saw that the canyon fell straight down for more than a thousand feet.
He couldn’t hang onto the branch forever, and there was no way for him to climb up the steep wall of the cliff.
So Jack began yelling for help, hoping that someone passing by would hear him and lower a rope or something.
He yelled for a long time, but no one heard him.
He was about to give up when he heard a voice.
“Jack, Jack. Can you hear me?”
“Yes, yes! I can hear you. I’m down here!”
“I can see you, Jack. Are you all right?”
“Yes, but who are you, and where are you?
The voice said: “It’s God, Jack. I’m here to help”
“Oh Great,” said Jack. “What do I do? Please help me. I’ll serve you forever if you help me”
God then said, “Here’s what I need you to do, Jack. Just let go of the branch, and I promise, you’ll be okay. I have a way to get you out of this.”
“What??” said Jack
“Just let go of the branch, trust me.”
After a long silence, finally Jack yelled again, “Help! Help! Is anyone else up there?”
That’s a good example about how we often feel about God’s advice in our lives.
And we’re going to look at story of that today in the Bible as we continue in our Lost & Found series on the Gospel of Luke this morning.
We are now in chapter 5 of Luke
We’ll see that Jesus is beginning the process of calling his 12 disciples today.
(Luke 5:1-11) - NIV
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Ge-NES-sa-ret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Okay, so we’re told that Peter and his coworkers, have been out all night fishing, and haven’t caught a thing.
Then, presumably that next morning, after Jesus has taught the crowd, Jesus asks Peter to put his boat out into deep water, and let his nets down for a catch.
Keep in mind Peter is a PROFESSIONAL fishermen…
He’s not like most people in MN who fish 15 times a year a think they’re professional fishermen…he does this every single day.
It’s how he makes a living.
Peter says, “Um…we’ve kind of been at this all night already. The fish aren’t biting.”
Don’t miss the truth in that verse:
When you try and do it on your own…your efforts will often come up empty.
How many of you are stuck there right now?
You’ve been striving and striving and striving, and you’re not getting anywhere.
But in all honestly, you’ve been doing this on your own…you’re not ASKING for God’s help.
WE DISOBEY BECAUSE WE THINK WE KNOW BETTER
Now Peter, could have had a long list of reasons to say “no” to Jesus’ request to put out into deep water and let the nets down again.
Like we said, he’s a professional.
He knows where the fish generally are in the sea of Galilee, and at what time of day they’re usually there.
His experience, and what he knows with his natural mind, are maybe saying to his brain right now, “Hey, don’t trust the carpenter. You know better.”
And I want to tell you this morning, often we don’t obey God…precisely because…we think we know better.
Why else would we disobey God?
Let me give you a few examples:
You know God wants you to be in church every week to worship Him?
So why do you go 20 times a year instead of 52?
Well, some weeks, we don’t come because, well, we know better.
“It would be better if we caught up on sleep
“It would be better if we got stuff done around the house
“It would be better if we got over our colds first
But God says clearly in Hebrews that we are not to forsake the habit of meeting together.
Or another example: You know God and Scripture speak very plainly about being generous with our money…giving 10% back to God.
And yet, the majority of Christians do not.
Why? Well, of course we know better.
“We need to just take care of ourselves first…our bills”
“We know better because our situation is different…more challenging.”
Is it more challenging than our Christian brothers & sisters in Rwanda who tithe? Or Haiti?
Behind every act of disobedience is the idea of, “I’m not going to obey you here God, because, I know better”
Think of Peter the fishermen here…because it’s particularly hard to trust God if he’s calling you to obey in an area you already deem yourself an expert.
Like at work.
God may be telling you to get a different job
But maybe it feels like a demotion or less money…and you think, “Hmm, God, I know that this isn’t good for me.”
Or God is challenging you as a parent…and you think, “I kind of think I know my own kids”
Well, not as well as God knows them.
Peter thought he knew the Sea of Galilee well.
Guess who knows where every fish in the world is?
Yeah, that’s right, Jesus.
See here’s the thing we have to brand into our minds.
We never know better than God. Ever. It’s impossible.
And yet, one of the things that disturbs me as the pastor of this church, is how many Christians (even in this church) blatantly disobey God.
I’m not talking about just sinning.
We all sin…
I’m talking about when you KNOW what the Word of God says about marriage, about sex, about getting drunk, about what you watch with your eyes, about being grateful and not complaining…
We KNOW what God says…
He says, “Put your nets down over here…Live THIS way”
And we say, “Nah, for my particular situation, I know better.”
We always do this!
We always think we know what’s best for us.
The world tells you, “YOU know what’s best for YOU.”
THAT’S A LIE!
GOD knows what’s best for you!
Anytime we say, “I know God’s Word says to do this, but for me, I can’t because….it’s different…”
Anytime we do that…it’s rebellion against God
Don’t try and reclassify it any other way.
It’s rebellion because it’s like saying: “I oughta be sitting on your throne and calling the shots.”
And that oughta make you shake in your boots a little bit.
Too many of us are not living as if He’s our Lord…as if He’s our Master.
Look at what Peter calls him in verse 5…because this is KEY to why Peter is able to respond in the RIGHT way.
He says, “MASTER…we’ve worked hard all night…”
Peter is already calling Him Master.
And he’s right to do so.
The moment you become a Christian, you’re turning your life (all of it) over to Jesus.
You’re committing to trusting Him in everything.
I’m not saying you’re going to do this perfectly (you won’t)…but that’s the deal you make.
This is 2 Corinthians 5:15
(2 Corinthians 5:15) – NIV
And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
And if you’re saying, “Jesus, you gave all of you, but I’ll give you just part of me,” I doubt you’ve ever actually surrendered your life to Him.
THE “BECAUSE YOU SAY SO” LIFESTYLE
If you’re living a surrendered live, you should desire to say this:
(Luke 5:5) – NIV
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
Because YOU say so…
This is how you live as if Christ is your true Lord and Master
You say, “This doesn’t make much sense to me…but…BECAUSE YOU SAY SO”…I will do it.
Where is this not happening in your life right now?
Where are you falling into sin…because…you’ve decided it just feels better to not obey
Where are you not listening to that call God has on your life…because it feels like it would be hard…or wouldn’t make sense?
This is a hard word for us as modern-day Americans because we are generally people who just want to be safe and happy.
A few months ago, I told you a little bit about Gary Haugen, who started the Christian organization that fights sex trafficking called “International Justice Mission”
He wrote this in one of his books, and I think this oughta just stab the heart of every Christian parent…and even every American Christian:
After we have poured into our children all the good food and shelter and clothing; after we have provided them with great education, discipline, structure and love; after we have worked so hard to provide every good thing, they turn to us and ask, "Why have you given all of this to me?"
And the honest answer from me is, "So you'll be safe."
And my kid looks up at me and says, "Really? That's it? You want me to be safe? Your grand ambition for my life is that nothing bad happens?"
And I think something inside them dies. They either go away to perish in safety, or they go away looking for adventure in the wrong places. Jesus, on the other hand, affirms their sense of adventure and their yearning for larger glory." – Gary Haugen
And that glory, is when you trust him, and let down your nets where he says to let them down.
We wouldn’t say it this way, but for most of us, our life’s ambition is to just be “safe and happy…with of course, a little bit of pleasure and entertainment on the side.”
And anytime God’s will for your life rubs against that…
And it feels like it would be too risky to leave your family to go to Rwanda for 11 days…even though He’s calling you…
Or too scary to share your faith w/ your co-worker
Or too hard to give up some of your painful habits
We decide we’re going to ignore Jesus’ call to go out to deep water, because we’d just rather by HAPPY, RIGHT, and SAFE
But THAT is not the Christian life.
That’s more like, “I’ll run my own life, and do what I think is best for me 98% of the time until I run out of options, and then maybe I’ll try God’s way”
That’s putting yourself first.
That’s saying, “I’ll obey if it’s comfortable; I’ll obey if it’s good for me and my family, if it makes sense to me”
But again, that’s you on the throne.
I don’t what they told you, but Christianity is not a self-help initiative to make you more comfortable on the throne…
Christianity is the death of you, and the rising of Him.
Christianity is… “Wow God, it sounds like obeying you here could be uncomfortable and not make any sense, but BECAUSE YOU SAY SO, I’ll do it”
Let me give you another example of this:
Many of you know that our summer baptism is coming up in just 2 weeks.
And there are a lot of you in this room that are believers in Jesus and haven’t been baptized as an adult believer yet.
Many of you are new believers, some of you are not.
The Bible commands us to be baptized.
We’re to make disciples of all nations (that’s us too), and what are disciples supposed to do?
Be BAPTIZED in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Baptism is public sign that Jesus has washed away our sin.
And it’s such a powerful symbol.
Our baptism service is my favorite day of the year.
And this is a great example…The Call from Jesus to be baptized is really clear.
Doesn’t get much clearer than this: Get baptized.
But like a professional fishermen, we tell Jesus how it really should be. We say, “Well, let me tell you why, FOR ME, letting my nets down in this particular case is not a good idea…”
“I was baptized as a baby” (which the Bible says absolutely nothing about)
“I’m not ready yet”
It’s not about being ready. Most people got baptized within hours after they believed.
Or we say, “It might make my family members uncomfortable”
I used to say that, and I was wrong.
After all, doesn’t Jesus say in Matthew 10:37, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me?”
Again, the Christ follower says, “Because YOU say so”…I’ll do it.
Do we believe it’s the Word of God, or is it just another book?
Let’s start living like it’s the Word of God.
“Because you say so” ought to characterize our lives as Christ followers
For many of you, God has called you to intercede and pray for your family member who doesn’t know Christ.
And you’ve been praying for your sister, your son, your husband…for 10 years…and they’re still not saved…and you’re thinking of just giving up.
You’ve been fishing and toiling not just all night but for 10 years…with no fish to show for it.
But the Christ follower says, “Because YOU say so…”
“God, because YOU say to keep praying, because you know where all the fish are in the sea…
I’ll keep praying.
When we were in Rwanda, a number of our team members faced difficulties.
Beyond missing home, being in a different culture, some got sick, others faced spiritual warfare, and one team member (Chris Clay) even got kidney stones while we were there.
He had to miss 2.5 days in the middle the trip because he was in the hospital in Rwanda…where he had his stones removed.
And at the end of the trip, when we were all reflecting on the trip, Chris, very powerfully, said to our team:
“You know, obviously this is not what I expected…or what I would have planned out for my trip…but we saw 3,400 people come to the Lord. And if I had to go through it all over again, I would. It was worth it!”
That’s the “because you say so” lifestyle.
It says, “Lord, even if it’s going to cost me something, Because YOU say so, I will go”
That’s the story of Scripture is it not??
Abraham sets off across the desert to some land he’s never even seen because in faith, he could say, “Because you say so…”
Noah builds an ark with no water in sight and with crowds mocking him every day, because his faith led him to respond with “Because you say so,” I will
Scared old Moses walks up to the most powerful man on the planet, Pharaoh, simply because after the burning bush, all he could say was, “Because you say so”
It’s the same with Joshua, and David, and Esther, and Nehemiah.
They obey because they trusted God.
And that’s key.
I don’t want you to hear “Because you say so” as some sort of prudish obedience to a heartless task master.
It’s all in the inflection.
It’s not (teenager voice) “because you say so”
It’s…because YOU say so…I will.
One of the phrases I’ve started using with people in the last year or so, is the phrase, “You’re the expert, you tell me”
So if I’m talking to my mechanic, and he’s telling me my options, and says, “What do you want to do?”
I always think, “How should I know? You’re the expert?”
When I’m talking with my doctor, and he says, “What do you want to do?”
“Why are you asking me? What would you do? You’re the expert!”
See, we submit to God’s will because He knows what’s best for us.
He’s the expert on how we should live our lives.
And you’re not just turning your life over to a certain life-philosophy.
You’re turning it over to a person.
A person who loves you.
A person who died in your place for your sins.
And so I want to surrender in obedience because YOU (the one who loves me) says to do so.
YOU HAVE TO LET DOWN YOUR NETS
And so what if you did this more?
What if you let God take you out to deep water (like our passage says)?
If you can trust God with obedience…even when it doesn’t make sense or you don’t even want to…know there is a blessing in that.
One of the ways we’re doing that as a church right now is by planting another church, our 4th church.
Next Sunday we’ll be revealing to you its location and pastor.
But listen, most churches nowadays (in fact 96% of them) don’t want to plant churches, because it isn’t all that glorious.
It doesn’t build your own kingdom.
But our heart isn’t to build the kingdom of Renovation, but the Kingdom of God.
And this is not with out sacrifice
We give $30,000 of our offering every single year, just to start churches of whom most of their people won’t even know we exist.
We’re going to send a number of you out to start this new church.
Our finances will go down, some of you whom we love will go, our attendance will go down.
These are things that pastors avoid like the plague by the way. J
But what’s our vision?
TO be a people, being changed by God, to (grow the attendance of Renovation, j/k) change the…WORLD.
And we believe, that if we obey God, even when it costs us, that there will be a miraculous catch.
God moves when we step forward.
Notice that Simon Peter still had to first let down his nets.
He had to walk out obedience first before the miraculous catch came in.
If Peter had not obeyed, there probably would not have been any catch.
I suppose Jesus could have had the fish just jump in the boat, but that’s not usually how he operates.
We need to let down our nets first in obedience.
The fish were there all along…even the previous night when Peter didn’t catch any of them.
But when you let Jesus into your boat…and you start obeying HIS direction…you starting putting your nets down…because HE said so…you’ll see Him move in your life.
Too many of us are saying, “God, move, move, move, bless me, bless me, bless me.”
And he’s saying, “I will, but you’re going to need to come in the deep water and put your nets down first!”
Too many of us are missing God’s movement in our lives because we’re unwilling to walk in obedience first.
We’re not yet willing to live a life of “Because YOU` say so”
And so I encourage you to, maybe even for the first time in a long time, let go of all of your circumstantial excuses, let Jesus take you out to the deep water (where you maybe don’t even think you should (or want) to go), and let down your net.
And I guarantee you that if you start to live like this, you will see God’s miracles in your life.
When you let go of the branch or let down your nets…and you let Him guide what you do…
You’ll find that you’ve never felt more useful, you’ve never felt a deeper satisfaction, and you’ll find that your life is bringing more and more glory to God.
Where you do you need to start letting down your net?
Where do you need to start saying, “Because You say so, “ I will.
Trust Him. Let down your net.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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