How To Make Your Net Work Anywhere

Jesus’ first disciples were fishermen. And, I want to say that all of the disciples today should be fishermen. I want to talk to you today on this subject: “How To Make Your Net Work.” I don’t know of anything more thrilling, more exciting, than to know that God can use me, and God can use you, to be a fisher of men. There is no greater fulfillment on this earth than to bring somebody else to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. How we can be fishers of men?

Soul winning is fishing for men. Now, when we fish for fish, we take fish out of a beautiful life into death. But, when we fish for men, we take men out of death into a beautiful life with the Lord Jesus. And, Jesus was the one who said, “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)

Now, the Bible says that, just before He called these men to be fishers of men, Jesus was preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Do you know what the word gospel means? It means “good news.” What is good news for? What do you do with good news? You tell it!

I believe that if you will get these several thoughts riveted into your heart and in your mind, then God will you to make your net work.

I. We Need To Become The People Whom Christ Has Called

I want you to see the people that He called, and then believe that God can use you. Look in verse 16: “Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew”—when the Bible says Simon it means Simon Peter, the big fishermen—“he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:16–17)

Now, whom did Jesus choose? fishermen—ordinary fishermen, common fishermen. They were Galileans. The Galileans themselves were known as being kind of crude, as we would say, backwoodsy people. They were rough, untutored, common men.

What does that tell us? That tells us that it is God’s plan to take ordinary people. It is God’s plan to take ordinary people and to do extraordinary things through them.

We should not insult our Lord by saying He cannot use you. God’s plan is to take ordinary people, and to do extraordinary things through them, and then to get glory for Himself. He chose fishermen. Now, is there anybody more unlikely to have been used mightily of God than Simon Peter, the big fisherman?

Rough, uncouth, given to foul language and cursing, always talking when he ought to be listening—about the only time he ever opened his mouth was to change feet—and God took Simon Peter, and He used him. And, Andrew—you talk about an introvert. Andrew, why, you never even hear about Andrew except that he’s Simon Peter’s brother. And, God took these two unlikely people. Now, listen to me: He did not choose them for what they were. He chose them for what He could make out of them.

Jesus said, “You come after Me, and I will make you to become…” He’s the maker of men. “I will make you to become…” He did not choose them for what they were. He chose them for what he could make out of them. “I will make you to become…” See, you don’t understand what God can do with you. You don’t understand the ability that God has. It is an insult to God for you to say that God can’t use you. That’s an insult to God. That’s not humility, because you are saying, “God you can’t make something out of me. You can’t do it.” Don’t call that humility. It’s an insult to the Deity when you say that God can’t use you.

Russell Conwell was the pastor of the Baptist Temple, or Temple Baptist Church, in Philadelphia, back at the turn of the 20th century. He was a gifted man and a man that had compassion on other people.

They were saying to Russell Conwell that there were young preachers and young men who need to be educated who don’t have the money, and that we need, us a university, to educate these young men. Russell Conwell had the idea that he would found, and did found, Temple University. And, here is the way he founded Temple University. He raised the money for Temple University by giving one speech 6,000 times. The title of that speech was “Acres of Diamonds.” He raised $7,000,000 giving one speech! In those days, $7,000,000 was a lot of money. He raised $7,000,000 and founded this university.

In the Acres of Diamonds speech he told the story—a true story—of an African who heard about the diamond mines that were discovered in Africa, and how people had made millions of dollars by discovering diamonds. This man longed to be rich, and so, he sold his farm and set off to discover diamonds. He traversed Africa looking for diamonds. He never found the diamonds that he looked for. And finally, at the end of his life, in dejection, and failure, and despair, he threw himself into a river and drowned himself. He died by suicide. But that’s not the end of the story. The man who bought the farm, one day, was walking across the farm, and passed the stream, and he noticed an unusual looking rock in the stream. He reached down and picked it up, and that rock was a magnificent diamond. He discovered that the entire farm was studded with diamonds. It became one of the richest diamond mines in all Africa. This man who sold the farm was standing in the middle of acres of diamonds, and he didn’t know it. He sold his diamonds to go off and look for diamonds when he was standing in the middle of acres of diamonds.

This is how God made you—God uniquely crafted you; God uniquely gifted you. And, God has given you spiritual gifts and abilities that He Himself wants to develop. You say, “Oh, if I could only sing like, only talk like that person; if I only had that gift, if I only had that ability.” I am telling you, God has placed you in the middle of acres of diamonds, if you would only see it.

God chose ordinary people and did extraordinary things through them. Now, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, were used mightily of God—and so much that they were used to turn that known world upside-down. They came against the intellectual top waters of that day, and the Bible says they couldn’t understand them.

And, the Bible says, in Acts 4, that when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, they marveled and took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus: “When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) Now, Jesus had made something out of them. He had kept His word: “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)

God can use you. Don’t insult God by saying He cannot use you. See the people that He chose; and believe that, if God could use Peter and Andrew, then God could use you to do His work.

II. We Need To Belong To the Purpose That Christ Has Commissioned

But not only do we see the people that He chose, but we also see the purpose that He has ordained. Jesus says this: “Follow me, come after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” Now, what was the purpose of the Lord Jesus, when He was here on earth? Why did He leave the glories and the splendors of Heaven? Why did He come to earth through the portals of a virgin’s womb? Why did He live among us? Why did He walk the dusty shores of Galilee? Why did He preach and teach and heal? Why did He suffer and die? Why did He bathe this world with His blood? Luke 19:10 tells us: “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10)

That’s why He came. His heart is a missionary heart. His heart is a soul winner’s heart. “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Now, see if my logic is correct. If you are a follower of His, then His purpose will be your purpose. Does that make sense? Sure., if you are a follower of His, then what His purpose is will be your purpose, right?

A man who says he is a follower of Jesus Christ and is not a fisher of men is a liar. A woman who says that she is a follower of Jesus Christ and is not a fisher of men is a liar. Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” And, I’m saying, dear friend, that you see the people that He chose, and then you see the purpose that He ordained. “You follow me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” And, if we are not fishing, it is because we are not following. John Wesley said, “You have only one business on earth—that is to save souls.”

III. We Need To Believe The Promise That Christ Has Communicated

What is the promise again? Listen: “Come after me and I—the Lord of Glory, the Sovereign Savior—I will make you to become fishers of men.” That doesn’t mean you are going to become a fisher of men overnight. You have to learn how to fish. You have to have someone to teach you and someone to guide you. If you will submit yourself to Him, then He will make you to become. It is a process. We must start that process somewhere and let the Lord teach us.

This is why I wrote, HOW TO MAKE YOUR NET WORK. Let me give you an example of what He can do. We read where Jesus here is going to pay His taxes, and He told his disciples—He said: “Go cast a hook in the water.” And, He said, “You’ll catch a fish, and the fish will have a coin in its mouth.” (Matthew 17:27)

Jesus told them exactly what to do. But not only did He tell them exactly what to do; He also had to tell that fish what to do, didn’t He? Isn’t it wonderful that He works on both ends of the pole? Jesus is the one; He’s the master fisherman. Jesus told them how to do it, and He told the fish. He guided the fish. That’s wonderful!

Now, we have the same idea, in Luke, chapter 5, beginning in verse 1:“And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret”—that is, by the sea of Galilee—“And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.” (Luke 5:1–3)

The people were so close to Him. He needed to get away so He could speak to them. So, He got out in this little boat—and He sat down, and He preached.

Now, after He’d done this, now notice what happened: “Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon”—that’s this same Simon that we were talking about over in Mark—“Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught”—that is, for a catch of fish—“And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they caught a great multitude of fishes: and the net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken.” (Luke 5:4–9)

Wouldn’t you like the Lord to do something in your ministry that would astonish you? I mean, that we would just want to fall down at His feet and say, “O Lord God, look what You’ve done.” They were astonished. Now, these were professional fishermen. They were blown away by this. “And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; that from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” (Luke 5:10)

It is obvious that Jesus performed this miracle to teach them a lesson about fishing for men. He wasn’t just interested in a lot of smelly fish. But, He says, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” Now, notice here what our Lord did. See the promise of God and understand that He can do it through you. Here are several steps to get us started:

A.  Launch Out Into the Deep

In verse 4, He told them to launch out into the deep. That’s where most of us are going to fail. We are never going to launch out. We’re never going to get started. We’re going to sit here today, and we’re going to take notes. And, we’re going to listen, and we’re going to say, “Amen.” We’re going to nod our heads, and we may even shed a tear or two. But folks, we’re going to have to launch out. You’re going to have to say, “By the grace of God, I am going to get in the boat and get that boat off the shore.

We have to launch out. We have to launch out into the deep.” We have to go fishing. We have to make up our minds that we are going to launch out. Now, most of us would rather be keepers of the aquarium, rather than fishers of men. I mean, we are glad to come here in this beautiful aquarium and say, “I’ll teach a Sunday school class or whatever,” but we’ve got to launch out. Every Christian is to be a missionary if only to the supermarket. Launch out. We must say, “By the grace of God, I’m going to do it. O God, I will—I will.”

B. Lean Upon Jesus

Depend upon Jesus. Now, look in verse 5 of this chapter here. Simon Peter “said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” (Luke 5:5) There are two words that I want you to underline. The very first one is the word “we,” and the second one is “nothing.” “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing.” Didn’t Jesus say that, without Him, you can do nothing?

Now, it’s not necessarily that they were lazy. I’m talking to a lot of folks here who have endeavored to win souls, but you don’t win any, because you are working in the energy of the flesh. You need to depend upon Jesus to do something supernatural. And, let me tell you what the bridge to success is: The difference between failure and success is that word nevertheless: “nevertheless at thy word…”

We are getting ourselves lined up with the Lord. We are going to bring the Maker of men into this. We are going to bring His dynamism into this. Soul winning is not going out and doing something for Jesus. Soul winning is Jesus doing something through you. That’s the reason Jesus said, “You come after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” There’s a supernatural dimension to it.

I want Christ to be in me working. Christ was in this. It is very obvious, now. You must depend upon the Lord Jesus Christ. “At thy word”—I’ll do what You tell me. Do you pray, before you go out to win souls? The man who goes without praying is a fool. The man who prays without going is a hypocrite. The man who prays and goes is a soul winner. I mean, dear friend, to go without prayer is foolish. To pray without going is hypocritical.

C. Let Down the Net

Let down the net. Do you know what the net is? It is the gospel. We tie knots and build a strong net. No knots; no net! We connect with others so we can connect with the world so a harvest can be caught! We have to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Do you know what’s wrong with so many of us? “I just want people to see my life, and, when they see my life, that will lead them to be saved.” They are not saved by your life; they are saved by His death. That’s the gospel. “How that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day.” (1 Corinthians 15:3–4) You’ve got to share the gospel.

Now, suppose you are a fisherman, and you’ve come back from a fishing trip, and I say to you, “Did you catch any fish?” and, you say, “No, but I influenced quite a few.” It is not just going out and living among people. You have to launch out, and you ought to be as discreet as you can be.

You’ve got to let down the net. You’ve got to be able to tell the story of Jesus Christ. You may say, “I don’t know how.” Well it’s about time you learned how. If you don’t know how, then don’t use that silly excuse very long, because you can learn how. It is not very complicated, especially when you know that the Lord Jesus Christ is working at both ends of the pole.

D. Look To Others For Help

Don’t be discouraged if you’ve tried and failed. “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing.” (Luke 5:5) A lot of toiling and a little taking. Learn to say, “Nevertheless at thy word I will do it.” Don’t let past failure discourage you. These men had toiled all night and had taken nothing, and then, all of the sudden, they have so many fish that the nets are breaking and the boats are about to sink. They ask people to help them.

We need a harvest so large that we have give some of it away to other churches. We want a harvest so large that it forces us to work together to get it before it is lost! Yet, all begin with our response to our Lord. If the Great Commission is going to be completed, we will harvest so large that we will forced to give fish away to all different kinds of churches or we will lose the harvest forever!