The Call to Discipleship

The Call to Discipleship

Scripture: Luke 9:23, Luke 5:1-11, Matthew 16:24-28
Date: 04/25/2015  Lesson: 4
"Being a disciple energizes the spirit, challenges the mind, and demands our utmost in our relationship with God and our fellow humans. Without total allegiance to Christ and the demands of His life and message there can be no discipleship. What higher calling could one have?"

Patriarchs and Prophets Audio CD Set by Ellen White

Patriarchs and Prophets Audio CD Set by Ellen White
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Good morning, friends, and welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour. I'd like to extend a very warm welcome to our friends joining us across the country and around the world and also to our members here at the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church. We're delighted that you have chosen to join us this Sabbath morning. As you notice we're doing our Sabbath School Study Hour program right here at our new church. This is very exciting for us.

We're going through our study in the adult lesson quarterly on the Gospel of Luke. So in a few moments we'll be studying together but before we get to the lesson, I'd like to invite our song leaders to come out and join us and they're going to be leading us in some beautiful hymns today. Thank you debbie, jolyne, and sherry. We are so excited to be back with you, our family around the world, and I know that you have been waiting to sing with us and we've been waiting to sing with you as well. So welcome and let's turn in our hymnals to the first song, I will follow thee - #623 - and we will sing the first and last stanzas.

Join with us - #623. I will follow thee, my Savior, wheresoe'er my lot may be. Where thou goest I will follow; yes, my Lord, I'll follow thee. I will follow thee, my Saviour, thou didst shed thy blood for me; and though all men should forsake thee; by thy grace I'll follow thee. Though to Jordan's rolling billows, cold and deep, thou leadest me, thou hast crossed the waves before me, and I still will follow thee.

I will follow thee, my Saviour, thou didst shed thy blood for me; and though all men should forsake thee; by thy grace I'll follow thee. We have great news! For those of you who have been wondering, you can send in your favorite song, like you did before - absolutely! So you can go and send your favorites and, of course, we will sing those on an upcoming program. Our next song follows in the theme of our lesson today, the call to discipleship, and you will find I would be like Jesus on #311. We're going to sing the first and last stanzas of #311 - I would be like Jesus. Earthly pleasures vainly call me; I would be like Jesus; nothing worldly shall enthrall me; I would be like Jesus.

Be like Jesus, this my song, in the home and in the throng; be like Jesus, all day long! I would be like Jesus. That in heaven he may meet me, I would be like Jesus; that His Words "well done" may greet me, I would be like Jesus. Be like Jesus, this my song, in the home and in the throng; be like Jesus, all day long! I would be like Jesus. Thank you so much for joining with us in our favorite songs. From time to time here at the Sabbath School Study Hour, we're going to be featuring a little highlight or a mission report of some kind of missionary activity that's been done by the Granite Bay church members or by Amazing Facts or afcoe, kind of letting you know some of the exciting things that are happening around the world in sharing the Gospel.

So joining me up here on stage is carissa mcsherry. She's the assistant afcoe director and afcoe is the Amazing Facts center of evangelism. And just recently, in December, we had a missionary team from afcoe go all the way over to nepal to conduct some evangelistic meetings. And so carissa, I want to ask you just a few questions about that exciting mission trip that you were involved with. You actually led the team.

The question is, what is the purpose of afcoe going to nepal? So at the end of every afcoe four-month program, we like to take the students on an evangelistic seminar program. We want to take them to a foreign country so that they can apply all that they've been learning during that four-month period. They can do personal evangelism, public evangelism - they're meeting the needs in that rural community. And, again, the blessing of it is that we learned nepal has only two percent of Christians in that country. We realized there are so many people that are unreached and they need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Did any other ministries work with afcoe on this nepal mission project? We had the blessing of working with a great ministry called amen. They supplied the dentists and the doctors that we needed. I remember one day we went to this rural community and, in this community, they were less than receptive to Christians. In fact, opening night of our seminar had to be delayed because some hindus in that village came to a Christian man's home and they stabbed him for evangelizing. So again, here we're going to that community; we want to have a prophecy seminar - how do you do that? And we realized the only way to do this would be to meet the needs of that community - to meet their physical needs and their emotional needs.

So we had the blessing of taking that amen dentist and medical team to that remote village and that day, when we arrived, there was a line of people that needed dental services. Again, we're looking at this line and saying, 'there's no way we can help all of these people.' But in one day, one dentist saw 40 patients. By the grace of God he was able to meet the need of those patients. We were able to pray with every single one of them and God opened the doors for our prophecy seminar to continue in that rural community. Now carissa, what was it like for you and the rest of the team traveling to some very remote places out there in nepal? They were certainly remote.

When you think of nepal, you think of the beautiful himalayan mountains and mount everest and - and the crazy roads that we would drive on. Every day we were traveling for about four hours and you would be right along a cliff at times and cars would be passing each other alongside this cliff. But it was so worth it. I remember one day, as we were traveling to our site, I met the taxi driver's friend - he had come along for that afternoon - and as we began to share with him what we were doing there, he said, "so who is this Jesus? I want to know more about him." I mean, that is the question that we pray for - we would love to hear. "Who is this Jesus?" And for the next two hours we began to share with him who this Jesus is and what he has done in our lives.

Amen. Well, what was the reception you had from the local hindus in some of these remote areas that you're doing evangelism and outreach? The reception was very, very positive. Again, we were somewhat nervous of this, but because we were truly - by God's grace - meeting the needs, the people were open and receptive. I remember one site we were working with, our evangelist by the name of stan, he had several people coming to his meetings and one lady, in particular, was about 18 - 20 years old. She was excited.

She was dedicated. She accepted Christ as her Savior. She accepted the seventh-day Sabbath. She wanted to go all the way with Jesus in baptism and that afternoon, stan went to her house to visit with her and clear up any questions she might have. And as stan was at her house he noticed that she was trembling - literally trembling - in the corner of the room.

He asked his translator, "what's wrong? Why is she so afraid?" And the translator told him, "her family is hindu. They want nothing to do with Christianity. She is terrified of what they will do to her when they learn that she wants to be a Christian." Stan spent the next few hours talking with the family and answering questions that they had about Christianity and it wasn't long before her parents turned to stan and they said, "we love our daughter. We want to support our daughter. And if she wants to be a Christian, we will support her in that decision.

" So some exciting reports come all the way from nepal. I know the afcoe team is planning another evangelistic series and we're not final on where we're going to be going just yet, but I heard maybe thailand? So stay tuned for more information as we tell you about some upcoming evangelistic opportunities. Thank you, carissa, for sharing with us. Our lesson today is in the lesson quarterly on the book of Luke. We're on lesson #4 and we have a free offer that goes along with the lesson for today.

We'd like to make that available to all of those who are watching. The book is called alone in the crowd and if you'd like to receive this, all you have to do is call our resource number - the number is -788-3966 and you can ask for the offer #714. Again, that number is 866-study-more - -3966 - ask for the book alone in the crowd. You can also read this book for free if you go to the amazing facts website - just amazingfacts.org. Well, before we begin our study, I invite you just to bow your heads as we ask God's special blessing.

Dear Father, we recognize that the Bible is your book and when we study the Scriptures, we need the holy spirit to come and guide our hearts and our minds. And so we invite you to join us with your spirit in the study. Lord, lead us into a fuller and a deeper understanding of this very important subject of being a disciple of Christ, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson this morning will be brought to us by our senior pastor, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you Pastor Doug.

Good morning everyone. And I want to welcome those who are joining us here at the Granite Bay Sabbath school class and our friends that may be studying with us. I think we're streaming now, as well as recording for the later broadcast. And we're very excited because it's been many months since we've been able to record our Sabbath school in an actual Sabbath school class - it's been pre-recorded in a studio - and so we're excited. Now, some of it - because we're still actually wiring our studio this coming week - we're not done engineering everything.

A little later we'll be able to have some of the interaction we had before with the class members here, and we might even be doing something where we're going to be taking some texted questions on the lesson in the future. So we're going to try and make our Sabbath school as interactive as we can be, but today is going to be kind of a bare bones study where I'm going to just be pretty much teaching the lesson because we haven't gotten all the other microphones wired in so that we can do - do it like we normally do. But, as Pastor Ross said, we are in the book of Luke. We're going to be doing lesson #4 where it talks about discipleship. And looking forward to our study today because here's where we talk about Jesus and fishing for men.

And this is one of my favorite subjects. If you turn in your Bibles to the book of Luke - now this lesson is dealing, principally, with Luke chapter 5 and Luke chapter 6, and the lesson is called the call of discipleship. And we have a memory verse. The memory verse is from Luke 9, verse 23 and you can either find that in your lesson, or you might want to read it out loud with me. Luke 9:23 - and I've got the new king James version here.

Are you ready? "Then he said to them all, 'if anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.'" Now you'll find that passage, or one very much like it, in the other Gospels, but Luke says something that I really appreciate. He says, 'take up his cross daily.' That word daily really makes a big difference. When you make your decision to be a Christian, it isn't necessarily a one-time decision. It's something that we do daily. You know how Paul said, 'I die daily?' Well, when you take up your cross, you're dying daily.

And so you need to deny yourself - it's a daily choice to deny yourself, take up your cross and to follow Jesus. Being a disciple for Christ is really the highest calling in the world that anyone could receive. And we're going to look at the Lord calling the disciples, today, in a number of different aspects. The first thing we want to consider is fishers of men. So turn to Luke chapter 5 and in Luke chapter 5 there's a story - we'll read verses 1 through 10.

We're going to talk about it a little bit - Luke 5 - we'll start with verse 1, "so it was, as the multitude pressed about him to hear the Word of God, that he stood by the lake of gennesaret," - this is Galilee - this is the lake of tiberius - it goes by two or three names. It's the one lake there, Galilee - and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then he got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When he had stopped speaking, he said to Simon, 'launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.

' But Simon answered and said to him, "master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your Word'" - you're a carpenter, but if you say so - "'I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it," - I mean, he'd been fishing all his life, he'd never seen anything like this - "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 and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, The Sons of zebedee, who were partners with Simon.

And Jesus said to Simon, 'do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.'" - Verse 11 says, "so when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed him." Now was this the first time they had met Jesus? No. No, because you read earlier in John chapter 1, at the baptism of Jesus, that's when first andrew introduced Peter to Jesus. Now that happens at the Jordan river, not at the sea of Galilee, and that happens north of the dead sea so, you know, it's 50 miles away from where this happens. They then decided to follow Jesus.

They believed he was the Messiah but, you know, they had to make a living and so they may have listened to him. And Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days after his baptism and they probably met with him some after that when he returned to the Jordan, but eventually they went back and returned to their fishing, so it hadn't become a full-time business yet. Several things about this story I think that we can learn: first of all, Jesus filled Peter's boat after Peter realized he couldn't. In other words, what if Peter had had a successful night fishing? His boat would have been so full of fish he wouldn't have had room for Jesus. But it was only after he had had a very unsuccessful night fishing that he was at the point of surrender.

When he gave his boat to Jesus for a platform, then he was successful in fishing. You remember? Jesus is surrounded by the crowd. They're kind of pushing him off in the water and a natural way for him to, sort of, get a little separation - and the voice carries very well over the water - is he said, 'look, I'll get in the boat. It'll be a pulpit. We'll push out a little bit so people can all see me and hear me.

' And so, basically, Peter offered his boat as a platform for Jesus' ministry and when he did that, then the Lord could fill his boat. Sometimes the Lord can't bless our business because we haven't really surrendered it to Jesus. And so Peter does this and he offers his boat - I mean, he was busy cleaning his nets and he could have said, 'Lord, you know, I've got work to do.' But he stopped what he was doing and made it available to Jesus. And so Jesus preaches and then after he preaches, instead of going in and healing and touching the people, he calls Peter and he says, 'look, thanks for sharing your boat, I'd like to reciprocate. Let's go fishing.

' And Peter - I'm paraphrasing here - Peter says, 'Lord, I really appreciate the thought, but you don't understand how things happen here. We fish at night. We fish with nets. We hang a lamp off the back of the boat. The fish, at night, are attracted to the light.

They come to the light and we pull in the net and we catch the fish.' In broad daylight it's abysmal opportunity for fishing. You're just - you're not going to catch anything. The fish go down. Now I've done some fishing with nets, fishing with lights at night - and some of you, maybe, have been in Hawaii and I don't know if you've ever done any night fishing. I'm a vegetarian but I love getting out in the water and I've got friends there that go fishing and I go with them.

And I remember several times we've gone and anchored down by the south part of the big island of Hawaii and we fished all night. And a friend I was with, named steve, he had a radar detector on his boat. It was a pretty sophisticated fishing boat. Not very big but, I mean, it was serious for fishing. And the screen of the detector was always blue unless a fish goes by and the fish appears as a red blip on the screen.

And so one night we anchored off the south point of Hawaii there and the water where we anchored is, you know, hundreds of feet deep, but he had the anchor line. And the sun went down - we ate there on the boat, something we'd brought with us - then when it got dark he hooked a light to - it's a waterproof light that he dropped off into the water. He hooked the light to a couple of 12-volt - a 12-volt battery and just dropped the line off in the water while we were eating. And we looked at the screen and we saw - first there was just a few little red dots came around and then we saw some more lights came around - some more dots came around - and pretty soon the screen turned pink and we looked off and - the water's so clear on the south part of Hawaii, you can see down hundreds of feet - especially if a light's in the water - and we looked off the back of the boat and it was just a cloud of fish that had come to the light. So fish are attracted to light, which is something to remember when Jesus said he will make us fishers of men, right? During the night, in our excitement of fishing, someone bumped the little alligator clips that held on to the battery and the light went out and it was amazing.

We fumbled around in the dark for a few minutes and we plugged it back in. As soon as the light went out, the fish were gone. And there was another boat a couple hundred yards away and they all began to get very excited because the fish had all come over to their light. So you've got to be consistent with your light. Anyway, so he said, 'Lord, you know, this is not the time for fishing, but at Your Word, if you insist, we'll do it.

' And they let down the net and you know, it encompassed such a great multitude of fish that one fishing boat - you know, that tells you something about their nets. Their nets, evidently, were designed to catch more fish than the boat could hold because the Bible says that the net was so full of fish that not only was it too many fish for one boat, when they signaled to James and John, it was too many fish for two boats. Both boats were down to the gunwales ready to sink from the burden of fish. This all happened when they decided to cooperate with Jesus. Now, that was an unconventional way of fishing, but if we're working for the Lord in fishing for men, can the Lord sometimes bless in ways that you would never dream? It's amazing how the Lord - I mean, you know, God often does things in ways that just don't make any sense.

What military leader would ever say, 'I want you to March around the city and blow a horn and shout?' I mean, a lot of things that the Lord did just didn't make any sense. But it was God's way of saying, 'trust me. Follow me. Follow my instruction. Don't question my word and I can bless you and fill your nets.

' So this is a wonderful lesson. You know, I've got actually a - I've got a little study I did a few years earlier - because Jesus now says to Peter, 'follow me and I'll make you a fisher of men.' If Peter was a shepherd, he probably would have used a different analogy, but that teaches us a lesson about evangelism. Jesus spoke to Peter in terms Peter could understand. If Jesus was talking to a tailor, he would say, 'you don't take a piece of unshrunk cloth and sew it on a piece of old cloth.' He'd use that illustration. If he was talking to somebody who had a vineyard, he'd talk about wine skins.

If he was talking about - talking to shepherds, Jesus would talk about sheep. Farmers, he'd talk about seed. When he was talking to fishermen he talked about fish. Jesus always knew how to relate to the audience he was with. And he said, 'look, follow me and I'll make you a fisher of men.

' When could Jesus make Peter a fisher of men? What did Peter have to do first? He fell down and he said, 'Lord, depart from me, I am a sinful man.' He was thinking that Jesus was like one of the religious leaders of the day. Don't - 'Lord, I might contaminate you if you stay too close, so you better leave.' Because they were always so preoccupied. The religious leaders didn't want to be rendered unclean by the sinners. You remember when they came to Jesus after Matthew came to follow Christ? And Matthew made a feast for him and they said, 'what is your master doing eating with publicans and sinners? They'll defile him.' And so Peter, naturally thinking Jesus thought that way, said, 'depart from me, I'm a sinful man.' And Jesus said, 'you've come to the point of repentance. Now I can use you.

Now I can teach you. You've surrendered.' And he said, 'follow me and I'll make you a fisher of men.' Now, does the Bible teach variations of value? You know, we're living in a world and a culture today where everything is just, sort of, blurred and, you know, you start to wonder what's more important, people or whales? Because, you know, people will die to save whales. They've got, you know, it's commendable there are people that care about nature. You've probably seen some of the greenpeace expeditions that just about get run over by ships because they're trying to save the whales. And there are people who will die - there are loggers that - or people that were trying to save trees and they got bivouacked up in the top of these tall trees and the trees fell and they died - trying to save a tree.

Now, I don't know about you, but I think I'm worth more than tree. I think I'm worth more than a whale. And Jesus said - even though they're bigger - keep that in mind, God does not choose value based on size. There are variations of value. Now, I know, some of you may be offended but you're worth more than your dog and cat.

And your neighbor's worth more than your dog and cat. And we have dogs and cats but, you know, Americans spend a lot more on dogs and cats than some countries do on their people. Anyone still want to be my friend? The Bible says Jesus said, 'you know, your father notices a sparrow when it falls, but' - he said - 'you're of more value than many sheep. You're of more value than many sparrows.' You can look at the order of creation and God did things in order of their value. He made the bare elements and then he made the lesser creatures and then he made man as the crowning act of his creation.

And so, God says to Peter, 'you enjoy fishing for fish. Yeah, that's exciting when you catch a fish. How much more exciting should it be if you catch a man? And you catch a fish and, you know, you clean it - it starts to stink if you don't eat it in a few days and what are you going to do with it? It's fish. But when you catch a man and he becomes a soul winner and you're going to see that person in heaven forever.' So Jesus was saying, 'how much better? Follow me.' But Peter was, you know, he really liked fishing. Now, what was the first thing the disciples decided to do after the resurrection? They said - while they were waiting for Jesus they said, 'let's go fishing.

' They couldn't get it out of their system. And even after they first followed Jesus, they ended up back at Galilee fishing again. And Jesus finally said, 'look, follow me.' And it says they forsook their nets. They finally had to forsake their nets and their boats and follow him. It's real easy to keep going back to the old ways.

One thing I've noticed about fishing: fishing can be addictive. Any of you know anybody that's addicted to fishing? Ever meet anybody like that? It's like the sign out in front of the barber shop - it said, 'we'll be closed next Thursday due to the weather.' And someone asked the barber, 'how do you know what the weather's going to be next Thursday?' He said, 'well, if it's raining, I'm going to be fishing. If it's sunny I'm going to be fishing. It just depends on the weather.' No matter what, some people are addicted to fishing and they're fishoholics, I guess. If you want to catch fish - now here's several points on fishing - maybe I should include these in the notes later.

If you want to catch fish, it's important to go to where the fish are. Jesus did not say to Peter, 'let's stay here on the shore and see if any fish jump in the boat.' He said, 'launch out into the deep.' You've got to go out into the deep if you want to catch the fish. You've got to go where the fish are. Now, it doesn't mean you have got to get in the water or you end up like Jonah and the fish catch you. But you do have to go to where fish are to catch fish.

Some people want to do mission work and they never really reach out. They have no friends outside of their church - and if you're going to win souls to Christ, you need to have some relationships that are beside just your church relationships, amen? Being patient - if you want to be a fisherman - you know, people love to see fishing where someone's actually got one hooked and they're reeling it in and they're fighting the fish. It's exciting, but in reality, you know what fishing is? A lot of waiting around in the sun, rocking back and forth in the boat, sitting on the dock, reeling it in and finding out the fish took your bait and you've got an empty hook and you've got to hook it up again and throw it back out again, and it takes patience. Soul winning takes patience. People don't necessarily convert and learn everything in one day.

To be a successful fisherman, you've got to let your light shine. There's a video that you can actually see on youtube of some fishermen in south America - it's an incredible video. I think I've showed it to several friends before - a tributary of the amazon called the mequens river and they go out at night, these fishermen, and they take a spotlight - a battery powered spotlight, and they shine it on the water and there's this incredible youtube of all of a sudden the fish get real excited and they begin to jump. And they start jumping and jumping and you're watching this video of the fish literally jumping into the boat. The man never puts a net down.

He never puts a pole out, never puts a hook in the water - all he does is shine a light on the water and the fish attracted to the light, just start jumping like mad. Now the theory is the light attracts the bugs and the fish jump for the bugs but, in the process, his boat was filled with fish from letting the light shine. And I believe, in a community the size of Sacramento - there's so many people here that there's plenty of sinners out there - if we let the light shine - you know, sometimes churches get competitive and they say, 'oh, your church is too close to my church' and 'don't advertise your evangelism in my district.' And I remember one of our conference presidents years ago said, 'there are plenty of sinners to go around.' There's a lot of lost people out there and you've just got to let the light shine and they'll come. Fish are attracted to good food. In fishing, before you - you need to know, first of all, what the fish like.

Different fish go after different food and you put the food where they are. If you're going after tuna - in Hawaii they call them gorillas - the big tuna - then you suspend the line down hundreds of feet down - it might even be a thousand feet down - these great big fish are down there. And if you're trying to catch marlin then you troll across the surface. I mean, all the different fish have their different habits. You need to know what their food of preference is and where to fish for them.

And it takes some study like that in soul-winning. Best way to catch fish is with a fresh fish. I remember we were out fishing in Hawaii one time and I caught just a little tuna about that big from the boat with a pole. I was so excited I thought we'd mount it or something. That's an exaggeration, but steve, the captain of that little boat, he kind of took it away from me and, without asking me, he was very dextrous with his fishing box and his hands and while that fish was still gulping air, right after I pulled it out of the water, and very lively, he strapped a hook to the back of that poor thing, threw it back in the water - hooked it to a pole.

I said, 'what'd you do with my fish?' He says, 'ah,' - he says - 'now we're going to catch a real fish.' And sure enough, with that fish, we caught a marlin. Best way to catch a fish is with a live fish. You know who the best soul winners are? New converts. New converts have that raw enthusiasm. They're not afraid to tell anybody about their faith.

They've got that first love. They want to tell everyone. They haven't heard yet they're not supposed to act the way they're acting and be so exuberant and up-front about their faith. They'll talk to anybody. So you can catch fish with fresh fish.

If you want to catch fish, sometimes, instead of looking down in the water, you've got to look up. You have to be in an attitude of prayer. My friend, steve, I remember he'd be driving out in this trackless ocean and all of a sudden he'd - he was just going along for hours - he'd take a sharp turn. I said, 'what are you doing?' I said, 'did you see a sign somewhere that said 'turn here?'' He said, 'no, see the birds out there?' He said, 'the birds are working the water. They're working the water because there's little fish.

Where there's little fish, there's going to be bigger fish. You've got to watch the birds. Sometimes you have to look for the leading of the Holy Spirit to know where to go. Have you read in the book of acts how many times the apostles said, 'we asked about the Holy Spirit. We tried to go here and the Holy Spirit said, 'no, instead I want you to go to macedonia.

'' Or - and so, you've got to stay open and be praying about where to fish, or you could waste a lot of time. Fishing pays for fishing. Believe it or not, I run into churches and conferences that say, 'we can't afford to do evangelism. That is the kiss of death when you hear anyone say that. Because if a fisherman says, 'I can't go fishing because I don't have enough money to fish today.

' Well, the way you get money is by fishing - if you're a fisherman. And so, you've got to go out fishing to get more fish to pay for your fishing. And so, you know, if - I remember one time, Peter needed some money. You know what Jesus told him to do? He was going to pay the temple tax. He said, 'go out to the lake, put your line in the water, you'll catch a fish with gold in its mouth.

' And if you want the tithe in a church or offerings in a church to go up, you need more people to produce tithe and offerings. I know that sounds pretty crass, but it works that way. If you want your church to grow, you've got to win new people and you need to constantly be bringing them in and that subsidizes more evangelism to bring in more people and that's the way it works. Fishing pays for fishing. When you fish predators will come.

Several times I've seen it where you hook up a big fish and in fighting that, I remember we caught this marlin one time and we were fighting it into the boat and - it takes a long time. You reel them in and they - zhhhhh - they take the line back out again. You reel them in - your arm feels like rubber after awhile. And, one time, in particular, by the time we got that fish in the boat, there were three large brown sharks that were wanting to take a piece out of that fish before we even got it in. They smelled the blood.

Have any of you ever heard of that before? I used to put a line in the water - I'd catch a fish before I'd go to school, in florida - dad had a house on the water - my brother and i, we'd cast our lines out, we'd tie them off real good to the dock, we'd go to school, come back, and expect to reel it in. Well, we'd find out what had happened is we caught a fish and while that poor thing was on the line, another bigger fish came and ate that fish and we ended up catching a fish with a fish in it. So when you catch fish, predators come in. And if you're doing evangelism, you're going to encounter resistance. When the children of Israel were coming out of Egypt, pharaoh ran after them.

And you catch more fish by working together. This same occasion, when we caught this big marlin, we needed one guy to steer the boat. We'd be yelling at him, 'turn left! The thing's going to wrap the line around the propeller.' So one guy's steering the boat, another guy was getting the gaff ready, and someone else was pulling on the line with their hands while I was reeling. Another guy was taking pictures, I mean, everyone was working together. It's kind of neat when you see a church all engaged - everyone using their spiritual gifts in fishing for men.

It's a beautiful thing. What happened in our story we just read when Jesus filled Peter's net, they signaled to their partners - their friends - James and John. They came over and helped and they all worked together and they filled both boats - not just Peter's boat but, because they worked together, both boats were filled. Even though Jesus was in one of the boats, because they worked together, both boats were filled. Sometimes we'll go to an area where we'll do evangelism where several churches work together.

And even though the meeting might be in one church, the Lord can still fill all the churches that work together. So - and then the final point, and this is just points about this truth about fishing for men, is that it's always a great joy when you go back to shore and your boat is full of fish. Like the shepherd who rejoices when he's found that missing sheep, when a fisherman comes back empty, is he sad or happy? He's sad. He's sad. When he comes back and he's got a trophy fish, he wants to tell everybody - he's happy.

There's no greater joy than knowing you have caught men - that you've won souls to Jesus. And anything you do in this world is temporary, but when you win souls, the results of that last forever. So in heaven, through eternity - I remember when we caught this marlin - this big marlin - it was a big -pound marlin - it's - which is, you know, everyone wants to catch a marlin - and we were on our way back into kona and there were other fishing boats that were going out - and this fish was so big it wouldn't fit in the fish box. Its nose was sticking up kind of out of the back and its tail was sticking up by the steering seat. It just, kind of, was laying in there and everyone could see you had a fish.

Steve, he drove out of his way to go by the other boats so they could see our fish - because you're happy when you catch fish. And it's really exciting when you win souls. And I'll just tell you, it's fun - years after baptizing people - when you look and you say 'this person is doing this for the Lord and that person is doing this for the Lord' and you can say, to your friends 'I baptized them' or 'I saw them come to Jesus' or 'I brought them to their first Bible study.' And you rejoice in doing that forever. So just a few thoughts on fishing. That's certainly not our whole lesson today.

Alright, so now in order to be a fisher, Jesus didn't just say, 'I will make you fishers of men.' What did he say you had to do? 'Follow me and then I will make you fishers of men.' You will not automatically become a fisher of men and women unless you follow. And so he said, 'follow me and I will make you one.' So he also says that, by the way, in Matthew 4:18. Alright, the next section is the selection of the twelve - meaning the twelve apostles - and you can jump with me to Luke 5:28 - 27 rather - and it says, "after these things he went out and saw a tax collector named levi, sitting at the tax office. And he said to him, 'follow me.' So he left all, rose up, and followed him." We're going to talk more about that later - the cost of discipleship. Matthew levi got up and he walked away from his cash register and he followed Jesus.

Peter, James, John, andrew - they walked away from their nets. We don't know for sure, we know at least one of Jesus' apostles was a scribe. Which one was that? Probably Judas. You remember the passage where it says that there was a certain scribe that said, 'i'd like to follow you, master.' Matter of fact, you find that in Matthew 8:19, "then a certain scribe" - Matthew 8:19 - "came and said to him, 'teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.' And Jesus said to him, 'foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but The Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.'" Now, the reason - if you read in the spirit of prophecy, it says that was Judas. Why did Jesus say this? Because he was thinking, 'oh, Christ is going to establish an earthly kingdom and I want to be there and I want to be able to cash in on that kingdom.

' And, you know, Jesus was telling Judas what he said to the others: 'if you're following me for an earthly mansion, I have nowhere to lay my head down here.' So he was making it clear 'you've got to liquidate.' So fishermen, tax collector, scribe - the name Philip means something - has something to do with horses. Some have wondered if maybe he was a keeper of horses or something. Others may have been shepherds. We don't know about all their occupations, but at least four of them were fishermen. Someone else said, 'Lord, let me first' - he said, 'follow me' - and he said, 'let me first go bury my father.

' And Jesus said, 'follow me and let the dead bury their dead.' That could have been thomas who said, 'I can't follow you now.' And he was always looking at the obstacles - 'you know, my dad is old and weak and I've got to be around to take care of him.' And he said, 'you follow me.' And then if you look in John 1:43 he says to Philip, 'follow me.' What does it mean to follow the Lord? I just grabbed a verse from 1 Kings 14:8 and he says, "...you have not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart..." Is there a connection between keeping God's commandments and following him? It says David 'followed with all his heart...who kept my commandments.' Now, when he selects the twelve, this is a very important event. It says - and you can read about this - now we're in Luke chapter - in Luke 6, verse 12, "now it came to pass in those days that he went out to the mountain to pray," - and Jesus frequently did that but this time he - "continued all night in prayer to God." I'm not going to ask you to raise your hands, but have you ever spent an entire night awake praying? You can fall asleep on your knees. But just - I know a lot of us probably have been part of a -hour prayer vigil where you divide up a clock and someone says, 'look, I'll pray this hour.' And someone says, 'and then you can go back to sleep and I'll wake up and I'll pray for this hour.' You know how the disciples struggled to pray with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and they kept falling asleep? And when they were on the mount of transfiguration - they're praying, they're falling asleep? Jesus prayed all night. Now, what was he praying about when he prayed all night? It's the day before he ordained the twelve apostles and the whole future of the church hinged upon this decision and this prayer being answered. It says he "continued all night in prayer to God.

And when it was day," - he took a nap. No - "when it was day, he called his disciples to himself; and from them he chose twelve whom he also named apostles:" - I want to pause. Why did Jesus choose twelve apostles? Were they all from twelve different tribes? First let's establish he didn't choose twelve because they were from twelve different tribes. If you've got two sets of brothers - Peter and andrew, James and John - it's impossible to have those twelve from twelve separate tribes. The original twelve were one from each tribe.

And when they sent out those twelve spies - one from each tribe - equal representation. Why did Jesus pick twelve? The twelve tribes were not there in Israel anymore. Many of them had been conquered before Jesus was ever born. They were conquered in the days of hezekiah. the King of Israel was conquered by the assyrians and carried off captive and many of those tribes intermarried and dispersed.

And I've met assyrians - today - ancient syrians - and they say that 'we're related to some of those ten tribes of Israel' - but they all kind of intermarried so it is almost impossible to find a person who is pure-bred, pure-blood, zebulan, naphtali, manasseh, issachar - you know why else that's important? When you read, in Revelation chapter 7, 'and I saw 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel' and it names the tribes, are they literal jews from those tribes? Is the Lord going to raise up ,000 people from manasseh? I challenge you to find 12,000 today. Even at the time of Christ, ten of those tribes - or at least nine of those tribes - were pretty well intermarried. Now Matthew may have been from levi - Matthew levi. Paul said he was from the stock of what tribe? Benjamin. And then, of course, you've got the tribe of judah.

The southern kingdom is all that really came back from the Babylonian captivity, which was judah, Benjamin, and levi. And so a lot of those tribes disappeared. Why did he pick twelve? Before you answer - not that I've been letting you answer, but - people won't hear your answer - why did the Lord wait until Judas was replaced before the Holy Spirit was poured out? Acts chapter 1 - you know, the last thing that happens before the Holy Spirit's poured out? They're missing an apostle. They're supposed to have twelve, they've only got eleven. Peter said, 'it's important that we replace the missing apostle.

' Why? And of the two men that they picked to cast lots among - why didn't they just pick two and make one of them an alternate? They said, 'there's got to be twelve.' That number must have meant something, do you agree? It meant something to Jesus, why? Christ was following the pattern from the old testament Israel, because not only did he pick twelve apostles, he then picked - at another point - to send them out. Moses had the twelve princes of Israel and he also had 70 elders. It's interesting that both Jesus and Moses had twelve and 70. Now there's a statement - oh, let me tell you their names, "Simon, whom he also named Peter," - Simon's often at the top of all the lists of all the apostles - "and andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and bartholomew; Matthew and thomas; James The Son of alphaeus," - some have wondered if James, The Son of alphaeus was also the brother of Jesus and - the one who wrote the book of James. I've read scholars that make an argument for that - "and Simon called the zealot; Judas The Son of James, and Judas iscariot who also became a traitor.

" Now if you read in the book Desire of Ages - and I'm making a special point of this because, believe it or not, you're going to run into Christians today that say, 'Jesus did not ordain the twelve apostles.' The word ordain is a word that simply means 'set aside; or appointed.' The principle - the word means things - you know how words take on different meaning etymology, as time goes by? When we say the word ordained we're talking about someone who has been especially appointed - set aside for a particular purpose - and we understand what that means. Jesus set aside twelve. Does anyone question that? Then others argue, 'it doesn't say he laid hands on them.' Well, you know, that's true. You can't find a verse where it says, 'and he laid hands on the twelve.' You do find where Jesus laid hands on people. You find where the apostles laid hands on those that were chosen.

There's a doctrine called the doctrine of the laying on of hands. But you do read in Desire of Ages - and this is why I wanted to make a note of this - Desire of Ages p. 296, "He gathered the twelve after that night of prayer. He instructed them. When Jesus ended his instruction - Desire of Ages p.

- "To his disciples, he gathered the little band close about him and kneeling in the midst of them, laying his hands upon their heads," - is this an ordination? It is - "he offered a prayer dedicating them to the sacred work. Thus the Lord's disciples were ordained to the Gospel ministry." Now, if you believe the Spirit of prophecy, that's what you call a slam-dunk. You know what I'm saying? It's very clear he did lay hands on them. He did ordain them. He did set them aside as something unique.

Now that's important because there's a lot of discussion today about ordination and people are trying to say it doesn't matter and nothing really happened. And then, not only were they set aside, they are commissioned. He gives them their work to do. You can read about this in Luke 9:1 to 6; also Matthew 10 is very extensive - "then he called his twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

And he said to them, 'take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart.'" - In other words, make that your launching point - "'and whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them.'" You ever heard that taught in evangelism class? Shaking the dust off your feet if you go to a town? Something Jesus said - "so they departed and went through the towns, preaching the Gospel and healing everywhere." So they met with a great deal of success but he gave them authority. Now doesn't Jesus say in Matthew chapter 28 'all authority is given unto me in heaven and earth, go ye therefore?' Is this just for the apostles or did the Lord give believers and disciples a certain authority? Doesn't he send us out? If the Lord sends you, he has authorized you to be sharing the truth. And then we'll jump down - it talks about sending out the seventy. Now you find this in Luke.

You don't find this in some of the other Gospels. Luke 10, verse 1, "after these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before his face into every city and place where he himself was about to go." Now notice this: he's sending them out to do a preparation work. This is a good plan for evangelism. They're going out - what are they doing? They're healing. It's not a bad idea, before you have a public evangelistic meeting, to have another team go out in advance where the evangelistic meeting is going to be, and prepare the ground by having bridging programs.

There was healing that was happening and there was casting out of disease and maybe, you know, stuff with depression recovery and doing programs - cooking schools - in other words, they were preparing the way so that when evangelistic meetings happened, they had a lot bigger success. You heard me mention, I think, last week, about our series we recently did in the Philippines and I think the reason it was so successful - it's, you know, the best meeting we've ever had there. The hall that seats like 12,000 people was full except for the place behind the screen where no one could see anything - and there were 596 baptisms - but it wasn't because of what I did in ten days. It's - or the Amazing Facts team - it's what happened because of our evangelism training program - what they did in three months before we ever got there. And so, the pre-work is very important.

So Jesus was sending out the seventy. They maybe didn't have the same intensive training as the twelve, but they were doing a special pre-work, obviously. And you can see in Matthew 10, verse 5, "these twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: 'do not go into the way of the gentiles, and do not enter a city of the samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Where did he send them first? Both the twelve and the seventy? He said, 'I want you to go first to the Hebrew towns. If you're a Christian and you know the three angels' message, where is a good place to start? Start with people who have accepted Christ but maybe don't know the three angels' message.

These are the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then, from there, you go to the highways and the hedges and the byways, but you start with people who have, ostensibly, accepted the invitation to the feast, you know what I'm saying? Something else I thought was interesting - oh, by the way, you'll find reference to the seventy also in the old testament - Numbers 1:44, "these are the ones who were numbered, whom Moses and aaron numbered, with the leaders of Israel, twelve men..." And then Numbers 11:24, "so Moses...gathered the seventy men of the elders...and placed them around the tabernacle." You've got the twelve and you've got the seventy, just like Jesus had. One other thought, and I see I'm running out of time here, in acts chapter 1 how many were in the upper room? Before the Holy Spirit was poured out? A hundred and twenty. When you add seventy and twelve, what do you come to? - I knew Karen would get that right away. She does the checkbook.

So you've got some left over, don't you? Who was in the upper room? I bet it was some of the seventy - maybe not all of them. The twelve were there because - they weren't twelve yet - eleven of them - and it says the women that followed him were there. It was a small group: some from Galilee, some from Jerusalem, probably Lazarus, Martha, mary were up there. But that's largely the ones who the Holy Spirit was poured out on in the time of pentecost. And then final thought.

It says here the cost of discipleship - Luke 9:23, "if anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?" You know, there's a statement made in the old testament - you know when one country conquers another country in a war they ask for what they call an unconditional surrender. What does Jesus want from us? It's got to be an unconditional surrender. We don't give him terms of surrender.

And king ahab said to the King of syria, 'my Lord, o king, just as you say, I and all that I have are yours.' I and all that I have are yours.' He that finds a treasure of great price, he goes and he sells all that he has. The merchant finds the pearl of great price, he goes and he sells all that he has. And so what is the cost of discipleship? the Lord wants your heart. He wants all of it. And what does he give us back? Much more.

Christianity costs but it pays much more than it costs. So one more time I'd like to remind you we have a free offer for our study today. You can also read this online at amazingfacts.org. If you'd like to send for it, call the number: 866-study-more - that's 866-788-3966 - ask for offer #714 when you do. And next week we're going to be studying lesson #5 in our study on the book of Luke.

Thank you very much, friends, for joining us and we'll look forward to studying with you next week. (Crickets chirping) (dramatic music) mommy! Daddy! Help me! No, I don't think so. You didn't do very well on your report card this last quarter so...no. You haven't been pulling your weight around here lately. You want help? Well, I wanted help with the dishes last night.

Help yourself! Huh? Honey, did you bring the marshmallows? (Coughing) (sirens)

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