Friday, July 28, 2017

Transformed to Serve

God has changed me and I can't go back to the way it used to be.

John 21:3-6 Simon Peter said, "I'm going fishing." "We'll come, too," they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. 4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn't see who He was.

5 He called out, "Fellows, have you caught any fish?" "No," they replied. 6 Then He said, "Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you'll get some!" So they did, and they couldn't haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.

What do you do when you are so excited and you are anxious to share the good news? Probably you don't go fishing. It must have been an unusual time from the resurrection of Jesus until the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples to go and make disciples.

They were so excited to learn that Jesus was alive again, one day they are defeated and discouraged, the next day they are probably ready to tell everybody, but it wasn't time for them to start their ministry.
Luke 24:49 And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as My Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.
Throughout the Bible you will find God telling people to wait. It seems like any major event on God's timetable is preceded by a period of waiting. I remember Abraham, Joseph, King Saul, Job and Simeon all having to wait on God, some of them being good examples and others showing us the hazards of not waiting. (Lamentations 3:25-26)

Peter didn't do a good job of waiting, he was going back to fishing for fish instead of waiting for men, and he also influenced his fishing buddies to go with him. Maybe Peter was tempted to go back to the way it used to be.

Seven professional fisherman spent the night catching nothing, maybe God is teaching them a lesson about waiting, fishing all night without catching anything is certainly a long and miserable night. It is just about an impossible occurrence for a fisherman that uses a net, catching nothing at all would take an act of God, it makes me wonder if Peter thought about the previous time when this happened. (Luke 5:1-9)

Peter had a surprise appointment with Jesus this morning, an appointment that is just as surprising as the first one that he had after an unsuccessful night of fishing, this meeting would change everything even more that the first one did.

Jesus came to the seashore that morning to restore broken relationships and to teach these men about their responsibilities as witnesses of the good news.

Even though the conversation recorded in scripture is between Jesus and Peter, all of the disciples had failed Jesus, the truth of the lessons that Jesus taught were for all of them and they apply to all of us as believers today.

My Responsibility As A Believer:

Obey Jesus 

Cast your net when and where Jesus tells you. (John 21:1-8)

These guys spent the night working very hard, doing work they were not supposed to be doing, and they probably complained about the results. Catching men is their new job that Jesus has been training them to do for the past three years. After the Holy Spirit comes they won't have time to bother with fishing for fish anymore.

Allowing Jesus to be in control is the best way to avoid wasting your life. This reminder for them is for us as well. I will accomplish what really matters when I am depending on Jesus and submitting to his timing and authority. (John 15:5)

Love Jesus 

Check your love for Jesus and his family often. (John 21:9-18)

Fixing relationships is what Jesus is all about, he asked Peter to confess his love, something he had already boasted about but failed to live out during Jesus' trial. Jesus made the connection between truly loving him and showing it in obedience and service to him.

Do you love Jesus? If you do it should show in the way that you live. We should be fishers of men and we should also help tend the flock. If you love Jesus then you will want to be near the flock and you will be concerned about the health, protection and guidance of the other believers in the flock. (Philippians 2:3-6)

Follow Jesus 

Consider the cost that may be required of a believer. (John 21:19-25)

A repaired relationship with Jesus must have been an amazing blessing for Peter, in Peter's mind that would have been a great place to end this conversation, but Jesus continues to share important information that isn't so easy to hear.

Jesus takes the conversation from Peter's life and ministry to his death as a martyr, Jesus never dodged the issues so that he would have more followers, he was always upfront about the trouble and hardship that his disciples would face in this evil world.

Following without turning away and staying focused on Jesus despite the circumstances are some of the greatest daily challenges for a follower of Jesus. It is a struggle which must be dealt with constantly if we are going to die to self and become a living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1-2)

Following without meddling in what Jesus is doing in another believers life is another challenge. It is easy to look at what God is doing with somebody else and allow that to change our focus and our direction. (John 21:21)

The lives of the disciples were radically changed from the moment that Jesus called them to follow him but the transformation was just getting started. They still needed the helper that Jesus promised to send after he is gone.

The Holy Spirit's power in their lives would change these ordinary men, men that failed so often, men that didn't understand Jesus teaching, men that walked away when the going got tough. They would be powerful and they would speak with wisdom that is unheard of from a group of unschooled fishermen. (Acts 4:13)
2 Corinthians 5:15 He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
Jesus Christ is transforming lives today, he is changing us from our old carnal state into a people that will represent him well and serve his purpose on earth. The easy life is not my goal, pleasure and riches are no longer the main desire to be fulfilled.

God has changed me and I can't go back to the way it used to be! I will live for Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. I will set aside the evil desires and the pride that drives men to live for self. I will live to honor my Lord and fulfill his desire and plan for my life.