Sunday, January 26, 2014

Waiting to Set the Hook (Fishing with the Master Series)

Fishing with the Master
Waiting to Set the Hook
Acts 8:36-39

(Advance Slide #1)


(Advance Slide #2)

“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
  • This has been the jumping off point for a series of lessons I have titled, “Fishing with the Master."
  • This is the last lesson in this series, and I hope that you have been blessed by them.
  • More importantly I hope and pray for 2 things:
    • That you have seen the importance of personal work.
    • That you have seen how you can conduct personal work.
If you have not been with us during these lessons let me recap:

(Advance Slide #3)

  • We have used the text from Acts 8 where Philip met, studied, and baptized the Ethiopian man.
    • The first lesson was about going to the water…can’t fish if you are not near the water.
      • Philip, was led by the Spirit of God into the desert and went to this man.
    • The second lesson was about using the right bait…there is a right and wrong bait.
      • Philip, heard the man reading and baited him with this, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
      • He was invited into the chariot to study with the man.
    • The third lesson was about casting your line/bait into the water.
      • Philip sated the line by meeting him where he was (Isaiah 53) and taught him Jesus.
One of the hardest parts of fishing is waiting…being patient.

(Advance Slide #4)

  • Once you are at the water, have chosen the right bait, have cast you line into the water you have to wait.
    • You have to wait until the right moment to set your hook.
      • Will the fish bite, or will they pass up on the bait?
      • If you try to speed things along you won’t catch anything, if you do not pay attention you will miss out too.
Back to Acts 8:
  • Philip has cast the line/bait into the water…he is studying with the Ethiopian…he now waits for the right moment.
  • What you will notice is that Philip does not force this process.
    • What he does is leads the Ethiopian man, answers his questions, and the end result speaks for itself.
(Advance Slide #5)

36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:36-39

The passage that Philip and the man were studying was extremely meaningful.
  • It wasn’t just looking through a long-rage prophetic telescope.
    • It was describing the promises and purposes of God.
    • A picture begins to take shape.
(Advance Slide #6)

The Suffering Servant:
  • Will bring to completion Israel’s task.
  • Will come to where they are.
  • To do what Israel and the rest of the world could not do for themselves.
    • To bear the shame & reproach of the whole world.
    • To die under the weight of the world’s wickedness.
(Advance Slide #7)

A new covenant eve for the outsiders & foreigners…even eunuchs.
  • Jesus fulfilled the OT prophecies and brought redemption for the whole world.
    • No wonder the Ethiopian was so excited.
    • No wonder he wanted to share in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus by baptism.
      • The story of becomes his own personal story!
(Advance Slide #8)

"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Rom. 10:17
  • So real was this story and his experience that he ordered the chariot stopped.
(Advance Slide #9)
  • He asked another question, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” - vs. 36
  • He wanted to be baptized IMMEDIATELY!
(Advance Slide #10)

Philip answered/taught this man, and waited for him to realize that he needed to be baptized 

(Advance Slide #11)

How do we know that believers are to be baptized?
  • We know that Philip began at the Isaiah 53 passage and taught him the "good news about Jesus.”
(Advance Slide #12)

  • What is the “good news of Jesus?”
    • It is that Jesus came as the perfect sacrifice, to die or us, and atone for our sins through his blood that was shed.
      • How do we take on his death?
      • It is through baptism.
  • As Philip was teaching the Ethiopian, we can logically infer, that he taught him these things.
    • Perhaps though, he saw someone baptized while he was in Jerusalem.
Throughout the book of Acts baptism is an important part.
  • It is an important part of the believers commitment, and witness for Christ.
(Advance Slide #13)

The "good confession”
  • In the baptism accounts that we have converts are not baptized until they have given a testimony of their faith.
    • In his announcement of his desire to be baptized he was confessing his faith.
    • Not only to Philip, but also to those who were traveling with him.
(Advance Slide #14)

He “went on his way rejoicing.”
  • We do not have anymore about him in scripture. 
    • Irenaeus, in the second century wrote of this Ethiopian man as a missionary in Ethiopia.
  • We do know that his salvation filled him with…JOY…REJOICING!
    • It comes from the Greek word chairo that means “a state of happiness and well being”
    • His life was one of happiness, joy, gladness, and rejoicing!
      • Ours can be too!
(Advance Slide #15)

Action Step
"6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." 1 Cor. 3:6-7

Have the patience it that is needed to wait. 
  • We can not rush someone along this journey.
  • We can be sured of this:
    • If there is an honest searching heart.
    • If you go to that person and give them the truth in the gospel of Christ…baptism will follow.
    • God will be glorified!
(Advance Slide #16)

If you follow Christ you are a Christian, but you are also a fishermen.
  • That is, a fisher of men and women.
  • Jesus came and died so that our sin can be reconciled and that we can have a relationship with the Father.
  • This series of lesson has been about how we can lead people to Him.
I shared with you John 14:6 last week…it’s Jesus’ own words:

(Advance Slide #17)

  • "I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”
  • Being "fishers of men” mean leading people to the way, to the truth, so that they can have the life.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Casting the Line (Series: Fishing with the Master)

Fishing with the Master
Casting the Line
Acts 8:32-35

I want to tell you about a peculiar fisherman from Minnesota. 
  • This fisherman was very well prepared. 
    • He knew how to fish. 
    • He had everything you need to be a good fisherman. 
      • He had poles, nets, bait, and even a really nice boat, but this fisherman had a problem. 
    • For all his preparation he never caught anything…not one fish...ever. 
      • Why?
      • He never went fishing. 
In Mark 1 Jesus is passing along the Sea of Galilee and He sees Simon and Andrews.

(Advance Slide #2)
  • Going to them He says, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
    • Fishing for men (and women) was exactly what they did.
    • As I have said before, there are similarities between fishing and evangelism, that is why this lesson is titled “Fishing with the Master”
  • We have been using the text found in Acts 8 - Philips personal study with the Ethiopian.
    • So far in this lesson we discussed that to fish you MUST go to the water.
      • Philip obeyed the Lord and went into the desert and to the chariot.
    • The next lesson was that you need to use the right bait to catch the fish.
      • For Philip is was his questioning, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
(Advance Slide #3)

There are lots of different ways to cast a line…just like there are different ways to conduct personal work.

This mornings lesson is going to take this process a step forward.

(Advance Slide #4)
  • We are at the water, we have the right bait, we now have to cast the line/net into the water.
  • How do you cast you bait into the water when doing personal work?
  • Step by small step we are working our way through this process of personal work.
(Advance Slide #5)

32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. 33 In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” 34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. Acts 8:32-35

Philip has gone to the Ethiopian.
  • He has questioned the Ethiopian about what he’s reading.
  • Now, that he’s been invited int to he chariot a Bible study begins.
(Advance Slide #6)

The subject of the chariot Bible study is Isaiah 53 
  • This particular chapter of Isaiah is a prophecy of God’s suffering Servant.
    • It speak of Jesus’ birth - vs. 1-2
    • It tells of Jesus’ life and ministry - vs. 3
    • It includes the substitutionary death - vs. 4-9
    • Gives us a great hope because it prophesies about His victorious resurrection - vs. 10-12
The specific focus is vs. 7-8. 
  • The content is that the suffering Servant will sacrifice Himself for sinners.
  • We know that Philip explained these verses to the Ethiopian.
(Advance Slide #7)
  • vs. 34 - Tells us, once again, that the Ethiopian questioned Philip.
(Advance Slide #8)
  • “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?”
  • This is the launch pad that is needed for Philip to tell him the “good news about Jesus.”
(Advance Slide #9)

What was Philip’s cast?
  • He began with with the bait of asking the Ethiopian about his reading, and then began to study with him.
  • He casted his net by meting him where he was (Isaiah) and teaching him Jesus.
    • This was just as Jesus did in His personal ministry.
(Advance Slide #10)

As we "cast our bait” it (the gospel) must always be based on scripture.
  • What was the main theme of Philip’s lesson?
    • Theme of this chariot Bible lesson was JESUS!
    • EX. - I heard of a missionary who worked with the Hindu’s in India.
      • He was extremely effective in his work for one reason.
      • Everything that he did began and ended with JESUS!
      • You also see this in the ministry of the apostle Paul.
To be effective in our personal the message shouldn’t change…our message IS Jesus.
  • EVERYTHING should revolve around who He is and what He did.
(Advance Slide #11)

Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jn. 14:6
  • In this verse is a depth that the mortal mind struggles with, but it’s so simple.
    • Jesus is the only way.
    • Jesus is the only truth.
    • Jesus is the only life.
  • If your desire is to live with the Father and bring others to Him this is the only bait and net/line we cast.
(Advance Slide #12)

Action Step
How do we cast our bait?
  • It must be rooted in the truth.
  • We offer them Jesus.
If this is true, and it is, so to prepare for our personal work we MUST deepen our knowledge and understanding of our Savior

(Advance Slide #13)

A read of a minster who has spent a fruitless day fishing. 
  • He ended up picked out three fat fish in the market. 
  • "Before you wrap them," he said to the store manager," toss them to me, one by one.” 
  • "Why?” the store owner asked...
  • "That way I'll be able to tell my friends that I caught them and I'll be speaking the truth.”
    • We do need to use the TRUTH…not a messed up truth like this but the truth that is found only in God’s Word.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Using the Right Bait (Seriies: Fishing with the Master)

Using the Right Bait

January 12, 2014

Fishing with the Master
Using the Right Bait
Acts 8:30-31

(Advance Slide #1)


(Advance Slide #2)

When fishing the choice of bait is an important things to consider.
  • Fish are a lot like us…they have likes a dislikes.
  • So, a bait that will work with one type of fish might not work with another.
What do we use to “bait” those that we are evangelizing?
  • I understand that phrase might make us feel weird.
    • When we say that were baiting someone people we begin to think negative thoughts.
      • Maybe you had someone sell you something that wasn’t what was you were sold…bait and switch.
    • Keep in mind that I’m just using Jesus’ own metaphor from Mark 1:17
(Advance Slide #3)
  • “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
(Advance Slide #4)

So what do you use to “bait” those that you are evangelizing?
  • There is a common belief that the only thing that will attract people are programs, a particular worship or song style, maybe even a watered down doctrine.
    • This bait will not work…so what is the answer?
Let’s go back to Acts 8 and Philips conversion of the Ethiopian.
  • Last week we studied how Philip had to obey the call to “go to” the Ethiopian to question and teach him.
  • I also shared with you that this was an important lesson that we have recorded.
    • It was important because it showed the importance of personal evangelism and how to do it.
**This morning I want us to consider the “bait" that Philip used and what we can do with this example.

(Advance Slide #5)

30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Acts 8:30-31

Philip has obeyed the call to go to this man.

(Advance Slide #6)
  • Philip now “heard him” reading.
    • Side lesson here…we too need to be observant of those that we are evangelizing.
  • Since Philip heard him he was reading out loud…this was not an uncommon practice of students.
CONSIDER - the high position that this man held.
  • Chief financial officer in the royal court of the queen of Ethiopia.
  • This required obedience, but think of boldness to go to this official and question him the way he did.
Philips question was his “bait”

(Advance Slide #7)
  • “Do you understand what you are reading?”
    • I appears that this official “took the bait”
  • The response that he gives was the exact thing that was needed for Philip to share the good news with him!
(Advance Slide #8)
  • “How can I unless someone guides me?”
    • I get a sense of helplessness…this man seemed lost (EX. young lady at Life Way)
    • Despite that you get the feeling that he had prepared his heart for the message that Philip was going to give him.
While we are not told, Philip must have offered to help him study…why?

(Advance Slide #9)
  • “...he invited Philip to come up and sit with him."

(Advance Slide #10)

This Ethiopian represents many people today who are religious.
  • They read the Scriptures, and seek the truth, yet do not have saving faith in Jesus Christ. 
    • They are sincere, but they are lost! 
    • They need someone to show them the way.
(Advance Slide #11)
  • Who will do it…needs to be us?
After we “go” we need to begin “talking.”

(Advance Slide #12)
  • When we see and hear religious people how do we react to them?
    • Is your reaction to run form them, or to you respond by engaging them in conversation?
    • EX. - Willie Franklin - pro-football player turned evangelist/youth rally speaker
      • Would often tell of his reaction to people who need the Lord. 
      • In huddles he would hear men “curse God” his reaction was “Do you want me to tell you about the God your cursing?”
(Advance Slide #13)

How do we get someone to call upon the Lord?

(Advance Slide #14)
  • Romans 10:14-15 expresses this thought, and offers a solution.
    • 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
    • There are a series of questions:
(Advance Slide #15)
    • "How then will they call on Him…”
    • “How are they to believe in Him…”
    • “How are they to her…"
  • The questions in this text also offer us some answers.
  • There needs to be belief; there needs to be teaching to hear?
We are to help people build their faith…faith comes by hearing.
  • The Ethiopian’s faith would not have grown unless…
    • Philip “went” - he went to share!
    • When Philip “went” he shared, and the Ethiopian “heard” the “word of Christ."
(Advance Slide #16)

Action Step
We MUST begin talking to people about the Lord.

We MUST begin using the opportunities that are given us to share the Lord.
  • Be aware of people.
  • Have compassion for their lost state.
  • Have a deep desire to share the Lord them.

(Advance Slide #17)

In Acts 17 Paul is walking through Athens.
  • vs. 16, “his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.”
    • He saw an opportunity and he acted, he baited them with his reasoning.
(Advance Slide #18)
  • He met them where they were at and preached to them about God…similar to the Ethiopian.
    • “I perceive that in every way you are very religious...”
    • “I passed along the way and observed objects of your worship…”
    • “I even found an alter with an inscription, “To the Unknown God”…"
    • "What you worship as unknown…I preach to you.”
  • He preached to them God, now that they know their ignorance cannot be overlooked, and he called for them to repent.
    • Some mocked, some wanted to hear more.
    • vs. 34, “But some men joined him and believed…"

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Going Where the Fish Are (Part 1 of the "Fishing with the Master" series)

January 5, 2014

Fishing with the Master
Go Where the Fish Are
Mark 1:14-20; Acts 8:26-29

(Advance Slide #1)

Jesus began His public ministry by selecting some fishermen.
  • Litlerally they were fishermen, but their job would be fishermen!
  • Fishing today is mostly recreational.
    • Even those that enjoy fishing is not a large number compared to football fans.
  • In the 1st cent. fishing was a job...a source of protein for people to eat.
(Advance Slide #2)

Jesus in Mark 1 selects Simon Peter and Andrew as His first evangelists.

(Advance Slide #3)
  • They were as He called them, "fishers of men"
    • Why did Jesus say this?
      • Think about it, there are a lot of similarities to fishing and evangelism.
      • They were going to be able to see their talents used for The Lord.
If this year is to be a year where we begin fishing for men (and women), then we would benefit from a lesson series on "how to fish"
  • This will be the first in a series titled, "Fishing with the Master."
  • During this month we will study the similarities between evangelism and fishing.
  • GOAL - To make more comfortable in our sharing the gospel.
    • We will do this primarly by studying the conversion of the Ethopian eunuch in Acts 8.
(Advance Slide #4)

This morning begins with an important lesson..."Going Where the Fish Are"
  • A wise fisherman knows where the fish hang out at the different times fo day.
    • This is no different then it was in Simon Peter and Andrew's days.
      • Fishermen need to know how the changing of the seasons effect the fish.
      • For us to sit in here and talk about winning souls out there indicates that we will take this message out there.
(Advance Slide #5)

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” Acts 8:26-29

In the previous Philip was spreading the gospel to the Samaritans.
  • God is now leading him to do something significant again. 
(Advance Slide #6)
  • I want you to rememeber phrase durign this series, "THE GOSPEL IS FOR ALL"
    • Be a part of fulfilling the commission found in Acts 1:8.
(Advance Slide #7)
    • "... and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
      • Peter is helping to fulfill this!
(Advance Slide #8)

Who was the Ethiopian?
  • The text says that he was a “eunuch”
    • This was a castrated man…it was common in the Near East for men castrated to serve in position sod state.
  • He held office within the royal court of the queen, Candace of Ethiopia.
    • He was her chief financial officer.
(Advance Slide #9) 

What was his relationship to Judaism?
  • It is very unlikely, virtually impossible that he would have been a Jew.
    • Being a eunuch he couldn’t have been a proselyte to Judaism.
  • Thus, according to the Jewish system…he was forever an outsider.
What can we conclude?
  • Something about the Jewish God or Jewish way that attracted him.
    • He had made his way to Jerusalem to worship (perhaps a festival?)
  • We know that he has procured at least some of the Jewish scripture.
    • This was not an easy task for anyone during that time.
**Phillp had to GO TO THIS MAN!


(Advance Slide #10)

A British scholar and evangelist believed that Luke’s primary reason for including the story of Philip and the Ethiopian was to teach the value of personal, one-on-one evangelism and to give guidelines on how it should be done. 
  • This story shows how important personal evangelism is, insofar as a key preacher in the church is taken on a long journey in order to share the gospel with just one person. 
    • Note that the episode is given the same amount of space as the record of the conversion of large numbers in Samaria.
  • As we think about applying this passage today, many may say that because they are not specialist evangelists like Philip, this passage has little to teach them. 
    • One of the important truths of Acts is that the prominent preachers and leadersof the early church were also personal evangelists. 
      • Philip becomes a good example for us.
  • In the first part of this chapter he has a public ministry that allows him to bear the title given him by Luke: “evangelist” (21:8). 
    • But here he is a personal evangelist.
Have you ever had an expert at something instruct you?

(Advance Slide #11)

Where did Philip learn this?
  • This is why I called this series, "Fishing with the Master" becsue he did juts that for 3 years!
    • Philip and the rest of the apostles had the expert evangelist at thier disposal and they learned from Him.
    • To say that they learned from Him is no understatement!
      • Literally, they watched Him go to the people...the ones that He came to save and ministered to them.
(Advance Slide #12)

Mat. 4:23 - "And He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in thier synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among people."
  • He went!
  • He taught; He proclaimed; He healed
(Advance Slide #13)

Mat. 9:10 - "And as Jesus reclind at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and the disciples."
  • He went to the hated to all...the tax collectors, and the other assorted sinner that hang out with tax collectors!
(Advance Slide #14)

Mat 19:1 - "Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, He went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan."
  • Most of Jesus ministry takes place in the Galilean region but He does cross the Jordan and minister in Judea
I share each of these instance becasue in everyone of these lives were changed becasue He went to them.
  • It was the only way to get the work done...go and do it!
  • If the apostles of Christ were going to fulfill their commission then they had to get to work.
(Advance Slide #15)

Action Step
There is no secret to this lesson, the Great Commission begins with the word...GO
  • If we, like the apostles are going to become fishers of men then...
  • We must GO!
(Advance Slide #16)
    • This means that we have to "get up" & "get going"
    • We will need to look for the lost (honestly, we will not have to look real hard)

(Advance Slide #17)

The first truth that leaps out of this passage is Philip’s obedience. 
  • When God asked him to go to the desert road, he went even though the command seemed an odd one (vv. 26–27). 
  • When he was asked to go to the chariot and stay near it, he obeyed again (vv. 29–30a). 
  • Through his obedience the Lord opened a door to an evangelistic situation.
We often hear it said that a key to personal witness is “boldness.” 
  • Some claim that they do not have this boldness and therefore cannot witness. 
  • In reality, much of the Christian witness begins with a decision to be obedient to the call to witness. 
  • We often miss out on opportunities to witness simply because we do not take the first step to turn a conversation into a witnessing situation.