A Passion for the Lost (Mark 1:16-20)

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A Passion for the Lost: Fishing for Souls

Mark 1:16-20, The Call to Mission

On a dangerous seacoast notorious for shipwrecks, there was a crude little lifesaving station.  The station was merely a hut with only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the turbulent sea.  With little thought for themselves, they’d go out day and night tirelessly searching for those in danger as well as the lost.  Many lives were saved by this brave band of men who faithfully worked as a team in and out of the lifesaving station.

By and by, it became a famous place.  Some of those who had been saved, as well as others along the seacoast, wanted to become associated with the little station.  They were willing to give their time, energy and money in support of its objectives.  New boats were purchased.  New crews were trained.   The station that once was obscure, crude and virtually insignificant began to grow.

Some of its members became unhappy that the hut was so unattractive and poorly equipped.  They felt a more comfortable place should be provided.  Emergency cots were replaced with lovely furniture.  Rough, hand-made equipment was discarded, and sophisticated, classy systems were installed.  The hut, of course, had to be torn down to make room for all the additional equipment, furniture and systems.

By its completion, the life-saving station had become a popular gathering place, and its objectives had begun to shift.  It was now used as a sort of clubhouse, an attractive building for public gatherings.  Saving lives, feeding the hungry, and strengthening the fearful rarely occurred with all the upgrades and improvements.  Fewer members were now interested in braving the sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired professional lifeboat crews to do this work.

The original goal of the station wasn’t altogether forgotten.  The lifesaving motifs still prevailed in the club’s decorations.  In fact, there was a liturgical lifeboat preserved in the Room of Sweet Memories with soft, indirect lighting which helped hide the layer of dust upon the once-used vessel.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the boat crews brought in loads of cold, wet, half-drowned people.  They were dirty, some terribly sick and lonely.  Others were of a “different race” than the majority of the club members.  The beautiful new club suddenly became messy and cluttered.  A special committee saw to it that a shower house was immediately built outside and away from the club so victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there were strong words and angry feelings, which resulted in a division among the members.  Most of the people wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities and all involvements with shipwreck victims–“it’s too unpleasant, it’s a hindrance to our social life, it’s opening the door to folks who are not our kind”.  As you’d expect, some still insisted upon saving lives, that this was their primary objective and their only reason for existence was ministering to anyone needing help, regardless of their club’s beauty or size or decorations.  They were voted down and told if they wanted to save the lives of various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast—and they did.

As years passed, the new station experienced the same old changes.  It evolved into another club, and yet another lifesaving station was begun.  History continued to repeat itself–and if you visit that coast today you’ll find a large number of exclusive, impressive clubs along the shoreline owned and operated by slick professionals who have lost all involvement with the saving of lives.  Shipwrecks still occur in those waters, but now most of the victims are not saved.

What a convicting illustration of the history of the church.  You see friends, the work of evangelism is the purest, noblest and most essential work the Church will ever do.  Think about it–fishing people out of the sea of sin, rescuing people from the breakers of hell is the greatest work the Church is called to do.  It is God’s heart–evangelism has been called the sob of God.  Jesus even said in Matthew 23:37, “Who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!  How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, yet you were unwilling.”

God actually sent His Son to earth to die and be raised for the very purpose of saving men from sin–John 3:16 to 17, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

Jesus Christ Himself tells us in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  Then at the very birth of the Church in Acts 2:42 and 47, we read that the Church was “continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 47 And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

The Church continued to extol the Gospel as the only answer for man’s problem, Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”  And God expects us as believers to be willing to do anything short of compromise to see the lost come to Christ, 1 Corinthians 9:22—“To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.”

Paul was so passionate about His own lost Jewish people he tells us he’d be willing to go to hell if it meant his people could be saved.  Romans 9:1 to 4 says, “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites.”

And the Church is constantly exhorted to do all they can so the Gospel can be heard by the lost–Colossians 4:5 to 6, “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”  Do you have a passion for the lost, or have you drifted into a resort club mentality of friendships and safety?  Do you understand part of your mission is to be a rescue worker?

Are you on mission, or have you lost your reason for being here?  Let me ask you–what is your purpose?  To glorify God.  Can you accomplish that better in heaven or on Earth?  If you can glorify Him better in heaven, why are you left here?  Answer–to do on Earth what you can’t do in heaven.  So then, what can you do on Earth that you can’t do in heaven?  Two main things–sin and share the Gospel with the lost.

Which one do you think God left you here to do—sin or share the Gospel?  Are you still trying to decide?  Who is it right now you are trying to share the Gospel with?  Write those names down–at least one to three, make a list.  You must have some contact with lost people somewhere.  Are you praying for them?  Is your heart breaking for them?  Have you imagined them in hell forever?  Do you see yourself as better than they are, or just as needy as you were?  Do you see them as those who need the Gospel of Christ?

Open your Bibles to Mark 1:16 to 20, and take the outline to follow along for now as Jesus has just finished preaching the gospel in verses 14 to 15.  He will now call some of His key men to share the Gospel.  But do not get confused about what is going on here.

A.  This is not the first time Jesus met with his disciples.

The passage we are studying today from Mark 1:16 to 20 actually occurs during Jesus’s second year of public ministry.  Turn to John 1:35–during His first year, called the year of obscurity, right after His baptism and temptation, the gospel of John tells us Jesus did His first miracle, turning water into wine, cleaning out the temple for the first time, talking to Nicodemus about being born again, and witnessing to the woman at the well and the people of Samaria.

Yet in those earliest days, even before those first events, Jesus runs into some disciples of John the Baptist described in John 1:35 to 42, “Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, ‘What do you seek?’ They said to Him, ‘Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?’ 39 He said to them, ‘Come, and you will see.’ So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which translated means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).” This is the first time the Bible tells us Jesus interacts with His disciples.

So, as we study verses 16 to 20, remember this is not the first time Jesus has seen these men.

B.  The call to mission (fishers of men) did not happen all at once.

As Christ called these men to Himself and His mission, He called them progressively, gradually–He called them over time.  You get the false impression Jesus called them once and they immediately left everything to follow Him–that’s not how it happened.  By studying all the gospels, you learn that Christ called His disciples to Himself and to the mission of fishing for men in five different phases.  Each gospel writer emphasized the phase which best suited his particular purpose and audience.  Do you know what those phases are?

Phase 1  As would be expected, the first call was to salvation, to faith in the Messiah which is what we just read in John 1 and was reinforced in John 2:11, “This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.”

Phase 2  In Matthew 4 and our passage from Mark 1 today, where Christ calls them to be His witnesses, the men did not fully and permanently leave their occupations after the first nor the second phase.

Phase 3  At the time of the third call in Luke 5:1 to 11, Peter, James and John were again back fishing.  There Jesus repeats the call to be fishers of men, and the disciples then realize the call was permanent, and they “left everything and followed Him” (verse 11).

Phase 4  Described in Mark chapter 3, Jesus appointed the twelve and sent them out to preach.

Phase 5  In Matthew 10, Jesus gives them full apostolic authority and power to cast out demons and heal all disease and sickness.

God calls all believers in a similar way–first He calls you to salvation, apart from which no other call matters.  Then He calls you progressively to more specific and expanding service for His glory.

After this first year of ministry, which takes place mostly in Judea and Jerusalem, Jesus comes to Galilee, begins preaching and accelerating His public ministry.  It’s at this point where Jesus begins phase 2 of calling His men to become fishers of men.  Mark just told us Jesus proclaimed the good news in verses 14 to 15.  Now He calls His men to be proclaiming the good news in Mark 1:16 to 20, “As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 19 Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.”

Hey, Christian, what are you doing here on planet earth?  What you are you to be about?  What is part of the reason you’ve been left here on Earth–a purpose all Christians have?  Be fishers of men, and I can feel your struggle right now.  “Chris, I can’t be the street corner evangelist, the tract giver.”  Okay . . .

I just looked through the 2011 Cabala catalog at a friend’s house, and I discovered there are thousands of ways to fish.  And that is true when it comes to evangelism–fishing for men.  You can be the inviter, the build a friendship with, the gift giver, the act of sacrifice sharer, the serve someone believer, and more.  There are a lot of ways to be a fisher of men–but you and I are to be fishers of men, so be encouraged, but first . . .

#1  The Lord calls you to Himself

How many of you would consider yourselves blue collar workers?  How many of you see yourselves as white collar?  Housewives?  Self-employed?  Unemployed?  Independently wealthy?  All of you are the people the Lord calls to Himself, for here two pairs of brothers are in view, from the religious elite, the politically powerful or socially known–they’re blue collar.  Picture this scene in verse 16, “As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen.”

The Sea of Galilee (about 60 miles from Jerusalem) is actually a large inland lake about 8 miles wide and 13 miles long (80 to 160 feet deep), fed from the springs of Dan, which flow from snows on Mount Hermon.  It is some of the best water I have ever tasted–no exaggeration.

This lake is beautiful, surrounded by green hills, yet surprisingly it is about 700 feet below sea level, and is accustomed to severe storms brought about by sudden winds.  The Jewish-Roman historian Josephus tells us in the 1st century that you might regularly find 240 boats fishing on the waters of Galilee.  So here is Jesus, continually preaching the Gospel, calling the populous to repent and believe in verse 15.

Now in verse 16, “As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee”–Jesus is walking along the shoreline of this lake, most likely in the early morning.  And the Lord sees two brothers lazing around, with surly attitudes, waiting for something good to happen.  No, Christ looks for those who are already busy, faithfully doing their job, serving God in the midst of providing for their families.  God doesn’t call lazy men to represent Him–He chooses busy men.

Jesus sees the brothers continually casting their net.  The verb “casting” is from two words—“to throw” and “on both sides”, ultimately to throw around or to cast to and fro.  The three methods of fishing in that day on Galilee were, 1) hook and line, 2) a drop net from shallow water or from a boat, and 3) a drag net attached to two boats and dragged through the water.

The brothers were using a drop net–think of it as an orange highway cone with weights on the base circle, which is about 9 feet in diameter, and then extending up to a cone point.  This would be thrown on either side of the boat or from the shore.  It would sink down from the weights, capture the fish, then be pulled back to the surface by a couple of ropes on the base ring which would close the capture ring once it was pulled back to the surface.

It took skill to do this job, and the two brothers “were casting their net into the sea” as Jesus came walking along the shoreline.  Mark adds at the end of verse 16, “For they were fishermen”–this was their habitual employment.  They were blue collar workers, making a fine living in their day.  Mark makes certain we know they were continually, daily making their living as fishermen–not as a hobby, not merely fishing for food, but fishing as a profession for provision.

Some of you work in sales, others of you as teachers, some in the medical field and others with insurance–we have no professional fishermen in this room.  I do know there are a few men here who would love to fish every day, but not for a profession.  To succeed as a fisherman, it took skill, alertness and patient persistence, which actually would aid them in becoming fishers of men as well.

So in verse 16, Jesus saw Simon.  You know who this is–everyone saw Simon, or at least heard him.  This is Simon Peter.  This is Mark’s apostolic mentor–remember the gospel of Mark is the gospel according to Peter himself.  So many of the details Mark includes could only have come from Peter.  So it’s Peter who makes certain what Mark writes is God’s Word.  And when Christ saw him, we already know when Christ first saw Simon He called him Peter.  He saw Simon the fickle who would become Peter the Rock.  Simon the impetuous loudmouth would become Peter the Leader/Preacher.  An ordinary fisherman became a man who would turn the world upside down.  A man who could barely write became a co-author of God’s Word.  Peter the fisherman, who would become Peter the fisher of men.  He saw a man who lived only in Israel, a country 140 miles long, become a man who would travel the world preaching the Gospel.  He saw a man who could only put his foot in his mouth when he spoke become the man who spoke and 3,000 souls repented, birthing the church.

When Michelangelo looked at a rough piece of marble he saw an amazing sculpture, a beautiful piece of art.  When Jesus saw these ordinary blue collar disciples of John, He saw them for what they would become—“you shall be called Cephas (which is translated Peter).”

Honestly, the Holy Spirit knows I am telling the truth–for some gracious reason of God, He has given me the same kind of eyes when I look at you.  When I look at the Training Center men I see what you could be, what God can make you, and I get excited about what that will be like.  I see fishers of men and women, I see housewives who impact their children, other children and other women for Christ.  I see men who make their workplace a fishing hole for men.  I see students who are already functioning as missionaries on their campus and one day will be missionaries somewhere on this planet.  I see future preachers, teachers, counselors, servants, elders and deacons for Christ.  Christ saw Simon, who was to become the rock.

In verse 16 Jesus saw Andrew, the brother of Simon.  Andrew was the one who brought Peter to Jesus back in John 1.  I love Andrew–every time you meet Andrew in the gospels, he is bringing someone to Jesus.  Andrew is the inviter, the introducer.  John 1:41, “He [Andrew] found first his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which translated means Christ).”  John 12:21 to 22, “These . . . came to Philip . . . and began to ask him, …, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ 22 Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus.”  Andrew was never afraid to introduce someone new to Christ.  Andrew was the quiet brother, yet was the first to meet Christ and the one who introduced his loud brother to the Messiah.

No matter who you are, loud or quiet, up front or behind the scenes, the Lord has a job for you to do.  But don’t miss what Jesus says first–He called them to Himself!  Look at verse 17, “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me.’” Follow Me, or come after Me.   It is an invitation, a summons, an implied command to follow Jesus as your leader.  Jesus speaks–“Come, follow me!” and it creates obedience that compels people to follow Him for life.

Jesus speaks, “Be quiet!…Come out of Him!” and unclean spirits are routed (1:25).  Jesus speaks, “Be still!” and the wind stops–there is a great calm (4:39).  Jesus speaks, “Little girl, get up!” and the dead are raised (5:41).  Jesus speaks, “Be opened!” and ears that were deaf can now hear (7:34).  Jesus speaks, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again,” and a fig tree is withered to its roots (11:14, 20).

Jesus says to them, “Follow Me.”  They were not searching for Christ–He was searching for them.  They were not seeking Christ, He was seeking them and He calls them to Himself—“Follow Me.”  This verb “follow me” is the same one Jesus used of Lazarus—“Lazarus, come forth”–follow me, come here.  This is an irresistible command, like being made alive after you were dead.

Follow me isn’t like calling your dog hoping she’ll come—no, you come.  This is not a church baseball sign-up asking for volunteers.  This is not a job posting.  This is not the Marines “Looking for a few good men.”  No, Jesus calls–Jesus chooses.  You follow Him.  John 15:16a, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit.”

Discipleship begins with the sovereign call of Christ.  True discipleship begins with a call to follow Christ Himself.  This is good news, friends–rabbis in the first century did not seek students.  The students had to pursue the rabbis.  But the good news is, Christ knows we can’t save ourselves–we can’t find forgiveness ourselves, or get to heaven ourselves.  So Jesus breaks with convention and seeks out those He will save and make into His followers.

Mark 2:14, “He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’  And he got up and followed Him.”  John 1:43, “He found Philip.  And Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me.’”  Mark 8:34, “He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.’”

Just in case you are not getting this, let me make it really clear.  All genuine Christians follow Christ.  John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”  All Christians are called to know Christ and follow Christ.  Salvation is a free gift, but it costs you everything.  Anyone who says to you, “I’m a Christian,” but doesn’t follow Christ is either deceived awaiting damnation, or disobedient awaiting discipline.  All authentic Christians, imperfectly but progressively, follow Christ.

Today Jesus is seeking you, the weary sinner in our midst, the renegade rebel, the wayward child–Jesus is seeking you today.  Will you respond to His call to follow Him?  He says to you, “I am your sovereign authority–you come with Me, follow Me.”  Christianity is a call to follow Christ Himself–it is not an addition to your life, Christ is your life.  What does the Lord call us to do?

#2  The Lord calls you to His service

Verse 17 says, “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you [to] become fishers of men.’”  Once you are mine, once you are my true disciple who follows me, I will make you to become fishers of men.  The verb “I will make you,” with the verb “become” describes a process–it’s not going to happen in a day.  Just like it took practice and skill to throw the drop net over your shoulder in a circular motion so that it would land like a parachute on the water, trapping fish as it sank to the bottom–so too, becoming a fisher of men will take practice and training.

Jesus says, “I will train you, I will start this process.”  Literally, you will in the future be becoming fishers of men.  And Jesus says the same to each of you–the Greek word to evangelize, and its various forms, are used over 50 times in the New Testament.  You are to evangelize.  You all know the great commission–Matthew 28:19 to 20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.”

What is the main verb in verse 19?  Everyone?  No, not go–it is “make disciples”, which includes three participles:  going, baptizing and teaching.  The first participle is “going”, literally “as you are going through life” share the Gospel.  If you are a disciple, a true Christ follower, then you are to become a fisher of men as you go through life.

It is not, I get saved, then I have to grow for thirty years by meeting one-on-one with an older person through all of Jerry Bridges’ books.   No!  New Testament discipleship is “I’m made a disciple, a follower of Christ, so now as I go about life, at work, at school, and home I’m sharing the Gospel.  When Jesus calls His disciples to Himself, He also calls them to call others.  And the good news is this–Christ says He will make you to become fishers of men, future tense.  It’ll happen over time, but Jesus says He will transform you into a fisher of men.

These disciples needed to be trained, and like all good training it will be a slow and painful process.  And like the disciples who lacked compassion, humility, forgiveness, courage, and spiritual depth, you have weaknesses, bents, pride, selfishness and fear which make it difficult for you to become a fruitful fisher of men.  Researchers tell us that 95% of all Christians have never led another person to Christ, and a high percentage have never even tried to share the Gospel.  But if you say you love Christ, then you will have His heart, which is Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  If you say, “No, I won’t share,” then look what happens next.

#3  The Lord calls you to His lordship

Verse 18 “[And] immediately they left their nets and followed Him.”  When Mark says, “they left,” it means they yielded up their rights and separated themselves from their profession.  They determined to stop fishing and start preaching the Gospel.  The verb “they left” means a general break from their former life.

Once you become a soldier, you can’t simultaneously be a civilian.  Once a mom, you are always a mom.  Once a dad, always a dad.  Once a true disciple, you can never “not” represent Christ, or not follow Him.  There is no turning back.  Once you have landed on Christ’s shore, God has burned the ships of you returning to your old life.

And Mark says, “Immediately, they followed Christ.”  “Followed” is to walk the same road, side-by-side, to join Christ and cleave to Christ, to fully conform to His example, live or die.  So hang on–the call of our Lord demands a commitment to Him that takes precedence over your occupation and over your family.  Following Christ is more important than your job or your kids.

Look at verses 19 and 20, which give us some review and new insights, “Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. 20 [And] Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.”

Jesus continues to walk along the shoreline; He sees James and John, the sons of thunder–James who would be the first martyr and John would be the last messenger.  James would show us how to die, and John would show us how to live.  James would write the New Testament epistle James, be the leader in the Early Church, and be the first apostle to die for his faith.  John would write three epistles and the book of Revelation, be tortured, exiled and live close to the end of the first century.

These brothers were also fishermen, fixing the holes in their nets, getting ready for the next day of fishing in their father’s fishing business when Jesus walked by.  Jesus calls them—kaleo, to call aloud.  They were off shore, so Jesus reaches out to them in a loud voice, and they came.  The fact that Zebedee had servants means he owned a fishing business–he was well off and possibly well-known.  There is biblical evidence to suggest that Zebedee was Mary’s (the birth mother of Jesus) brother-in-law, making John and James Jesus’s cousins.  They’re related, yet James and John leave their dad and their profession to follow Christ.

Christ is more important than your job or your family.  There is nothing wrong with the fishing business, nor a family–nets are essential to fishing and families to life.  Yet these must be abandoned in terms of priority for our allegiance to Christ, our first love.  You are to love Christ more than your job, your spouse or kids, the only way anyone will believe that the Gospel is true.

The only way anyone will see how important it is to turn to Christ.  The only way anyone will see the reality of heaven and hell is to hear the good news from someone who lives Christ first, above your job, more than the wife you adore or the kids you cherish.  You love Christ because you were sinful, fallen, condemned, but Christ rescued you.  So you tell others how to be rescued.

First  The Lord uses normal people–imperfect people like you and me

Jesus didn’t call the elite from Jerusalem.  Jesus didn’t pull from the scribes or Pharisees, but ordinary fishermen—blue collar types who were faithful, hardworking, heart-driven, available men.  He took average fishermen, trained them and empowered them to birth the Church, write at least seven books in your New Testament, open the Gospel to the Samaritans and Gentiles, and travel the known world spreading the Gospel and planting His Church.  Christ uses normal people like you to do great things.  What are you dreaming about doing for Him?

Second  The Lord is not calling you to fanaticism

“Leaving my job and leaving my family sounds over the top, Chris.”  Really?  If that sounds fanatical, Jesus says later, “If you don’t hate your father and mother, you can’t be my follower.  If you don’t die to your job, you can’t be My child.”  That’s radical.  So how do most Christians respond to that call?  They say, honey–let’s be moderate.  Let’s live average.  Why do they do that?  They misunderstand the good news.

The good news is not something you have to strive for.  The Gospel is not a demand to work at being fanatical for Christ.  No, religion is what you strive for–religion is what you do.  The Gospel is the news of what God has done for you.  He gives you a new life and a new heart that wants to love Christ more than family and job.  He empowers you to manifest a commitment that is passionate–hot. He does the work, He earns your way, and He has given you the gift of life by grace.

When you seize that gift and keep holding onto it, drinking it in, then Jesus’s call won’t draw you into fanaticism or average moderation, but embracing the Gospel daily will transform your life to orbit around Christ first, and be passionate about Him.  Then believers and the lost will see your affection for Christ, which may appear fanatical to some, but will merely be the desire of your new heart, to you.  And because of your growing love for Christ, you will end up loving your family more, and being more faithful at your job.  You see, being saturated with the Gospel will even change the way you look at lost people.

Third  The Lord’s call to evangelism is an expression of love

Evangelism at its core is a love for people.  So when you’re saturated in the Gospel, that God Himself provided forgiveness and salvation for you, a lost, blind, dead, vile sinner–then when you look at the lost, you won’t see them as different, threatening, or gross people.  No, you will see them as just like you–people who need Christ, people who need God’s gracious gift.  Your compassion will grow, and your willingness to share will increase.

As you model Christ, you will find yourself more available, more sensitive to those around you, showing love and tenderness, and taking the time to talk.  Because you were loved, you will love.  If you’ve truly embraced Christ, then you know enough to share about Christ and what He has done for you.

Fourth  The Lord calls you first to follow Him–are you?

Mark 8:34, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.”



About Chris Mueller

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.