Part 1 of Deep Water Faith. Luke 5:1-11.
Peter Foxwell. The Cornerstone Church. May 28, 2017.
Today, we’re looking at the first of five FAITH PRINCIPLES. These teach us what to expect from God - how he works in our lives and in our church. All of these principles are found in Luke chapter 5. And they’re all based on who Jesus is and what Jesus is able to do. Our future as a church depends on keeping our eyes on Jesus. He’s the focus.
TODAY’S FAITH PRINCIPLE
Today’s faith principle is this: “Little is much when Jesus is in it.” This is the foundation for ministry at the Cornerstone. We’re not trusting in what we can do. We’re expecting God to do above and beyond, supernatural, impossible things.
The story shines the spotlight on three aspects of the supernatural power of Jesus …
A. JESUS WAS A WORD-WORKER - verses 1-3
The story takes place on the shores of Lake Gennesaret - the Sea of Galilee. This is a large fresh-water lake - 13 miles long and 8 miles wide. Simon-Peter was a commercial fisherman. His boat was there - a big boat - about 27 feet long - with oars and a sail and a crew to operate the boat and the nets.
A crowd was listening to Jesus teach. These crowds could grow huge:
Luke 12:1 “Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another …”
Perhaps the people in the back couldn’t hear Jesus. That’s why he got in the boat and asked Simon to push it offshore a ways so he could use the water surface as a sound amplifier.
Jesus was teaching the Word of God. This is important: the words coming from his mouth were the Word of God - revelation. His message had supernatural authority:
“All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” - Luke 4:36
“my teaching is not my own; it comes from the one who sent me. - John 7:16
“you have the words of eternal life.” - John 6:68
God had one son and he was a preacher. His priority was to get the Word out:
“At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.” - Luke 4:42-44
How could a carpenter’s son from Nazareth speak with such anointing? The answer was revealed in what happened next …
B. JESUS WAS A WONDER WORKER - verses 4-7
Peter and his crew have fished all night (that’s when the fish come near the surface) and they’ve caught nothing. It’s the morning and they’re back on shore washing the nets before going home to eat and sleep. I can imagine that they are a little grumpy - they worked all night for nothing. They have absolutely no plans to go out fishing in the blazing sun when the fish are way at the bottom of the lake.
So … Jesus tells Simon-Peter to go fish. Think about that: Jesus the carpenter telling Peter the professional fisherman how to catch fish. Did Peter roll his eyes? But then … the boats almost sank under the weight of the catch.
Luke’s Gospel presents Jesus as the wonder worker. Just in chapter 5, he healed the man with leprosy, and made the paralyzed man to walk. More than that, he forgave his sins - which was even more difficult! In chapter 7, he healed the Centurion’s servant - long distance! He raised the widow’s son out of his casket.
In Luke 23, Jesus took our sins to the cross. He promised Paradise to the condemned thief. He paid for our sins and tore in two the curtain in the temple and he decided the exact moment of his last breath. Then, in chapter 24, having conquered sin and death, he rose in power from the dead - so that he lives and reigns forever.
The message is clear: Jesus is so much more than a carpenter. He is more than a master-teacher. He is a wonder worker. In fact, he is the God of wonders. His word and his will are supreme. He can do impossible things.
Peter sees all this and immediately gets that …
C. JESUS WAS WORTHY OF WORSHIP - verses 8-11
Peter fell down, confessed his sinful unworthiness, and called Jesus “LORD.” One of the smart people I read on this said that Peter didn’t really know what he was saying. I guess we’ll have to ask Peter when we see him. But here’s the thing: Luke knew what he was writing: Jesus is LORD - God with us.
If we’ve read Luke from the beginning, we’re not surprised:
“The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”” - Luke 1:35
Peter had a life-changing encounter with God - similar to Isaiah’s (Isaiah 6:1ff)
"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”” - Isaiah 6:1-8
This encounter got Peter ready for a change of lifestyle, so Jesus decreed to him : “From now on you will fish for people.”
The word for “fish” is actually two words in Greek: “catch alive.” It’s a participle that implies ongoing activity, meaning that this will be the new direction of Peter’s life. He will preach the Gospel message that, if embraced, is the power of God to rescue from sins and restore to God.
Look how Peter reacted to Jesus: He “left everything and followed him.”
One thing changed every thing for Peter. Peter went back out in the same boat with the same crew and the same nets into the same lake. But this time, his catch was ginormous.
Jesus changed everything. Because: Little is much when Jesus is in it. Peter put in his “little”. And Jesus put out his “much”.
We’re moving forward into Cornerstone 2.0, because we believe this principle. We EXPECT Jesus to change every thing. Therefore, we dare make big, audacious plans. A long time ago, I heard Pastor Rick Warren say, “Where God guides, God provides.” And that’s when I started to believe we could build this campus. Last year, we took a group of students on mission to Costa Rica. Our funding goal was $28,000 and I’ll be honest, I thought it was impossible. But we raised more than we needed.
Blowing trumpets cannot demolish city walls, but when Israel blew their trumpets, the walls of Jericho collapsed. God did it! Because …
"Nothing is impossible with God" - Luke 1:37
"He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think." - Ephesians 3:20 KJV
If we only attempt what we think we can do, we’ll never see what only God can do.
The application is simple: In the days ahead, we’re planning to LAUNCH OUT! We’re going to follow Jesus and “catch alive” men and women for God. We’re going to try great things for God and expect great things from God.