Fisher of Men

November 19, 2010

Matthew 4:19 (English Standard Version)

19“And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

As I am finishing up the last bit of C.H. Spurgeon’s book, “The Soul Winner”, I have been blessed and encouraged on how nothing really ever changes in evangelism. There are people without Jesus and bound on the Highway to Hell.

One quote which from Spurgeon rang clear and true for me.

” The fisherman is a daring man…So the true minister of Christ, who fishes for souls, will never mind a little risk.  He will be bound to do or say many a thing that is very unpopular;  and some Christian people may even judge his utterances to be too severe.  He must do and say that which is for the good of souls. It is not his to entertain a question as to what others will think of his doctrine, or of him;  but in the name of the Almighty God he must feel, ‘If the sea roar and the fulness(sic) of thereof, still at my Master;s command I will let down the net'” (The Soul Winner, pg. 234-5).

When you remain close to the Lord and His Word by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism, the Lord will be glorified. Church people may be critical of your methods. If you are remaining biblical in your evangelism doctrine and methodology, don’t worry about how others respond. D.L. Moody was once approached by a woman giving him negative feedback on his evangelism style, to Moody’s reply was “You do evangelism your way, and I will do evangelism my way.”  We must be God pleasers  and not people pleasers.

I love how Jesus uses fishing references to going to people to catch them for the Lord. If  a man of God uses different bait to catch men than me, God be the glory. If God enables one man to open-air preach and another man distribute Bibles or gospel tracts,  God be the glory.  When Jesus choose the twelve to be fishers of men, not every man was alike.  Some of the fish we catch prefer live bait(person to person) and other fish will be attracted to plastic worms(gospel tracts). Spurgeon says in “The Soul Winner” to “Do something.” Something is better than nothing.

Even in our human imperfections and mistakes, God can still use  those situations to still bring many to salvation.  You do not have to be an expert. Remember, it is Jesus making us fishers of men. It is not in our personal abilities, although God may use those abilities.  We must remember we are under the leading of the  Master Fisher of Men, Jesus.

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Acts 8:25 (English Standard Version)Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.

It was back to the mall after church service ended.  Many people picked up the Michael Jackson Million Dollar Bill off the floor and out of the soda machines bill slot. I had some of the Christmas gospel business style cards. I left them on benches and tables. All of these tracts were being read as I watched them picked them up. Some kept the tracts. Others put them back down and another would pick up the same tract.

I was in the food court and seen a group from my church eating lunch. The smiled and chuckled as they watched me drop the bill tract on the ground and get picked up by the public.

As I sat at the table from the church group explaining how evangelism takes place within the context of an indoor public arena(i.e. mall). I set a Michael Jackson Million Dollar Bill on the table a few inches away from me.

A young black man in his late teens stood up at the table across from our table and picked up the tract. The man showed the tract to his family and asked if I had more of the MDB. I gave him what I had left in my pocket. He asked me about the M.J. MDB.  He said his family and himself love Michael Jackson. From M.J. on the front, I said, “On the front is the King of Pop. Now he is no longer alive. Yet, on the back of this bill is the gospel message about the King of Kings, Jesus who is alive forevermore.”

I shook his hand and  introduced myself and he told me his name was Phil.  He told me he was from Cincinnati, OH and was visiting family for the holiday.  I asked him about his spiritual background. He said he was a Christian, yet he did admit he did not go to church as often as he would like.  He has a relative in the ministry and attends their church once in a while.

I just encouraged him in his walk with the Lord. His relative listened to our conversation. He asked me about where I got the tracts. I told him about Living Waters website. http://www.livingwaters.com

I also told him about the same tract with President Obama face on the front. I explained to him and his family how I will use the person on the front of the bill to transition to the gospel on the back of the bill.(Transition with Obama to the gospel….yes Republicans/conservatives/etc….you can make the transition. Let me explain: During Obama’s presidential campaign last year Obama major themes was “Hope” and “Change”. While Obama offers temporary hope and change during our lifetime, Jesus is our eternal hope and we become a brand new creation when we repent and place our faith in Jesus.(I Timothy 1:1, 2 Corinthians 5:17) Phil and his family was impressed.(Maybe more of surprised shock of a white guy in the South being able to take the natural realm of using President Obama as a springboard to the Gospel.)

After we parted company, I went to my car. In my glove box I had a sealed package of 100 Michael Jackson Million Dollar Bills.  The Lord impressed on me to go back to the food court and give it to Phil.  So I did. I went up to him and asked him if he wanted a the M.J. MDB package. He happily grinned from ear to ear and warmly received the gift. I told him to make a promise to me.  I said, “I know you and your family love Michael Jackson and it is a neat novelty item to give to friends and family, yet I want you to be able to explain to those given the tract about the gospel message on the back, using the same transition I gave him about the King of Pop to the King of Kings. ” He promised me he would. He joyfully thanked me and gave me the “bro” handshake(starts with the firm grip to the fingertip grip).  I told him to have a safe trip back home and God bless.

In my heart I was jumping for joy of how the Lord gave me the opportunity to encourage a fellow brother in Christ and encouraged him to share his faith in Jesus.

Mark 13:10-11 (New Living Translation) ” For the Good News must first be preached to all nations. But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit is our guide and strength as we proclaim Jesus and handout gospel tracts. We can never be truly effective in our own strength. It should all be done in the power of God.

Today, I had one gentleman working at the UT Taco Bell recognized me from a previous evangelistic sidewalk encounter. I may have not been able to immediately recognized him, yet he remembered me giving him a gospel business card tract. This is what one of the business card tracts looks.

I gave the cashier a Million Dollar Bill for taking my order. She took a quick “smoke break” to read the back. There are times I am thankful someone does take the time to read the gospel message. Other times, many people tear up or throw away the tract.  No matter what happens to the tract, I am to continue being faithful to the Great Commission. The power of Evangelism efforts is by God and His Word printed on a Gospel tract.  Just thankful the Lord is using me as an instrument to present the Good News to people.

Afterwords, I took a brisk walk down UT Strip(Cumberland Ave.) and handed out more Million Dollar Bills.