1. Fishing and Following Christ
“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19
Those who follow Christ are simply following the commission He gave to all who would follow Him – teaching and preaching His Word (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Acts 5:42, etc.). Today, the vast majority of men leading in the visible church, would look at you as if you were a lunatic if you mentioned truly fulfilling the mission Christ sent His followers to execute. This alone reveals the depth of apostasy or departure from the faith once delivered to the saints (1 Timothy 4:1-3; Jude 3-4).
2. Communicating Christ
The early disciples were all about communicating the Gospel of Christ.
“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” Acts 5:42
The genuine follower of Jesus Christ is engaged in winning souls. Those who truly follow Jesus, do what He did and what He sent them to do. He was a fisher of men and so are we to be. Yet, so many pastors today have no desire to win lost souls. In this simple, very obvious fact, we see that most who hold places of leadership today are not following Christ, the Great Soul Winner who came “to seek and to save that which was lost” and who said “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19; Luke 19:10).
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-16
False leaders have long been the scourge of God’s people. The Old and New Testaments are filled with citings, warnings, and characteristics of self-serving, Christ-rejecting wolves. The Son of God has been mocked and defied by sinful men in leadership positions who have stolen the energies, assets, finances, faculties, and heart affections of the people and embellished themselves with those resources (Isaiah 56:10-12; Jeremiah 23; Ezekiel 34; Philippians 3:18-19). Many infiltrating wolves perpetually ravage the LORD’s flock of their resources.
“Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.” Ezekiel 34:10
Jesus sent His people forth to follow Him in preaching the Gospel to every creature and teaching all men what He teaches us in His kingdom Word (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20, etc.). Yet, so many today simply follow the tradition of mere men instead of Him who is “the truth.” (John 14:6)
By the very and easily observable fact that 99.9 percent of good church members do not evangelize, we know they are not following Jesus. Most people who are good church attenders or members are following the example of their false leaders and “they that are led of them are destroyed.”
“For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.” Isaiah 9:16
4. Becoming “Moved with Compassion”
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:35-8
Are we “moved with compassion” upon the lost souls around us? Why aren’t most of those claiming Christ as their Savior not genuinely following Christ? They aren’t following Jesus because they have been taught that their “Christianity” is contained within their association and membership in that organization of mere sinful men. This is a travesty! God will judge! (1 Peter 4:17-18)
Those “few” who are following Christ instead of mere men, are fishing for men – to see others redeemed before He soon returns! Are you? – “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
5. Coming Out in Order to Flourish
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4
Those who remain among the lukewarm will be brought low spiritually. Those who stay in bondage to the system of the apostate church world, will die on the vine.
In fact, to remain on fire for Christ, doing His stated will and flowing in His truth and Holy Spirit, the true remnant disciple must “come out of her,” that is, apostate, religious Babylon (Revelation 18:4). No disciple can stay on fire with Christ while parking himself next to icebergs.
6. Examining Ourselves
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Corinthians 13:5
Ask or examine yourself friend. Put your life to the acid test: When is the last time you personally communicated the Word of God to a saint to edify and encourage him or her? When have you lately reached out with the Word of God to a lost soul? When is the last time you handed a Gospel tract to someone? (as easy as that is to do)
Is today the day for you to confess your sin to God, turn from your own self-serving and wicked ways, and receive His cleansing through the blood of Jesus?
7. Fresh Mercy Equals Fruitful Ministry
We see in Psalm 51 that when we truly get right with God afresh, we begin to seek out lost souls (Psalms 51). This follows the exact divine pattern we are seeing and beholding in Jeremiah 1:10 of the order of the LORD.
Read Psalms 51. Note the order and progression of this sensational Bible chapter, read and obeyed by many a saint for thousands of years now. In this Holy Spirit anointed and inspired prayer of repentance by David, we see that this man after God’s own heart appeals to the LORD on the basis of His “lovingkindness” and “the multitude of thy tender mercies.”
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” Psalms 51:1
8. Restoration, Cleansing, and Fruitfulness
- “wash me” (v2)
- “cleanse me” (v2)
- “purge me” (v7)
- “create in me a clean heart” (v10)
- “renew a right spirit within me” (v10)
- “cast me not away” (v11)
- “take not thy holy Spirit from me” (v11)
- “restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” (v12)
It’s after a time of repentance and the corresponding refreshing, that the Psalmist said: “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” (v13) When one lays down his life in this world, returning to the feet of the Savior, there will be a fresh desire and thrust toward helping others know Him. In fact, any person claiming to know Christ and who doesn’t have a great desire to edify His saints and call sinners to repent, is backslidden, lukewarm, and in great jeopardy of soul (Revelation 3:15-16).
Did you notice that after the cleansing comes the communication of the Gospel to transgressors (backsliders) and sinners?
9. Purity and Clarity of Vision
Remember that our LORD said “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8) When cleansed as we return (turn again) to the LORD, our hearts are cleared of all sin, guilt, and self-interest and invigorated by the Holy Spirit and set to be about our Father’s business – which is “to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 2:49; 19:10)
The LORD told us that He “change(s) not” and that with Him there “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17) God’s plan has not changed. Jesus Christ has not switched His will for you to be all about self and your own business in this sinful, fleeting world. That would be “another Jesus” – a false Christ as conveyed by the myriad of wolves today who completely ignore what Christ commanded His people to do (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; 2 Corinthians 11:2-5; Galatians 1:6-9).
When we come to the LORD with honest, sincere, repentant hearts, as David did, we will experience the same effects/fruit of a clean heart – “THEN will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” (Psalms 51:13)
10. The Joy of His Salvation
“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” Psalms 51:12-13
After the restorative cleansing comes the joy of His salvation teeming in us as we are now in vital, abiding fellowship with Him. “Then,” after He cleanses us, we begin to seek to save that which is lost (Luke 19:10). Make no mistake: Those who truly know the LORD Jesus are possessed with His ideals, purpose, and will – which is to save lost souls. Though most pastor never say so, the Bible tells us that that exactly why He came! (1 Timothy 1:15)
We can clearly see here that if we cry out to the LORD in a sincere heart of true repentance, turning back fully to Him, we will be cleansed and become soul winners.
“He that winneth souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Daniel 12:3
Prayer: Holy Father in Heaven, please convict me deeply of all sin in my life and bless my conscience to be extremely sensitive to your conviction. Unite my heart to fear Thy holy name LORD. LORD Jesus, I beg You now to cleanse, wash, purge, and deliver my soul. Make me Thy disciple and only Thy disciple. Disentangle me from any tradition or organization of mere men, especially those associations that are drawing me away from pure and fruitful fellowship with You. Please break me Father. In the name of Jesus! Make me Thy soul winner! Amen.