Going Fishing Part 1 by Pastor Don
First, a side fishing trip (she says smiling):
Before we got to the topic at hand (we are sometimes very “bad” Bible students, when Pastor Don has a topic to teach, our questions can sidetrack the teaching. But this side journey is very important so I am including it because many of us have dealt with this issue in our lives), one of the members of our Bible study gave a testimony about how much God has changed her life. She then remarked that Jehovah Witnesses have been coming out of the woodwork and calling on her house. Pastor Don said that will sometimes happen in the early stages of our faith, for satan does not want us to learn the truth of God’s Word so satan will send people with false doctrines to our doors to try and pull us away. He mentioned that once he got saved, his wife did not go to church, so the Jehovah’s Witnesses would come to his house after he left for church, of course at that time his wife did not want anything to do with God, even the Jehovah Witnesses’ version of God.
One day they came to talk and Pastor Don was there. He told them he would listen to them for five minutes, but then they had to listen to him for five minutes. He listened to their comments about Jehovah – their big claim to fame (I will explain more about that later), then he told them about the gospel for 2 1/2 minutes, then spent 2 1/2 minutes talking about his testimony. You can check out his testimony on line for it is part of one of his books, Not Forsaken: Healing the Father Wound. It is on page 105. You can read both of Pastor Don’s books on line or order them from In His Name Ministries. Anyway, he told the two men that God healed him from an incurable disease, one that his doctor told him to go home and get his house in order for he would not survive. God had different plans. He then whipped the doctor’s report about his miraculous healing from his desk and showed it to them. They wanted to leave literature and he told them only if they took his literature. One of them said we can’t do that for we will get into trouble. Pastor Don offered to pray for them “In Jesus’ Name.” They did not do that, and they did not come back.
Pastor Don also told us, if we stick to our testimony, people cannot debate that. The Jehovah Witnesses do not have a personal relationship with God like we do. Their religion is based on a works mentality. They have to go to so many houses, and only so many of them will make heaven. If you get to the two that come to your door with God’s truth, after awhile they will pull out the big guns, bringing an elder member who is able to debate. Their big claim to fame is the name of God which they say is Jehovah, but in reality they are in Biblical error. Jehovah is an English version of JHWH. When God introduced himself to Moses, He called himself “I AM” a name that is unpronounceable, for in the Bible it is written JHWH – no vowels. We do not know how it is pronounced. The only one who was able to pronounce the Name was the High Priest who would pronounce it once a year at the Feast of Atonement, in the Holy of Holies. When the Jewish people spoke of God, they called him Adonai (the most used name for God) or in his multifaceted nature the plural form of Elohim.
So, how can we tell a cult? One true way is clearly delineated in the scriptures:
2 John 7-11For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.
Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons and other cults do not accept Jesus as the Son of God who came to the Earth in the Flesh. They claim Jesus was an angel. Do not let them into your house, if necessary talk with them on your doorstep.
1 John 4:1-4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.
1 John 4:18-19 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.
Casts out all things that torment: For example, anger, fear, guilt, shame, greed, pride.
The Big Promise 1 John 5:3-5 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
The cults claim exclusivity, some sort of special revelation no one else but they have heard. satan came as an angel of enlightenment. If you accept the thinking that I’ve got something no one has you are devil bait. They control people through pride, fear, and torment. And then, when persecution comes to those in the cults, they do not self-examine their doctrines, but if you question or debate their false teachings, you are considered to be part of their persecution.
The Jehovah Witnesses twice proclaimed specific dates for the end times. In 1914 all their members sold all they had and waited on top of a mountain for the end times, only to be disappointed. So then the second prophecy about the end of the world came in 1917. If the “prophets” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses lived in the times of the Israelites, one false prophecy like that would have cost them their life, for they were not truly stating God’s Word. God’s Word comes true all the time.
The Scriptures are available to anyone who cares to read and study the Word. There is no new doctrine, all is clearly delineated in the Word of God. If a teaching does not agree with God’s Word, it is a false teaching and needs to be questioned.
As Pastor Don was talking, one of the members in our Bible study stated what Pastor Don was saying was the truth. She was once a Jehovah’s Witness and knew their doctrine. Many of the failed prophecies have disappeared from the teachings of the Witnesses. And their doctrine changes over time – especially after they had more than 144,000 members, they had to change their teaching about the number of people who would be in Heaven.
THE FISHING TRIP PASTOR DON WAS PLANNING ON TEACHING ABOUT FOLLOWS, IN LUKE 5:
Pastor Don has been teaching about different aspects of faith. Sometimes when we look at a miracle, we see the minor miracle, but miss an aspect of a greater miracle. In the Bible, sometimes we see a miracle, but do not realize how great it is because we don’t understand the Jewish background and so we do not realize why the miracle was so great. Here is an illustration.
Luke 5:1-2 So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him (Jesus) to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets.
This was the daytime. The fishermen had fished all night, now they were cleaning up their nets.
Luke 5:3-5 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s (Peter’s) and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered, and said to Him, “Master we have toiled all night and caught nothing: nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”
Simon Peter was willing to do this at Jesus’ Word. To understand this situation, we need to know more about fishing in Jesus’ day. First of all, they did not fish during the day, but at night. These men had been out all night and had caught NOTHING. They were on the shores, having taken the nets off of the boats, and cleaning them.
The teacher comes and sits in a boat to teach. Judging from other sermons recorded in the Scriptures, we can be certain it was not a 15 minute sermon. Jesus can talk for a long time, check out the whole Sermon on the Mount. We can probably assume this was at 9 or 10 in the morning, the people had their breakfast and were now assembling to hear the teacher. It was normal for itinerant rabbis to go to places, even when they were not known, and begin to teach. If the people who gathered liked the word they stayed and listened, if they didn’t they moved on.
So after a time of teaching, Jesus (not a fisherman by Simon’s standards) tells Simon to go out into the deep and let down the nets for a catch. Simon was not hot on this idea. He calls Jesus “Master” but is not convinced that Jesus knows anything about fishing. The nets used were nets that had to be used at night, trammel nets – for these net are highly visible and the fish would see the nets during the day and avoid them, so the trammel nets had to be used at night.
The above picture shows how the net would have been cast and pulled out – but the load of fish is very minimal in this picture, nothing like the catch provided by Jesus.
From Simon Peter’s point of view they had worked ALL NIGHT, and caught NOTHING. They had just spent hours and hours getting the nets ready for the next night. They were TIRED and wanted to go to bed. As PROFESSIONAL FISHERMEN they “knew” fish could not be caught during the day, and so he reluctantly agreed to go out into the deep.
When the Rabbi said, “Let’s go out,” he probably muttered under his breath about going to sleep, probably using some of the choice words he used around the fire at the time of Jesus’ trial. So often, when God tells us to do something that doesn’t make sense to us, we have a very human response. We think God is asking too much.
But, to Simon Peter’s credit, even though grudgingly, on the weight of the Word of Jesus as Rabbi, Peter breaks down, and puts the nets into his boat, and goes out on the water – sure it would be a fruitless trip. In verse 5 we don’t know how long the span of time is between “Nothing” and “Nevertheless.”
This involved a major amount of work on Peter’s part, for the nets had to be put back into the boat, the men had to be gathered. The boats of that time were small, leaving room for only 2-3 people. With Jesus going out with them it meant that there was a fourth person – not a fisherman, who would probably be in the way (so they thought), and that meant extra work. They assumed Jesus did not know how to fish.
Luke 5:6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.
They launched out into the deep with Jesus, an act of faith. For they did not see what would happen, maybe they would get a catch, probably not they thought. Notice in verse four Jesus said, “Let down your nets for a catch.” He did not say, you might get a catch, maybe we’ll get something. He spoke into existence that they WOULD get a catch, and they did.
The nets were BREAKING. Pastor Don researched how many fish a trammel net could hold a ton (2,000 pounds) of fish, probably tilapia (St. Peter’s Fish). There were so many fish the boats were sinking, and Simon Peter had to call for help.
Luke 5:7-9 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken.
Luke 5:10-11 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.
Without an understanding of how fishing was done during the time of Jesus this is still a good miracle, but was it good enough to get a reaction from Peter? Probably not, only when we understand the facts about the nets used, does a good miracle become a great miracle, then we see why Peter was ASTONISHED.
One other fact to be aware of is usually they caught some fish when they went out, but the amount of fish caught during this miracle is probably equal to what would have taken months to catch in regular fishing.
It was pointed out that Jesus, in effect, paid for the use of the boat for preaching. We cannot out give God.
I am going to continue this discussion tomorrow because there is so much more to be gleaned (or caught – she says smiling).
Have a blessed day!
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