Called to Be Fishers of Men
The Wise Man’s Business
“What is your great business in life?” If you ask Jesus this question, this will still be His answer: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV). To God, the salvation of men and women is the chief concern. He, sending His beloved Son Jesus to this world is surest evidence that He means business. The blood shed on the cross of Calvary is its ultimate proof.
But the question is, Did Jesus die in vain? As you look at the chief concerns of most His followers today, it is natural to have such a doubt. They are busy about their own business. While they are so busy a countless multitude of men and women are walking to the endless agony and fire of hell. So the question is, “What are you doing to tell the world of Jesus?” That is the only message worth telling.
If you are not telling the good news to others, the question is, “Are you so selfish? Are you only concerned with your own well-being that you are keeping the good news to yourselves?” If you are not telling the good news, that only means one thing: You are not following Jesus. For those who follow Jesus, He makes into fishers of men. When Jesus called His first disciples, He said: “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Ref. Matthew 4:19). So, are you really following Jesus?
The Bible says: “He who wins souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30b NIV). Are you wise?
The Bible warns: “If anyone’s name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15 NIV). Are you allowing all those dear ones with whom you are in contact with to perish into this lake of fire?
The Name of Jesus
You may now object that you do not know how to tell the good news. See, the Bible shows us ways of simple telling of the gospel. First of all, live in such a way that others may see the joy that you have in Jesus. Then they will ask you: “What must I do to be saved?” Then you can say: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household” (Ref, Acts 16:30,31 NIV). See, the Bible says that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Ref. Romans 10:13). Yes, there is power in the name of Jesus: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NIV). So encourage others to call on the name of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit and the Word of God
Then you have to rely on the Holy Spirit of God. For the born again experience is His doing (Ref, John 3:3–8). In Acts 8, you find the Spirit of God telling Philip to go to the chariot of the Ethiopian Eunuch and stay near it (verse 29). Then Philip explained to him from Isaiah 53 that Jesus was the one who is spoken of there. In other words, Philip used the Word of God to explain to him the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. This is the message you need to tell. Rely on the Holy Spirit of God and point out the Scriptures that you know that tells about Jesus.
The Blood of Jesus, Heaven, and New Creation
Tell them that through the blood of Jesus, there is forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7) and purification from all sin (1 John 1:7). Tell them that they have eternal life now (John 3:16) and that Jesus is now preparing a place in heaven for them and will come back to take them to be with Him forever (John 14:1–3). Tell them that they are now in Christ, and therefore a new creation. Tell them that the old has gone, and the new has come! (Ref. 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Christian Growth and Prayer
Maybe the most important thing to tell them is that they need to grow as Christians. Tell them they are now like a new born baby. They need to have spiritual milk and food. This they get from the Bible. They need some kind of parenting. This they get from you or other believers who are willing to spend time with them. They need to be taught to pray. Tell that prayer is talking with God. Tell them that it is a joyful expression of their friendship with God.
Assurance of Salvation
Another important thing many forget is to give them assurance of salvation. See, one of the first weapons that Satan uses against new born believers is doubt. Maybe they commit a sin. Suddenly they become frightened. They think that Jesus has left them. Tell them of Jesus’ promises in the Bible. For example, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20b). Tell that He came in to their heart so as to live there.
Tell that that sin grieves the heart of God but that does not cancel their relationship with God.
Tell them that they are children of God now. That is the right they have been given by God (John 1:12). And a son is part of God’s family even when he sins; and he can return to God if he confesses and forsakes his sin (Luke 15:11–27). This is God’s great love: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1a NIV). Also remind them of Jesus’ promise: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b NIV); and “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37b NIV).
Pleasing God by Being Children of Light
Tell them that they are to try their best to live a life that pleases God (Colossians 1:10 NIV). Tell them that they have now been rescued from Satan’s kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light; the kingdom of Jesus, whom God loves! (Colossians 1:12–14). Tell them that they have been called out of darkness into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9 NIV). You can remind them these verses too: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light … and find out what pleases the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8,10 NIV).
Ask Them to Introduce Others to Jesus
In the Bible we find a lovely example of this. Andrew was one of the first persons who met Jesus. And this was what he did next: “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, `We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus (John 1:41,42 NIV). This active sharing of faith is most important to have a good understanding of everything we have in Christ (Ref. Philemon 6).
Victory over Death
And one last word. Tell those whom you lead to Jesus that death shall no more hold terror for them (Hebrews 2:15) . Tell them the joyous news that Jesus is indeed risen! (Luke 24:6a, John 11:25,26).
Songs of Joy
As for you, there can be no greater joy on earth than going with the gospel. The Bible describes you as going out with seed for sowing, weeping for the lost ones. You will come back with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with you (Ref. Psalm 126:5,6). Remember that God’s Word sown will not return empty (Isaiah 55:11 NIV). So do not trust in your words or methods, but in the Word of God.
The Role of Friendship
The best thing to do in sharing your faith is to strike friendship with people. See Jesus make a natural conversation with the Samaritan woman who came to the well to draw water. The conversation leads to who Jesus is. And she, like Andrew, immediately goes and brings people to Jesus (Read John 4:4–30, 39–42).
Even when you strike friendship with people, see that you are having a close relationship with God. Let others see the joy you have in Jesus. Let others see the peace in you that comes from the knowledge that Jesus has forgiven all your sin. Let others see the hope that you have for eternal life. Then, naturally people who are your friends would like to know the reason for all these. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15b NIV). The best thing about this method is that introducing Jesus becomes part of a natural conversation because of the friendship you have with others. Thus, Jesus, the friend of sinners, becomes a person to whom they can relate to.
Point to Jesus on the Cross
When the opportunity comes like this as part of your natural conversation you can point them to the Jesus on the cross. This is most important. For Jesus said: “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (John 12:32 & 3:14 NIV).
The Need to Pray
Spend much time in prayer for those to whom you will be telling the gospel. This Jesus did. He prayed: “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message” (John 17:20b NIV). He prayed that all believers may be one; united in Him. So you also continue to pray much for those who hear the gospel. Ask your friends to pray for you too that you may be given grace to tell the gospel fearlessly. This was Paul’s request (Read Ephesians 6:19,20 NIV).
The Need for Patience
When you sow the Word, you are like a farmer. You need to have patience. “Be patient, then, brother, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near” (James 5:7,8 NIV). Therefore do not get discouraged when people do not accept the Lord immediately. Continue to sow the Word and pray. The Lord of the harvest shall prosper what you have sown.
Do also remember that there are others too who have done work before you, and some others who will carry on the work you have begun. All are working for the Master. As Paul wrote: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6 NIV). Therefore let everyone who is a Fisher of Men continue to persevere in the Lord’s work and do what God has assigned him to do, prayerfully.
Finally, know that you are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14–16). So, shine like the stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life (Philippians 2:15b,16a).
“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3 NIV).
Fishing Manual: Danger Zone / Turbulent Waters / Do Not Enter
Warning: Many Christians make the mistake of trying to make fun of the gods of other faiths. That only causes hurt and enmity. You have to always respect others and their freedom to choose what they believe in. So, never enter into a debate about whether there is salvation in other gods or faiths.
Always remember that the Light of the world, Jesus, can shine in their darkness which might be having a hold on them down through centuries of beliefs, rituals, traditions and even demonic oppression.
Therefore your duty is to tell about Jesus; and make others look at Him like John the Baptist: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29b NIV).