What Do You Hope to Catch?
Text: Mark 6:31-44
I. What you hope to catch determines the type of bait you use
A. A worm may land you a fish, but it probably won’t lure a mouse into a trap
B. Even in fishing, there are different baits to be used for different fish
C. I’ve known young women who want a godly husband, so how do they go about it?
1. They dress provocatively because that gets a guy’s attention, right?
2. But what kind of guys chase after sexy looking girls?
3. The bait determines what you catch
D. Then there are the guys. They have dreams, but they complain there are no girls.
1. When you ask, "How many girls have you talked to?" – talk?!
2. Ah, if you want to catch a fish, you do need to put a worm on the hook. And it does help to put the hook in the water.
II. When congregations aren’t growing, we need to ask similar questions
A. I remember talking to one congregation. Their preacher had gotten ill and died.
1. It wasn’t a huge group, but it wasn’t small. But the youngest members were in their sixties.
2. I asked when was their last baptism and they talked a bit and decided it was about five years ago, a few years before the preacher took ill.
3. Here was a group that expected the preacher to do all the work.
a. The hook, if you will, wasn’t being put in the water.
B. Light is useless if it isn’t seen - Matthew 5:14-16
III. Do you remember when Jesus fed the five thousand? - Mark 6:31-37ff
A. What drew the people to Jesus?
1. Certainly the miracles Jesus did was a part of it
2. But what Mark pointed out was that the people wanted guidance. Jesus was someone who could explain what they longed to know.
3. The food was Jesus’ idea as a chance to demonstrate God’s power
B. John tells us, that people began following Jesus for the food - John 6:25-27
1. Jesus refused to feed them again.
2. Why? Because this wasn’t the type of follower Jesus was after
C. There are churches that make the offer of food the incentive to come to a meeting or worship.
1. I saw a denomination’s building not long ago that had a full size coffee bar in its entrance area
2. Their auditorium had a stage set up for a full concert, lights, speakers, the works
3. But who were they attracting? I’m positive most were there because they enjoyed the entertainment
4. But the problem is eventually such a group gets bored, so these groups are constantly looking for new entertainments to draw people in.
D. People will teach anything to draw a crowd - II Timothy 4:3-4
1. If we aren’t careful, we can be pulled along too - Acts 20:30
IV. On the Sea of Galilee, the traditional method of fishing involved going out at night - Luke 5:3-10
A. The fishermen would lay out nets in the water and then hang a lantern over the water. Fish would naturally swim to the light. Then the nets were drawn in, trapping the fish.
B. This is why the disciples were shocked. In the full light of day, the fish would be scattered all over. Even to catch a few fish, this close to shore, would be near hopeless.
C. But what they caught was beyond the wildest dream of a fisherman, and Jesus basically said, “That’s nothing, I’m going to make you fishers of men.”
D. Consider for a moment: What was bait to these fishermen? It was the light!
1. Philippians 2:14-16 - We are the lights in a dark world. That means we are the “bait,” if you will allow.
2. That is why Paul said not to complain and fight. Why? Because such sins dim our light.
3. We are to be blameless and harmless – the type of people others would like to become.
4. And what are we holding up? The word of life! To see the teachings of God living and working in us draws people to Christ.
E. That word then produces faith - Romans 10:17
V. What kind of people is Jesus looking to draw?
A. People who hunger and thirst for righteousness - Matthew 5:6
B. The Father draws with His teachings - John 6:44-45
C. People who long for eternal life and salvation from the misery of their sins - John 12:32
1. The death of Jesus was the ultimate proof of God’s truth - John 8:28
D. Yet, I’ve heard people say, “Let’s get them in first, then we will teach them.”
1. But they don’t draw people who want to learn, they attract people who want to be entertained or long for an emotional “experience.”
E. Are there people who long for the milk of the word? - I Peter 2:1-3
1. Jesus said the fields are ready for harvest - John 4:35
F. Look at our own experience. We get over a hundred emails each week from people wanting to know what God says on a matter.
1. We regularly get notes from people wanting to know where they can find a church like this in their area
2. And these are just the ones that write. Those that read are far greater.
3. For example, in the last month 790 people in the Omaha region visited our web site. 8,280 in the last year.
4. Someone is looking for the truth.
G. Our Lord wants us to be fishers of men. The bait is our own lives as we hold up the Word of Truth in a dark world.
1. Like Peter trusting Jesus to put out the net, let us trust that Jesus knows and will draw men to him with that word