I Will Make You Fishers of Men (Matthew 4:19)
GWEA Monthly Message, July 2020
REVEREND GORDON WILLIAMS
Once I was invited to preach at the Canadian National Church Conference. The conference’s theme was “Fishers of Men” (Matt. 4:19) being that the leadership was greatly concerned with the increasing loss of membership in their churches. It brought to mind the night when Jesus came to call me into ministry. He said, “Gordon, I want you to come and work for me, and I want you to be a fisher of men. I will supply all of your needs according to my riches in glory.” My message then suddenly became clear - I was to preach “We are called to be fishers of men, not keepers of goldfish tanks” at the conference.
Jesus calls each one of us to witness and lead people to Him for Salvation. He desires that we catch new "people fish". However today’s churches have refused to go fishing for men. Instead they’ve been caught up in attracting and competing for the people who already attend other churches. Filling up church buildings with people who already have been saved is like filling up a fish tank with goldfish - there’s little growth in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus said “the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous into vessels and thrown into the furnace of fire” (Matt. 13:47-50).
In other words, it is our responsibility to catch fresh or unsaved people fish by means of witnessing (Acts 1:8), praying for people’s needs, ministering Salvation, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, healing and deliverance to them. “Evil” fish can be changed into “righteous” fish as Paul describes here: “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17). Christians are in the business of fishing with Jesus, and when empowered by the Holy Spirit, they offer people a new life by means of being “born again” (Jn. 3:3, 5, 7).
The very first successful fishing expedition happened on the Day of Pentecost. One hundred and twenty people where Baptized with the Holy Spirit and while speaking in tongues, they went out into the streets of Jerusalem and caught 3,000 people fish (Acts 2:41). When we are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, we are capable of fishing and catching even more men, women and children then on that day (Jn. 14:12).
Acts 2 reminds us of the kind of results that we can expect upon receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. We are equipped to go people fishing in the streets and places where we live with this assurance: “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved and Baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:21; 38). It is no wonder that the first Christian symbol “IXTHUS” when translated from Greek means fish!
Finally, every fisherman knows that he will always catch fish. We can have the same assurance because “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:15-16). Fishing for men, women and children is fun and exciting, and even more so than catching real fish! When we have the mind of Christ, every person added to the Kingdom of God through witnessing and Salvation is exciting; every Baptism of the Holy Spirit is exciting; every healing is exciting; and every deliverance is exciting! The list is endless.
It’s time that every Christian have their Day of Pentecost and embark on their own fishing expedition with Jesus. Then they too, just as the first disciples did, will catch many people fish in the streets and places where they live, and “there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Lk 15:7).
Copyright © 2021. The Gordon Williams Evangelistic Association. All rights reserved.