When God Pursues the Frustrated – A Sermon from Luke 5:1-11

miraculous catchListen to a MP3 of this sermon

According to Luke 5:1-11, when God pursues the frustrated, four things occur… He shows you: How great is his power, how great is your need of His pardon, how crucial it is to adopt His purpose, and how vital it is to value him above all else. 

Intro: Have you ever been hopelessly unproductive and unsuccessful at something? How frustrated did you get when all of your resources failed?
US: Some of you have gotten extremely frustrated playing the dating game or maybe not playing the dating game.
For others of you attempting to have children has proven stressful. For others having children has proven challenging.
Career/lost of a job… Some of you have had to stand up for your convictions and it has cost you.

The Story: Simon is frustrated, tired, and weary. A night of fishing has proven very unfruitful. He’s caught absolutely nothing. In the morning, Jesus finds Peter washing his nets. He tells him to launch the boat and let down the nets. Oh great… a rabbi telling a professional fisherman how to fish. Peter initially objects, but finally concedes. Let’s look at what happens when God pursues a frustrated fisherman…

I.  When God pursues the frustrated, He convinces us of His power.

He is able to do in seconds what Peter was not able to accomplish all night!
The miraculous catch of fish produces in Peter a contrite spirit as he marvels at the power of Jesus. The catch is so amazing that the nets are breaking and the boats are sinking. In other words, the point is: this is an utterly unprecedented catch of fish in a location that seemed hopelessly unproductive the night before. And it was caught at the powerful and authoritative word of Jesus.

Isaiah’s vision of God’s glory and greatness (Isaiah 6:1-8).
Paul’s vision of the risen, glorified Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-11).
John’s vision of the exalted, risen Christ (Revelation 1:9-20).
These men received glimpses of the power of Jesus Christ.

This power is in the Word of Christ (drawing people to faith… drawing fish into a net). Romans 10:17 – Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. At your word I will let down the nets (v.5). The call of Jesus for these men to follow him.
(This leads us to a profound awareness of our own sinfulness).

II.    He convicts us of our sin and unworthiness.

How does Peter respond to the miraculous catch of fish?
“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.” Peter sinks to his knees in awe before this mysterious figure: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” In other words: “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinner. If you only knew to whom you were speaking! My spirit is dull and my heart is weary. Depart from me!”

Ask the Lord to give you a growing awareness of His presence as well as keener sense of the depth of your need of His pardon.
I departed and turned my face away from my own begotten son so that I would never depart from you. What does Jesus say to Peter and to all his disciples at the end: “Surely, I am with you always even to the end of the age.”

How is it that Jesus would not depart from Peter? One day Jesus would die for Peter’s sins of betrayal, pride, ambition, and idolatry (Mark 10:45).
(Thankfully, our sin does not disqualify us for service. The same power that prompts Peter to fall at Jesus’ knees in contrition and humble worship now lifts him into God’s service. It is interesting in this story that Jesus gets into the boat to call Peter out of the boat!)

III. He commissions us to serve Him and participate fully in His ministry.

What does Jesus ask Peter to do? What is He asking us to do? Catch men, women and boys and girls for Him.

In verse 10b “Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.’” Fishing for men…Gathering from among the nations a people for His name. Gathering those who are trusting in Christ alone for salvation.
Fishing and shepherding are two enduring metaphors and images of Christian ministry. Catching men who will be empowered to catch others (Acts 11:19-26).

Catching men for Christ is an endeavor that the church has struggled with in the past. In the early church, God used persecution to disperse the Christians throughout the Middle East for gospel expansion. Sometimes God brings adversity into the lives of his people so that they might live to prove that Jesus is more precious to them than even their physical lives.

Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Ask the Lord to show you one person that you can pray for and befriend in order to share Christ with them. Charles Spurgeon: “Let all who trust in the merit of Messiah’s death be joyful at every remembrance of him, and let their holy gratitude lead them to the fullest consecration to his cause.”

IV.  He causes us to value Him above all else.

Peter and James and John respond with hearts overflowing with the value of knowing Jesus: “When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.” The text notes that Peter and his companions “forsook all and followed Him” (5:11).

This is what it means to follow Jesus: he is more valuable to us than everything. I count everything as loss compared to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Philippians 3:8).

Ask the Lord to show you what it is that you value more than Jesus. Is He more valuable to you than your money? Your spouse? Your children? Your career? Prestige? Pleasure? For sure there is something that we must bring and lay down at the feet of Jesus.

What do you need to leave behind to follow the Lord more fully? The woman at the well. Broken cisterns that can hold no water… fountain of living water.

For one year I rode the ministry pine. I was sitting on the bench begging the Lord to put me back into the game. Our fourth child had just been born. One opportunity after another passed without an open door.  Out of this wilderness God brought me to a position that was perfectly tailored for me. It was three fruitful years of service at Intown Community Church in Atlanta, GA.

The Lord doesn’t always bring our frustration to an end after one year, but if you have something in your life that you wish weren’t there that has caused you a measure of frustration, I can guarantee you this: The Lord is pursuing you in order to show you four things: How great is his power, how great is your need of His pardon, how vital it is to adopt His purpose, and how vital it is to value him above all else.

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