Repent And Follow (A Men’s Sunday Message)


Photo by Random Institute on Unsplash

Matthew 4:17-22 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left [their] nets, and followed him. 21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James [the son] of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and {Jesus} called them. 22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

We are continuing our study of “The Red Letters”, all the “red lettered” words of Christ in the Bible. We start this morning with a question:

Why Would Commercial Fishermen Drop
Everything To Follow Jesus?

Jesus comes to two sets of commercial fishermen: Peter and his brother Andrew, and the sons of Zebedee James and John. In both cases Jesus calls to them, saying, “Follow Me”. These rugged commercial fishermen drop everything to follow Jesus. In fact, the sons of Zebedee leave their father high and dry, walking away from the family business to follow Jesus.

If you have ever watched these reality television shows like “Swamp People”, “Wicked Tuna”, “Deadliest Catch” (shows I love to watch), then you know commercial fishermen are rugged, coarse, and tough. Their language often reflects their lifestyle. The shows I watch often bleep out certain remarks the characters make – especially when they are agitated. I’m sure they aren’t just saying “Heck” and “shoot” when they’re upset. So here’s my question:

How could a Rabbi, relatively unknown to the movers and shakers of Israel, just walk past some commercial fishermen and, with just a few words cause them to abandon their fishing boats to follow Him?

You would not find the answer unless you carefully read your Bible. There are four “Gospels” in our Bibles, and each Gospel shows a slightly different perspective on Jesus’ story. So let’s look at the back story.

We are told in Luke that prior to calling these fishermen that Jesus preached in His hometown and was rejected (Luke 4:18-28), “for a prophet has no honor in his own country”. So Jesus left Nazareth and went to Capernaum, a fishing village on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus never forced Himself on anyone. When the Son of God began to preach among these rugged fishermen the Bible says:

Luke 4:32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

What was the difference between Nazareth and Capernaum? Why did Jesus resonate with the people of Capernaum, whereas He was rejected in His own hometown? I believe it was because of the environment. Fishermen worked hard in Capernaum. Commercial fishing is a hard life.

The trials of life often bring us to a place where God can reach us. Comfort can be the greatest incentive to damnation. The comfortable person never looks up. But the tried person, the struggling person, the abused, the hurting. These people are in a position where God can reach them.

In the Old Testament there is the story of a great man, a wonderful warrior named Naaman, the commander of the Army of Syria. Naaman knew how to fight, and how to lead highly successful fighters. He had the poise of Douglas MacArthur, the determination of Army General Norman Schwarzkopf, the fortitude of that great astronaut John Glenn, and the tactical wisdom of General George S. Patton. Where ever Naaman went he brought victory. But Naaman had leprosy, a terrible skin disease. Naaman’s wife had a slave girl from Israel who said that God, through the prophet Elisha, would be able to heal him. When Naaman talked with Elisha the prophet told him:

2 Kings 5:10-12 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. 11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.

Naaman allowed his manhood and pride to keep him from a blessing. But the slave girl convinced him to go and do as God said through the prophet. When Naaman humbled himself and did as God directed he was healed.

What does the Bible say to us all?

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time

Men, if you want to be blessed you need to come surrendered to Jesus. Jesus is different. Jesus is a Man’s Man. Jesus is the stepson of Joseph, the carpenter’s son. The only job tougher than being a commercial fisherman in Jesus’ day was being a carpenter. I’ll just say this.

No power tools.
No air conditioning.
You had to make your own nails.
You had to chisel your own stone.

When Jesus came He didn’t come fancy dressed, with philosophies and dainties like the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes did. Jesus didn’t come like the politicians, the Herodians did. Jesus was a man’s Man. What He had to say made real sense for real people. The Bible says:

Luke 2:47 And all that heard {Jesus} were astonished at his understanding and answers.

As Jesus preached and healed the sick His followers grew. Though Jesus’ early sermons astonished people, they were NOT recorded. Why? Because the Gospels were written by Apostles. But BEFORE they were Apostles they were rough fishermen. Many of you have heard me preach. I am not fancy. I’m pitiful, as a matter of fact. I listen and wince at many of the recording of my messages. Many of you turn me off, or are just looking to be entertained. But my prayer is, despite my failures and limitations, that you men hear and see Jesus.

Why Would Commercial Fishermen Drop
Everything To Follow Jesus?
Because Of This Unheard Sermon.

Before Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John from the Sea of Galilee (also called the “lake of Gennesaret”) Jesus preached a message that none of the Apostles recorded. The reason none of them recorded it was that they were, at this particular moment, dead in their sins. Jesus was preaching in Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. We read:

Luke 5:1-3 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of GennesaretSea of Galilee, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

Jesus spoke the Word of God. People need the Word of God. We don’t need another liberal preacher’s opinion, but we need to hear from our Creator. As Jesus preached the people crowded closer and closer to Him.

Beloved, if you ever fall in love with Jesus and both hear and do what He says, you will see such a wonderful transformation of your life. The people pressed in. They wanted more and more of Him. I want MORE of Jesus!

The crowd pushed, until they pushed Jesus to the water’s edge. Jesus stepped on Simon Peter’s fishing boat, and asked Peter to take Him out on the Lake. The Sea of Galilee is a natural amphitheater, and Jesus’ words easily carried to the crowd. As Jesus spoke to the crowd on shore they listened with rapture. Though the sermon was not recorded, I pretty much know what Jesus said. He told them, I’m sure, that ..

God did love them. God wanted them in His family. God was concerned about their lives. Repent, turn from following the world. Follow Me, Jesus said.
The Father sent Me. Follow Me.

As Jesus spoke the Word of God the crowd listened, but Peter and the fishermen with him heard nothing to note. They were lost souls. The sermon ends, and the crowd disperses. It is possible that Jesus gave Peter and Andrew money to take Him out on the Sea of Galilee. So Peter now looks at Jesus. What does Jesus want now? Is He ready to go in.

Jesus looks at these men, and can tell by their wind blown faces that they were discouraged. They had fished all night and caught nothing. Their families would go hungry if this kept up! Jesus knows what is in our hearts. Men, Jesus knows our pain and sorrow. Jesus knows what we go through day by day. He sees our struggles. I’ve been there, struggling for a meager living. Broken because I couldn’t give my family what they needed. Jesus knows.

James 1:2 … Men, be filled with joy when you go through trials (my paraphrase) ..

Trials are an opportunity for God to reach out to you. Jesus tells Peter:

Luke 5:4 … Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

Jesus paid for the boat. It’s His cruise. Go deeper, Peter. Go further out. Do what I say, for I speak the Word of God. Peter told Jesus:

Luke 5:5 … Master (ἐπιστάτης epistátēs, ep-is-tat’-ace, overseer, boss), we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy Word I will let down the net.

Peter caught nothing all night long, and the only income he has is what Jesus gave him to take Him out on the Sea of Galilee. Peter just does what the Lord says.

And the bottom fell out!

The Bible says “they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.” (Luke 5:6). Simon and Andrew cried out. “Yo, the shore. Bring the other boat out! Quick, before we lose this treasure!” The other boat launches … but it was not enough. There was so much fish that both boats nearly sank (Luke 5:7).

That’s what God wants to do for our lives, dear brothers. I’m not a so called prosperity preacher, but I do believe what Jesus said.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Jesus wants to bless our lives. As men we define ourselves by our masculinity, by our sexual prowess, or money making ability. Jesus wants us to define ourselves in Him. Not in our testosterone. In Him. In Jesus.

On board that ship that day Peter got it. He understood that Jesus is more than just a fad, more than just a healer of the sick, more than anyone he had ever met. Here is the Creator!

Real Men Love Jesus

Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter SAW IT, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

I want you to see the picture of this. I want you to understand this. This rough fisherman falls down at Jesus’ knees. He is on his knees. He didn’t “accept Jesus into his heart”, nor did he “give Jesus his heart”.

Simon Peter is the very picture of surrender!

If you’re old enough to remember Paul Harvey, a radio broadcaster from years ago, then you now understand the REST of the STORY. It was not just ten words that led these men to follow Jesus. They saw in Jesus Creator God. This Jesus they saw could call the fish, calm the waves, and still the storm.

Matthew 4:19-20 Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left [their] nets, and followed him.

These men walked away from their nets and the great haul of fish. They walked away from their boats. James and John, inseparable brothers,

Matthew 4:22 … immediately left the ship and their father, and followed {Jesus}.

These men – all friends with one another – gave up everything to follow Jesus. They were not disappointed. Jesus Christ is real. He is a real Man. He loves everyone, and wants to bless all who will come to Him.

Matthew 4:23-25 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and {Jesus} healed them. 25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.

Back To The Beginning: What Does Jesus Require?

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

What is it that Jesus wants of us all? It is to first “repent”. This is the Greek μετανοέω metanoeō which is a compound word. Meta means to change, and Noeō means “the mind”. We as men must STOP allowing the world to define us. Let us let Jesus define us. Let us live our lives in the light of His perfect teaching and perfect example. Repentance is necessary for salvation. Repentance doesn’t mean:

To do penance.
To try harder.
To improve oneself.

Repentance means to turn back to the God Who loves you, defining your lives the way that your Creator meant it to be. To keep doing things YOUR way is to bring yourselves to an eventual place of destruction. Peter the Fisherman wrote:

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

God through the prophet preached “repentance for the remission of sins” (Luke 3:3). Jesus Christ said:

Luke 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Sin entered the world because the first Man, Adam, tried living apart from God. He did not lead his family. He did not heed the command of God. Because of this the Scripture declares:

Romans 5:12 … by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

The bad things on this earth are here because Adam, the first man, did not follow the Lord. The Lord told him:

Genesis 3:17-19 … cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee … 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

God calls out to us, men.

Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand

Turn from following your own way, and follow the King of Heaven, Jesus Christ. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15). Jesus Christ is the overcoming Son of God (Revelation 17:14; 19:16), and He bids you to come to Him and He will make you sons of God. Jesus said:

Matthew 4:19 Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Jesus wants to take you from among the followers of darkness and foolishness, and make you a son of Light. Will you come? Will you hear Him, and come? Oh that you would this very day give yourselves to Jesus. To you is His promise:

Romans 10:9-10 (ESV) … if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Dear brothers, come. The Spirit bids come. The Bride bids come. Come to Jesus. Follow Him to glory. May God the Holy Spirit touch your hearts with His Word! Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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