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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sermon 07082012 5th Sunday After Trinity

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray, Gracious heavenly Father.  It is clear that Your Word divinely inspired is given to us to read, mark and inwardly digest, yet until we hear it taught to us like Jesus did from the boat we refuse to understand.  May we gather to hear Your Word and Message of salvation offered for us and hear God’s call for all of us to be fisher’s of men.  For the message is clear, Jesus Christ came into this World to freely offer us eternal life through His life, death and resurrection for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

As the wildfires burned this summer in Colorado and being able to watch them first hand while at camp our Gospel lesson of fishing on a lake reminds me of a movie I enjoyed in college.  In the movie Always the opening scene is two fisherman casting on a serene lake with not a care in the world.  Relaxing and enjoying themselves they are apparently oblivious to what is in the distance.  In the distance is a float plane scooping water to be dropped on the fires ravaging another forest and those two fisherman are right in the path of the plane.

We are not unlike those fishermen out in the middle of the lake oblivious to the world and what is occurring around us.  As a result of the fall with Adam and Eve we ignore things around us and sometimes only concentrate on what is right in front of us.  The disciples from our lesson this morning are no different.  After spending a night out in the fishing boat because it is cooler at night and the fish come to the surface to feed, and catching nothing, the disciples are sitting on the shore of the lake cleaning up after an uneventful evening.  And Jesus comes by and asks to be taken out so He could teach the people that were following Him.  So Simon, whose boat Jesus had gotten into, dutiful and hospitable as he was took Jesus out into the shallows so He could teach the people and everyone could listen without being crowded.

What Jesus taught is not recorded, nor is there any indication of its relevance, but what occurs next is a greater lesson for Simon, the people Jesus had just taught and we God’s people today.  Jesus tells Simon to put out a little further and go fishing with his nets again just as he did the previous night.  And you can imagine Simon’s reaction, “Come on Jesus, we just got done from fishing all night, we are tired and I just want to go home and relax”.  But dutiful Simon relents and lets down the nets.

In faith Simon let down the nets and Jesus Christ in exercising Simon’s faith causes ‘a great quantity of fish’ to be caught and fill both of the boats.  Simon’s reaction is not unlike ours when we experience something that defies logic, like a hail Mary touchdown by the Goodland Cowboys or getting 150 bushel per acre corn on dry land after a summer without any rain.  Simon in hauling in a boat full of fish experienced the Grace of God in the most tangible way.  And what was his reaction, “For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken”.  Simon and the other fisherman were amazed that in the same waters they had fished all night, now in the daylight their nets were filled.

But what is more surprising is Simon’s next reaction.  Our text doesn’t tell us what it is, but Jesus Words tell us differently.  Simon not only was caught in amazement, but now great fear.  Jesus says to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.”  No longer would they rely upon the uncertain trade of fishing in a boat in turbulent waters upon the Sea of Galilee, Jesus was calling Simon, James and John his business partners to fish, not for creatures under the water, but for men.

This call of Simon, James and John is also the call Jesus Christ makes to us today.  We the people of Emmanuel are called to fish for men.   But I can hear clearly, ‘but Pastor, I don’t have time’, ‘but Pastor, that’s your job, that’s what we called you for’, ‘but Pastor, I don’t know how’.  Brother’s and Sister’s God does not call us because we are able, God calls us to enable us to do great things by trusting in Him and what He can and does through us.

We like Simon from our lesson fear what will occur and that we won’t know what to say, if given the opportunity.  We doubt God and that is exactly what Satan wants us to do.  Satan doesn’t want us to trust God to enable us through the work of the Holy Spirit.  Satan wants us to question God and deny giving glory to God.  But God in His infinite wisdom wants us to rely solely upon Him and trust in Him like Simon did in the boat and ‘cast the net’, and let God bring us to the place where we can minister where we are needed.  God will equip us, God will give us the words to speak, God will enable each of us to minister and proclaim the Gospel of Salvation that we have through what Jesus Christ has done on Calvary.  God will give the Holy Spirit to enable us to be the bold witness and not to fear and be ‘fishers of men’.  That is the promise of God not only to Simon in our Gospel lesson, but to and for us today.

In the most recent installment of Alvin and the Chipmunks, “Chipwrecked”, the six chipmunks are marooned on a volcanic island.  While there, Simon is bitten by a venomous spider and in a delirious state assumes the personality of Simone a care free, out going free spirit who is not afraid of anything, the complete opposite of who he typically is.  Alvin, the usual jock character, fearful of nothing, not even Dave’s wrath, when faced with the daunting reality that survival depends upon him, becomes the ‘serious’ chipmunk.  What is ironic is that both Simon and Alvin had these two natures in both of them of seriousness and care-free, but they in the face of fear that had placed them on the island were empowered to ‘change’.
God in and through the Work of the Holy Spirit can change each of us as well.  We have our marching orders, we can be changed and empowered to proclaim the message of salvation.  For the message of salvation that Jesus Christ died on the Cross of Calvary for you and for me is our battle cry.  That message of salvation isn’t only for these four walls of Emmanuel or any church, that message of salvation is what we have been called to proclaim in our daily lives for all the saints of the World.  God has called you and me like Simon, James and John to be fisher’s of men because of what Jesus Christ has done on Calvary for all of mankind, including we the saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.
//trial script