Epiphany 5 Series C
Obedience to Christ’s Words
10 February 2019
“Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’”
In this season of Epiphany, we recall a series of first things. We have witnessed Jesus' first miracle. We have heard His first sermon. Now we see His first disciple. Called into active service.
Peter is an interesting sort of fellow. He speaks first and questions later. He is bold in faith at one moment and timid the next. Peter is a lot like us today. He had his own questions and fears. He had sickness in his family. He worked long hours trying to run a business. Yet, when Jesus called Peter, he responded.
The Savior used common ordinary people like you and me to be His followers. What is it that God is calling you to do? Take the example of Peter. Faithfully follow when you are asked to go.
At times, life just seems to sail by with ease. Te road is straight. The going is easy. Your burden is light. Then, from out of the blue the going gets tough, there are bumps and terrors in the way. Then the sledding gets difficult. That’s when it takes faith to see you through.
It takes faith. To do something when you have struggles. It takes even more faith - when you’ve failed. Stooping down and picking up the pieces and starting over again is - at best - difficult. Yes, those are the times when it takes faith to start over or to continue when all around you all the advice you get it to stop, give up, and quit!
O Lord, keep your family the Church continually in the true faith that, relying on the hope of Your heavenly grace, we may ever be defended by Your mighty power;
Peter was asked to do the ridiculous. He was asked to fish after an entire night of frustration and futility. He had caught nothing. Jesus’ words to Peter and His Word to you call for a persistent enduring faith.
1. Faith calls us to obey Jesus’ commands. Peter obeyed the Lord despite a night of failure.
A. This is easy. The commands, which Jesus gives, are simple. These commands are found in God’s Holy Word. You need not search long and hard to find the Lord’s direction. They are printed plainly in Scripture. They are the Lord’s direction.
These commands. Not only are they available. They are clear for you to understand. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing from the Word of God.” When you find the Lord’s commands, you will find clear direction for your life. The Lord’s ways are best. He has never given you anything, which would hurt or harm you. His guidance is just and right.
B. While the commands are clear, Satan tries to trick you into thinking that the Lord’s commands and His ways are difficult and hard. Recall Satan’s interaction with our first parents Adam and Eve. The Lord had given them one simple command. Which was not to eat the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden. Along came Satan. With His nasty schemes tricks and lies. He used his skill of cunning. He said, “Oh no! The Lord knows that when you eat of that fruit your eyes will be opened and you will be like Him.” Notice Satan’s cunning ways. He told enough of the truth. Yet, he twisted it. To serve his own purposes.
Satan went a step further. He promised Eve, “You will not die!” When you face troubled times and perhaps failures. Which demand for us the start over and try again. Focus on Christ. Stand firm on the sure and certain promises of Jesus.
Transition: Satan will continue to tempt us to think the Lord’s commands are too difficult. He will lie. Attempting to convince you that God will go back on what He has clearly promised you in His Word.
2. It will take faith to accept the Lord’s promises. That the fish would simply slip into the net and fall into the boat.
A. Satan will attack and hit you hard. He wants you to think that the Lord Jesus will not follow through with His promises. True. These promises are for your neighbor. They are just as true for your friends. But what about you? Are the Lord’s promises for you also? Satan desires for us to think that the Lord’s promise will fail you. That you will slip through the cracks, that you will come up short, that you will stumble, fumble, flop and fall.
B. Faith dispels all fear and doubt. These are not idle words. Nor empty promises. These are Jesus’ simple words. They are pure grace. These are the promises of your Savior; who came an infant, who grew into a man, who bled, died, and rose again for your forgiveness and life.
C. By the shed blood and His innocent suffering and death of your Savior Jesus He now offers you salvation and a new life. He has come to fulfill all righteousness. He took your place under the Law. That you might be redeemed and rescued from the failure to keep and observe the Law on your own.
D. And He sees and understands your troubles. That’s why your Father sent His Son. The Father made Jesus to suffer. So He might relate to your sufferings. Thus, the writer to the Hebrews could say to you this day – “it was fitting that He, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering He had to be made like his brothers in every respect., so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” – Hebrews 2:17-18
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” - Hebrews 4:15-16
As for Peter, the catch of fish was so great that the boat almost sank. It was so full of fish. Peter, on that morning faced the reality of another wasted night. He had failed. He hadn’t produced. Yet He witnessed a miracle. The Lord will not renege or break His promise. He will not go back on His Word.
No matter what shortcoming you might face. No matter what your frustrations might be. The same promises are for you. In Christ, they are “yes!” and “Amen.”
Passive Sentences –5%