Why this topic especially since many of you listening have already taken a step of faith by moving out (though with fear and trembling) to what you believe the Lord has been speaking to you about in your ministry, business, or even education to join Kingdom Builders Academy. Nevertheless you are still a bit apprehensive. I want to encourage you that in launching out into the deep there are tremendous blessings to experience.
Maybe some of you are like me – I don’t swim. Though I live on an island with beautiful beaches I hardly ever go to the beach, but when I do, I never go further than my feet could touch the ground. For people like me an invitation to launch out into the deep physically could be very frightening, especially after an experience I had several years ago when I lived in Canada. I had joined a swimming class at YWCA. I heard swimming was great exercise for the whole body, so I figured that I could accomplish two things in one go; get in shape while I learned to swim – seemed simple enough. My swimming experience was going fairly well until it was time for us to go into the deep end of the pool. Though I was quite apprehensive at first, I convinced myself, or at least tried to convince myself that I could do it. I did not want to spend my whole life being afraid of the water getting over my head where I am not in control, so I thought I’d give it try. However, no sooner I go out into the deep end I panicked and began to sink and would have eventually drowned. Up and down like a yo-yo I went; taking in water, thrashing about and crying out for help. Eventually in my panicked state I realized that they had extended a long pole for me to take hold of, and when I did they fished me out of the pool.
Feeling absolutely silly and downright embarrassed, to say the least; I tried to regain my composure. What was surprising is that I noticed that all the other swimmers had vacated the pool when I was in distress. I found out later it was the wise thing for them to do because unless you are an expert swimmer it is dangerous to try to save a drowning person. They could pull you under water with them as they panicked. So As I packed up my belongings for the evening there was an eerie silence among everyone. I guess everyone was traumatized to have witnessed someone almost drown. I appeared composed on the outside, smiled as though I was alright, but inside I was rattling with fear. Needless to say, that was my first and last attempt at learning to swim. I never said a word to anyone but as I left I had determined never to return to classes again. My swimming career or should I say my efforts at learning to swim were over as far as I was concerned. No Olympic medal for me!
We could be tempted to feel like I did, after my swimming episode; at an invitation to launch out into the deep but this one is different. Our story is found in Luke 5:1-11. – Jesus was preaching to a crowd so large that they were physically pressing in on Him – anxious to hear His Words. As He stood near the Lake of Gennesaret he saw two boats standing by the lake, but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. So He chose one of the boats, which happened to be Simon’s, got into it and asked him if he will put out a little from the land so he could preach to the crowd. Do you think this was a random act? “Hmm let me see which one I will choose.” No, Jesus knew exactly what he was doing. And we would discover this as we go along.
Let’s be a fly on the wall and watch, listen and learn from Peter’s reaction to such an invitation from the Lord – to launch out into the deep. (It seems that some of the most impactful lessons Peter learnt from Jesus had to do with water. Do you realize that sometimes Jesus comes to us in the place where we think we got it all covered; areas that we are ‘experts’ in and uses those arenas to teach us some life lessons?)
Peter had some challenges to overcome in order to obey or accept this invitation…
The first thing we learn is he had to: –
- Surrender your Resources/Possessions to the Lord – vs. 3 Jesus got into one of the boats which was Simon’s and asked him to push a little from the land and from there taught the multitudes. He didn’t even ask Simon permission. As if Jesus was oblivious to Simon’s situation. Now think for a minute – Peter and his buddies had come from a night of unsuccessful fishing. They were tired and most likely frustrated and were washing their nets to go home and have a rest. But Jesus was up to something! Sometimes we feel the Lord is not interested in our predicament but just stay with Him you will soon discover He is up to something. It is important to be sensitive to the moment that you are in because it could be that you are on the brink of a life-changing encounter. Don’t let a negative situation cause you to shut down – to wash your nets and hang them out to dry, so to speak.
He used Simon’s boat which was his resource – it was the vehicle to his livelihood. Now if Simon’s like me he’d probably think, “Doesn’t Jesus realize that I just had a very difficult night of unsuccessful fishing and I just want to go home to my family?” Jesus has a way of appearing in the most frustrating times of your life, your marriage, your career, you ministry, your business… and say “Let me use your resources – not for you but to bless others.” What is your resource (s)? What will your reaction be? Obviously Peter surrendered his resource to the Lord for His use.
- Then as if that was not enough – vs. 3b Jesus asked Peter to put out a little from the land. Separate yourself from all that was secure. He did not tell Simon right away what it was He was about to do. No, He wanted to see if he was willing to do just this little thing first – separate himself from the land and obviously the people. When the Lord is about to do something different with you He always asks that you separate yourself. You are not ready to launch out into the deep if you are not prepared to put out a little from the land. I know you are tired and frustrated with it all, and just want to pack it in, but could you just do this simple thing for me – let me use your possession, give up your plans to call it quits, or maybe go to plan B, and push a little away from that which seems stable and secure. Peter could have missed the miracle of his life if he had refused. If you want to see a difference from what you struggled with all along, what you have tried to get on your own efforts but could not, there is a word that calls you to separate ties from the familiar (family).
- And Jesus sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. Simon had to Show some Patience while Jesus went ahead and ministered to the people. Was Simon interested in what Jesus was saying, we are not sure. Maybe he was thinking I wish this man would hurry up so I could go home and get some sleep, it has been a hard night. Show patience between the first simple instruction and what is to come next. Lesson – If we stick around long enough and don’t fret while Jesus is helping others, with our resources, if we wait it out, He will have a word that can bring us great deliverance.
- And Jesus did. Vs. 4 “When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon. Launch out into the deep….” Not only did Simon have to Surrender his possessions but Surrender his Professional Training/ Self-effort. What Jesus told Simon to do, defied his knowledge as an expert fisherman; “Launch out into the deep…” You could just hear Simon, thinking “Listen Jesus you are going just a little bit too far! Experience says that don’t fish in the deep water in the heat of the day!” But Simon chose to surrender that knowledge of what he was taught in fishing school. It’s like us, we know how to do it, after all, I am the specialist, I have the training, I am the parent, I am the wife, I am the husband, I am the pastor, I am the business person… I know well what to do it has worked before, didn’t it? But this time it didn’t. There are times that the instruction the Lord gives us contradicts all reason, it defies what we know in the natural, all that we learned in college, university, Bible School etc. Simon had to put it all aside…and so do we and obey the instruction to launch out into the deep
- 4b “…And let down your nets for a catch”. Simon had to Surrender his power to control the outcome. When you launch out into the deep and let down your nets, it is for purpose; for a catch. Yes the same nets you were washing. Every instruction from the Lord no matter how weird it sounds has purpose. The word let down means “to loosen, to slacken, relax.” The net is where you hold all things together. As long as I have my nets I could keep everybody and everything in place. As long as I have the nets I could control everything. There are times we have to come to the end of our selves, to the end of trying to control everything and everyone, to the end of our expertise, training and knowledge. Notice it is the same nets Simon was washing earlier, that Jesus told him to take those same nets and let them down. Now that you have been totally frustrated from trying to control everything and trying to hold it all together – now you have cleansed your nets, let them down. Your motives are now clean, now the nets can be used to get results
- Finally Simon says something- Vs. 5 “But Master we have toiled all night and caught nothing – Speak the Truth. We have to tell the Lord the truth about our situation; it is not that He doesn’t know, he wants us to own up to our situation, because sometimes we can live in denial. It is said what we conceal cannot be healed. Just quickly I want to explain the significance of 2 words Simon used (a)‘toil‘ “to be fatigued, to work hard, to labour till you are weary, until totally worn out.” (b) Night in Scripture usually speaks of a time of difficulty, trials, affliction, distress… Have you ever toiled all night? I have. Simon Peter had done everything he knew how but was unsuccessful; he was exhausted, wearied in body, mind and soul, and totally frustrated. Some of you have toiled, it seems for years, years of difficulty and pain, yet you have nothing to show for it and you are worn out emotionally, physically and spiritually. You have been at it tirelessly to make, the ministry, the business, a dream, a vision, a job, your marriage – you have toiled to try to create a peaceful and happy environment for your family – and it seemed nothing worked. Just confess that to the Lord, that you have toiled all night and nothing worked, He already knows.
- “…Nevertheless at Your Word I will” – He had to Submit to the Word of the Lord. Simon started to argue with the Jesus. “Jesus, You are a Teacher, preacher what do you know about fish and fishing? I am a master at my craft, my buddies and I know about fishing. But when Simon heard himself say “…We have caught nothing,” he figured, “You know what? I have nothing to lose.” He quickly had an attitude check and submitted to the Word of the Lord. I don’t know what my other buddies are going to do but I WILL give up the fight and do as You say. Pride must give way to Providence if we are going to experience God’s best. What is the Lord challenging you to do that seem contrary to your knowledge, training, past experience…? I say past because He is about to give you a new experience. However, the outcome is determined by your obedience. Now the Lord moves
- And finally for this session – “And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking – Luke 5:6 – Supernatural Provision. Notice it’s when “they” had done this (not before), then they caught a great number of fish, so much so that their net was breaking. But I thought that it was Simon to whom the Lord spoke and it was he who said “Nevertheless I will.” Simon took the step of obedience and it influenced the others. Your obedience has far-reaching effects, it will influence others to follow and obey the Lord as well, and these people would be there to support you. What they had toiled, and laboured for in the night season now became accessible and abundant in the light of day. But it only transpired when Simon obeyed the Word of the Lord to launch out into the deep and let his nets for a catch.
Notice at the beginning, Jesus taught the Logos words to the crowd but He had a Rhema word for Simon’s situation. So the Lord says to you who are listening to this, “This is your Rhema word for this season” – “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” It is about returning to where you had been before and doing what you had done before, but this time on the Lord’s terms; according to His timing and instructions not yours. For many who have joined KBA this is your Launch out into the Deep … that is going to assist you in letting down your nets for a catch. I would stop here as I make this last point because this is the crux of the matter
- A Spiritual assignment – “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” Luke 5:10. Not only did Peter experience a supernatural abundant provision but he received a new spiritual assignment. This whole experience was not primarily about fish; it was about making a fisherman, a fisher of men. Simon proved himself to be a man who could follow simple but seemingly contradictory instructions regarding fish. Now the Lord could trust him with people.
As we obey the Lord and launch out into the deep yes we and those associated with us, will be blessed with abundance, but the goal is always about touching lives, reaching souls being fishers of men!. So Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a haul, a catch.