Sermon March 13, 2005 : Luke 5

Posted in Sermons
  • Presenter: Dr. Roberto Miranda | Translator: Dr. Roberto Miranda
  • Length: 45:44
  • Date: March 13, 2005
  • Location: Congregation Lion of Judah, Boston MA

Let’s go to Luke Chapter 5, the well known passage of the miraculous catch. If you have the bibles with you in English, please follow along and I’ll also try to integrate some of the text as I preach.

Lord we commit this word to You from whom it comes and we ask that you would touch our lives, the totality of our being, that you would speak to us this morning through your word. Edify us Lord, build us up in our faith. Let us see your generous style of dealing with those who love you and obey you. In Jesus’ name. Amen

We’ve been speaking about the generous life, the life of giving. Using the life of Elijah for example we spoke about, the need to give in that zone of discomfort, beyond what is familiar, comfortable to us. The widow of Sarept had to give the prophet something that was very precious to her, her only hope for food in a time of great hunger, ahead of any certainty that she might have had of being able to receive anything in return, that put her in an uncomfortable place, but that’s where she need to be in order to extract the blessing.

We have also spoken about, the fact that to God belongs the earth and the fullness thereof, everything that is contained in the earth, in the universe even, the very atoms that make up matter and the human body and everything that is conceivable or visible or touchable, or that has any kind of mass, belongs to the Lord, He has created, He has structured reality itself. Therefore anything that we do, or give or think is within Him, it’s within what He has provided us, so He’s the owner of everything.

We have also said that when we live that generous life, a life of giving, a life of yielding, a life of detachment from earthly goods, in the name of the Lord, we are blessed, we are prospered. That is the mathematics of God. The mathematic of man, the mathematics of reason says: the more I withhold and save and stash, the more I will have, the more I will keep. The mathematics of God says: the more I give, the more I receive. In the mathematics of faith, minus is more in many ways when it is done in faith in Jesus Christ, his word, his faithfulness. In the mathematics of God to die is the prelude to life. In the mathematics of God to lower yourself is the prelude to being raised up.

Philippians 2, 5 to 11 says essentially that Jesus, when he divested himself of his glory, when He lowered himself to the form of mere man in obedience to the Father, then God because of this God raised Him and gave Him a name that is above all other names. In the mathematics of God paradox, contradiction is the norm. In reason everything has to be logical and sequential. According to God’s reasoning is totally different, it’s the reasoning of faith.

We see these principles now expressed in the life of the Apostle Peter as well. Until now many of the messages that I have preached have been based on the Old Testament. Many of us can be, sort of tempted to think: well, yes that was the norm for the Old Testament but now in the life of grace is very different. All the very opposite. In the New Testament we find the same principle of giving, generous giving, which translates into wonderful receiving also expressed. In the life of Peter, the Apostle Peter, particularly in this passage and in other passages as well, reflects this truth in a very graphic sort of way.

We see that here this passage begins expressing a situation of need and the need really is taking place on the part of Jesus. Jesus is experiencing a need here. We see that Jesus is experiencing a need. The multitude has come because His word is life. The Pharisees cannot give life, religion has never been able to give life, Jesus gives life and so people follow everywhere He goes. He brings a new message, He brings joy, He brings hope to needy people and so they come and they throw themselves on Him and they’re pressing on Him.

He cannot speak to them comfortably. He needs a platform. He needs a place from where to stand and separate himself from the multitude in order to speak to them effectively. Now, He could have done it with a supernatural voice, but here’s something important, He has chosen to limit himself to his human form, to his human limitations. And so He’s experiencing: how do I speak to the multitude? The Lord asks himself: how can I communicate? How can I resolve this dilemma? How can I speak to this multitude that is needing my word and needing my ministry at this moment.

Let’s just look for a moment again. Let’s examine more deeply that dilemma of the Lord. As I said the Lord could have spoken, he could have transcended that limitation supernaturally, as He did in other occasions but He’s choosing now to deal within the natural. See, the Lord has chosen to limit himself, now He could have chosen in the preaching of the gospel a few angels to preach the gospel in a few days and they would have been so much more convincing and effective evangelists than we, puny human beings with all our falseness and all our propensities to make mistakes.

But God limited himself to the church and he has chosen to preach the word through his people. God has not transcended his limitation of time and space with respect to the administration of the gospel, He has chosen a much more limited mechanism which is the church, human beings. He has chosen to operate through that medium, just as He chooses here not to speak through a voice that is supernaturally magnified but He chooses to solve the problem by looking around and finding a solution within the realm of time and space.

And so the Lord looks around, in order to solve his dilemma, and He sees two boats that belong to fishermen who are dutifully washing their nets of all the salt so that it will not be corroded and later on we discover in the same text, that these fishermen had been fishing the whole night with any results, they have come to zero. Their efforts have yielded no fruit. But the Lord sees that they have something that He needs and that He can use for his purposes, it’s a boat. So the Lord determines that if He can get on one of those boats, distance himself from the shore and He would be able then to speak more effectively to the multitude. He can use that boat as a platform to transmit his life-giving message to the multitude.

And therein lies a very important piece of understanding which is that I have always thought that our lives are like that ship, that boat, that Jesus asks the owner to allow him to step into it, to distance himself a bit from the multitude and be allowed to project his message, his teaching in a more effective manner.

Our lives are like that. We are Peter’s boat that the Master is saying: I need you. I need to come into you with my power, with my presence and be allowed to project my message through the resources that you have within you. God, the Lord needs our lives because He has decided that that’s the way it should be. He could have invented some other medium, but He chose us and He needs what we have.

The Master of the Universe, the owner of all creation, the sustainer of everything that is, says: I need you, I want you to allow me to use your life, use your resources, use your gifting, use that which I have given you to fulfill my purposes.

You know that boat really belonged to Jesus. He could have commandeered it, if He wanted to because that boat was made of a substance, perhaps a couple of trees, that the Lord himself had created, and had made possible so He didn’t have to beg him, as it says here, He could have just commanded Peter, but the Lord is so gentle and He says: would you allow me to use you. Would you allow me to take over your life. Would you allow me to climb inside of you and use you as my platform, as you live your life.

The Lord is always looking for men and women that would say: Lord, yes, use me. My life is yours. Once the Lord looked over a multitude and the Bible tells us that His heart was broken because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

You know when the Lord saw that multitude needy and without guidance, neglected by the professional, religious people of his time, the Lord says: you know the fields are white for the picking and yet there are no workers. Now let’s pray to the Lord of the field to send workers so that the harvest might not be lost.

We are living in a time when the harvest is more plentiful than ever, there are more opportunities of harvesting, and preaching and missions work than ever before in the history of mankind and yet there is a lack of consecrated men and women who would yield themselves to the Lord and say: Father, all of my gifts, all of my properties, all that I have is yours, dispose of it as you will. I will merely depend on your grace for my daily needs. God needs that kind of individual.

You know as we look, I think God wants to bless this congregation, not because we’re anything, but simply because God has chosen to bless us. I don’t know why really. Sometimes I ask myself that question, but I think there’s a whole lot that we can do for the Kingdom of God and there’s great progress to be made in the future, great needs in the community that God can use us. But I also realize that there are also needs that this church will need, finances, this church will need people to give. We want the church of excellence and we have a long way to go, but I have discovered time after time that excellence requires investment, and it requires a giving congregation.

You know, more and more as we seek to have all that we need in order to do the work of God and to do it with quality, we realize that we will need a generous congregation, a giving congregation. A congregation that understands that we give within the realm of sufficiency in the Lord that as we give we’re connected to a life giving source that as we give through here more comes through here, and we receive more. So we’re not concerned, we give to the Lord with joy and with abandon because He is our provider.

We have said that the Son of God, the daughter of God, the woman of God, gives, not from a perspective of danger and insufficiency and uncertainty, like again the widow, who said: well, if I give you this, this is my last piece of bread. You know, I don’t have anything else. And Jesus says: do not give. Jesus says to us, and Elijah tells this woman as well: hey, don’t worry about it. You know, the believer gives, not from a perspective of scarcity, but form a perspective of sufficiency, in the knowledge that as you give to the Lord from up front, ahead, in the back you are connected to an inexhaustible source of provision, which is the promise of God, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, the Word says. You see, so as we give to the Lord we are not just simply giving without certainty of what is going to become of us, we know what’s going to become of us, we know that we are connected to the blessing and the generosity and the promise of the Lord, that He will not fail us. So we can afford to give.

I believe that we, believers, we need to practice giving as a discipline. It is not something that is pleasant, but we simply do it, we simply do it because that’s the way of the believer. We have to a worry-free generosity. And you know sometimes we have to, almost be deliberately a bit careless in our giving because this is what disciplines the flesh, the mind into daring to give in that zone of faith. In our church I try as much as possible to practice that.

I pray that God will allow us as a church to as much as possible, always be generous with what we have, to not be so mindful about our plant, our physical plant, and our money. We should give to ministries and to aspiring ministers, and we should give to others, we should share in missions and we should not be so concerned about every penny that we should become so administratively mindful that we forget that; no, we are called to be givers. Let’s open up a lot of holes in these walls and just let the blessing blow. Because we know that just as they flow out, they will flow in as well.

The Bible says in Ecclesiastics “… cast your bread upon the waters because one day it will return to you. It says; give to 7 and to 8 because you do not know what evil will befall the world.” And it is so true when we live that way, giving left and right and in the name of the Lord and just being generous with others and being generous with God in his needs. The blessing of God will fall, will flow into our lives. We must be givers. We must be joyful givers particularly when it comes to the Kingdom of God. I dare you in this time of the kingdom has a need through this congregation to build that temple so that more people can come. Let that temple be a vessel that God will use to project his voice more clearly, more capaciously, more comfortably to the community. And the Lord is saying: I have a need. Can you help me?

This text is so rich, I mean, we cannot even begin to touch the surface but let me just jump ahead, not to tire you out too much. You know Peter had the sense of yielding his boat to Jesus upon his request. Now let’s just sort of forward to what happens. The Lord finishes his sermon and then He turns to Peter and says: Peter, let’s take this boat, let’s take baby deep into the sea now. Come on. Let’s go. Turn that motor on and let’s just go deep into the sea. Now let’s go deep into the sea because I got something that I want to show you, I got something that I want to see.

The Lord says to Peter: Hey, cast your net now. And I’m sure he did with a twinkle of his eye because he knew what had happened to Peter before that encounter with Him. You know and Peter doesn’t know that Jesus is very aware of Peter’s needs. Peter does not know that Jesus knows that he spent the whole night trying to fish and by his own wits and his own experience and his own fisherman’s skill and resource, he was not able to catch anything, so the Lord says: Hey, come on, let’s do an experiment now. You see the Lord is the supreme teacher. He has been concocting this object lesson from the very first moment to teach Peter a lesson for life and for ministry, which is that when you give to the Lord, the Lord is very mindful of your need and of your situation and he will provide for you.

Jesus is going to teach Peter that when you give to the Lord of your resources and you yield them to his kingdom and to his needs, He will not fail you, He will provide for you. He will elevate you to a new level actually, both in the spiritual and in the material. That’s the powerful message that is here.

You know and the Lord says: Peter, now throw your nets and Peter’s mind, his fishermen’s experience says to him: I’ve been fishing the whole night in perfect conditions of darkness and silence and I didn’t catch anything and now this novice is telling me to fish in the day, when there’s so much noise and in conditions that are not good for fishing. That’s the reason of man. See, but the Lord says: no, do not use your reason, use my power. My power is so much more efficient than reason, than nature. I can cancel temporarily the rules of nature and inject my sovereignty, says the Lord, and that’s what we count on as we give. We live a life of generosity for the Kingdom of God.

But Peter at least had the sense of being obedient. He put on hold his reasoning and went into a modality of obedience. You know obedience is the key to the life of faith. Very often our reasoning will fail us, our concerns will betray us. We will look around at circumstances or logic and we will find no reason to obey what the word of God says. Like I had to do 25 years ago in a moment of personal spiritual crisis, had to decide: I’m going to tithe to the Lord, I’m going to tithe because I have seen so many believers throughout the years who tithed and these are mature people who give to the Lord and they say that it works, and I have seen the word of God and the word of God reasons that tithing is of God so I gave just by shear obedience with all kinds of questions, and 25 years ago, that very year God blessed me beyond my wildest dreams and he hasn’t stopped blessing me throughout all the years that I have been faithful to that principle. We have to sometimes just do it by shear obedience.

Just do it because the Lord says: do it. And Peter cast his net, he said: Lord, I’ve tried in the best of circumstances but I will cast the net in your word, according to your word, according to your command. Because you say so I will do it, so the responsibility will be yours. And what happened? The Bible says that a multitude of fish, those fish were called from every extreme of that huge lake to come to that little point where Peter’s net was falling by the power of the Lord, because God was committing his word, his faithfulness, through that action.

You see but that moment of glory, that moment of power, that moment of prosperity was preceded by another moment back there, a very humble moment where Jesus said to Peter: Peter, would you give your property, would you let me use your property? Would you yield your belongings to me that I may use them? Would you seek first the Kingdom of God and trust that all the other things will be added on to you? If you do that, and now I’m going to show you that it works. You see that was not in Peter’s mind at that point, but that was the principle that was being involved in that action, and many times God is testing us. Remember that we have said that God tests us in life? Sometimes God is testing us and we’re not even aware that He a sublime universal moment that is taking place and that we are the actors in it. And God is just waiting to bless us, and He puts us situations, and He’s going to test our loyalty, our generosity, our faith and many times we do not pass the test and the opportunity passes us by, the blessing passes us by.

You know these two principles here, I finish with this. Number one, and I’ve already alluded to it, when you give to the Lord your belongings, your life, your gifting, you are blessed materially. That’s the least important, that’s the most primary, basic, rudimentary principle. God blesses you. We have a lot of tele-evangelists saying that to us that all the time, trying to get our money. We know that. It works, it really does. I think that we exaggerate that, we distort the power of principle, but it works. But let me tell you, the second thing is that when you give to the Lord of your belongings, God elevates you to a new level of spiritual height and dignity. You grow. Your grow in faith, grow in vision. You grow in relationship with the Lord. Look at Peter, he saw the glory of the living Christ and he was so overcome by the beauty of the moment that he fell to his feet thinking: I am lost, because I have seen the God, the living God. He could have not seen that moment of God’s greatness through his son, and yet he was given that privilege because he gave back there.

When you give to the Lord that way there is no escape. You are committing yourself, you are hopelessly committed and so you grow spiritually. You grow in consistency. You grow in integrity, you grow in sincerity. You can see the Lord in a different way, you begin to experience the reality of his principles. You see God in his reality as opposed to just the theory that so many evangelicals dwell in.

When you give to the Lord then you see his faithfulness, you see his glory, you see his power, you see his miraculous ability to provide in every circumstance. You know Peter left there with a new rank. The Lord says: Peter, no more will you smell of fish, no more will you be a mere fisherman, now you shall become a fisher of men. You shall be an apostle. You shall write texts that billions of people will read and expound on over thousands of years. You shall be the foundation of, humanly speaking, of my church. You shall be a prototype for generations. You could have died an anonymous death and live and anonymous life, just like so many other fishermen, and now because you have trusted in me, I shall make you a fisher of men, I shall make you an apostle. I shall make you a source of wisdom. I shall make you a prototype for all the ages. I shall make you a writer of texts,. I shall make you an expounder of principles. I shall make you an intimate of mind, because you have given, because you have dared to die, because you have dared to take a risk.

When you give to the Lord you are blessed materially, but you are also elevated spiritually. Now, do not lose that opportunity, do not lose that great gift that God gives you to become more than just a mere mortal and to see the glory of God.

Let’s lower our heads. Father, we glorify you. We bless your name because those principles that we have learned they have been in operation throughout the ages and they are still in operation. We want to be like Peter, Lord. We want to yield our boat to you. We want to live lives of sacrifice and service. We want to give you the maximum that we can give. Help our unbelief. Father break the bonds of timidity and lack of faith and logic and just look in that circumstances and obssessiveness regarding the past and failures of the past, and let us see your glory and your blessing that lies ahead as we dare to enter into that zone of faith.

Father, we pray for victory in this time of the life of our church. We pray for victory, Lord, we pray for provision, great provision, Father. May we be example that when poor and helpless people believe in you, you bless and you prosper them and you make them transmitters of your grace. You allow then them to give to others. You make them fisher of men. You give them authority over men, authority to bless, to edify, to lift up, to impart visions to others. Father may we have that faith. Increase our faith father.

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