Fishing for Souls

Fishing is a healthy enjoyment, a simple hobby for some, and a passion for others. It is a great way for getting outdoors for some fresh air. True contentment, however, is not found in hooking on to a five pound bass though it does bring some excitement. That you had a good day on the lake and that sense of utopia that all is well soon disappears once you return home and back into the mainstream of life. Yet Jesus pointed to “fishing” to illustrate the great passion and preoccupation with souls that His followers were to have. In real life, fishing may be a pastime for most of us today, but during the time of the apostles, it was their livelihood. I think we can begin to see a few parallels from physical to spiritual life that Jesus makes. Evangelizing the lost is not something to be taken lightly or done periodically, especially not when you consider the exhortation to pay close attention to the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28b). Believers are responsible to bring the gospel message to the world in hope that some may taste of His love and forgiveness.

While Jesus said to the apostles that I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19), they were not the only recipients of these words. All Christians everywhere are entrusted to give the gospel. Our territory may be limited to where we work and live but our opportunities are vast and varied. While cottaging recently, we searched the lake we were on for underwater structure where bass could be found. In the end, neither my wife nor I were disappointed for it produced a large catch of fish. Fishing for souls is done in much the same manner. Look for places in your community where the gospel can be given such as visits to neighbours or have them over for coffee, in a nearby park, through a youth program, or striking up a conversation with people at your community garage sale. These are only a few possibilities but many others exist if you take time to consider the different venues available to reach the lost. Your church may plan gospel outings at city or local events or organize some of your own. To catch men go to places that people frequent and be willing to interact with them freely.

To evangelize, not only must you go, but you must go frequently. Many a sinner who has been reached by the gospel has noted that they had heard the gospel many times before their conversion. The Believer must be prepared to go out often to reach the lost. Soon after their encounter with the Messiah, the apostles themselves went out and testified to others that the Messiah had come among them.

Finally, give the gospel! If success is to be anticipated, then it will only happen through the gospel. No substitute will do. Earlier, I had mentioned that my wife and I had caught a fair number of fish. Our success was not contingent on using plastic and wood imitations; rather we relied on a time-tested worm and bobber combination. Once the fish mouthed the natural bait, the hook was set and the fish reeled in. The bait was the chief reason for our success. Applying this spiritually, the only way sinners can be truly regenerated and drawn to the Savior is through the power of His gospel. Christians then should not detract from giving any part of the gospel message in reaching the lost.

Believer, count it a blessing to be given such a glorious duty as taking this lifesaving message to the lost. So get your fishing gear on and get out there to tell the world about our wonderful Savior and lead souls to Christ through His gospel.

The Effects of Christ in Us

In order to produce strong ethical character and behavior you must live according to Judeo-Christian principles. The memory of Christianity may be fading from our land with the advent of immoral laws and practises, but some will follow core values similar to what we had in the past when Christianity had wider appeal and acceptance.

The truth of Scripture enables us to discriminate between that which is well-pleasing to God and what is evil. It is God’s truth that we hold up to our lives to test our motives and actions. Light is a metaphor for truth. Only when it is applied to our lives can we find out if our motives, thoughts, and actions are well pleasing to God. So too, truth that is lived out can be just as effective to reveal the evil that is in this world (Eph.5:8-14). So the true test to discern good from evil is not based on public opinion, or rationalism, but found in Scriptures as it is lived out in the Believer’s life. Personal acceptance of God’s Word helps to purify our lives, which in turn exposes the natural evils around us. William Barclay offers the following illustration. “In the bazaars of the east the shops were often simply little covered enclosures with no windows. A man might wish to buy a piece of silk or an article of beaten brass. Before he buys it he takes it out to the street and holds it up to the sun, so that the light might reveal any flaws which happen to be in it. It is the Christian’s duty to expose every action, every decision and every motive to the light of Christ.”

As stated earlier, a life that keeps to the precepts of the Bible produces proper morals and behavior. The presence and influence of righteous living in this world naturally exposes the darkness in it, and the contrast shows sin for what it is. When Paul exhorted the Ephesians to remain apart from evil associations and practises, he was thinking about the rampant immorality during that period (v.11). The practise of prostitution and using the proceeds to fund the building of their pagan temples was common practise. I cannot help but see how today things have not changed much. The push to decriminalize prostitution that will allow for brothels where taxes can be assessed and deductions can be made on earnings is much the same now as it was then.

Light exposes that which is evil. The best way to rid the evil practices of any society is to bring it into the light of Scripture. Christians should not fail to see what Paul says that everything that is exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible (v.13-14). Sexual immorality is what Paul is referring to in verse twelve: For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. It seems today few things are taboo anymore, and matters once considered disgraceful are discussed openly, displayed on T.V. and taught in our educational institutions with few constraints. The surest way to cleanse the depths of our own hearts and the amoral practices of any society we live in is to maintain moral lives and to speak openly about Christ and the Gospel. Society may practise evil and jest with sin, but by living as children of light we may act as the counter-culture. The Holy Spirit may use His Word in us either to condemn people of their sin, or to bring spiritual healing too, by causing sinners to repent of their sins and believe in Christ.

A righteous lifestyle may be seen as condemnatory to the world but too it may serve as a testimony of God’s grace that may help lead people to Christ. Whenever light is let in, it has the potential to bring healing and wholeness. Christ Word in us is what this world needs most to see and hear! So let Christ’s light shine through you to light up the darkness that many may come to salvation.