RPM is designed as a motivational tool for people who live in the fast lane. Its purpose is to challenge us into becoming intentional in our witness to others.
Each month we are challenged to:
Read a particular text.
Pray into situations.
Move into the opportunities that God gives us.
Over ten issues of ‘Rejoice Always’ we are going to study Luke 5 verses 1-11 and see what we can glean in regards to a lifestyle of evangelism.
When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
Peter was a busy man with a business to run. He was sceptical of a carpenter teaching him how to fish and he was tired after working all night; but he was willing to go the extra nautical mile.
Busy, sceptical and tired are all common excuses given by those invited to be active in evangelism. Many never get off the beach and as a result they miss the blessings that follow obedience. Three important things happened to Peter in the ‘evangelism’ boat:
He saw a miracle taking place in the boat.
Peter would never have been an eyewitness to the miracle while standing on the shore. Many of us hear second hand of God’s miraculous power because we never move from our comfort zone to experience it. Personally I have never witnessed a miracle while sitting in my armchair. When Peter and John healed a lame man on the street, they were ‘on their way’ – obedient and intentional. In the same way each of us should be motivated to move, to be obedient to God’s word and to be looking for opportunities.
Friends of mine run a project called ‘Healing on the Streets’. Each Saturday they are on the streets in Belfast and Coleraine praying for others and leading people into a relationship with Jesus. I have heard the good reports but never joined them to witness it first hand; maybe I should? Maybe you could join me?
He recognised his sinful nature in the boat.
There is a particular pane of glass in my home that is given the name pain for good reason (note spelling). When the light closest to it is switched on, it always shows the kid’s messy fingerprints. It is like that for Peter and all of us, the closer we get to the light (Jesus) the more we begin to see our sinful nature and our messy, inconsistent lives. For this reason, many people avoid church, prayer meetings, Christian literature, evangelism and anywhere that Jesus might come into close proximity because it exposes our sinful nature and our complete dependence on God. However, it is only when we see ourselves for what we truly are, in the light of the cross, that God’s salvation plan begins to make sense.
Evangelism is not for the righteous; it is for guilty, nervous, unqualified weak-kneed people like you and I.
He acknowledged Jesus as Lord in the boat.
One of the greatest highlights in any Christian’s life is the opportunity to lead someone else into a relationship with Jesus. Nothing brings forth praise more than witnessing the Gospel in action. Peter was a Jew living under Roman occupation. Every citizen was expected in those days to declare ‘Caesar is Lord’ but Peter makes a new declaration, not out of fear of persecution but out of faith and praise: “Jesus is Lord.”
We all need to address the problems of busyness, scepticism and tiredness. These three are like dogs that can always bark at you but don’t feed them or they will bite! If we are to see the miracles, recognise our dependence on God and move into heart-driven praise then each of us needs to move from the beach and get into the boat.
Father we thank You for the wonderful privilege of being part of Your family, Your church, Your ‘fishing community’. We acknowledge Your Son as our Saviour and Lord and ask that You would forgive us for the times when we have missed opportunities and made excuses rather than being active in evangelism.
We recognise that in all our evangelism efforts and ideas we depend on You and ask that Your Holy Spirit would empower us for service and help us to go the extra mile.
We pray for our community asking that You will bring each person into a relationship with you. (At this point you may want to mention three particular people who you would like to see become followers of Jesus).
Father we pray all these things in and through the name of our Lord and Saviour; Jesus Christ. Amen.
Maybe you have become discouraged in your outreach efforts or frustrated with the lack of evangelism in your home church. Don’t quit, go the extra mile, you don’t know how close you are to a breakthrough! It is always good to review how we share the message but never make that more important than the duty to do it. One action point should be the level of prayer that accompanies your actions. Peter’s prayer at Jesus’ feet allowed him to go to a whole new level in ‘fishing’ and maybe we too need to spend some time at the feet of Jesus. Join with me in going the extra nautical mile for Him.
See you on the lake!