Lessons
from a
Fisherman
[fisherma.jpg]

Three reasons
why people won't
get saved

And he entered into one of the
    ships, which was Simon's, and
    prayed him that he would
thrust out a little from the land.   And he
sat down, and taught the people out of
the ship.   (4)Now when he had left speak-
ing, he said unto Simon, Launch out into
the deep, and let down your nets for a
draught.   (5)And Simon answering said
unto him, Master, we have toiled all the
night, and have taken nothing: never-
theless at thy word I will let down the
net.   (6)And when they had this done, they
inclosed a great multitude of fishes:
and their net brake.   (7)And they beckoned
unto their partners, which were in the
other ship, that they should come and
help them.   And they came, and filled
both the ships, so that they began to
sink.   (8)When Simon Peter saw it, he fell
down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart
from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
(9)For he was astonished, and all that
were with him, at the draught of the
fishes which they had taken: (10)And so
was also James, and John, the sons of
Zebedee, which were partners with
Simon.   And Jesus said unto Simon,
Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt
catch men.   (11)And when they had brought
their ships to land, they forsook all, and
followed him.
  Luke 5:3-11

SOMEONE ONCE SAID that studying the Bible
is like peeling an onion one layer at a time.   A
given incident in God's Word will often have
something to say on more than one level.   For
example, take the passage you just read.
   On the surface--the first layer--we find a
story about fishermen.   Peel back another layer
and we find a lesson in faith.   Keep peeling, and
we find several truths about human nature, in
particular, three reasons why many people won't
get right with God--what the Bible calls getting
saved.   Let's begin with reason number one.

"Nevertheless at thy word..."
Put yourself in Peter's position.   He told Jesus
Christ that they had, "Toiled all the night, and
have taken nothing."
  Peter and his partners had
tried and tried, with no avail.
   No doubt, they applied every ounce of
expertise they had gained during their years as
fishermen.   And yet, they could not obtain what
they diligently sought.   If it were you, what
would you have told Christ when He casually
said "let down your nets"?

Would you have tried reasoning with Jesus?
Would you have told Him how futile it was to
do it His way, having tried it your way for so
long?   Most people would not have done what
Peter did.   Perhaps Peter even felt it was naive of
Christ to suggest it, but yet, he didn't argue.   He
simply said, "NEVERTHELESS AT THY WORD
I will let down the net."

What a contrast to those who toil at trying to
appease God through their good deeds, year
after year, casting their nets into religion, trying
to catch a sense of guiltlessness before God;
while all along, they refuse to simply do what
God has revealed in His Word . . .

We can't save ourselves
The Bible, God's Word, says "For by grace are
ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF
YOURSELVES: it is the gift of God: NOT OF
WORKS, lest any man should boast"
(Eph. 2:8-
9).   Simply put, you and I can't earn our way into
Heaven by doing good deeds.

No matter how "good" we behave, no matter
how "good" we treat our fellow man, no matter
how "righteous" we may see ourselves, by
God's PERFECT STANDARD, "There is not a just
man upon earth, that doeth good, AND SINNETH
NOT"
(Eccl. 7:20).   "There is none righteous,
NO, NOT ONE"
(Rom. 3:10).   "For ALL HAVE
SINNED, and COME SHORT of the glory of
God."
  Rom. 3:23
   It only takes one sin to violate the entire set
of laws that God has set before us.   Again we
have God's Word on it: "For whosoever shall
keep the whole law, and yet offend in ONE
POINT, HE IS GUILTY OF ALL."
  James 2:10

We need a Saviour
Our "works of righteousness" can never save us
from God's judgment; they are instantly
outweighed by any one of our sins.   We can't
save ourselves; we need a Saviour.   It is, "NOT
BY WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS which we
have done, but according to his mercy HE
SAVED US."
  Titus 3:5

The "He" mentioned in the previous verse is
Jesus Christ; "Christ DIED FOR OUR SINS
according to the scriptures"
(1 Cor. 15:3).   We
are saved ONLY by putting our complete trust in
Christ to save us; NOT by trusting in our good
works.

We must take His word for it
Many who are self-righteously trying to earn
their way into Heaven will read everything we
just read from God's Word, and disregard it.
Unlike Peter, they are not willing to humbly turn

to God and say, "NEVERTHELESS AT THY
WORD
. -- I have toiled my whole life trying to
earn my way into Heaven with no assurance
that I'll ever make it.   I've always viewed
myself as 'better than most.'   NEVERTHELESS
AT THY WORD
, I will repent.   I'll stop trusting in
my efforts, AND DO AS YOU SAY; I'll trust
Jesus Christ, and Him alone, as my Lord and
Saviour."

   Thus, we have one reason why people won't
surrender to God and get saved: They simply
won't believe or trust what He says; they won't
take God's Word for it.   They won't say to God,
"nevertheless at thy word."

"For I am a sinful man . . ."
The second reason why people won't get saved
is because they won't admit to being a sinner.
Notice, from the opening narrative, Peter's
reaction upon realizing that Christ's word was
trustworthy.   "When Simon Peter saw it, he fell
down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me;
for I am a sinful man, O Lord.   (9)For he was
astonished, and all that were with him, at the
draught of the fishes which they had taken:"

Luke 5:8-9.

Jesus Christ instructed them to cast the nets,
and in spite of Peter's skepticism, he did what
Christ said.   The resulting miracle validated God's
Word.   Peter realized he was standing before a
holy God, which brought to light his true sinful
state.   (Note: God says to man: believe first, and
I'll verify the truth of what I'm saying.
  Whereas
man tempts God, by saying: Show me first and
then I'll believe.
  Peter trusted God's Word first,
and THEN God showed him.
)

We are sinners
Peter realized he was a sinner before God.   Refer
back to the verses you read earlier concerning
the sinfulness of man.   If you take heed to what
God is saying, you'll realize the undeniable fact

that WE ARE ALL SINNERS before God.   It is
important to recognize the distinction between
sinning and being a sinner.   "[S]inning" is an
action, while "sinner" describes our lost
condition.   We do not become sinners because
we have sinned.   We sin because we are born
sinners.

Our sinful condition produces the action of
sinning.   Sin comes from within ourselves,
originating from our own lustful, sin-filled nature.
The Bible says, "From whence come wars and
fightings among you? come they not hence,
even of YOUR LUSTS that war IN YOUR
MEMBERS?"
James 4:1
   The heart of this world's sin problem is a
problem of the heart.   Jesus Christ said: "For
OUT OF THE HEART PROCEED EVIL
THOUGHTS, murders, adulteries, fornications,
thefts, false witness, blasphemies:"
Matt. 15:19.

Many are willing to agree that they have sinned.
Their response may be: "Sure, I've sinned;
nobody's perfect!"
  But, often these same people
won't admit to being a sinner at heart, much
less a LOST, helpless, hell-bound, HELL-
DESERVING sinner in need of a Saviour.   No one
can get saved until they see themselves as lost.
Jesus said: "For the Son of man is come TO
SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST."
  Matt. 18:11

It is our sinful condition that condemns us to a
devil's Hell.   It is also the reason Christ died for
us: "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all
acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the
world TO SAVE SINNERS"
(1 Tim. 1:15).   "But
God commendeth his love toward us, in that,
WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, CHRIST DIED
FOR US"
(Rom. 5:8).   Peter saw himself as the
sinner he truly was, something many are not
willing to admit.

So far we looked at the fact that many people
won't believe God's Word, nor acknowledge its

truth.   We've also looked at those who won't
admit that they are hell-deserving sinners in need
of a Saviour.   In both cases, these people won't
get saved.   But suppose someone does take God
at His Word, and subsequently realizes he/she is
a sinner.   Is there anything else that could come
in the way of his/her salvation?
  Yes, there is.
Which brings us to the third and final thing we
learn from the opening narrative.

"They forsook all,
             and followed him..."

The third reason why people won't get saved is
because they won't repent.   Peter believed
Christ: "nevertheless at thy word."   He admitted
he was a sinner: "for I am a sinful man, O Lord."
And CONSEQUENTLY, responded to Jesus'
command: "And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear
not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.   And
when they had brought their ships to land, THEY
FORSOOK ALL, AND FOLLOWED HIM."
  Luke
5:10-11

We must repent
Peter repented.   Jesus was willing to save sinful
Peter and use him in a mighty way.   So, Peter
forsook all and followed Christ.   Jesus Christ
became the center of his life.   Yet, many today
who take heed to God's Word and realize they
are sinners, won't repent.

They won't forsake their willful sinning.   They
won't surrender their self-will, self-rule, self-righteousness, religious beliefs, or sinful lifestyle
and instead follow Jesus Christ.   They won't
submit to Him and make Him the ONLY Lord of
their life.   Yet, Jesus warned: "I tell you, Nay:
but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise
perish."
  Luke 13:3

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose
it: and whosoever will lose his life for
my sake shall find it."
  Mat. 16:25

IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven?
  The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).

BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated between you and your God," Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.

SECONDLY, you must realize that there is NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."   (Eph. 2:8-9)   Baptism, good deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are all examples of good works that cannot save you, because, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he [Christ] saved us," Titus 3:5.

THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through Jesus Christ.   He said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."   (John 14:6)   THAT'S WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."   Romans 5:8-9

THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your mind); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner and can't save yourself.   And call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you.   "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."   Romans 10:9

SEND THE LIGHT
P.O. Box 815   Fargo, ND 58107

[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]