Marks of a Real Fisherman

How to Identify a Fisher of Men

Matthew 4:18-25

DATE: 18 Mar, 2001   PM         PLACE: BBC Blarney


I.         Introduction (Matthew 4:18-25, 19)


A.      The Bible teaches that EVERY Christian should endeavour to tell other people how to be saved. We call this "soul-winning." The Bible compares giving the gospel to people to:


1.        winning a soul

2.        shining a light

3.        feeding the hungry

4.        and fishing for men


B.       How can you identify a real fisherman?


1.        You can't always tell a fisherman by his clothes, although it is unlikely that a man is going go trout fishing in a three-piece suit.

2.        You can't always tell a fisherman by his conversation, although it is likely that a man who never TALKS about fishing never actually GOES fishing.


II.       Message – Marks of a Real Fisherman


Some marks of a REAL fisherman are:


A.      He Plans His Trips (John 21:3a)


1.        He always has time to go fishing – it doesn’t “just” happen


a.       A fisherman doesn't catch them while he is wrapped-up at work. He makes time to BE fishing even while he is at work – talk about this more in a minute!

b.       He doesn't catch them on the way to the grocery store.

c.       He sets a time JUST for FISHING.


2.        He has a territory to work


a.       Jesus planned where He was going to preach next.

b.       The apostle Paul planned his missionary journeys.

c.       Jesus saw an area as HIS area to work. Like a corner of a field


3.        He has a task to perform


a.       He is going fishing, not boating.

b.       He is going fishing, not picnicking.

c.       There is a difference between going soul-winning and visiting people.

d.       When we go fishing, that is, soul-winning, our task is to present the gospel to someone and press for a decision. It comes when we have PLANNED to say something at least

e.       In other words, you ain’t ever gonna catch fish unless you keep a plan to fish always as part of every other plan


B.       He Gets Pleasure From Fishing (Ps 126:5,6) – not a chore!


1.        It helps him relax.  Although it is work, it gets his mind off the other pressures of life. This is so important for the Christian.

2.        It helps him get refreshed (John 4:31-34)

3.        It helps him rejoice. You might not be such a grouch, sour-puss or whining complainer if you would just go soul-winning regularly!


C.       He Prepares For His Fishing Trips (Mt 4:21) They were mending their nets.


1.        Someone once said,


a.       Our pole is the power of God - Acts 1:8

b.       Our line is his love for souls

c.       The fishing weight is our walk with God – holds the line steady

d.       Our hook is the Holy Ghost – not fancy words, or trickery

e.       Our bait is the bread of life - the gospel of Jesus Christ in this BOOK


You might catch other fish on various types of bait, but there is only ONE bait that will save a sinner: the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!


f.        Our cork is the confession of the convert. That cork indicates that you HAVE him!

2.        Are you anywhere near prepared to go fishing?

a.       You need the power of God – surrendered life that is clean

b.       You need a good, strong line – love for souls that people will sense when you are witnessing

c.       You need a walk with God that holds your concern steady – not on and off

d.       You need the Holy Spirit guiding you, and drawing the sinner

e.       You need some strong bait – King James Bible verses

1)       Romans 3:23

2)       Romans 6:23

3)       Romans 5:8

4)       Titus 3:5

5)       Eph 2:8,9

6)       1Tim 2:5

7)       Heb 9:27

8)       Acts 13:38,39

9)       Romans 10:13

f.        You need a clear profession of faith – no more of this wimpy “I felt Jesus!” “I feel I am already saved” That is the lie that stopped New Testament Christianity in the 2nd century!


D.      He Has A Partner (Eccl 4:9,10) Although there are times when you will be alone, God's usual plan for soul-winning is to send TEAMS of TWO. Jesus sent out the disciples by two's. Ignore the abuse of the JW’s


1.        The partner can work the boat. He can help with opening conversations.

2.        The partner can watch the line (pray)

3.        The partner can ward off problems


a.       When you're catching "a big one," there might be things that hinder you from catching him -- snakes, alligators, limbs, snags, stumps.

b.       The soul-winning partner can help to handle phone calls, dogs, TV, children, and other interruptions while the soul-winner is presenting the gospel.


E.       He Has Problems (Luke 5:5)


1.        With the wind (Eccl 11:4)


a.       Sometimes the winds are contrary. He didn’t come for the wind

b.       Things are going to work against you – uphill battle - when you decide to be a soul-winner.


2.        With the water


a.       Sometimes the water is rough.

b.       Sometimes the water is muddy.

c.       Sometimes it is too high or too low.

d.       But the water is not the reason to go fishing – that is just WHERE the fish live!


3.        With the warmth


a.       Sometimes it is too hot to fish and enjoy it.

b.       Sometimes the same is true of soul- winning. It works against the flesh.


4.        With the will


a.       That is the main problem.

b.       You must submit your will to GOD'S will and go soul-winning because HE wants you to go soul-winning.

c.       Look at Peter – pressed to witness to a Gentile, ROMAN soldier

d.       Look at Jonah – preach to his enemy

e.       Look at Jesus facing the cross!


F.       He Is Persistent (Acts 20:31)


1.        He thinks about it all the time


a.       He rejoices in past trips.

b.       He is thinking about future trips.

c.       He likes to hear about other successful fishing stories.

d.       He will attend conventions about it.

e.       He will buy books and tapes about it.


2.        He tries it again and again – never gets really discouraged


a.       He will fish all day long, from dawn until dusk.

b.       He will go out fishing next week, even if he caught nothing this week.

c.       He will go out fishing next week, even if his boat capsized this week!

d.       That’s why Jesus chose fishing to compare with soul-winning!


3.        He triumphs eventually


a.       A real fisherman won't go forever without catching some fish.

b.       He will eventually catch fish, which brings me to my final point:


G.       He Has Proof Of His Fishing (John 21:10) Notice the word "doubtless" in the following verse (Ps 126:6):


1.        Caught fish are an example


a.       They are examples of the obedience of the soul-winner.

b.       They are examples of the power and grace of God. A saved soul is a "trophy of God’s grace” both on you and on them


2.        Caught fish are encouraging


a.       They show that it CAN be done!

b.       They encourage others to go fishing! You hold up a bunch of fish, and invariably, someone is going to shout, I WANT TO GO TOO!


3.        Caught fish are enjoyable


a.       It is enjoyable to catch a fish!

b.       It is enjoyable to EAT a fish that you caught!

c.       I'm not saying that we should devour our new converts, but the church benefits from them. They are a blessing. They become tithers. They become workers! They become preachers and soul-winners and Sunday School teachers, and best of all, they become soul-winners themselves!


III.     Conclusion - Jesus said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Mt 4:19)


A.      When is the last time you went fishing for men?

B.       When is the last time you caught a "trophy of grace"?

C.       Will you get a partner and go soul-winning this week? We need to get more organised, and get fishing, every day, and every week!