Sermon:  A Fishy Church 

Summary:  The key images of fish and sheep highlights both the apostolic and pastoral 
mission of the church.  The apostolic mission involves faith in the fishing 
instructions of Christ, even when they appear to be futile and promise no results, 
because results are ultimately the work of Christ.  

Know:  God's purposes for the church involve bringing good news to people as a team 
in the same manner that Christ did

Feel:  Confidence in being faithful to God's mandate of being sent

Do:  Reflect and discuss the lesson Jesus was impressing on his disciples, and what 
timeless lesson this communicates to the church.  Describe what the church is to look 
like from the object lesson of fishing in this text.  Compare this ideal picture with 
the actual picture and identify strengths and weaknesses in us.  Brainstorm some 
possible ways to be faithful to God's mission and choose one or two possibilities to try.

Text:  Jn 21:1-14

Scripture Reading:  Jn 14:10-12

1.  What is the biggest catch of fish you have had (or seen?) - Fish story
	a.  When I was growing up, a friend and I used to fish early Saturday 
	     mornings before the sun came up
	b.  We used to catch anywhere from 1 to 2 dozen fish
	c.  Of course they were very tiny bluegill
	d.  This morning's text has a fish story - Jn 21
2.  What is the purpose of Jn 21?  Not just a fish story 
	a.  Book appears to end at the end of chapter 20, then more?
	b.  Seems to serve as an epilogue.  What is an epilogue?
		- Usually appears at the end of a literary work
		- Purpose is to provide additional information, a commentary on the 
		  work, and perhaps wrap up any loose ends
	c.  What additional information does this epilogue give us?
3.  This epilogue highlights the apostolic and pastoral mission of the church
	a.  The overarching images in the chapter are fish and sheep
	b.  Tells us something about church's mission, discipleship & leadership
	c.  Answer to question:  How does God continue to carry out his mission?
		- Answer - It is through his people, We are his people!
		- The work of Christ is now the work of the church!
		- Epilogue functions in similar way to Mt 28:18f; Mk 16:15;
	d.  Jn 14:12 - Jesus said we can do greater things that he?
		- Has to do with the crucified and risen Lord
		- Wouldn't you like to hear more about this?
		- That is what this chapter is about 
4.  This morning, we will focus on fish - Symbol of apostolic mission of the church
	a.  Apostolic means "sending."  God always sent people for his mission
		- First God sent the patriarchs, then prophets, kings, the law
		- Then it had the Messiah
		- Now God send the church to continue his mission
	b.  (Jn 21:1-14) - This story is about more than just the fish
		- Remind of Mk 1:16f - Jesus said, "I will make you fishers of men"
		- Remind of Jn 6:5f - Feeding the 5,000 plenty of fish by his power
	c.  Like these other events, this becomes an object lesson for the church
		-  God expects the church to be a fruitful fishing enterprise
		-  This event tells us the nature of fruitful fishing

I.  It is a result of obedience to Christ 
	A.  Fished unsuccessfully all night
		1.  Then Jesus shows up and gives some instructions
		2.  They follow them without question
	B.  This is taught throughout Christ's ministry
		1.  Lk 5 - A previous miraculous catch
			a.  Peter protested the first time Jesus told him to cast the 
			     net again after an unsuccessful night of fishing
			b.  Obeyed anyway, so many fish, net couldn't hold them all
			c.  Lk 5:10 - Jesus said, "I will make you fishers of men"
			d.  The Lesson:  Need to do what Jesus says in faith
				- Here, Jesus does it again to remind them
		2.  (Jn 15:4-8) - Jesus says it another way here
			a.  Apart from him, we can do nothing
			b.  We must abide in him, and he in us
			c.  If he in us, and we in him, we bear "much" fruit
			d.  If we bear much fruit, we prove to be his disciples
				- Sign of authentic discipleship is bearing much fruit
				- Why? Shows he in you and you in him
				- He came to seek & save the lost
				- If we are his disciples, we will do as he did
		3.  So what does it mean to abide in him and he in us?
			a.  Obviously, talking about being conformed to his image
			b.  About being like him
			c.  About knowing him
			d.  About doing, thinking, speaking as he would
	C.  ILL:  Analogies
		1.  Kind of like eating something - It becomes a part of you
			a.  I love pickled garlic
				-  If I eat more than a clove, you can tell
				-  Comes out of my pores
			b.  Like eating a pork chop
				-  Not too long ago, the pork chop was pig in pig-pen
				-  Now the pork chop is in me, and part of me
				-  Pig is transformed into John Telgren and preaches
		2.  Or it is like learning another language and culture
			a.  Just reading a text-book is limited
			b.  But when you "immerse" yourself in it, more effective
				- Go live in a foreign country for awhile
				- Hear and speak language, eat food, learn slang, 
				   values, important symbols
				- Become "enculturated," - You are changed
		3.  Abiding in Christ, and he in us is kind of like that
			a.  We are absorbed and immersed into Christ
			b.  How?
				- Through reading his word regularly, and more…
				- Through praying to our Lord regularly, and more…
				- Through doing as he did all the time
	D.  When you are obedient, it leads to fruitfulness
		1.  In the Gospels and Acts, Jesus gave a commission to obey
			a.  Mt 28:19f - Make disciples of all the nations
			b.  Mk 16:15 - Go into all world, preach Gospel
			c.  Lk 24:46-47 - Jesus died & raised, repentance for 
			     forgiveness of sins proclaimed in his name to the nations
			d.  Acts 1:8 - Will be witnesses in all the world
		2.  Jn 20:21 - Tells us how - "As Father sent me, I also send you"
			a.  We carry out commission as Christ did
			b.  What does that mean?
				- We go to where people are, as when Jesus went to 
				   the well and met the Samaritan woman there
				- We love the poor, outcast, marginalized
				- We feed hungry, thirsty, hurting, sick
				- We give bread for the body so that we can then give 
				   the bread for the soul - bread of life
			c.  Ultimately bringing the Gospel to those who are lost, 
			     filling the greatest need they have
		3.  If we do not obey his commission of being sent as he is - then 
		     there will be little or not fruitfulness
		4.  When we obey his commission of being sent as he is sent, then 
		     we will bear fruit

II.  It takes teamwork 
	A.  This is why image of fishing in New Testament is net fishing
		1.  Unlike rod and reel, net fishing takes teamwork
			a.  You cannot net fish by yourself
			b.  The method of net fishing requires a team
				- Net had weights on one end, floats on the other
				- Ropes on sides, drawn into a circle after cast
				- Bottom of net brought in to form a bottom
				- Either pulled up and emptied into boat, or dragged to 
			c.  When Jesus said, "fishers of men," what they imagine?
				- Not an individual with a rod and reel
				- Imagine a team working together
		2.  This is why I keep saying it is the duty of the "church" to win 
		      souls, not just an individual
		3.  It is a cooperative effort, everyone has a part in it
	B.  The idea of teamwork appears repeatedly throughout New Testament
		1.  Jesus' team - He did NOT call isolated individuals
			a.  He called a team with diverse strengths & backgrounds
			b.  They had to learn to be a team
		2.  Paul's team - Paul was not a loner
			a.  Be design, God called both Paul and Barnabas together
			b.  There were others on the team
				- Silas, Luke, John Mark, Timothy, Titus
				- May have been others
		3.  When Jesus built his church, it was not a bunch of individuals
			a.  1 Pet 2:10 - Once you were not a people, but now you 
			      are the people of God
				- God didn't redeem disconnected individuals
				- He redeemed a people
			b.  1 Cor 12:12f - We are the body of Christ
				- There are many different functions in the body
				- But there is only ONE body
				- Each part is part of the whole
				- Each part works together as a team
			c.  The "autonomous self" or the "loner" is a myth
				- We are not islands in the kingdom
				- We part of the Lord's kingdom (singular), nation, 
				   people, community, household, family, body 
		4.  Being a team, & working as a team reflects God's character
			a.  God is Trinitarian in nature - Father, Son, Spirit
			b.  3 in 1, ONE God - Unity, union, love
			c.  Each is part of a whole, each performs different function
				- The Father listens to our prayers and acts
				- The Son is our Savior, King, and Human example
				- The Spirit strengthens, leads, and empowers us
			d.  When we act as a team, we reflect his character
	C.  ILL:  Story of a body that had to learn this lesson the hard way
		1.  Each body part began to complain against the stomach
			a.  All stomach does is consume
			b.  Mouth has to chew, arm has to prepare food
			c.  Legs have to go out and get the food
		2.  They all went on strike.  Just sat there and did nothing
			a.  Occasionally the mouth would yell at stomach
			b.  Otherwise, they refused to feed the stomach
		3.  Stomach rumbled for awhile, they did nothing.  Then silence
		4.  Body became weaker, and weaker, until finally the decided they 
		     had better feed the stomach 
	D.  We are the body of Christ
		1.  Takes teamwork to accomplish God's mission
		2.  Every single one of us has a part in the mission of God
		3.  Teamwork itself reflects God's character and helps accomplish 
		      his purposes

III.  It is ultimately the work of God 
	A.  How does this story teach us this?
		1.  When is the best time to fish?  - Before sun up
			- After sun up, not catch as much
		2.  What if fish all night unsuccessfully, sun up, it is hot
			a.  You are packing up to go home
			b.  Someone shows up and says to cast out again
			c.  Seems like wasted effort  
		3.  Similar thing is happening in the story
			a.  Unsuccessful all night long, and now sun is up
			b.  What sense it make to cast on the right side?
				- During the optimum time, there was no fish
				- Optimum time for fish is past
				- If there are no fish, there are no fish
				- If cast on front, back, etc. there are no fish
		4.  This shows that fruitfulness is ultimately from God
	B.  Our role is faithfulness, God's role is fruitfulness
		1.  (1 Cor 3:6-8) - Team effort, but results are ultimately from God
			a.  Kind of like planting a garden
			b.  Do you "make" the plants grow?  No
			c.  You provide the right conditions, planting and watering
			d.  But growth, life, the increase is from God
		2.  Faithfulness means active trust placed in the right thing
			a.  Not our human strength, ingenuity, etc.
			b.  In the power of God through the Gospel
				- Rom 1:16 - Gospel is the power of salvation
				- Not human strength, ingenuity, innovativeness, etc.
				- It is in the Gospel
		3.  Faithfulness means the right actions in the Gospel
			a.  What actions?  -- The actions of Christ
			b.  What actions do we see in Christ?
				- He identified with people 
					-- Met them where they were in the flesh
					-- Paul became all things to all men -1 Cor 9:19
				- He had compassion for people
					-- He loved them, healed, fed, touched them
					-- Took time for them
				- He poured himself out in self-sacrifice
					-- He put others before himself Phil 2:4-5
				- In this, proclaimed Gospel of Kingdom to people
					-- His message was of repentance, 
					    forgiveness, salvation, restoration to God
			c.  If we trust in Christ, we will do as he did
		4.  Problem - Many trust all kinds of things that are not the Gospel
			a.  An attractive building - That does not save people
			b.  Attractive worship service - That does not save people
			c.  List can go on, only one things saves
			d.  The Gospel is the power of salvation
	C.  ILL:  Like not having a good foundation, or no foundation
		1.  If build a house with no foundation, what will happen? 
			a.  Disaster, will start to lean, leak 
			b.  Eventually will fall over, can injure or kill people
		2.  Whatever method you use, Gospel has to be the foundation
		3.  Jesus never lost sight of their greatest need - The Gospel
			a.  When he fed 5,000 people and they followed him, he 
			     didn't stop with that and say, "look at the great numbers"
			b.  He then fed them the bread of life, what they really need
			c.  Many not interested, but some did follow Jesus
		4.  Gospel of the Kingdom was central to his ministry
	D.  What I am saying is that we need trust in the power of the Gospel
		1.  We need to present the Gospel even if it doesn't make sense
			a.  Knock on doors?  That will not work, too much time, effort
			b.  Going into the prison?  They not interested, not listen
			c.  Ask the question?  Too forward, drive people away
			d.  Feed hungry? Clothe them? That's manipulative, costly
				- But didn't Jesus feed hungry, help helpless, etc.?
				- Didn't Jesus pay a great price?
		2.  When things like these, Jesus is saying cast net on right side!
			a.  May not seem anything might happen, that's okay
			b.  Power is in the Gospel
			c.  Faithfulness is our job; fruitfulness is God's job

1.  Jesus' ministry bore fruit.  He made it possible to come to God (inv)
2.  Now that Jesus has ascended back to the Father, here is his message to us
	a.  Be obedient to Christ even if it doesn't look like it will bring results
		- Our job is faithfulness, God's job is fruitfulness
	b.  Be God's fishing team, working together for God's mission
3.  Weather it getting warm - Need to look at ways we can connect with people with the Gospel

Small Group Questions:  A Fishy Church 

Summary:  The key images of fish and sheep highlights both the apostolic and pastoral mission of 
the church.  The apostolic mission involves faith in the fishing instructions of Christ, even when 
they appear to be futile and promise no results, because results are ultimately the work of Christ.  

- What is your greatest success story?

Explore:  Jn 21:1-14

1.  Why do you suppose Peter and the disciples decided to go fishing?  Does it seem as though they 
were possibly going back to the way things were before they met Jesus, being fishermen?

2.  What was Peter's reaction to Jesus?  How did it compare to his reaction in Luke 5?

3.  How does this "object lesson" for the disciples help them in being "fishers of men?" 

4.  What does this say about being fruitful for Christ?  What timeless message(s) is there for the 
church in this?


5.  What should the church look like or be like in its mission?

6.  How does this picture compare to where we are today?  What are some strengths and weaknesses you 
see in the church's exercise of her mission today?  (remember the church is "we" and "us" not "they")

7.  Brainstorm some possible ways to be faithful to God's mission, and choose one or two that you 
can try together, or with others as a team.