Fishing for Souls: Permission for Fishin’!

Jonathan ScottBy Jonathan Scott7 Minutes

Hello again, Jonathan Scott with Strengthen Your Walk. In this particular series, we’re dealing with some of the rigors of fishing, especially in the area of evangelism. Quite frankly, if you’re going to be successful in fishing, you’ve got to have the right equipment. You could have the right rod and reel, but then you’ve also got the tackle box. The tackle box has certain tools that enables you to handle or tackle whatever challenges you may find on the water. You’ve got hooks and lures that are in here, sinkers and bobbers. A lot of things that can help you deal with what’s on the water.

But here’s the one thing — and this is what people say is the most important element you’ve got to have in your tackle box. As a matter of fact, you can’t go fishing without it. And it is the fishing license. It’s basically your permission to go fishing. And you get that from wildlife preserves or wildlife commissions that enable you with permission and authority to actually go fishing.

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Similarly, there is a permission that we have been given from Jesus Christ for us to be able to go fishing. The command that Jesus has given to us we call the Great Commission. We find a portion of that in Mark 16 where Jesus says to His disciples, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” And then that passage in Matthew 28, “All authority,” Jesus says to His disciples, “in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I’ve commanded you. And behold, I am with you to the end of the age.”

Again, the Great Commission gives us permission to go fishing. It’s a silly little rhyme, but you and I have been given more than just a permission. There is an authority and a power that comes when we obey Jesus’ command to continue to carry out His ministry through the power of His spirit under His authority and in His name. We know that as far as the Great Commission is concerned, that it has to do with how Jesus, through His sacrifice, has resolved the issue of the penalty of our sin and He’s paid for that. But also how there’s a promise that we will be able to spend eternity completely free from the very presence of sin.

But the Great Commission is not just about what happened in the past or what will happen in the future. The Great Commission also has impact on how we experience the life of Christ right now. As a matter of fact, Jesus in John 10:10 says, “I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” In the Great Commission, Jesus intends for people to actually become followers, for people to actually follow Christ and experience His life. The desire that people would live a life that’s free from fear, free from guilt, free from shame, free from the bad decisions. As a matter of fact, Jesus gives us the power to experience freedom from the power of sin that is right now so that people can know His forgiveness, His love, His peace, and His hope. The priority and passion that we have is to connect them to the person, not just the place in eternity, but to the person of Jesus Christ right now.

Now guys, I guarantee you, you’d better watch this. If your wife ever asks you, “Well, why did we get married? Why’d you marry me?” You don’t want to say, “Because I wanted grandkids.” If you do say that, you might want to duck. No, what you want to say is, “No, I decided to marry you because I want to spend the rest of my life journeying with you, to love you, to know you, and to be known.” That’s that intimacy and that relationship that we were all meant for.

In the Great Commission, it also includes that Jesus wants us to experience His life right now. In 2 Peter 1, Peter tells us that “Through these great and precious promises” we can “participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” Participate in the divine nature that we don’t have to wait for death to experience. We can experience that right now. In our passion to proclaim the gospel, it’s not simply looking for people to respond to our proclamation, but to the person behind the proclamation.

Ultimately, more than anything, our desire is to make sure that people are connected to Jesus Christ in response to His gospel. And can I tell you, that’s worth every effort in His permission for us to go fishing.

When we come back the next time, we’ll take a look at the proper attitude and heart that’s needed for successful evangelism, for successful fishing for people. Until then, Jonathan Scott. We’ll see you next time.

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