Can I Use Your Boat?
Today many of us Christians are like the Children of Israel were when they had begun their exodus from Egypt and Pharaoh sent his entire army chasing after them.
When they came to the Red Sea they were in deep trouble. They had the Egyptian Army to their backs, and on both sides of them was wide open desert for hundreds of miles. They were trapped with nowhere to go. Somehow, they had to cross the Red Sea. God provided a miraculous way of crossing the Red Sea. When they crossed they were saved and celebrated by singing songs praise thanking God God for all He had done for them. But they were not changed.
After a day or two celebrating they realized they faced another life threating challenge. They were had to nothing but desert around them, and the Red sea at their back. They had to cross the desert. The Bible teaches us, Crossing the desert was their refinement. Crossing the desert was their baptism of fire.
God had to refine the Children of Israel, because for 430 years they had been living in the Egyptian Culture, and they needed refinement to their own culture of being God’s chosen people.
Just a few weeks before Jesus began His ministry, John the Baptist was preaching in the wilderness that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven.
At that time in Israel everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
Today, you and I are God’s chosen people. We may be saved, but we have lost our identity. We’ve lost our desire to please God. Our flame has gone out. We are not able to discern whether we are walking with God listening to his voice and doing His will, or walking in the flesh doing our own will and pleasing ourselves and Satan.
Something needs to happen to us. Our life must be refined in order for us to become mature children of God. We must be refined by the Holy Spirit, which is what happened to Peter, during an overnight fishing trip. Luke Let’s see what took place on this fishing trip with Peter and his partners and find out how they were refined to become disciples of Jesus.
These are the details described by the Greek Doctor Luke, “So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.
When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”
And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.
And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. (Luke 5:1-11, NKJV)
2000 years ago fishing was a very hard job. They used large nets by throwing them into the water. As they drifted along they hoped the nets trailing behind would capture several fish. Or if they spotted a school of fish swimming fast with fins sticking above the surface making a boiling-like effect, they would throw the nets out in hopes of catching a large quantity. After working all day or night the fish needed to be cleaned and prepared. The nets needed to be washed and mended and then folded away ready for the next trip. It was very labor intensive, hard work that produced a low wage.
Peter had fished all night long and caught nothing. They were cleaning the nets when Jesus came by the shore. A large crowd had followed, as they listened to Him. So Jesus got into Peter’s boat, sat down and asked him to push him out a little ways from shore, so He could speak to the crowd.
Just imagine what might have been going through Peter’s mind when Jesus requested to use his boat.. He had been fishing all night long, perhaps his back was aching and he was tired and hungry. Most likely he just wanted to go home. Even though he was tired Peter was sensitive and obedient to Jesus’ request. He made himself available by doing what Jesus asked. He pushed the boat out a ways from the crowded shore, so Jesus could speak to the crowd.
When Jesus finished speaking to the crowd He told Peter, “launch out into deeper water and let your net down.”
Jesus may have wanted to bless Peter for being obedient and allowing Him to use his boat. Peter was reluctant and perhaps frustrated. He had fished all night long and caught nothing. And they had just cleaned, mended, and folded the nets for the next day’s fishing.
Peter knew it was a waste of time to lower the nets back into the water, but he was receptive to Jesus. Even though he didn’t believe they would catch any fish he told Jesus, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at your word I will let down the net.” Peter did not believe. He had no faith—not even a mustard seed size of faith that he was going to catch anything, but Peter told Jesus, if you say so—I’ll do it.
When Peter lowered their nets they caught such a large amount of fish that the nets began to break so Peter signaled for his fishing partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came over and began filling their boats with fish.
They kept selecting fish from the net and putting them in their boats until both boats began to sink. They had to stop because the boats could hold no more. “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.” (Luke 5:8-11)
Peter knew who Jesus was. He knew Jesus was Lord! Peter didn’t know all that was about to happen, but he knew Jesus was the Messiah.
Jesus called them to Discipleship in verse eleven, “So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.” They parked their boats all their fishing equipment on dry land and left to follow Jesus.
Today, Jesus is asking us to allow Him to use our body for a boat. He wants to push us out of our comfort zone a little ways so he can speak through us. Will we hear the Holy Spirit’s request? Are we going to be receptive to His request, like Peter?
Christians, all of us are called by God to accomplish one mission, the ministry of reconciling the world to Jesus. Are you we willing to push out into the deeper water away from the things of the flesh and learn how to read and be receptive and obedient to His Word? We are saved, so others can be saved.
Some of us try to explain our situation and limitations to God, as if He doesn’t know. Some of us tell God we’ve tried it and haven’t caught anything. I’m not good at this. People won’t listen to me. Others tell God they will support Him and cheer others on from the shoreline.
There are a handful of Disciples who are willing to push out a little ways from shore, as long as their feet can still touch bottom, because we enjoy the comforts of our job, family, and friends more than following the instructions of Jesus.
We say we’re scared of the deep water, but the truth is we enjoy the pleasures of this worldly life so much that we are disobedient to God’s calling.
We’re not mature in Christ. Our desire is gone. We’re willing to come to Church and pray and listen to the Word once a week, but unwilling to go into deep water and allow Christ to use us.
There are a few of us Christians who are willing to go out into deeper water and sacrifice our body (boat) to tell others of the Good News of how Jesus freed us from addiction, repaired our marriage, and healed all pain caused by years of depression, recklessness and acts of violence.
God wants us to become spiritually inclined to give and go out into deeper water. When we push our body (boat) out into deeper water where the water is over our head and our feet can no longer touch bottom to control where we go, that’s when we commit to loving God, being obedient, trusting, and depending on the Holy Spirit. We are being refined in Christ.
We learn to lean on God to provide everything for our lives. We overcome our fears of this world. The only fear we have is not pleasing God. There are only a few disciples who are willing to put on the Holy Spirit’s life vest and trust the wind to blow our body (boat) where God wants us to be.
When we surrender our all to God then we are All In, and God can use us. His wind will blow us where He wants us. Peter told Jesus in verse five, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” When we say, “nevertheless at your Word” we are being obedient.
We must push ourselves into reading God’s word; meditating; praying and developing our relationship with Jesus and the Father. Then Jesus can use us to catch a lot of fish.
As a Disciple of Christ Jesus, our life, home, finances, food, clothing, and everything else we have, is all in for the kingdom. When we go All In we become givers. Our entire life belongs to Christ. We may do it reluctantly at first like Peter, but as we surrender and trust more and more on God, our faithfulness will become noticeable to Abba Father and our relationship will become closer and closer with Jesus our Savior who wants to be Lord of our life. We gain life. This is why Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. Luke 9:23-24
Nothing on Earth; no husband, wife, child, or job is as important as our relationship with Jesus.
There is a time when a child of God learns to trust Him fully. That’s why God puts us through trials. So we can develop a faithful relationship in Him. James, a servant of God and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, told us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV
When we trust God enough to get into the boat and push out into the deep water where the only thing we can control is steering the boat, God knows we have surrendered and allowed His will to be done in our lives. This is our time of refinement. His Holy Spirit is our life vest. No matter how rough the water gets we are safe in Him, as long as that life vest is in and around us.
I have heard it said it would normally take about 20 to 30 days to walk across the desert from Egypt to the Promised Land. But it took 40 years for the Children of Israel to become obedient to God and arrive at the Promise Land. Today, we are just like the Children of Israel. Each of us has been called, but everyone has a desert to Cross.
Crossing the desert is where we get rid of self and learn to lean on God. Crossing the desert is where refinement from flesh allows us to submit to God.
I’m an example of a modern day disobedient Child of God. It took me about 40 years until finally at the age of 53 God finally broke me down enough where I surrendered. I gave up
and told God I love You. I will trust and obey You. I went All IN.
God refines every Christian. Every Child of God has a desert to cross, and that desert is where God refines us. We learn to lean on God for everything.
In Moses day, there were bodies scattered all over the desert. We can still hear some of their voices saying, “Oh God wouldn’t allow that to happen to me!” And they were right. God didn’t just allow death to happen. Our disobedience and lack of love and commitment to God caused it.
God needs to refine us. When we are broken we learn to say what Peter said, “nevertheless at your word I will let down the net.” What we need to be praying is not my will be done, but God’s will be done in my life. God is breaking us, refining us, so He can show us His Glory. Jesus told us in the book of John, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. (John 3:5)
We must depend on the water. When we push ourselves out over our heads into deep water the Holy Spirit can use us as a vessel to accomplish kingdom work.
It’s time to die to self, our own personal goals, and desires of this world, and become mature servants of “The Most High God.” Apostle Paul tells us, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Christians—Church Body of Christ, it’s time to push ALL IN and consent to God’s Holy Spirit to use our body (boat) for the kingdom work where and when He needs us.
It’s time we come to Jesus like Peter did. Peter lowered the nets in obedience to Jesus’ request even though he didn’t expect to catch any fish. When we say to God, “nevertheless at your word” and we push out into deep water, that’s where the glory of God is. That’s where miracles are. When God is in control of our body (boat) we become as instruments of God, and we’ll experience His Glory.
When God’s glory begins to manifest in our life we will be like Peter. Everything will be overflowing! We will have too much in us. We won’t be able to take any more, because we’ll be so full. And this may happen at any time.
It may happen when we know for sure there are no fish. We’ll know what Peter felt, because we’ll be saying the same thing, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” We will be astonished at what God has done for us and through us, because we didn’t really believe. We just were being obedient.
As we get closer to God He allows us to see ourselves as He sees us. We see the sin in our life and ask God to remove it, which allows us to get closer to Him. Our relationship deepens.
That’s what Peter did. He allowed God to be in full control of his life. In verse ten Jesus told Peter, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”
Jesus taught us this short parable, “the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Do you understand all these things?” “Yes,” they said, “we do.” (Matthew 13:47-51 NLT)
Today, Jesus is asking you, “Do you understand all these things?” God expects us to be like Peter and say, nevertheless at your word, I will obey you and do as you request.
2000 years ago Peter and the others pulled their boats up on the shore, stowed away their equipment, and walked away forsaking it all. They died to themselves, their old fishing habits, and their old way of life. They went All In to follow Jesus and become fishers of men.
Jesus is asking you to leave your desires of pleasing the body behind and follow Him.
He is asking if He can use your body (boat) to speak to the people.
Jesus is asking if you’ll launch out into deeper water and trust the Holy Spirit.
He is telling us, if you’ll lower the nets into the deep water. He will overfill them.
May our response be, “Nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”
People are dying and going to hell every minute, because they don’t have a relationship with God. Nobody really explained this to it to them.
God has predestined good works for all of us to do. There are people that will not go to heaven unless we talk them, such as family, friends, co-workers, and others that Jesus will bring into our lives.
Are you willing to make a commitment and become mature Christians with our only purpose being to tell others about Jesus and His goodness?
Every day may we ask ourselves, what is stopping me from doing the ministry God gave me? How can I become a more effective servant in winning souls for Jesus?
Let us pray this prayer: Father in the name of Jesus, we turn backs on our old wicked ways of pleasing ourselves. We humble ourselves seeking and asking forgiveness for neglecting you Jesus, for not telling others about you and for not doing what we were instructed to do. Father, we surrender this day to you. Have your way with me. Clean me, wash away my failures, and renew in me a desire to love you more, to please you always, and to do your will. Strengthen me to be a Soul Winner. Help me learn maturity. May we be obedient to your question of, Can I borrow your boat? Father, we are ALL IN to become Fishers of Men. In the Name of Jesus, Amen!
Evangelist and Author