I am writing this from Alaska while attending AnselmPresbytery. It is a privilege to represent you all to the saints here. I gave our church report yesterday and the Pastors prayed for us all. My heart overflows with love and gratitude for you all and the blessing to be a part of what we are doing in the greater Seattle area.
I am so very grateful for you all; your faithfulness, fellowship and faith. Our Church is unique in its robust worship and long-term stability, our unity and community: all a huge blessing for which we should give thanks to God continually.
It is very encouraging to hear what the CREC is accomplishing for the Gospel all over the world. The fame of Christ’s name is being spread by faithful men and the communities are growing stronger.
As you work and play this week, I hope that you find victory in Christ. I pray that you rest in Christ, glorifying Him and lifting Him up by word and deed. The Lord will finish the work He began in you to become like Christ, concerned for what your neighbor is becoming.
Filling up the edges
Jesus calls disciples to follow Him, to call others to follow Him. The first appointed ministry of the emerging church has as its primary goal seeking the lost.To bring men from darkness to light, from Satan to God, from death to life.
Throughout the OT, the sea represented the unbelieving nations (Jeremiah 51). The flood represented the reversal of the created order as judgement and just so, the nation’s swallow up and overflow Israel under Nebuchadnezzar as judgement. And David uses the same metaphor in several Psalms (i.e 42 and 88), The book of Jonah uses the same idea of the seas being the hostile gentile inhabitation.
So, Jesus has come to destroy the kingdom of Satan and before this final judgement, Jesus wants his followers to cast nets and fish out people, saving them from damnation.
What Jesus seems to be asking these disciples to do is rescue some in the face of the coming judgment, lest all be lost, or rescue some out of the clutches of the powers of darkness.
Various texts suggest that water was seen as a symbol of evil or loss, indeed of chaos (see, e.g., Ps. 74:13). From such waters one needed to be rescued. “In the background of Jesus’ picture of ‘fishers of men’ it is therefore necessary to see that the waters … are the underworld, the place of sin and death. To fish out a [person] means to rescue him from the kingdom of darkness, out of the sphere which is hostile to God and remote from God.”10
The stress in Mark’s brief report falls upon the sovereign authority in Jesus’ call, and the radical obedience of the first disciples.
So compelling is the claim of Jesus upon them that all prior claims lose their validity. Their father, the hired servants, the boat and the nets are left behind as they commit themselves in an exclusive sense to follow Jesus. The urgency in Jesus’ call and the radical obedience of the fishermen pose the question, “Who, then, is this who calls?”
Mark is again forcing the reader to deal with the text. What kind of people respond to the commands of a stranger? Why? Who is this man?
Jesus summons men by an act of grace to serve as agents of the kingdom that has drawn near, who shall gather a people for judgment; as he is remaking them, through them He is remaking all people.How people respond to the summons to follow Jesus is how Jesus is remaking them; either fiends of Hell or something nearly divine.
Jesuswillmake them becomefishers of men. The response of the four men is non-verbal. They don’t say the sinner’s prayer. They make no formal, public, verbal declaration. The men respond to Jesus’ call by action. They obey. They don’t talk; they act. And the action is a response to Jesus’ declaration that he will remake them. What they will be, is the reason they act. What Jesus is doing is the reason for their doing.
Discipleship is about what we are becoming. And what we are becoming is the reason for our doing. Jesus is not interested in words, here. He is interested in obedience. Jesus gives them instructions and tells them He will remake them. Discipleship is founded on what God is doing. What we are becoming.
Too often our conception of the gospel is limited to ourselves and the afterlife. What we are becoming, as Peter teaches in His epistle, is a participant in the essence of the divine Lord. Salvation is equated merely with going to heaven. But Jesus, in these passages, is not concerned with what they will become after they die, but what they will become why they live.
And the focus of that becoming is the salvation of men. To Jesus, the drawing in of His people is more important. More important than your job, than your marriage, than your home school curriculum; more important than your hopes, dreams and aspirations.
Jesus is calling you to be the means by which He calls others. You are being equipped for the work of ministry; the ministry of reconciliation. Your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your co-workers, your extended family and relations, the stranger. They are becoming something. Either fiends of Hell or something nearly divine. What you are to become is someone concerned for what they are becoming.
People either respond to Christ’s call to repent, believe and follow Him or they do not.
Everyone is either becoming a resident of Hell or of Heaven. They are becoming either a fiend burning outside of God’s grace or an image of Christ participating in the divine essence.
Your co-worker and teammate, your family member and neighbor. The stranger and friend. Everyone in this church and outside it, in relationship to Jesus are becoming something eternal. Either eternally a fiend or eternally godlike.
Mark’s Gospel is good news about what Jesus did. It’s an action adventure. And what he did is call men and women to come and follow Him on the grand and glorious ministry of reconciliation – in which we cast our nets.
“Following Christ” initially means to leave your life behind and to go along with Christ. In the broader sense it means to leg of all that which hinders availability and service to Christ. Return to the wilderness.
Appropriate Christ’s provisions and example in communion with Him. Follow His instructions. Where he is going we too can follow because he has overcome the strong man who enslaved us with sin and death. We have been reconciled to God to become reconcilers to God.
Are you becoming a fisher of men? If your Christianity results in your becoming anything else, it is a lie. If your faith is all about what you are becoming, not in this world, but the next, it is a lie.
Jesus calls you to follow him. He seeks the salvation of everyone you know, regardless of how you feel about them. God wants you to cast nets in word and deed, to draw them in.
Our response to Christ’s summons is how we become what we are becoming. And what Christ is making you is either a fisher of men or not. Are you living as though that was the point of your faith? Well. Repent, believe and leave behind what you need to, in order to follow Jesus as true disciples; as fishers of men.
Around the worldwide web
Here is another video from the fellas at the Bible Project.
For steadfast faith
what would I be if you were to forsake me? What can I do if you withdraw your hand? What can I know if you do not enlighten me? How quickly the educated become infants; the prudent, simple; the wise, fools! How awesome you are in all your works and judgments! Let me walk in the light while I have light, so that I may not be caught in darkness. Many renounce their faith and become careless and weary in your grace. They are deceived into thinking they know everything and have no need. They feel satisfied and become slothful and ungrateful and are soon ruined. Therefore, help me to remain in the fervor of faith, that I may daily increase in it through Jesus Christ, my real and only helper.
Joel Eby, Call
Ron Coverdale, Prayer
DISCIPLESHIP CLASS: A SURVEY OF THE GOSPELS
Sunday mornings 9AM, through 11/18/18. Childcare provided for children 2-6. Kids aged 7 and up are encouraged to join the adult class.
LADIES’ FELLOWSHIP GATHERING
Wednesday, Sept 26, 7pm at Lannie Brown’s home. Fall meet-and-greet; snacks provided.
MEN’S PRAYER BREAKFAST
Saturday, October 13, 9AM at the church. Breakfast provided. Time of fellowship and prayer. Bring your boys 8 or older.
October 26-27. Why Marriage Matters (Doug & Nancy Wilson); Trinity Church Office; 14623 NE North Woodinville Way, Suite 201. Online registration coming soon; no childcare will be provided.
Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1416). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.