Luke 5:5, “And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”
Peter and his companions had been working hard all night. Their efforts had not produced even one fish. They had given up and were headed home. But Jesus told them to try it just one more time.
It would have been easy for Peter to reject Jesus’ command. After all, Peter had been a fisherman all his life. Jesus was just a preacher. What did He know about fishing? Yet something, or rather someone, caused Peter to try just once more.
Many people are like Simon Peter and his partners. They have done all that they know to do and yet they’ve come up empty-handed. This breeds a despair and hopelessness that causes many people to quit trying. Yet, just one word from Jesus could make the same tasks that have been unproductive on our own bear great fruit.
The key to success or failure lies in doing things at the word of Jesus. Peter said, “at thy word I will let down the net.” God’s words always get results.
Today, make sure your efforts are directed by God and you will experience the results that have eluded you in the past.
John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
In this prayer, Jesus prayed twice that the Father would keep His disciples from evil. Then He reveals the way that God will accomplish this – through His Word, the holy scriptures. Anyone who desires to live for God, reject the devil, and reject the world’s system, must know God’s Word.
We must study the scriptures, for they reveal the will of God for our actions and attitudes. To be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, we must be filled with God’s Word. God’s Word is His will! Those who are ignorant of God’s Word will be ignorant of God’s will.
Knowledge of God’s will is foundational in developing Christian conduct and character. There is no way we can fulfill God’s will if we don’t know what it is. The starting point for any Christian is understanding God’s will for his life. How can a person obtain such knowledge? The first step is to desire it. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” People ask the Lord for knowledge of His will but don’t receive it because they aren’t seeking with ALL THEIR HEART. No one who has ever sought the Lord with all his heart has ever been disappointed.
The Holy Spirit is the dispenser of God’s wisdom. It is through Him that we know the things God has revealed to us. One of the primary ministries of the Holy Spirit is to reveal God’s will to us.
There is no way we can walk worthy of the Lord and please Him if we don’t know His will. Furthermore, we can’t be fruitful without the knowledge of His will. God has provided all that we need to be successful and victorious in this life. Believe His Word.
Luke 14:28 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”
The parable of the man building a tower is a continuation of the teaching regarding what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus. This parable stresses commitment. “Jailhouse religion,” where a person is only sorry he got caught and is trying to get out of a bad situation, will not produce true discipleship. It takes a forsaking of all to be Jesus’ disciple. Jesus is simply saying, “count the cost.”
Jesus’ teaching on discipleship emphasizes commitment. Just as a king wouldn’t engage in war without thoroughly considering all the possible outcomes, so no one should attempt to become a disciple of Jesus without counting the cost. It would be better not to start following Jesus than to start and then turn back.
When a person first comes to Jesus, it is impossible to know everything that following Jesus might entail. No one, however, should be fearful of making a total commitment because of some imagined problem that may never come to pass. There should be a willingness to forsake everything to follow Jesus.
Once we make that decision, then Christ begins to live through us (Galatians 2:20) and we find a strength that is not our own, equal to whatever test we may encounter.
Luke 10:29 “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?”
This question of “who is my neighbor” can be used by Satan to deceive us in more than one way. Not only can he deceive men into thinking they have fulfilled the command to “love thy neighbor as thyself” when they haven’t, but he will also try to apply this command in a way that condemns those who are seeking to fulfill it, by making them think they are not doing enough.
We cannot meet the needs of every single person in the world. Jesus wasn’t teaching that. This wounded man was directly in the path of these three men. The priest and the Levite had to walk around him. Jesus is simply teaching that we should take advantage of the opportunities we have. The fact that we can’t help everyone is no excuse not to help anyone.
Jesus, through this parable, defined a neighbor as any fellow human being who crosses our path and is in need of our assistance. The Samaritan went to the full extent of his ability — and beyond — to help the man. The priest and Levite did nothing.
There was a racial and religious hatred between Jews and Samaritans. Devout Jews would not associate with or even talk to a Samaritan. The priest and the Levite that passed by this wounded man were his fellow-countrymen, and yet they didn’t help him. This Samaritan, who was considered by religious Jews to be of another nationality, was the true neighbor. Jesus made it clear that you could not define “neighbor” on the basis of geographic origin or your familiarity with someone. A neighbor is anyone that God puts in your path.
Matthew 9:9 “And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.”
To “follow” means to come or go after; move behind in the same direction; to come or go with; to accept the guidance or leadership of; to adhere to the cause or principles of; to be governed by; obey; comply with.
When a person first comes to Jesus, it is impossible to know everything that following Jesus entails. No one, however, should be fearful of making a total commitment because of some imagined problem that may never come to pass. There should be a willingness to forsake everything to follow Jesus. Once we make that decision, then Christ begins to live through us and we find a strength that is not our own, equal to whatever test we may encounter… Galatians 2:20.
It is Christ living through us that is the secret of victorious Christian living. It is not us living for Jesus, but Jesus living through us. Failure to understand this simple truth is at the root of all legalism and the performance mentality. The law focuses on the outer man and tells it what it must do. Grace focuses on the inner man and tells it what is already done through Christ. Those who are focused on what they must do are under law. Those who are focused on what Christ has done for them are walking under grace.
Just as the life of a root is found in the soil, or a branch in the vine, or a fish in the sea, so the believer’s true life is found to be in union with Christ. The Christian life is not just hard to live, it’s impossible in our human strength. The only way to walk in victory is to let Christ live through us.
Matthew 7:20 “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
The way that you can tell whether a person is genuine or not is by the fruit they produce. This fruit is speaking of lifestyle. Jesus made the point that you don’t get bad fruit from a good tree, and you don’t get good fruit from a bad tree. Many people say one thing, but their actions speak so loudly that you really can’t hear what they are saying. If you are in doubt about whether a person is genuine or not, or whether you should receive from them and follow their teaching, look at the fruit they are producing.
In evaluating ministers and ministries, more attention should be given to the fruit that is being produced. Failure to do this could lead someone to reject and even discredit a minister who simply makes a mistake or is wrong in one area. Every minister has shortcomings, just as every other member of the Body of Christ does. But that doesn’t mean his ministry is bad. Look at the fruit.
Fruit is the true test of ministers and ministries. If people are being saved, if lives are being changed, there is good fruit. Even though the minister may say something bad and make mistakes, the fruit is good.
Therefore, you can say that the tree is good. When a person says all of the right things and may seem sincere, but you see the lives of people around them shattered and torn, and in confusion and distress, then the fruit is bad. You can judge the effectiveness of a person by the fruit that they are producing in their life. In ministry you can judge the effectiveness of a minister by the fruit that his ministry is producing.
Today, make sure that the fruit that comes from your life is positive. Make sure that you are making a positive impact on people’s lives, that you are turning people to the Lord and not leaving them hurt and confused. People are looking at you to see what type of fruit you are bearing.
John 4:19 “The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.”
This didn’t take any great discernment on the woman’s part. Jesus had just “read her mail”. He told her the most intimate details of her life. Anyone could have perceived Jesus was a prophet after something like that.
This woman suddenly realized that she was dealing with more than just a man. God was speaking to her. What was her reaction? She changed the subject. She brought up a doctrinal issue concerning the proper place to worship–anything to get Jesus’ attention off of her.
We all have a tendency to build walls of privacy around the intimate details of our lives. We are afraid to let anyone, especially God, look inside. But God already knows and He wants all of our heart.
Jesus brought this woman right back to the subject of her personal relationship with God. The place of worship or the forms of worship weren’t important. God was looking for people who would open their hearts–even the hidden parts–for Him to inhabit.
Likewise today, Satan tries to get us occupied with everything except the one thing that counts. God wants us to worship Him in spirit and truth. Anything less than that is not enough.
John 4:14 “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Jesus painted a beautiful picture of salvation in this passage. The salvation Jesus brings is like an artesian spring which doesn’t have to be pumped. It bubbles up constantly.
Unfortunately, not every Christian’s experience matches Jesus’ description. Many people relate more to an old pump which has to be pumped and pumped. Just as a trickle of water comes, they have to rest. They lose their prime. The water stops. Then they have to start all over again.
Yet, Jesus said we would never thirst again. This doesn’t mean that one drink satisfies us forever. But, as we continue to avail ourselves of this water of life daily, we will be constantly refreshed. The well of His life is there, but we must partake.
The dryness in a Christian’s life comes when we substitute other things for the living water that only Jesus can give. Anytime a Christian begins to thirst again, it is not a reflection on the living water that Jesus gives, but rather an indication that we have been drinking from some other source.
“Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation”…Isaiah 12:3.