Repent Finally and Let’s Go Fishing
† I.H.S †
May the grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you the confidence you need as God grants you repentance and then invites you to go fishing!
Two Invitations, two blessings
Have you ever been asked to go somewhere with someone, and dreaded it, only to find yourself really enjoying it?
I remember taking Kay one year for her birthday to see a musical at the Pantages. Like a lot of guys, I am not much into musicals. It’s not just the “guy” thing. I’ve been asked to play in the band/orchestra for a couple of them, and both times, I hated it. So taking Kay to a musical was something I did for her, dreading it, well prepared to hate every moment of sitting there, except enjoying the smile on Kay’ face.
I was greatly surprised when I actually found myself enjoying Phantom of the Opera. So much so I actually took her to see it a couple more times.
Life is like that sometimes. So is walking with God. Somethings we seem to dread….we find are incredible blessings.
In the gospel this morning, we see two incredible blessings of that kind.
We probably don’t see them as blessings, but that is the point of this sermon. To help us understand what Jeus was offering to people were life chaging blessings, incredible, mind-blowing blessings that we would enjoy, and rejoice in, and share with others.
Blessings we describe with a couple of words
Don’t those things sound far more fun than going fishing, or going to a quilt show, or for me and William, hanging out in Best Buy or Fry’s?
So, let’s see how these things are blessings, blessings that provide joy beyond our ability to comprehend
Repentance – and invitation to be changed!
Hear Jesus’s words again,
15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
REPENT OF YOUR SINS!!!!
Don’t worry, not going to turn into Baptist and preach Hellfire and brimstone.
Because that is based on a faulty understanding of repentance, one that makes it sound like beating yourself up until you really feel sorry and then God will forgive you, maybe.
Hear how it is used in the Book of Acts,
17 If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?” 18 When they heard this, they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying, “God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.” Acts 11:17-18 (NAB)
Does that sound like something to be afraid of?
But repentance isn’t something to be afraid of, it is an invitation of the greatest kind. Literally it means to change one’s mind, or one’s way of thinking. Another way to hear it described is to put on the mind of Christ.
This is what God does to us, as we hear of His love and experience its breadth and width, height and depth. He transforms our mind. When Jesus says the Kingdom of God is near, when He is explaining to them that God does care,
Yes, repentance means giving over to God our sin, but that is a gift. To walk away from our sin, from our shame and guilt, to live freely in God’s kingdom. To know that God has forgiven us and experience the love of God in every facet of our lives.
That is why Jesus talks of repentance as a parallel to “believe in the Good News!” Because repentance is something incredible, a blessing to change our lives, to be free of all of our failures, to know we are loved and cared for, because that is the change God makes in us, that change is repentance!
Fishing for people, (Or Knitting them together)
Repentance is a joy, but so is evangelism, or as Jesus told a bunch of fisherman, fishing for men. I suppose that if he was talking to quilters he would say sewing another square into the quilt, that square being….human..
That might work in the case of some human, others might not like being called a square!
But as fishing for men, and bring them in works, so does sewing someone into the family of God, creating for them home, a place where they know they are cared for, a place where they know they are loved.
That is what evangelism is, sharing the news, the good, great, wonderful news that God cares for us. Helping people become part of the family, because God our Father wants them to be part of the family.
That’s what evangelism is, reaching out to people and saying, God cares for you, and He died to remove all that would steal their life, just as He did for us.
That’s the amazing thing, the more we understand His grace, the more we experience His love, the more we want others to experience it that love, that immeasurable love, as well. A love that we experience as we celebrate that love at the altar, and share in the Body and blood of Jesus.
So repent, let God transform you – and then lets go fishing for men, or sewing them into the quilt of our church. So they can share in the love and peace of God our Father! AMEN?