Cast the Net

Cast the Net

John 13:34-35 (NIV) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

We have been given but one commandment. Just one purpose in life that supersedes every other “thing” that is done for God. We are called to love one another. It is the character trait of a true disciple of Jesus Christ. It is not enough to pray for others, reach out to them in need, but to live on purpose means to love others as Jesus does. In every interaction, it is of the utmost importance that each and every individual who comes in contact with us leave feeling true love. When Jesus came into contact with people in his everyday life, it was important to our Savior and Lord that He did not leave them as they were. If they were hungry, He fed them. If they were sick, He healed them. If they were weary, He restored them. If they were discouraged, Jesus encouraged them. If they were possessed, He delivered them. He did not force others to follow Him, Jesus only invited them to come. The people flocked after Jesus Christ. In a day and age without technology, how did the word spread so fast and far about Jesus? His Love was so different, real, genuine and life changing – it spread all the way around the world.

If my only purpose is to love and there really is no other commandment important to the Lord other than that I completely and without regard love other people as He loves me, how am I doing? I am asking myself that today as I consider my walk with Jesus Christ. Do I have compassion for all mankind or just my inner circle? To be fishers of men does not require a pole with one hook, no it is all about casting the net wide and far. It is not to a small scoop net intent on one, but an effort to reach the unreachable and untouchable with a love greater than any I have ever known. We are selective in love. Guarded in our effort called outreach, but Jesus is telling us today to cast the net over the other side of our boat.

Luke 5:4-6 (NIV) When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish their nets began to break.

“Come and follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Matthew 4:19) Jesus often would take a boat to the center of water in order to project his voice to the crowds who followed him. It is how he became acquainted with Simon Peter. He called these men (mostly fishermen by trade) to be His Disciples and become fishers of men. To continually cast out a net of love to draw men and women to Jesus Christ. How are we doing? Do we cast our nets wide? Or do we limit our catch by not loving those around us? Do we exclude certain groups? Do we judge others? Do we have walls of division between churches and congregations maintaining separation out some kind of fear of overtaking? The only thing that we should be overtaken is with love for all mankind. A love so great and full of compassion that it exudes uncommon grace which allows all to come as they are and be drawn in by our consideration for them. Are we casting our nets into the community around us effectively? I believe God is calling all churches and congregations to next level love in response to their cry for revival. To have revival come into our communities will require a change in us first. Will we like Peter be willing to do it the way the Lord is asking even though it feels like we have done it all before? Experience is a harsh instructor but cannot limit us in love. One encounter with Jesus can resolve all our trust issues to release faith that allows us to live full of love for other people – all people.

Romans 12:9-13 (NIV) Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

The beginning of Romans 12 urges us to offer our lives as living sacrifices that are holy and acceptable to God which is only possible through His Son, Jesus Christ. In doing so, we must conform our heart and mind to live in love with Jesus and follow Him. His only requirement is that I love others as He has loved me. This is an argument that I cannot win when faced with “unlovable” people. I can do nothing but respond I love to live in according to the wishes of my Savior and Lord. His Grace is enough for me only when it gives me no excuse to love someone else because none is righteous no not one. Sin is sin and it all nailed Jesus to the Cross. A single sin demanded every drop of the Blood of Jesus. It is easy to become a bit prideful or downright arrogant as the Lord loves us so completely, we do not see ourselves in others anymore but fully identify with Jesus. However, it does not exempt us from living a life of long on purpose.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. God created mankind in His Image. We are all His Masterpieces. Every single human being with breath in their body is connected to God. However, it is possible to become judgmental in our approach to love by dividing people between good and evil rather than understanding that every good and perfect gift comes from God and people are created by Him therefore we are all good. Rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater, we must carefully learn to “pick” through all the evil to extract what is good. There is good in all people. The Light of God’s Love allows us to find it in those who we are willing to look for it in rather than disregarding them as hopeless. There is none who has ever fallen too far to be caught by the net of love set forth by a faithful believer.

Love must be sincere. The roots of love must branch out for beneath the four walls of our churches growing into our community if we our desire is revival. If we do not love other sincerely, there is no point in praying for a Move of God because our life is plagued by disobedience that cannot be disregarded. What is love? Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil. It rejoices in truth. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It always perseveres. Love never fails. Is this the definition of the love expressed in our life? If our true desire is to be His Disciple, it absolutely should define every single encounter we have with other people on a daily basis. All people. All day. Every day.

Galatians 5:14-16 (NIV) For the entire law is fulfilled in keep this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) The first fruit of God’s Spirit in our life is love. Without love, it is evident that the Holy Spirit is not in control of our life because if He is our life will be defined by the qualities left behind. The entire law is fulfilled in our ability to keep this one commandment that we love others as we do ourselves. Churches are notorious for backbiting and devouring their own fruit. How many churches have split and divided rather than coming together to grow as one? Afraid to worship together in fear that someone might jump the fence or sheep steal a faithful follower away, we have forgotten that we are all in this together with one purpose – to love each other.

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I must love on purpose today. The purpose of my life is take this love so freely given to me by Jesus Christ and spread it all over the world. I cannot be selective but relentless in my pursuit of all mankind with the offering of His Love. It is evidence of what I truly believe for I choose not to love completely, I in essence am saying that I lack confidence in God’s Love and His Ability to meet my every need. A lack of trust creates a void from which there is nothing to pour from. You cannot pour from an empty pitcher but must become so full of God’s Love and confident in it that we are able to pour our life out as a liquid offering that is acceptable. What is God looking for in our sacrifice? His Son. He is looking into our heart to see His Son. He sees Jesus in us when we do what Jesus says. Jesus gave one command – we are to love one another. I wonder what might happen to us if we heard the Word of the Lord and answered His Call to love even though we have been hurt, broken and burned in doing so before. Well, after hearing His Word and then His Command to cast his net once more. When Peter did, his net was so full it burst. If we did the same, I believe our net would be full and break also… right into revival.

I John 4:10-12 (NIV) This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His Love is made complete in us.

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