Luke 5:5 Instruments in the Hands of God 6/13/2011 ßą
#1. A Miracle Catch of Fish (Luke 5:4-7, Matt 10:8)
#2. The Special Call to Four Men (John 14:6)
#3. Fear Not! (Luke 5:10-11, Phil 2:13, Jam 5:19-20)
Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Luke, Luke 5:1 (2X). John the Baptist had a disciple whose name was Andrew. And after John pointed out Jesus as “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world”, Andrew called his brother Peter to introduce him to the Lord Jesus. The second time Peter meets Jesus is found in the Gospels of Luke and of Matthew and of Mark. We can see here that God sets the stage. Luke 5:1-11,
Lu 5:1-11 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 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. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, 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 was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
Please put a sticker here in Luke 5, and please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 4:18 (2X). The Gospel of Matthew records the same event, a little differently. This does not mean that we have here contradictions in these two Gospels, but when we read in Matthew chapter 4 the same historical account, we actually read an abbreviated form of the same historical event. We read in Matt 4:18-22 (2X),
Mt 4:18-22 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
The Gospel of Mark tells us, “They left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after Him”. In other words, it takes more than two people to operate one of these ships. We have to know that to understand the historical background. Also, when we read about the Lake of Gennesaret, we understand that it is the same lake as the Sea of Galilee. What is the main message from this historical record? The Lord Jesus “sat down, and taught the people out of the ship”. But we are not told what the Lord Jesus taught them. And thus, God did not want us to know what the Lord Jesus taught them, but God wanted us to focus on the historical events after the Lord was done teaching. There are two main events here: #1, the great catch of fish, and #2, the special call of the four disciples who followed Jesus unconditionally. So let us first focus on the great catch of fish.
#1. A Miracle Catch of Fish (Luke 5:4-7, Matt 10:8)
Lu 5:4-7 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 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. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
What is important in this account? It is that the Lord Jesus taught the people out of the ship. How does the Lord teach people today? Again He teaches us out of a ship. The ship is a type of the church. The church has received the mandate to teach people all the words of Jesus, meaning the Bible, for the Bible is the words of the Lord Jesus. We should not say that the Bible contains the words of God, for that implies that there are many passages which are not the words of God; but the Bible is the Word of God from cover to cover. Now, the eternal church consists of a collection of saints, which refers to people, not the building. And so, where no church is there is no teaching of the Word of God by the saints, no teaching of salvation. Moreover, there were two ships in the account of Luke, and the number two frequently tells us that the historical event has to do with the church, for the number two is usually pointing to the presence of the church. Then the Lord says to Peter, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” Did Jesus recompense Peter for allowing Him to use the ship? Did Jesus pay him for this service? Absolutely not! That is not how God operates. The Lord Jesus used the ship to preach the Gospel, for the glory of God. And the Lord Jesus told Peter to let down his nets, for the glory of God. The four disciples followed Jesus unconditionally without expecting any payment, for the glory of God. And so it is with us! If we are found willing to follow the Lord Jesus, it is for the glory of God, and never for expecting a reward for our effort. Remember the Biblical rule is: “Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matt 10:8). And when we have received the true Gospel, let us then be honest and give out the true Gospel, and not some other gospel to make ourselves famous of some kind. When the Lord asked Peter to launch out into the deep and to let down his nets the Lord caused a miracle to occur, to teach Peter and the other disciples a lesson in the sovereignty of God. God is sovereign not only over elect and non-elect people, but also over the fishes of the sea, and over all the animals on the earth. The Lord Jesus was teaching His disciples about becoming fishers of men. What has this great catch to do with becoming fishers of men? Well, first of all, these fishermen knew it was the wrong time.
Every fisherman knows that. You do not fish in the middle of the day, but you fish very early in the morning while it is still dark. That is the right time! But at the right time it did not work, so why would it work now, in the middle of the day? Jesus, you are a good preacher, but you don’t know much about fishing. I am the expert fisherman out here. So we read in 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.” Notice how Peter addresses Him: Master! Thou art my Master, I am Thy servant. This Greek word for Master is only found in the Gospel according to Luke, and it occurs seven times in Luke. Nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net. Whatever You say Master, that I will do! Not because it makes sense, but “At Thy word, just to please You”. Isn’t that the proper attitude of a servant to his Master? In John 15:14 the Lord Jesus said: Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. If God gave us instructions, from the Bible, what to do and what not to do, then do not try to be wiser than God. Just follow His orders. Therefore we read in Verse 6,
Lu 5:6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
Literally: Their net was beginning to tear and continued to tear, so some of the fishes escaped. How did all the fish get in there, in the middle of the day? Obviously, The Lord Jesus sent them in there. Jesus performed a miracle because He is Lord over the fish also. Please turn in your Bible to the Prophecy of the Psalms, Psalm 8:4 (2X). When we study marine life we are always surprised by unpredictable events that are a puzzle to us. For example, we see mass starvation of fishes, or we see whales that commit suicide by throwing themselves on the beach, or we see huge amounts of salmon that swim upstream in a river just to spawn their eggs and die on the way back to the ocean. But it is no mystery to God. We read that God says in Psalm 8:4-8,
Ps 8:4-8 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the Son of man (Speaking of Christ), that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea (2X), and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
God gave Christ power over the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea. That is why Jesus could perform this miracle. And if the disciples would become fishers of men then they too would have to depend on the grace of God to send people to them who would be taught the true Gospel from what the disciples learned the true Gospel is. And then we read that their nets were beginning to tear, and continued to tear, so that some of the fishes escaped. Think of this now in the spiritual dimension. The fishes represent people who are sent by God into the nets of the fisherman. But the fisherman was sent by his Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. And thus the fisherman represents the evangelist who is sent out by the church, and thus the fishing boat represents the church. For example, the apostle Paul was sent out by the church at Antioch. The apostles Peter and John were sent out by the church at Jerusalem. Anyone here who preaches the Gospel outside this building has been sent out by this church, for in the NT time everyone in the church has the mandate to bring the Gospel to whosoever wants to hear. Every saint is commanded to be a witness for Christ. Please turn now to Psalm 127:1 (2X). While you look this up, we read in Luke 5:7,
Luke 5:7, And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
What does it mean that some of the fishes escaped? It means that there are people who hear the Gospel but who do not believe it, and thus they return to the sea of wicked mankind. And what does it mean that the ships were so full that they were beginning to sink? Evidently they did not sink, because they brought both ships to the shore. But it means that the workers in the church are occupied to the fullest measure to do all the work and to keep the church afloat. Two ships were filled. God says in Luke 14:23, “And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” It is a beautiful picture of the Lord’s work in the growth of the church, an organization so mighty that it overcame the Roman Empire, and it overcame the cruelty of the culture of those days. But look who is doing all the work. It is Christ who determined what the right time was for fishing. It is Christ who sent the fishes into the net. It is Christ who determined the rate with which the church grows. It is Christ who converts the hearts of men so that they turn from sinners to saints. It is Christ who makes our hearts desire to work for His cause, because we want to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And it is God who determines what is pleasing to Him. God set the stage for a God glorifying event to teach Peter and to teach us that He is on the throne and He determines which things are pleasing to Him. Peter fished all night and caught nothing. Why? It is because God set the stage. And when the Lord Jesus was present his net was filled to overflowing. Compare this now with the church fishing for people. If Christ is not present then all their work is good for nothing. And in the absence of Christ, even if they could fill all their pews with baptized pagans, it is good for nothing for this is not pleasing to God. What is God saying in Psalm 127:1-2,
Ps 127:1-2 <<A Song of degrees for Solomon.>> Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows. So he giveth his beloved sleep.
If Christ does not build the church then all our labor is in vain. It is vain for us to rise up early and to go to bed late and deprive ourselves of sleep. The Lord gives His beloved the sleep they need. The Lord Jesus showed Peter that this fishing expedition was foreshadowing the feast of Pentecost, where Peter preached one sermon, and about 3000 people became saved. Then after Pentecost the church grew more and more, and faster and faster, because Christ was present in that church. God uses people from the church to go out with the Gospel, fishing for those that are lost. That is why the Lord Jesus said in Matt 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”. Now let us pause here a moment. If we are not fishers of men, does this mean that we are not following the Lord Jesus? And indeed that is what the Lord meant when He said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”.
The Lord Jesus showed Peter how this catch of fish was a picture of catching men. Just like God caused the fish to swim into the net, at the right place and at the right time, so in like manner God will cause people to go into the net that the church throws out on behalf of Christ. What is the net? What does the net represent? The net represents the Gospel that gathers people of every kind into the church. The net was beginning to tear and it continued to tear, because over time the church has continued to unravel the true Gospel and tear holes in the Gospel, until at the end of time the net is not able to catch any more fish. But here in Luke 5, using this miracle catch as a means of communication, we see that God is drawing Peter, Andrew, James and John to the Lord Jesus.
#2. The Special Call to Four Men (John 14:6)
Please turn to the Gospel According to John, John 14:6 (2X). Was God drawing only these four men to Jesus? What about Zebedee and the hired servants? No! At this time only these four men were chosen to follow the Lord Jesus. And so we see here that the call to salvation is given only to a specific number of people. God never intended to save all the people of the world, and God never intended to give all the people of the world an equal opportunity to know and believe the Gospel and be saved. This is not a popular concept these days. People like it better if the Lord Jesus died for everyone in the world. But consider this. The Lord Jesus said in John 14:6,
John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”
Is this absolutely true? Yes it is absolutely true. It means that the Canaanites who worshipped the idols Baal, and Ashtoreth, and Molech, and who were accursed by God for their idolatry, and whose judgment day had come when the children of Israel entered the land of Canaan, were absolutely not saved, except for Rahab the harlot and her family and some of the Gibeonites. They were not saved because they have not learned to know Jehovah, who stands for Christ in the OT. And since the Lord Jesus said, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me”, all the idolatrous Canaanites were not saved. They lived and died in a Christless universe. Likewise all the millions of Buddhists, and Hindus, and Shinto worshippers in East Asia who lived and died before Christ came on this earth, who never heard of the Holy One of Israel, were absolutely not saved, except for a small group of stargazers in Persia who pooled all their money into a trip to Bethlehem to worship the newborn King. When the Lord Jesus said, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me”, He absolutely meant it. Therefore the majority of the human race was already condemned when the Lord Jesus was born. And so, what do we learn from this? We learn that God never intended to save all the people of the world, and God never intended to give all the people of the world an equal opportunity to know and believe the Gospel and be saved. And here in Luke 5:1-11 the Lord Jesus specifically called only these four disciples.
Please turn to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 15:4 (2X). What lesson have these four men learned from the miraculous catch that Jesus did in front of their eyes? When the Lord Jesus said to them in Matt 4:19,
Mt 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,
Did they understand that the Lord Jesus was now speaking in parables? If they would become fishers of men, how was it that people would be compared to fish, and how were they going to catch them, and for what purpose? But these were Hebrews, and throughout the OT they were already instructed in parabolic language, so that the words of the Lord Jesus were not totally strange to them. For example, the Lord spoke to us in Rom 15:4,
Ro 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
So that we “through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope”. What hope is this? It is the hope of eternal life with Christ in the NH&NE; it is the hope of salvation. Whatsoever things were written in the OT Scriptures were written to teach us about salvation, so that we patiently wait for the coming of the Lord, and be comforted by God’s promises in the Scriptures. And so, throughout the OT and the NT we should search for the Gospel, for these things were written for our learning. Can we, and could they see that this catch of fish was a picture of saving people? We already know that it was not the miracle itself that brought about the conversion of these four men. God does not use miracles to change the hearts of men. We can see that clearly when Pharaoh, king of Egypt, continued to harden his heart and did not let the children of Israel go, even though he had seen more than ten miracles. What we have learned from this miracle catch of fish is that Jesus uses the picture of catching fish as the picture of catching people. Allow me to summarize what we have learned in a list of seven points.
1. First of all: Did the fish want to be caught? Of course not! So it is with people. People do not want to be caught by the true Gospel. The Gospel of the cross of Christ is an offense to people, because all mankind is depraved and in rebellion against God. Man would rather have a gospel of their own making.
2. Second: Most of the fish in the lake of Gennesaret stayed in the lake. Look at ourselves now. Are we caught in the net of the Lord Jesus Christ, or are we still free as a fish in the lake. Where would we rather be? Would we rather be a slave of Jesus Christ, or would we rather be doing our own thing? In all honesty: What are our true desires? Would we rather serve Christ, or would we rather be on the beach enjoying ourselves?
3. Third: At the end of time, when all the elements will melt with fervent heat, the lake will dry up and all the fish therein will die and be held accountable for all their actions, including the action of not coming into the net of the Lord Jesus. God’s Justice requires that all those must be cast into Hell forevermore. Where is our focus? Is it on this life or is it on the life hereafter? If we are wise, our focus will be on eternal life hereafter.
4. Fourth: God, in His great mercy, decided to send some of the fish into the two ships of this fishing expedition. The Lord Jesus Christ was there, so these fish represent people that have been saved. These people have been saved entirely by grace, not by anything that they have done. God elected them unto salvation. But how many Churches are there today where still the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is preached? Not many. The net has been torn to such an extent that it is good for nothing. Are we now able to discern what the true Gospel is?
5. Fifth: Those people who have been saved by grace must have their sins washed away. Remember those fish, before they were caught in the net, were under the wrath of God just like the other fishes in the lake. We must have our sins washed away, not by a ceremonial act on our part, like water Baptism, but by Christ on the Cross actually bearing the wrath of God, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, for the guilt of our sins in our place. This Christ actually did almost 2000 years ago, and He paid the full payment for each of our sins.
6. Sixth: Now, almost 2000 years later, God the Holy Spirit opened the spiritual eyes and ears of those for whom Christ was crucified, and gave them a regenerated heart so that they see their sinful state and seek God for mercy. And where do we find mercy? In the Bible we find that the Lord Jesus Christ had mercy on us. Already before the foundation of the world He had mercy on us. How do we respond to such love? Are we grateful for the love and mercy He has bestowed upon us? And do we love to read the Bible where we can read about this?
7. Seventh: Drop down to verse 11: The four fishermen forsook all, and followed Jesus. How long did they keep this up? Till the end! When the Lord Jesus Christ purchased us on the cross, we became His property. Therefore, God the Holy Spirit will make sure that we remain faithful until the end.
This was the lesson that Jesus taught these four fishermen: How to catch fish, or better how to be a fisher of men: It was God who sent the fish into the net, and therefore it is God who sends the men into the net of the fishermen whom God has sent. They had a miracle catch of fish, but they also understood that every catch of men is a miracle. At the end of verse 11 they understood who Jesus was and that they were chosen to be His companions forever. What a glorious call this was to these four fishermen. This was so glorious that Peter felt unworthy of such a calling. Peter was not only astonished; Peter got a little “foot in mouth disease”. What is that?
Please turn again to the Gospel According to Luke, Luke 5:8 (2X). Have you ever said something that you did not really mean to say, but there it came out? And did you wish you had not said it, because you meant to say something else that you did not say, and you did not know how to say it? That is called “Foot in mouth disease”. Peter was notorious for having “Foot in mouth disease”. We read in Luke 5:8-9,
Lu 5:8-9 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 was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
Did Peter really wish that the Lord Jesus would leave him? Absolutely not! But Peter could not handle all that came to pass, and the glory that came with being with Jesus. What Peter meant to say was in his heart, and the Lord Jesus answered him according to what was in his heart. What Peter meant to say was this: “Woe is me, Lord. How can I be in the presence of so much glory? I am a sinful man. I am not fit to be in Your company, for I perceive that You are a man of God, and I am an unworthy sinful man”. Peter was not alone in these feelings of inferiority in the presence of Jesus, for we read in the next verse,
Luke 5:10, And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon.
This was not the only occasion when Peter had “Foot in mouth disease”. For example, on the Mount of Transfiguration when the Lord Jesus appeared together with Moses and Elijah in front of the three disciples Peter, James and John, Peter again opened his mouth and uttered some nonsense. We read in Matt 17:4,
Mt 17:4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
This time Peter felt a zeal to do some work. But the voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son; hear ye Him”. Stop working and start listening, and believe His words. Again Peter had feelings of inferiority. Let us apply that to our case. Do we have feelings of inferiority when we come before the throne of grace? Do we feel that we are less worthy than for example the apostle Paul, or the apostle John who wrote the magnificent epistle of The Revelation of Jesus Christ, or one of the early saints such as Polycarp who was burnt at the stake? But God did not call us to Jesus because we are worthy. We are definitely not worthy. Our earthly works definitely do not stand in the shadow of these men. But God does not compare our works with their works. God did not call us to be saved because we are worthy. God called us to salvation because we have received grace in His sight. And His grace unto salvation is just as great as His grace to salvation of all these other great men. His grace means His unmerited favor. And when God is done with us we are just as much His children as all these other great men are, and our inheritance in the NH&NE is just as great as that of these other great men. So, leave out our inferiority complexes, and start to see ourselves as children of the King of kings. The false gospels have hierarchies of men, such as popes, and cardinals, and bishops, and vicars, and chief priests, and so on. But do we want to be counted among those who are the instruments of Antichrist? God’s kingdom does not have hierarchies, for it is a kingdom where only righteousness dwells, and where everyone there is there only by grace. And so, leave our inferiority complexes at the door at come with boldness before the throne of grace. What did Jesus say to Peter?
#3. Fear Not! (Luke 5:10-11, Phil 2:13, Jam 5:19-20)
Lu 5:10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
Lu 5:11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
The Lord Jesus did not deny that Peter was a sinful man. Jesus knew him better than Peter knew himself. We must not ignore our own sinfulness when we come to Jesus. But we must remember that we come to Jesus because the Father is drawing us. Left on our own we would never come, because we love our sin too much. We do not want to give that up. It is only after we have been saved that we begin to hate our sin. And that is not to our credit. That is entirely by God’s Grace. The Lord Jesus says to us: “Fear not! I know that you are a sinner. Will you trust Me that I have taken care of all your sins? Will you trust Me that you do not need that sin any more because I have taken the enslavement of that sin away from you? Will you trust Me that I have made you a fisher of men?” Ever since Pentecost every saint, has been given the task of being a fisher of men. Do we realize that ingathering of souls to Christ, by preaching the Gospel, is a far greater glory than performing physical miracles?
The Lord said to Peter, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” Peter, are you overwhelmed by this miraculous catch of fish? Just think of it, Peter, Jesus shall bring into your net a catch of men that will absolutely dim the glory of this great catch of fish. “And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.” That is a glorious happy ending. Just think of it. This was not their idea. This was God’s idea, and it was God who prompted this response in them. You see, “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle of James, Jam 5:19 (2X). When we think of all the good works we are going to do for Christ, remember that we are not going to take credit for this, for the Lord Jesus has given us these tasks, and not we ourselves. When the Lord has made us ambassadors for Christ He has given us the glorious task of reigning with Him on this earth already. This is how we reign with Christ. And what an encouragement it is to read in Jam 5:19-20,
Jas 5:19-20 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Let us understand these verses correctly. First of all, we do not convert any sinner from the error of his way; God does. We are just instruments in God’s hand. Secondly, we do not save a soul from spiritual death; God does. We are just instruments in the hand of God. Thirdly, we do not hide a multitude of sins; God does through Christ crucified. We are just instruments in the hand of God. And this does not refer to just a multitude of sins, but to all his or her sins, past, present, and future sins. Of course it is God who hides those sins. He throws them in the depths of the sea, and then on the last day He makes the sea disappear. What a wonderful idea. It is not just an idea. It is true, for God wrote that in the Bible.
Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 2:10 (2X). We should make it a habit always to open our Bibles and stare at the verses we are pointed to by our computer. If we want to memorize Scriptures we need to know where in the Bible these words are found. We do not even have to memorize the verse, just the chapter and a picture of the page. For example, in the Gospel of John, there in chapter 8 in the right hand corner of the left page, or in Ephesians chapter 2, there 2/3rds of the way down on the left side. We read there in Eph 2:10,
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Look at this now. It speaks of good works. Indeed, after we have become born again we can perform good works, but these were good works which God has before ordained; God prepared the stage and we simply walk through them. Who then gets the credit for those works? Christ does, for we are His workmanship. Look for example at the honor of reigning with Christ by being His ambassadors. We are not catching men. Those men are spiritually dead. Imagine that you are preaching to dead people in a cemetery. There is no one who will respond. Therefore we realize that it is God who is doing all the work, including the work of making us get the desire to do His work. All the credit goes to God. And now we can understand the words With fear and trembling. Phil 2:12-13
Php 2:12 ¶ Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
We look at God’s working with fear and trembling. It is not the salvation of our soul that we watch with fear and trembling, for in our soul we are already saved. But the completion of our salvation in our bodies is what we watch with fear and trembling, our sanctification, for we do not know what God will bring in our path the next day. He determines what our next day will bring, for it is God which worketh in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. And so, we will never seek credits for our good works. Please turn again to the Gospel According to Luke, Luke 18:28 (2X). Many churches have developed a theology that we are going to be rewarded in the life hereafter for the good works we have done in this life. That is all nonsense. But since it is a popular doctrine we need to get ready to give an answer to those who ask us what the hope of our salvation is. The apostle Peter had this same question. “Look Jesus, we have left all and followed You. What shall be our reward?” Luke 18:28-30,
Lu 18:28-30 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
That is exactly right. We shall receive in the world to come life everlasting, the same everlasting life; that is the common denominator for every saint. But our good works done here in this life shall be rewarded in this life, for we shall “receive manifold more in this present time”. The theology of extra rewards in the life hereafter is a dangerous selfish theology, and should not be in the vocabulary of a true saint.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.