Shelby G. Floyd
To some early disciples, Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men” (Mark 1: 17 NKJV). These men to whom this statement was made were fishermen. They made their living by catching fish out of the Sea of Galilee. Therefore, they were well qualified to understand the figurative statement of Christ that they were to become fishers of men. They understood that this meant they were to be evangelists concerning the kingdom of God. They were to be the fishermen, the sea would include the whole world, the fish would represent all humanity and the net would be the gospel.
We Must Be Fishers of Men
Today, if we would serve Christ, we also must be fishers of men. If we would follow Christ, we must be like Christ; but in order to be like Christ, we must endeavor to seek and to save the lost. Jesus said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19: 10). We must be fishers of men because the everlasting souls of men are worth more than the entire world.
We Must Lose Our Life in Service to Christ
We will never be very effective in seeking and saving the lost until we lose our life in the service to God and his kingdom. Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find, it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul” (Matthew 16: 25-26)? Paradoxically, when we lose our life in service to God, we save our life. Conversely, when we save our physical life, we lose our spiritual life. Therefore, if a man were to save his physical earthly life, gain the whole world and lose his own soul, he would not be profited anything.
The Soul is Worth More Than the Whole World
The soul of man, made in the image of God, is worth more than the entire world. Therefore in order to save our own souls, and the souls of others, we must be evangelists of Jesus Christ and fishers of men. The only way that a soul can be saved from death is by converting that soul from error to truth, from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to the power of God. James said, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins (James 5: 19-20). God’s people then are to be the agents in converting souls from death and the means to be used to accomplish this end is the glorious gos¬pel of Jesus Christ.
Sin Separates Men from God
Unless we convert sinners, therefore, from the error of their way, they shall be separated from God forever because of their sins and iniquities (Isaiah 59: 1-2). Realizing the value of a soul, made in the image of God, and realizing that apart from conversion to Christ that soul will be banished from God’s pre¬sence forever, we should be motivated to bring them to Christ, for apart from Christ there is no life.
There Are Few Laborers for the Harvest
When Jesus lived on the earth, he had compassion on the multitudes of people because he saw them scat¬tered abroad as sheep without a shepherd. They were scattered because there were not enough workers to bring them to God. Jesus addressed his disciples, and said, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9: 37-38). Today the fields are white unto harvest, but there are few who will labor in that harvest to bring souls to God. If we are truly wise and intelligent we will involve ourselves in winning souls for Christ. We have been won to win others. We have been saved in order to bring others to salvation. Solomon said, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise” (Proverbs 11: 30).
Is there anything else that is better worth,
As along life’s way we plod,
Than to find some wandering soul of earth,
And bring him home to God?
I would rather find a soul that is lost,
And bring him home again,
Than to own what all earth’s acres cost,
Or all the wealth of men.
Wouldn’t I be glad when the day is done,
In breathing my latest breath,
To know some word of mine bad won,
And saved a soul from death?”
Fishers of Men Teach Publicly and Privately
It is a fact clearly taught in the New Testament that the early church was a soul winning church. The apostles and the members of the church involved them¬selves in evangelism. In the early chapters of the book of Acts we read of Peter and John being cast into prison because they preached Christ and his kingdom to the population of Jerusalem. They were threatened and charged not to teach or preach in his name any longer. However, they would not be intimidated, “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5: 41-42).
Therefore we see that New Testament evangelism involves teaching in houses, and preaching publicly the gospel of Jesus Christ. If the church today is to grow as it once did there must be private as well as public evangelism. This requires the efforts of every member of the body of Christ.
Copyright © 2014 Shelby Floyd All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd