We are called as fishers of men (see Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17). The question posed is, What exactly are we using to attract people to our message?
One of the keys to Jesus' effectiveness at changing the hearts of men from the world to the Kingdom, was His ability to not look at people where they are, but to look at them in the sense of where they could be. He called people out of their sin, but not simply by condemning their sin; rather, by giving them the gift of hope in something greater.
The main message that Jesus spoke of was, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." This phrase has become synonymous with evangelism, but how can we truly use the message of Christ in preaching the Gospel without a true understanding of Jesus' heart behind the message?
The word repent has become a word that brings connotations of weeping, guilt and, at times, pain. In actuality, true repentance has nothing to do with pain, guilt or sadness. In reality, the message of repentance has its foundation in the hope of the Kingdom of Heaven being available. You see, Jesus never condemned the people, but rather gave them something better.
Changing from one way of life and one thought process, which is what true repentance is, doesn't come by simply realizing that your current way of life is BAD, but rather by the reality of a BETTER WAY. "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." That is the central theme of Jesus' message. That message is what actually causes repentance.
In our quest to condemn sin, we have actually begun to condemn the people that are caught in the traps of sin. We place the focus of our message on how bad sin is, rather than on how compasionate Jesus is.
FINDING GOD'S PURPOSE FOR OUR LIFE
The problem is that many people have tried religion; they may have tried to do all of the right things, but that didn't change them. What finally changed them was the reality that something better existed. That God had ordained a DESTINY for them, a DESTINY that had eternal significance. And the knowledge that the Kingdom of Heaven was a living reality available to THEM...that is what changed them
We weren't called to gather people to our buildings, but rather to go out and be "light in the world".
It is hard to see the eternal potential created within someone when we become aware of their faults. We even seem to label people according to their sin instead of according to God's design for them. Once we see a person's or a people's sin, we immediately link them to that sin .What caused Peter to follow Jesus so quickly could be Jesus' willingness to look past Peter's faults and into his heart. Jesus continually called Peter to a high calling. He drew him to His heart and did not let Peter's faults, even when Peter denied their relationship, disqualify him from that high calling.
POSSESSING THE EYES OF CHRIST
We should pray that God would give us the eyes of Christ, that we would be able to see the lost through their eternal DESTINY. Only then will we be able to effectively call them out of darkness by showing them the light.
As Peter was fishing one day, Jesus came walking by. He simply said, "Follow Me." This wasn't Peter's first encounter with Jesus; his brother Andrew had taken Peter to Jesus prior to this in John 1:42— although this time Jesus called him not just to be near Him, but to be a part of His life in an intimate way.
What would cause Peter to drop his entire life and follow this Man? It is found in the way Jesus saw Peter. Peter was a fisherman. Not a pillar of society by any means. If you've ever been to a fishing wharf, it's not the most godly place on earth. Peter was probably not the most godly man on earth, but Jesus was able to see past that. Jesus didn't see Peter according to his present circumstances, but SAW HIM ACCORDING TO WHO HE WAS CREATED TO BE.
"Do not change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect." - Romans 12:2 NCV
Sometimes the events of life seem to distance us from the awareness of His presence an we feel cast into a wilderness. In the wilderness, we tend to tune into the bitter past of life rather than the sweetness. However, it is in the wilderness that God speaks most clearly and opens the portals of heavenly revelation.
"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened that you may know what is the hope of His CALLING...." - Ephesians 1: 17,18
We can position our hearts to become an open portal to Heaven -- where God infuses us with His presence and revelation abounds -- flowing to us and through us.
Like Moses' encounter with the burning bush, new direction often becomes clearer in the wilderness and DESTINY unfolds through the oddest signs along the trail.
As we move into the sweetness of His presence, we exit the wilderness of circumstance.
REACHING THE CENTRAL PLACE OF OUR INWARD WALK
By not speaking, desiring, nor reasoning, we reach the central place of the inward walk -- that place where God speaks to our inward man. It is there that God communicates Himself to our spirit.
"For God alone my soul waits in silence." - Psalm 62:1
We recall that Jacob wrestled with the Lord all night, until daybreak? THEN it was when the Lord blessed him. We persevere against any and all difficulties which confront us in our seeking the Lord's presence in our spirit. We are steadfast until the Lord gives our spirit His blessing.
Job 26:14 - "And these are but the out fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him! Who then can understand the thunder of His power?"
A revelation of the thunder of His power catapults us out of our wildernesses, shatters the realms of darkness and releases the awe of God through signs and wonders -- through us as we walk in His authority.
As our heart becomes an open portal of His love -- the awe of His power thunders around us and we find ourselves walking IN THE FULLNESS of Him, not just alongside of Him; carrying this authority to release the realm of Heaven on earth.
My heart is a portal for His love.
Father, I abandon myself to You. You love in me Your only begotten Son. You see Him in me. You embrace Him in me, because He has willed to identify Himself completely with me by that love which brought Him to death, for me, on the Cross. Amen
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