* You can now watch a video of this message at: https://new.livestream.com/rickpina/live.
(Luk 5:5 AMP) And Simon (Peter) answered, Master, we toiled all night [exhaustingly] and caught nothing [in our nets]. But on the ground of Your word, I will lower the nets [again].
This morning we continue our series, “Grace that is Simply Amazing” by continuing with our new mini-series entitled, “Grace Based Success (Prosperity)”. Last week I told you that having to earn your provision “by the sweat of your brow” is part of the curse God spoke over Adam. I also told you that Jesus came to get us out of everything Adam got us into. So now, post-Jesus, as New Covenant believers, it’s not that we are not supposed to work, it’s just that we are not supposed to work relying solely on the arm of the flesh. Now we can work, as we are led of the Holy Spirit, with God’s grace on our work, and we can experience grace based success. I like to teach by both precept and example, so I will give you an example today.
One day Jesus was standing by the Sea of Galilee and a crowd gathered around Him to hear the Word. Jesus sought a platform from which to preach. He noticed two boats tied up, with the owners of the boats (fishermen by trade), scrubbing their nets. Jesus got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon (later known as Peter), and asked him to set out a little from shore. Jesus used Simon’s boat as a pseudo-pulpit and taught Bible study from his water platform. When Jesus finished teaching, the principle of sowing and reaping kicked into action. Simon had given up his boat and his time. Now Jesus would allow him to reap a harvest. Jesus told Simon to launch out into the deep water and let down his nets for a catch. This is where Simon almost missed his blessing. After all, Simon was the fisherman and Jesus was the preacher. Simon knew better than most that the fish of the Sea of Galilee were not easily caught in nets during the day. He had toiled (sweated) all night long and caught nothing. Although he was a professional, his expertise and sweat had produced NO RESULTS.
Simon’s head head was telling him that Jesus knew nothing about fishing, but his heart was telling him to listen. Simon made the right choice and followed his heart. He told Jesus that he would let down the nets again, based solely on His word. Guess what happened? Peter caught a net-breaking, boat-sinking load of fish. There were so many fish in his net that he had to call for his partners (James and John) to help. Both boats were filled to the point where they began to sink. This caused Simon to fall down on his knees and worship Jesus. From that point Jesus would make these fisherman fishers of men.
So what does this mean to you today? While I could easily focus in on the ministry aspects of Jesus’s call to make these natural fishermen fishers of men, for the purposes of this series I will focus more on the business aspects of Simon Peter’s actions and Jesus’ response. This series is, afterall, about pursuing earthly success God’s way.
1. Even the best natural efforts are sometimes met with poor results. Peter had toiled hard all night long, putting in human effort and lots of sweat, and by morning time he had NOTHING to show for it. I am sure we can all identify with tireless efforts that wound up being fruitless.
2. While the world’s economy is based on buying-and-selling, the Kingdom economy is based on sowing-and-reaping. I taught a series on the Biblical Principles of Sowing and Reaping (click here to visit it online). Simon Peter sowed from his fishing business into Jesus’ ministry. Peter sowed his time (while Jesus was ministering from his boat), his talent (positioning the boat and keeping it in place for Jesus), and his treasure (the equipment he used was from his fishing business). When you sow your time, talent and treasure, the Lord will see to it that you reap a harvest.
3. Don’t let your intellect keep you from your blessing. We sometimes over think our way out of a blessing. Simon Peter knew a great deal about fishing and his knowledge almost caused him to miss his harvest. I am a very rational person. I believe I possess a good deal of common sense. But I also know that when it comes to the things of God I must be led by the Spirit and not my senses. God is not sensual, He is Spiritual. So listen to God, no matter how irrational His instructions may seem. God’s wisdom is greater than your logic. Your obedience, especially in the face of logic, is often the key that unlocks the door to your blessing.
4. Not effortless, but sweatless. While Peter’s harvest was clearly not effortless — he still had to launch the boat and let down his net — it was clearly sweatless. The underlying point of this series is to teach you how to pursue and obtain Godly success. If you allow God to lead you, you will succeed in this world. It will not be effortless, but it can be sweatless. You will still have to work, but it will be work led of the Holy Spirit, with the grace of God on your life, and the Blessing of the Lord all over the work of your hands.
Closing Confession: Father, I thank You for teaching me to pursue success Your way. Godly success is much better than worldly success. Your success comes without the trappings of this world. As I walk with You and You with me, You can bless the work of my hands, to the point where I experience success without stress, struggle or strain. You want me to work, but You want me to work Your way, with Your grace, doing the things I was born to do. This way my life will not be filled with sweat and no fruit. Since I am led of Your Spirit and I seek to do only the things I am led to do, my life and my work is not effortless, but it shall be sweatless. I don’t have to toil hard without results. I am led of You and I flow with You throughout the course of each day. You lead me to do things that make no sense at all, and I do them by faith. Your wisdom often defies human logic, and I have the faith to obey Your Spirit, even at the risk of looking foolish. I sow my time, talent and treasure into Your Kingdom and Your Kingdom efforts, and I declare by faith that I reap a harvest on every seed sown. While the world is focused on buying-and-selling, I am focused on sowing-and-reaping and You (the Lord of the Harvest), see to it that I get to enjoy every harvest You want me to have, by Your grace, and with Your favor. I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.