Defining Moments
Graduate Recognition Sunday, May 17, 2015
Tripp Atkinson

Opening: Have you ever had a moment that instantly changed your perspective on something?

ILL. – Parents

In Luke 5:1-11, we see a moment that not only changes Simon Peter’s perception, but the course of his life. This story is referred to as “The Great Catch” or “The First Disciples.” In this story there are 3 Defining moments in Peter’s life…

Vss. 1-3

It is important to note that this was not Peter’s first encounter with Jesus:

  • John 1:35-42 records the first meeting between Jesus and Peter.
  • In Luke 4, Jesus went to Peter’s house and had healed Peter’s mother in law.
  • Peter, James, John, and Andrew had all met Jesus and had begun to “follow Him,” but they were not yet completely committed to His mission. (Like an Instagram “follow)

Vs. 4

  • Jesus said “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets.”
    • This didn’t make sense (On Sea of Galilee, they would fish at night, in shallow water)

Peter’s response: Vs. 5 (a)

  • Peter referred to Jesus (vs. 5) as “Master”.
    • Greek word epistates. [ep-is-tat’-ace] a respectful title to one in authority, but not an affirmation of deity.
  • Peter’s excuse – “We’ve worked HARD all night & haven’t caught anything.
    • (Jesus, you stick to preaching… let me stick to fishing)

– Out of respect for Jesus, Peter reluctantly obeys. Vs. 5b

The first defining moment for Peter:

1. He responds in obedience to Jesus.

Look at the result. (Vss. 6-7)

Against the backdrop of their failure, God shows them what can happen as they trust him.

When God directs our work, we see results.”

  • God’s words can be trusted.
    • Students, don’t let the opinions of professor wine & cheese deter you from truth.
  • Prescription from Doctor. It’s not blind faith because you can’t read his writing. You put your faith in his qualifications. You trust because he has MD behind his name.   If there is anyone qualified to speak truth into your life, it’s the Creator of life!
  • That’s why we say “The Bible is a big deal”

As Peter responded in obedience, he realizes the truth of Ephesians 3:20 “He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than e can think or imagine.”

Let’s look at what happens next in Vs. 8-10a

2. He acknowledges Jesus for who He is.

  • (Vs. 8) Notice what Peter called Jesus. Previously he had called him master, clearly a term of respect, but now he calls Jesus LORD.
    • The Greek word translated Lord means “he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding”. It comes from the word Kuros [koo-ree-os], which means ‘Supremacy’.

Peter now sees Jesus for who He is. He realizes that the one who can see the depths of the lake can see the depths of his heart.

  • He changed his response to Jesus from one of respect to one of Lordship and he responds appropriately.
    • Falls At his feet.
    • He took his eyes off of the blessing to look at the blessor.

– In the terror of realizing his sinfulness, Peter wants to get away from the Lord, but Jesus wants to draw Peter closer. Vs. 10. “Don’t be afraid…” (This is the beauty of repentance)

Repentance is the place we exchange our sin for God’s grace.”

We sometimes view repentance as such an ugly thing, when in fact, it is such a beautiful thing.

Repentance is responding to an invitation to experience God’s best.”

Jesus responds

  • 10. “…from now on you will fish for people”   “Fisher of men.”

Jesus not only receives Peter in repentance (draws him close), He tells Peter that He wants to use him as his instrument.

Peter’s life is changed when he gets Jesus right…

ILL: Camera – If the right thing is in focus, we don’t need to worry about the rest.

(That’s the way the camera is designed…and that’s the way our lives are designed.)

It is all about Jesus.

(Rom 11:36 – “From Him, & through him & for him are all things. To him be the glory forever!”)

Vs. 11

3. He drops his net and allows Jesus to direct his life.

  • This response led Peter to “forsake all” to follow Christ, shifting the view of his future, career, and dreams.
  • They left everything and followed Him.
  • Most of us would have signed Jesus up for our plans. We would have said “Jesus, follow me”
    • Jesus doesn’t want a place in our hearts or lives, He wants all of it.
    • He doesn’t want us to fit Him into our plans; He wants us to submit our lives to His.
  • You may have dreams and desires, but he may have something bigger.
  • Jesus took Peter from having an occupation (“to take up space”) to a vocation (“calling”).

Most likely, God doesn’t want to change your career, but He wants to give you a different view of it.

  • I’m a doctor…. No, you are God’s representative to the medical field so the medical field can see what God looks like when God helps hurting people.
  • You’re a business man….No, you are God’s representative to the business world, so the business world can know what God looks like when God cuts a deal.
  • You’re a teacher….No, you are God’s representative to the classroom, so the classroom can know what God looks like when God teaches a lesson.
  • I’m JUST a student… NO, you are God’s representative as you develop your mind for His Glory on the largest mission field in the world every day.

You see, your calling is to reflect the purposes of God through whatever vehicle He has given you.

Before this life-defining fishing trip, Peter would have said that he was a follower of Jesus. But it wasn’t until he “forsook all” that he became a follower of Christ and became on mission with Christ. When he walked off that beach that day, there was no doubt where he stood in his faith. His colors were clear.

This world / your college campus needs a generation of students whose colors are clear.

ILL: Fellowship of the Unashamed

The story is told of a young man from Rwanda, who in 1980 was forced by his tribe to either renounce Christ or face certain death. He refused to renounce Christ, and he was killed on the spot. Among his things was found a commitment written on a piece of paper entitled The Fellowship of the Unashamed:

I’m part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His and I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, lavish wealth, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power.

My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is Heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my compassions few, but my Guide is reliable and my mission is clear.

I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes And when He does come for His own, He’ll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear.

“For I am not shamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone to believes…” – Romans 1:16

Today can be a “defining moment” in your life as you acknowledge Jesus for who He is and respond in obedience to Him today. You don’t have to “follow” Jesus from afar. You can intimately know Him and receive His best for your life as you allow Him to direct your life.

The 140

As we acknowledge Jesus for who He is & respond in obedience to Him, we discover God’s best for our lives. #SugarHillChurch #Luke5 #grounded