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A Very Scary Bible Verse!

June 17, 2015

Grace to you! If you were asked to name a scary verse in the Bible, what would it be? Perhaps Revelation 19:15, “From His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty?” Maybe Luke 12:5, “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear Him who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him!” These verses soberly remind us of God’s wrath. They shake us out of our slumber to think about eternal destinies. But there are verses we often see and see nothing dangerous about them.

Matthew 4:19, as the New Living Translation says, “Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” Well this verse seems innocent enough on its surface reading. Jesus promises His disciples He will make them a new kind of fishermen. Jesus plays upon their vocation and says “Yes, you are men who gather fish for a living, but leave this vocation and I will make you men who ‘fish’ for souls.”

In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus tells His disciples again, “Go, make disciples…” Again, Jesus commands them to ‘go fish for men.’ The word ‘disciple’ simply means ‘follower’. This is an interesting parallel with Matthew 4:19 where Jesus had issued the command to “Follow me…” We too are called to make disciples of the nations. And this is where Matthew 4:19 gets very, very scary.

Jesus has defined what a follower of Him is: it is one who fishes for other men. Notice the root and fruit issue in the verse. The root or cause is “Follow me.” What is the fruit or result? Note the words: “I WILL (emphasis added) make you fishers of men.” Now in light of modern discussions among so-called believers, many say they just don’t have the gift to witness to others. But this flies directly in the face of what Christ says. He says His disciples WILL BE(!) fishers of men. Some say, “I follow Jesus but I don’t fish for men.” But this doesn’t pass Jesus’ test of what He says is a disciple.

The opposite is also true: those who do not fish for men’s souls do NOT follow Him. And to follow Jesus is what a saving relationship with Him is about. Jesus is not saying we are saved by evangelizing. But He is saying if the fruit of evangelism is not in your life, then you can be certain that the root of your life has not been changed by Jesus Himself.

The fault is not in Jesus’ promise to “MAKE US” fishers of men, but in our self-deception thinking we are believers when we do not do what He says. Luke 6:46 “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

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