A Fisherman's New Tale
Sermon Summary
This message looks at the life of the Apostle John, one of the disciples who had been a fisherman when Jesus called him to follow. several experiences of his life are explored as they relate to the new calling of God in his life. The main text of this message comes from 1 John which is one of the five books attributed to the Apostle John in the Bible. In this text John looks back on his days following Jesus and speaks of the things he had seen, heard and even touched. This experience changed the story of his life and he had a new tale, a true tale, to tell. He refers to Jesus as the Word of Life and talked of the fellowship he and the other disciples had with him. He also states his goal to see others experience the same beautiful fellowship. As modern day followers of Jesus, we also have a new story to tell as Jesus has changed our very lives.

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. John had a pretty amazing fish story about catching no fish after fishing all night and then having Jesus tell them from the shore to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. They did and had so many fish it almost sank the boat. Share your most memorable fish story.

2. After having followed Jesus, John didn’t focus on the fish stories, but wanted to talk about the amazing fellowship he and the other disciples had with Jesus, the “Word of Life” from God! Is it possible for us to experience a similar fellowship with Jesus even though He is not still here in the flesh? What are some of the ways we find fellowship with Jesus the “Word of Life?” At least wo ways are revealed in the passages below.
Psa 119:11  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psa 119:12  Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees.
Psa 119:13  With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
Psa 119:14  I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
Psa 119:15  I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
Psa 119:16  I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

Rom 8:15  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
Rom 8:16  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

3. It is evident from Scripture that John’s fellowship with Jesus had brought about major changes in his life. He was at one time very impulsive and along with his brother, James, they were known as “Son’s of Thunder.” However, John eventually became a very humble man, who sought to exalt Jesus more than himself. How has following Jesus changed your life?
1 John 4:13  We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
1 John 4:14  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
1 John 4:15  If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.
1 John 4:16  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

4. John became extremely concerned that others come to know Jesus and experience the same kind of fellowship with Jesus he had. He would share his story with all who would listen. Should we not also desire for others to know the joy we’ve found in Christ? What are some ways we can share our story of Jesus and the life change He has brought into our lives without being obnoxious or pushy? The following Scriptures talk about the love we should have for one another in the family of God, but I think verse eighteen can also apply to our efforts to show the world the love of Christ.
1 John 3:16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
1 John 3:17  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
1 John 3:18  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.



A Fisherman's New Tale
1 John 1:1-10

Today we will talk about the Apostle John. Known as the Disciple whom Jesus loved. The reason he is called this is not that Jesus didn't love the other disciples, but in the Gospel of John, when he spoke of himself, he wouldn't reveal his identity, but would simply say “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” John was seeking to be humble about his position amongst the disciples. He was one of the three comprising Jesus' inner circle, Peter, James and John. They had been privileged to see Jesus raise Jairus' daughter from the dead. These three were with Jesus on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured! This was when Jesus' clothes turned whiter than any bleach could bleach them and Jesus had a conversation with Moses and Elijah. A cloud enveloped them and they heard God's voice saying…"This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!" These same three were invited further into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray with Jesus just before His arrest.

John is always listed in the first four in any list of the twelve disciples. But he had changed in many ways since deciding to follow Jesus and now it was all about Jesus and not so much about John. Was it really a big change? You might remember John, along with his brother James, were called the sons of thunder. They were the ones who wanted to call down fire on the Samaritans because they had refused lodging to Jesus. Of course Jesus rebuked them.

It was James and John who went with their mother to ask Jesus to allow one of them to sit at the right hand of Jesus in His kingdom. In other words, it WAS all about John, but following Jesus and seeing how Jesus lived and now having seen how Jesus died, something changed. Remember, John was with Mary, Jesus' mother and several other women at the foot of the Cross while Jesus was dying. John was very close to Jesus. John and Jesus were possibly 1st cousins. If Salome, the wife of Zebedee was in fact Mary's sister. John was the one who reclined by Jesus at the Last Supper. And after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, John was the one fisherman in a boat who recognized Jesus on the shore! It's quite a story and one that is found only in John's gospel. You might call it a fisherman's tale.

It's one of two tales from John we'll read today. And please remember, they are not tall tales, they are true stories from one who literally followed Jesus.
Let's pray and ask God for His divine wisdom and leadership today as we learn from a fisherman's true tales! PRAY!!!

Okay, the gospel of John, chapter 21, verses 1-14. Let's read them together...



John 21:1-14
1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way:
2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.
3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

(Pretty cool! Jesus had already been fishing. He had fish on the fire.)

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
11 Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, but even with so many the net was not torn.
12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

What was the point of this fisherman's story? There's so many points. Jay mentioned this story last week in his message on Peter. However, the big point of this story for John came from the words Jesus spoke to Peter on the shore after the big catch. Listen...

John 21:15-17
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

What was the big point? These guys were fishermen when Jesus met them, but He had asked them to follow Him and He would make them fishers of men. In other words, Jesus had given them a new job when He first met them and now He's reminding them not to quite and go back to their old job as fishermen, but to continue fishing for men. John was listening to everything Jesus was telling Peter and he took it to heart. How do we know John took it to heart? Well for one thing, the Book of Acts tell us John, who had wanted to destroy the Samaritan village, within a year or so after Jesus ascended back to heaven went with Peter to help Philip who was preaching the good news of Jesus in Samaria. They laid hands on the Samaritans and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit!
Pretty exciting stuff. I love the way A.B. Bruce put it in his book titled "The Training of the Twelve!"

"Such are the contrasts which growth in grace brings. In the green, crude stage of the divine life, whose characteristics are opinionativeness, censoriousness, scrupulosity, intolerance, blind passionate zeal, John would play the part of a mimic Elijah; in his spiritual maturity, after the summer sun of Pentecost had wrought it's effects in his soul, and sweetened all its acid juices, he became an ardent apostle of salvation, and exhibited in his character the soft, luscious fruits of 'love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control.'"

He continued to work tirelessly even into his old age to work to advance God's Kingdom by sharing all he had learned following Jesus. He not only wrote the Gospel of John, but wrote the three letters of John and The Book of Revelation. It's in his first letter, 1 John, we find what I am calling "A Fisherman's New Tale!" He told the literal fish story at the end of his gospel account. His new story is not about fish, but is about the new job God had given him to accomplish in his life. It is one of the most inspiring passages in the New Testament! It's actually a wonderful example of the old fisherman John doing his new job and fishing for men. And the words he uses to describe what it was like being an actual follower of Jesus are epic and powerful.
1 John 1:1-10 Let's read it together…

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched —this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
4 We write this to make our joy complete.
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

What a testimony! What a story! What a tale this old fisherman had to tell! No one could doubt he had seen something astounding, something remarkable, something life-changing. He claims to have seen, heard and even touched The Word of Life! He claims his motivation in sharing is that he wants others to share in the awe and wonder he has experienced. Shouldn't we have the same excitement? Shouldn't we have the same awe and wonder? Just because we weren't there doesn't mean the impact on our lives should be any less. In fact the impact should be even greater! Why? Because of something Jesus told one of the disciples.

Listen…This is a sneak preview for the message coming in two weeks on the disciple named Thomas...

John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

What are some of the amazing things we should share with those early followers of Jesus? What did John tell us about his experience we should relate to?

1 John 1:1-2
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched —this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.

John is going back to his very first encounter with Jesus. It may surprise you, but it wasn't when Jesus called him and his brother to leave their father's fishing enterprise to follow Him. If you look back at John's gospel closely, you'll discover that John the disciple of Jesus had first been a disciple of John the Baptist! So John may have been there when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and was certainly there when John proclaimed Jesus to be the Lamb of God.

Let me show you… The Gospel of John 1:24-42

24 Now some Pharisees who had been sent
25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know.
27 He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’
31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.
33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.
36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.
41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).
42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter ).

So John never forgot his first encounter with Jesus. He knew Jesus was the Word of Life! He knew Jesus was God in the flesh. He knew Jesus was the promised Messiah. He knew Jesus had changed him from a son of thunder to a disciple whom Jesus loved. He knew Jesus had caused him to love others! Even the Samaritans! John was so excited that his very heart and attitude had changed completely!

I pray I never, ever lose the excitement I had when I first decided to follow Jesus! That was John's prayer for himself I'm sure and it was his prayer for the church at Ephesus.
Did you know sometimes we can get so busy doing good things we forget to do the important things.

Listen to John's words in Revelation 2:1-5

1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:
2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

You might think, wow, why remove the lamp stand from its place? If followers of Christ are just practicing religious do's and don'ts and have lost their passion and love for the "Word of Life" and their personal relationship with Jesus has grown cold, they no longer give light! If we are not motivated by the desire to see others come to know the love and forgiveness we've found in Jesus, then we are a broken lamp no longer shining the light of life! In fact John goes on to say this in his new fisherman's tale...

1John 1:3-4
3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
4 We write this to make our joy complete.

True followers of Christ are not a secret society. No their joy is made complete each time another lost soul finds purpose and direction in life by following Jesus. Even in areas where severe persecution is possible, true followers of Christ seek to share their faith when possible. There was a lady, just this week who finally made it to the U.S. She had been condemned to death in Sudan for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. Reminds me of something that happened to Peter and John not long after Jesus had ascended back to heaven.

Peter and John had been arrested for sharing their faith. Listen to Acts 4:18-20

18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.
20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

I want to rap up today's message by sharing the last few verses of our text today. There's so much more to his story, so I would encourage you to read the rest of 1st John. It's a great read. In these five little verses, John lays out some of the message he had learned from his time with Jesus. It's a powerful message that we as followers of Christ need to be sharing, and it's a message of hope for those who are considering a positive response to Jesus' call... "Follow Me!"

1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

John wants everyone to know God is pure light. He is holy and righteous and just and merciful and all things good. There is no darkness in Him at all! Praise God for that fact!!
John goes on with a sobering statement...

1 John 1:6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.

What did he mean by this? Was he saying if we're not perfect and make mistakes we're a bunch of liars. No. He's saying if we claim to be in perfect fellowship with God and yet are living totally in the world of darkness we are deceiving ourselves and others. He's telling us to be honest about where we are!

1 John 1:7-10
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

So there you go. No we're not perfect, but the good news of Jesus is this…
If we are willing to admit we are sinners in need of a Savior, believe Jesus died on the Cross so He could be our Savior, and we commit our lives to follow Him, then our sins will be forgiven and He will lead us out of the darkness and into His glorious light!!