20190106 Sunday Worship Sermon
“Let us start again with Jesus” (Luke 5:1-11)
Welcome to the first Sunday of 2019.
Let’s greet each other again.
“Happy New Year!”
Most people have New Year’s resolutions.
We usually are determined to change in the new year.
What kind of plans and visions do you have at your life, family, work place and church?
What kind of new commitments do you have in front of God this year?
I hope that whatever visions and plans and resolutions you may have, that they will last more than three days, more than three weeks, and at the end of the year, that you may look back and say that you’ve worked hard to accomplish those visions and plans.
As Apostle Paul said in the bible, I pray that you continue to press on toward your goals of this year.
In this first Sunday of the Year, we read a story about Peter.
In today’s text, Peter faces the most important moment in his life.
Peter is meeting someone who is very precious.
Yes, Peter meets Jesus.
This is a spiritual encounter.
Peter’s life completely changes.
From a fisherman, Peter becomes a Disciple of Jesus.
The most popular first name of boys in America is John.
What is the second most popular first name of boys in America?
Yes, it is “Peter.”
Do you think parents named their child Peter because he is a fisherman of Galilee?
I don’t think so.
They might have named their child Peter considering he was the best disciple of Jesus and the ‘rock of faith’.
On this meaningful Sunday, I would like to share how we can change our lives by meeting Jesus Christ.
On one sunny morning, some fishermen were finished fishing on the lake of Galilee.
They got off their boats and were washing their nets.
Unlike the sunny morning, the fishermen’s face was very dark.
During the whole night, they were sailing around the sea looking for fish, but couldn’t catch anything.
Jesus, who was watching them, walked over towards them.
With a very calm voice, Jesus said “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch…”
There is a tendency to be rough and exclusive generally in fishermen.
I know well because my hometown is a small island.
Fisherman may be innocent but they can also be rough.
Besides that, these fishermen could not catch anything all night long.
They must have felt very frustrated and angry.
Then, a stranger who doesn’t have any knowledge or experience about fishing comes up to them and said “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch…”
Think about this situation.
The fishermen were probably very upset and frustrated to be getting direction from a stranger.
However, Peter took the boat out to deep waters, let down the net just as Jesus said.
And when he let it down, they caught such a large number of fish.
After that, Peter followed Jesus.
He no longer was a fisherman, but became a fisher of men.
We can see that his whole life was beginning to change.
We can see Peter starting a new life with Jesus.
Let us look back into our own lives.
Is our life similar to Peter before he met Jesus?
Is our life filled with worry, sorrow, suffering, and despair?
If so, we have to start again with Jesus.
What do we have to do in order to start again with Jesus?
I found a few things within today’s passage.
First of all, we have to wash the empty net in order to start again with Jesus.
Verse 2 says that “the fisherman were washing their nets.”
Even though they did not catch any fish, they were washing an empty net.
This shows us something important.
When we throw nets into the river or ocean, there is sometimes garbage that comes with fish.
So, for fishermen, washing off the garbage on the net is very important.
In order to catch the fish again with the net, the fishermen should wash off their nets.
The fisherman in the lake of Galilee is washing off the empty net.
This is just like our life.
In our lives, with hopes and dreams, we throw our empty net into an ocean called life.
We throw this with great expectation.
However, there are times when our net is filled with many kinds of garbage, impurities.
Not being able to reach our expectation, it often fills us with pain, sorrow, frustration and despair.
Sometimes we also think “I’m useless… I can’t do anything…” and it makes us frustrated.
Yes, the net of our life is filled with many negative and shady experiences.
We have to wash it all clean.
Now, the fishermen of Galilee are washing their nets.
They are washing off all kinds of garbage.
We should wash our life net like the fishermen of Galilee did.
What is the garbage of life?
What are the impurities of life?
Maybe it is a wounded heart we carry since childhood.
Or might be an experience of failure and frustration we never shared with others.
Maybe we have a complex, something we never shared with others.
We should wash them all clean.
We should lay down our wounded heart and our complexes before God.
This must be resolved, must be washed.
Everyone has their own sense of complexes; complex about body, personality or family background, saying “I cannot do anything because of this…”
Yes, I guess everyone here today, has personal complexes that you don’t want to share with others.
Now, please lay down the shady things in your life before God and wash them just as Peter and the fisherman washed their nets.
Then, you can start again with Jesus.
There are also complexes occurring in a community.
Wherever you may be it is impossible not to have any problems.
With many large and small problems, communities often get in crisis.
Even if it seems like the problem is solved, it could last for a long time as their complexes.
The church that I served in Korea, in New York and Honolulu, seemed like there were no problems.
It just seemed like it was a perfect community.
But when I looked inside, there were problems and sufferings.
Everyone tried and prayed hard to overcome these problems.
Yes, we can’t avoid the truth.
Every community or church have either large or small hardships.
Our church is the same.
I have served Olive Church for four years.
During my ministry in Olive church I could realize that Olive church also has hardships that we have to overcome.
Yes, we should wash out our nets of those hardships.
Then we will be able to start again with Jesus.
We will be able to walk a new way with Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, what are your sufferings?
I encourage you all not to carry the burden again in your lives that you once had before and to wash out all the impurities from your life net.
Bless you all to be one who washes the impurities from your life net and starts again with Jesus.
Secondly, in order to start again with Jesus, we should be able to offer our empty boat to the Lord.
Jesus asked the fishermen if he could borrow their boats.
Then he further asked for Peter’s boat.
What kind of boat is this?
It probably was a nuisance which caused Peter the fishermen to be frustrated.
But Jesus is telling them he would use it.
Peter could have rejected Jesus is request.
I mean it was more like a situation where he suppose to reject the request.
However, Peter gives his boat to Jesus.
We should give the empty boat, our lives to Jesus when Jesus requests for it.
“Lord, please receive my life. Please use me as your tools”
Yes, we should readily give our empty boat to the Lord.
What is our empty boat?
There may be money we are gripping.
There are positions we are occupying.
There are experiences and knowledge we have.
There are also relationships we are bound to.
These are all important in our life, but, we sometimes get hurt or frustrated from them.
These are all our empty boats.
Now, we should give these empty boats to the Lord to use them.
By giving, we can be happier and gain freedom.
By giving, we can start again with Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, please give your empty boat to Jesus and start again with Jesus.
Lastly, we should lower the net in the deep spot relying on the words.
Peter was too tired when Jesus told him to lower the net in the deep water.
He was probably so exhausted from fishing all night long.
His fingers didn’t have the strength to move.
He could have easily ignored Jesus, because obviously Peter knows better about fishing than Jesus.
But Peter relied on what Jesus has told him and showed in his manner.
The result of it was like a miracle.
When Peter relied on Jesus’ words, he could catch the fishes until the net was broken.
God’s words have the power to make everything possible.
Everything occurs according to God’s words.
I encourage you all to rely on God’s words, obey his words, and live your life being close to his words.
Then you need go to the deepest spots.
People say they will do God’s work; they are devoted in God’s work, but they want to spend as little of their time as possible.
They avoid living based on the words.
This is an example how people live in a shallow faith.
Let’s think of our lives.
Do we try to catch many fishes in shallow water?
Big fishes don’t live in shallow water.
If you really want to catch large amounts of fishes as well as big fishes, you should go to the deep water; go to a further place.
Lower your net to the deep spot of grace and to the center of devotion.
Going into the deepest spots also means having a vision.
Age doesn’t matter when someone is having a vision.
It doesn’t matter how poor you are.
Anyone can have God’s vision.
I pray for all to have visions that are provided from God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this first Sunday of the year, I want to ask you to look back upon your life.
How have you lived your life so far?
Did you live your life like a net that only has the impurities?
Did you live the life that always makes you feel tired or hopeless?
Do you live your life full of concerns?
What about our church?
Now it is time to start again with Jesus.
Whatever is in your life net, wash it all and make your life net clean.
What are your empty boats?
Whatever that is, give it to the Lord.
And now rely on his words, obey his words and lower your net in the deepest spot.
Then you will be able to start again with Jesus.
You will live a new life with Jesus.
Your life will be changed indeed.
The purpose and value of your life will be changed.
There will be hope, happiness, and thankfulness in that life with Jesus.
Our family, work place, and church will be changed through these new lives.
I pray in the name of the Lord that we will be able to make a change and experience work of God in our lives and in our church by starting again with Jesus this year.
Let us start again with Jesus. Amen.