My Story for His Glory

Sharing Our Christian Testimony Story Brings Glory To Jesus.

George Wright
Aug 16, 2020    33m
Have you found personal salvation in Jesus Christ? If so, it is vital for you to share your Christian testimony story with others so that you can bring all glory to Jesus, your Lord and Savior. Video recorded at Columbia, South Carolina.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

George Wright: 00:02 Well, I want to thank Katherine for sharing a portion of her story with us. It is such a gift when we're able to hear a real life story of God at work. And so as we enter into a study of Luke chapter 5 beginning this morning, we're going to be also hearing several stories in the coming weeks of individuals and families here in the life of Shandon. Just some of the things that God has done in recent days, because we all need to be reminded that even in the midst of all of this uncertainty, and even in the midst of all the challenges that we're facing, God is still at work, and God is doing even greater things than we often can see, imagine or think. And there is great encouragement, and great power, when we hear a real life story of what God is doing. And so I hope you'll continue to join us, whether you're online or here in person, over these next few weeks, we're going to hear some incredible, incredible stories of God at work.

George Wright: 01:05 But today we step into Luke chapter 5, and we're going to begin at the beginning of this great passage of scripture in Luke's gospel. As we look over the next few weeks at several encounters that Jesus has with different individuals, and how an encounter with Jesus can truly change a story. So I want to ask you if you're willing and able to grab a Bible and stand with me as I read our opening text in Luke chapter 5. And if you're new to Shandon, or if you're joining us online, and you're wondering why in the world are people standing, or should I stand even if I'm at home, well, we invite you to do so. And the reason why we stand together at the reading of God's Word, is so we all can be reminded, the Word of God is our foundation. It is the authority that we come under as a people of God, it is the foundation we stand upon, and it is what God reveals to us is right, and good, and true.

George Wright: 02:01 So this is the word of the Lord, Luke chapter 5 beginning in verse 1, and I'll read through verse 6. It says, "On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking."

George Wright: 03:07 Would you pray with me, as we consider God's Word together here to start this message, let's ask God to speak into our lives as only he can. Would you pray with me to that end? Father, as we now stand before you and turn our attention to your word, it is my prayer that you would have your way among us. As we gather together here at Shandon, as we gathered together all around the place online, Lord, we are grateful for the opportunity to hear from you, for we need to hear your voice. And so I pray through your word that you would speak into our lives, into our stories, and show us the invitation that you provide through Jesus Christ, to cover our story in your goodness and your grace. So Lord, please do what only you can do, speak into all of our lives as we turn to you. It's in Christ's name. I pray. Amen. You may be seated. Thank you for standing.

George Wright: 04:19 So I'm curious this morning, are there any fishermen or fisherwomen in the room with me today? Anybody at all, raise your hand if you like to fish. Is there anybody? I mean, I know it's weird. I see some you, it's kind of strange to raise your hand with a mask on, that's a lot. I know, that's a ton of things going on at the same time, but fishermen in the room. Okay, I want you to know, I love to fish. I absolutely love to fish, and I've had some really great fishing experiences. I've gone fly fishing in Montana where there's black bears on the other side of the river, as we're casting a fly line into the water. I've been deep sea fishing on many different occasions, and those have been really, really fun experiences. But I can honestly say the most joy I have in fishing, is being on the water with my two boys. And over these last few months of what was quarantine, and stay at home, social distancing in fishing is a great gift. We've been able to social distance through a lot of fishing over these last few months, and it's been a lot of fun. I've got a few pictures of my boys fishing. This is us at the beach just recently tearing it up, catching a few sharks on the shore, that was a lot of fun. I do want you to know the little brother Everett kind of showed up his older brother this summer, caught a big bass, so he was excited about that. There's a little rivalry among fishermen in our family, but we absolutely love to fish.

George Wright: 05:55 And here's what I love about the ministry of Jesus, there's a lot of fishing in the ministry of Jesus. In fact, as we step into Luke chapter 5, we are stepping into a fishing story. Jesus spent a lot of time around fishermen. He uses fishing in some of his most well-known teaching. And I do want to say to all of the fellows in the room, those that are married, or maybe those that are in a dating relationship that love to fish. If you're ever looking for a good excuse to go fishing, and your loved one, your girlfriend, your wife, your lady does not understand why do you need to go fishing so often. You can just say, look, I'm just trying to be more like Jesus, I need to get on the water. And she will pray for you in a very stern way, and then ask you to do the dishes and maybe some other things, and hopefully you'll end up on the water. But Jesus is around fishermen a lot.

George Wright: 07:00 And what we see here in Luke 5 is this amazing exchange between Jesus and these fishermen, that totally changes their perspective on what it means to fish. This is where Jesus literally steps into a story and changes the narrative all together for these men. Look back at the scripture with me, Luke 5 verse 1, "On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat." As we step into this scene, the first thing I want to draw your attention to in Luke chapter 5. Is something that we see all throughout the ministry of Jesus. This is something that happens all throughout his teaching in his public ministry, crowds gather to hear Jesus teach the Word of God, crowds gather to hear Jesus, teach the Word of God. Why is that? Because the Word of God speaks to the longings of our hearts. And Jesus with teaching the Word of God, speaking to the longings of the hearts of the people in a way that demonstrated his authority, his divine Lordship overall things, and they were just drawn into his teaching. The Word of God speaks to what matters most to us. The Word of God meets us in our story. The Word of God says what we need to hear.

George Wright: 08:58 I want to turn your attention to a passage of scripture in Psalm 119, we'll put this up on the screen. I love these verses, Psalm 119 beginning in verse 103. It says, "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Now I don't know how much time you have, or you do spend in the Word of God. I don't know how much biblical background you may have at this point in your spiritual journey, in your story. But please hear what the Psalmist is saying about the Word of God. The Psalmist is saying, the Word of God is a gift, and the Word of God speaks into my life in such a way that it is sweeter than honey on my lips, what a great statement. The psalmist is saying the Word of God shows us the wisdom of God, as it leads to knowledge and understanding that can only come from God, as it reveals the truth that we need to hear, and shows us the way that we are called to live. The Word of God is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. The Word of God reveals what we need to see. As we turn our attention to the Word of God, we see the Lord in his kindness and in his grace through his word, showing us exactly what we need to see.

George Wright: 10:45 So this story that we're looking at today in Luke 5, this crowd has gathered to hear Jesus teach the Word of God. They are hearing something that is sweeter than honey on their lips. They are hearing him proclaim what is a light to their path? And they are drawn in, as the Word of God speaks to exactly what they're walking through, speaks to the longings of their heart. And after Jesus has been teaching for a while on the sea of Galilee, also called the lake of Gennesaret, that's when the fishing story gets really, really exciting. Let's go back to the verses of Luke 5, beginning in verse 4, it says, "And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets. “And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink." And I absolutely love this scene. Yes, I love this scene because I love to fish, but I love this scene because of how accurately it speaks to how often I process decisions, and even process what God says, and what God is leading me to do.

George Wright: 12:32 What do we see in Peter in this scene? Simon Peter, on this day, a man who makes his living as a fishermen is a very reluctant fishermen. You could even say of Simon Peter in this scene, he is frustrated about what Jesus is saying about fishing. For after all, Simon is the pro, Simon is the career fishermen, and he's been up all night, catching nothing and he's exhausted. The type of fishing that was done in the sea of Galilee, this is not fishing with a pole, where you're just casually casting it out and reeling it in, and relaxing and enjoying the water. No, this is fishing with big nets that would drag the bottom of the sea, it was hard work, it was exhausting. And all night long Simon and his friends fished and caught absolutely nothing, and here comes Jesus to try and offer them some fishing advice. It's as if Peter is saying, hey, Jesus, why don't you just stay in your lane my friend? Jesus, why don't you just stick to teaching, let us handle the fishing. After all, everyone knows you don't fish in the middle of the day, in the heat of the day, that's just not the way this works. And we are exhausted, we are tired, our nets are drying on the shore. It's a whole ordeal to get back out in the water to go through this whole process again, there's no fish out there right now, we're not going to catch the thing. Jesus, you really don't know what you're talking about. For in this moment, we see Peter believing he knows better than Jesus.

George Wright: 14:34 Now, if you're a parent, you know exactly what this scene is describing. Don't you? I mean, how many times, parents, do you ask your children to do something? Knowing that what you're asking them to do is the right thing, and they look at you like you're absolutely insane. You have no idea what you're talking about, how in the world could you ask me to do that? You don't know what, you don't get it, mom and dad, you do not understand. I hear you, I'm glad to know it's not just my kids. How often does this happen though, in our faith? How often does this happen on your spiritual journey, where you sense that God is leading you to do something, where you see in the Word of God, that God is telling you to do something, and yet in the moment, you really believe that you know, better than God? And sure, we probably would not be so bold as to say it, but our actions and our response to what God says often reveals, we believe we know better than God. In fact, I would say one of the biggest barriers to truly living a life of faith is that we think we know better than God. And when we think we know better than God, we begin to question the validity of obedience to what God says.

George Wright: 16:21 But Peter gives us a great example here, even in his reluctant obedience, even in his frustration at what Jesus has said about fishing, even though Peter is exhausted and does not understand why in the world Jesus wants him to get back out in the water. He makes this incredible statement, that really should be a statement we grow very familiar with as we navigate our faith. What is that statement? Peter says, look back at Luke 5, "But at your word, I will let down my nets." "At your word, I will let down my nets." Lord, I do not understand why you've said this, and based on what's going on in my story right now, God, I'm just not seeing it. You're asking me to do this, you're asking me to step out on faith, you're telling me this is the right way to live, but quite honestly, that's not what I want to do right now. But at your word, I will do what you've asked me to say. This is such a powerful statement of faith, because Peter here, even in his reluctance, is saying, I am committed to my belief. Even as a brand new follower of Jesus, I am committed to this belief, that the authority of Jesus is greater than my own, and the word of Jesus is more powerful than my own, and I am willing to do what Jesus says.

George Wright: 18:25 And the scripture shows us in verse 6 and 7, as Peter listens to Jesus, the water absolutely explodes with fish. I'm just curious this morning, in what area of your life have you been withholding obedience because you think, you know better than God? Perhaps you're in a dating relationship, and you know the Bible talks about the importance of purity, and how God blesses those who walk in purity. But you're saying right now, God, you just don't understand my story, you don't understand my desires, you don't understand this topic. You're actually a little old fashioned, you're out of touch with the times. And after all, I think I'm falling in love, and so I'm going to do what I want to do. I really don't care what you say, I know better than you, and all you're doing is missing out on God's best for your life. Maybe this morning, it's your finances, these are some challenging times that we're navigating, things are tight right now. And perhaps, you know, the Bible talks about the importance of generosity and how God blesses, those who faithfully and obediently give. But you're saying, you know what God, my situation is different. Maybe that's for people who have a lot of money, but right now, things are tough, things are tight, things are uncertain. I'm just gonna wait on this whole issue of obedience as it relates to financial stewardship until a later date, when things are a little easier, I know what's best, and all you're doing is missing out on God's best for you. What area of your life have you been withholding obedience, because you believe you believe, you know better than God? Please hear me, the Word of God shows us over and over and over again, God calls us to obedience, not because he's holding out on us. God calls us to obedience because he knows what's best for us.

George Wright: 21:04 Peter thinks Jesus doesn't know anything about fishing, but Peter does not realize he's talking to the one who has authority over the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, but he chooses to obey Jesus even when he doesn't understand, and he sees the power of God on display. And so look at what takes place after this incredible catch. Luke chapter 5 verse 8, look at the scripture again. It says, "But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” As Peter trusts Jesus at his word, Peter recognizes his true need for the savior because he recognizes that he is coming face to face with his sin in his own heart. When he sees the authority of Jesus on display in power, right in front of him, Peter begins to see the reality of who Peter is in the face of a Holy God. This is so important to understand because yes, Peter in this moment begins to feel unworthy. But here is the best part of the story, Jesus looks at Peter, as he feels unworthy, and says, I'm going to show you that I'm the one who makes you worthy, I'm gonna show you the true beauty of the gospel.

George Wright: 22:58 I love the way Author and Pastor Timothy Keller describes the gospel. He says this, I want to put this quote up, he says, "The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared to believe." That's where Peter finds himself in Luke 5:8. "Yet at the very same time, we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope." That's what Jesus begins to show Peter as the story continues. Peter feels unworthy, he becomes more aware of his sin and Jesus begins to show him, Peter, you will only find your true worth in me, and I am the one who declares you worthy. You may feel unclean right now. But in the presence of Jesus, Jesus is saying, I am the one who will make you clean. This is the amazing grace of the gospel. For you see, the closer we get to Jesus, the more we recognize our need for the savior. And the more we recognize our need for the savior, the more grateful we become at what the savior has done to meet us in our story and to cover us with forgiveness and grace, he gives us a new story altogether.

George Wright: 24:42 That's what we see as this story concludes in Luke chapter 5 verses 9 through 11, look back at the scripture. It says, "For he Peter and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken. And so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon." These are the early disciples. "And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him." What is Jesus saying here to Peter, to James, to John? What is he saying to these first disciples? He's saying, listen, I am going to give you a brand new story. It's a story that's far greater than any story you could write on your own. It is a story that will be lived for my glory, and it's a story that will point others to the beautiful gift of what I have done for you. And Jesus is saying to Peter, Peter, you have a story that needs to be told, follow me, and I will use your story for my glory. Follow me, and I will use your story to lead others to the beautiful gift of my love and grace, your joys and your suffering will become a beautiful picture of the redemptive power of the gospel.

George Wright: 26:25 In Jesus Christ, you have a story that needs to be heard, a story of what the gospel can do, story of grace and mercy, a story of love unlike any other. A story of life change because of the good news of Jesus Christ. If you are a follower of Jesus, you have a story that needs to be heard. Your story is part of the greatest story that has ever been told. Your story is one small portion of the story of God's love and grace made available through Jesus Christ to the world. Your story points to what a lost and dying world so desperately needs to hear. Your story is a story of redemption and renewal, forgiveness and hope, this is what the world is longing for. When you live your story for God's glory, he will use it in beautiful ways, and you can know that there are always people around you that need to hear it.

George Wright: 27:48 So, as we close this morning, thinking about the power of story, thinking about this gift that Jesus offers, to get a new story, to renew and redeem our story for his glory. As you think about what Christ is offering you, or what Christ has given you, if you are a follower of Jesus, my word to you at the end of this message would echo what Jesus says to Peter and the disciples, let's go fishing. Let's go fishing, for there are people all around us right now, people in your circle of influence, people in your friend network, people at your school, people in your office, people on your street, people wherever you may be, that need to hear that there truly is hope in the good news of Jesus Christ. There are people all around us today that need to hear that there really is the offering of forgiveness and grace, for those who trust in Jesus, and they need to look at your life and see that what God says is real and true. So let's go fishing, let's tell the story, let's put some lines in the water, for the best fishing tackle that you or I could ever use, as it relates to the calling God has given his people, is a personal story of life that has been transformed by the goodness and the grace of God. Put your line in the water, tell your story for his glory, and see what God might do.

George Wright: 30:00 If you're here with us today, or joining us online, and you recognize that your story right now is a story without the good news of what Jesus Christ has done for you personally, you realize that your story is a story of you trying your best, or are doing what you think is right, but it's not a story right now that has ever been surrendered to Jesus as savior and Lord, we would invite you to make that decision of faith. We believe it's the greatest decision that you could ever make, trusting your life to Jesus, and allowing his story, the greatest story, to change your story so that your story can be lived for his glory.

George Wright: 30:59 Let me pray for us as we close this message. We'll sing another song of worship in response to what we've heard here today, but let's right now, ask God to show us open doors and opportunities to tell our story. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, I am so very grateful for the good news of the gospel. The good news that meets us in the midst of our struggle, in the midst of our striving, in the midst of all that we try to do to be in control and live what we think is best. And yet, as you meet us in the midst of our story, you show us that you have a much better way, and you show us that you are offering this beautiful gift in the gospel of forgiveness, and grace, and the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ our Lord. Lord, I celebrate those who have been given a story of you at work in redemption and renewal and their lives.

George Wright: 32:15 And I recognize, Lord, that there are some among us who have never experienced this story of salvation in a real and personal way. I pray, Lord, that today would be the day that they would cross the line of faith that they would say, Jesus, I'm ready to trust you at your word. I may not understand it all, but I will let down my nets and I will trust what you say, and I believe that you are my savior.

George Wright: 32:54 Lord, we praise you for the gift of salvation, we praise you for the good news of what you have invited us into through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, making payment for our sin. Lord, give us eyes to see the opportunities to tell our story, stories are so powerful. And as we look at our world around us, we recognize our world needs to hear stories of hope, stories of forgiveness, stories of grace, stories of renewal, stories of the love of God poured out through Jesus Christ. Give us the courage to go fishing, to tell our story for your glory. Oh, how we thank you for this time. It's in Christ' name, I pray. Amen.

Recorded in Columbia, South Carolina.
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Shandon Baptist Church
5250 Forest Drive
Columbia, South Carolina 29206