In 1996 a grain ship, “Bright Field,” was heading down the Mississippi River near New Orleans, when it lost control, veered toward the shore and crashed into a riverside shopping mall. The impact demolished parts of the wharf and injured 116 people. According to the Coast Guard investigation, the ship’s owner and crew had failed to repair long-standing engine problems. This is a clear example of not doing what you should do and receiving the consequences of bad decisions.

            The Devil deceived Eve into thinking that there would be no consequences for eating the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:1-7). God said, “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, ye shall not eat of it lest ye die” (v.3) The Devil said, “Ye shall not surely die.” (v.4) Eve dilly-dallied with the temptation and contemplated the possibilities that the Devil had suggested and threw away all restrain and ate the fruit!  Why?  The Devil deceived her into thinking that there would be no consequences for sin.

            The Devil continues to lie to us today and tells our society that a little sin won’t hurt, a little indulgence is not a problem, a little transgression will never hurt anybody! The Devil tells us that we are only human and go ahead and enjoy sin. The Bible says, “The way of the transgressor is hard.” ( Prov. 13:15)

            Our society believes that it can live in disobedience to God’s will by practicing homosexuality and never suffer the consequences. The scriptures teach that there will be consequences for our actions. “Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption: but he that soweth unto the spirit shall of the spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7-8) This basic principle applies to the physical world and spiritual realm as well. The word, “mocked” is a Greek word (mukterizete:) which means to turn one’s nose up at God. The point is that if a person sows to the flesh (homosexuality and sinful living) and turns up his nose at God, he shall go the way of all flesh, -- die and face the judgment of God where there will be consequences. (reap destruction – Gal. 6:8)

The scriptures emphasize the consequences of sin in other verses. Ezekiel said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ez. 18:4) Paul said, “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23)  Over and over, again and again, the Bible under all circumstances, emphasizes that we reap what we sow and that sin is always followed by consequences.

            There is rebellion in the hearts and in the behavior of many people in our society today. In view of the fact that sin will always have consequences, what can we predict for the future? According to the basic law of sowing and reaping, the answer can best be given in the words of the prophet Hosea, “They sow the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hos. 8:7) There is one time of sowing (while alive), and there will be two times of reaping. We reap in this life and also reap beyond this life in the hereafter. Sin brings forth its consequences both here and hereafter.

            People may do things without realizing the consequences of their actions, but one day there is going to be an accounting! (Rev. 21:8)                                                                                                                                                                                           

"Fishers of Men" - Earl Sutton

Jesus said to Peter and Andrew, “Come ye after me and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). Jesus was making a play on words that if they would follow him, He would train them to bring others to God. The call that He gave to the fishermen by the Sea of Galilee takes us straight to the heart of Christian discipleship. Those that are acquainted with the art of fishing for souls know what Jesus came to do and what He expects his disciples to be and do!

     The first step in becoming fishers of men was to come after Him that He might teach them how to catch men (II Tim. 2:15). In order to do this, they had to leave their nets and fishing boats behind. They had to give up their occupations, leave their homes and forsake all in order to follow Jesus.

     Today we may not have to leave our businesses, homes, or families, but there are things we have to leave if we are going to become fishers of men. We must get out in water (community) where the fish are! (Matt. 28:18-20) The mission of being fishers of men is in direct opposition to the spirit of the world which is to use people and exploit them! Those who are fishers of men seek the redemption and liberation of all men. In the kingdom of Heaven, there is no place for “world order” where one group is superior to all other groups! In Christ there are no race, sex, age, or nationality barriers. (Gal. 3:26-29)

     The second step in becoming fishers of men is to have a desire to fish (James 2:18).  A good fisherman enjoys fishing. The person who does not enjoy fishing will likely catch nothing. As Christians we must catch the vision that Christ had and see people as they are in their lost condition.

      The third step in becoming fishers of men is to not be easily discouraged. A good fisherman will fish all day and sometimes catches nothing but will be ready to go again the next day! A good fisherman doesn’t mind inconveniences and will get up early, drive a long way and go to out-of-the-way places to catch fish! We must have that same determination in our visitation program at Elkins in order to have the best results.

     The final step in becoming fishers of men is to have the right kind of equipment and bait. The gospel is both the right kind of equipment and bait (Rom. 1:16). We can spread the gospel and become fishers of men through: (1) home Bible study (2) inviting people to attend Bible classes and worship (3) gospel meeting (4) use of technology such as iPad, iPhone, Internet, Facebook, etc.

     Don’t be like the mother who asked her teenage son if he would like to have Jesus to come into his heart? He thought seriously and said, “I don’t think I want that responsibility.” My friends, if you want to go to Heaven when you die,  you will take the responsibility of becoming fishers of men seriously, because we are fishing for souls.


*Reprinted from the weekly bulletin at church of Christ at Elkins from June 1, 2014.