Parable of the Fishing Net, Matthew 13:47-50, continued.
THERE WERE GOOD AND BAD FISH IN THE NET.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind,” verse 47.
The word “again” indicates just how keen the Lord is to get this truth across to His hearers. He would have understand the truth concerning His kingdom.
1. Notice the fishing ends when the net is full. “Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, ” verse 48. The Saviour said to Paul on one occasion.: “For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city,” Acts 18:10. See John 10:16; Acts 15:14. The Saviour is seeking to ‘catch’ in the gospel net a certain people, His elect. “God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name,” Acts 15:14. They come from the deepest and darkest places. Out of such the Lord draws many sinners. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God,” 1 Cor 6:9-11. Not until the net is full will gospel fishing end in this age!
The last time we were with you, two weeks ago, we considered – THE SIN OF THE SLAVE
1. His rejection of mercy. Verse 11. He was unprofitable.
The house of Philemon was a church, verse 2.
Onesimus had made no use of the gospel opportunity. He rejected gospel, kindness, mercy. The seed sown had apparently brought forth nothing. Pro 1:24-25. “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it,” Hebrews 4:2.
2. His robbery of his master. “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides,” verses 18-19.
How many rob God. LIFE was given to be used for His glory. Used instead to self gratification.
3. His running away. “For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever,” verse 15. He ran away to Rome and tried to hide in Rome’s crowds. Such is man. He runs from God. Closes his ears to warnings. But at Rome God’s mercy is displayed. He meets with Paul.
Tonight I wish to consider at a little length:
II THE SALVATION OF THE SLAVE
He comes into contact with Paul, a wonderful providence indeed! Paul’s befriending of the young man and writing this letter to plead for him indicates the grace of the apostle. It also provides us with a picture of the blessings a sinner who is converted receives in Christ.
1. A settler of accounts. Verses 18-19
Here is what Christ did for us. He paid our accounts. He made them His own. Like the good Samaritan (Luke 10:34-35) – all provided. “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold . . . . . But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot,” 1 Peter 1:17-19.
2. An advocate. Verses 10, 17.
He pleads for him. Just as Christ pleads for sinners. “We have an advocate (one who pleads before a judge) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,” 1 John 2:1. “Christ . . . . now to appear in the presence of God for us,” Heb 9:24. (7:25.)
3. There is a change in his life. “Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me,” v 11.
Resulted from his new birth, “my son”, “begotten”, verse 10. Once was a servant, now a brother, verse 16.
4. Reconciled to his offended master. Verse 12. “Receive him”, verse 17. “We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,” Romans 5:10.
5. Eternal work has been done in his heart. Sinner and rebel for a season but now has been eternally altered, verse 15. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life,” 1 John 5:13.
Are you still a runaway from God, heading toward eternal destruction?
Christ will meet with you and save you and become to you more than Paul ever could be to Onesimus.
Parable of the Fishing Net, Matthew 13:47-50, continued.
THOSE CAUGHT IN THE NET WERE BROUGHT UP TO A VERY DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT.
It was a world of light and beauty and the warming rays of the sun.
1. It is a world which the fish hate. It is absolutely contrary to their nature! Likewise, the sinner does not like the light and brightness of the gospel. “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:20.
2. It is a world in which they cannot live. The fish will die out of water. We use a proverb of one who is uncomfortable with his surroundings as “a fish out of water”! So was Judas. “Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place,” Acts 1:25. That is where sinners are travelling every day! The environment of Christ’s Kingdom is unbearable to them. “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity,” Matt 7:23. They must depart for they never came to Him. They were continuing to work iniquity therefore they were to continue on the path they had walked, which ends in hell. “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” Matt 25:41.
3. The good fish were those that could be eaten. They were useful and beneficial. To become such they had to be greatly worked upon and altered. So it is with sinners. What happens to the fish caught and used as food illustrates the workings of grace in the sinner saved.
A. It dies. “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Roms 6:2, 1 Peter 2:24.
B. It undergoes a process. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” John 3:3.
C. They became most profitable and beneficial. Saul into Paul. Man of Gadara into messenger of God. What a change grace makes! “Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me,” Philemon 1:11. “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy,” 1 Peter 2:10
We come to another parable today, comprising only 4 verses. Please remember that such is the infinite wisdom of our Saviour that in a few words He can impart immeasurable instruction and teaching.
This the 7th parable He spoke at this time. They proved beneficial when we compare verses 36 and 51. They were growing in understanding!
How familiar to the Saviour’s hearers was such a scenes as is his depicted in this latest, the seventh parable. Verse 2 tells us that “great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.” However, in verse 36 it says: “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house.” The multitude has gone but the disciples that remained with Him would have been very familiar with the substance of this new parable. Many were fishermen and who benefitted from the labours of fishermen.
Here the Saviour speaks of the fisherman’s net. Oh what heavenly teaching is to found in the pictures presented by nature all around us!
The parable depicts the working of God’s word through the gospel. The Saviour told the disciples: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,” Matthew 4:18-19. The net in this parable is the net used by the Saviour’s ‘fishermen’ when they preach the gospel.
I. THE ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH THE NET DOES ITS WORK
“The sea” the place into which the net was cast was a deep, dark and cold place!
Such is this world in which sinful men dwell. That is the environment in which fish are at home, far down in the deep darkness of the sea!
1. God calls the seas “the deep”. Genesis 7:11.
2. Again, the world is a dark place. Pro 2:12-15. Ephs 5:8.
3. It is a cold place. Little warmth of kindness. “The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.” Psa 74:20.
Those of you who are saved, that is where you once dwelt.
If you who are not saved, that is where you are still!
May the Lord open your eyes to see your lost and sinful state.
It is at the coming again of Christ. Matt 24:30-31. At Christ’s return, angels sent forth to reap the harvest, Matt 13.41.
The harvest is at the end of the age. In verses 38 and 39 is the word ‘world’. But the underlying Greek word is different. One refers to the ‘kosmos’, which refers to creation, the universe. This is the word in verse 38.
The other word is in verse 39. It is a different Greek word. It is ‘aion’. It refers to a period of time. We speak of the ‘aeons of eternity’.
Consider its first appearance in the NT. Matt 6:13 “for ever.” Our word is translated ‘ever’. That is a reference to the period of eternity. Another appearance in Eph 2:7: “The ages,” Our word is the word ‘ages’. So it is in our verse 39. “The harvest is the end of the age.”
It is to be noted that the wicked are dealt with first of all. Verse 41. It is believed by some that the saints will be gathered out from the world secretly 31/2 years before the visible return of Christ in power and glory. This shows it is not so.
What a terrible contrast in the destination of those who shared so much in life. THE WICKED – “Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them.” THE SAINTS – “but gather the wheat into my barn,” Matthew 13:30.
“Let both grow together,” verse 30. Unique word, only appears here. Cain & Abel, Jacob & Esau, Judas & other apostles. Together yet so far apart! Totally different natures – one BORN AGAIN, a NEW NATURE, 2 Cor 5:17. “ . . . he is a new creature.”
It is Christ’s kingdom that these activities are centred upon. “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity,” Matthew 13:41. His KINGDOM is IN the world. Sinners may profess to belong. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, . . . . . . And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity,” Matthew 7:22-23.
This purging of wicked professors is in preparation for the new age – The Millennial Reign of Christ.