*NEW* sermon series begins entitled ‘Unity’, with preaching from Nathan Gordon and our (virtual) service led by Brian Dickson.
As the nation emerges from lockdown and the UK Government, businesses, sport, leisure, individuals/families across the country are asking the question “where do we go from here?” Can we get back to normal? Will things ever be the same again before the pandemic? Without question, we have all been impacted by the pandemic at various levels, and disruption to life as we knew it was evident across the world.
Churches have also been impacted greatly as a result of the pandemic and within our local context, we have experienced a vast amount of change to our normal way of ministry and fellowship. We thank God that through medical science and vaccines it appears we are moving forward in what the government has called “irreversible steps out of restrictions” However the challenge for the nation, world and church is where do we go from here?
Are we yearning to go back to the way things used to be? Are we expecting the church to be exactly the way it used to be before the pandemic?
Let’s go back to fishing/Let’s get back to Normal!
John records an intriguing post-resurrection appearance by Jesus to his disciples, who were in a period of transition like us today. From the familiar in-person led ministry of Jesus on earth to what would soon become the church age, through the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was now in the final moments of preparation mode to ensure his team were ready for the future ahead. However, were the disciples in a state of nostalgia? Was Peter reminiscing of his former occupation and life as it used to be in the fishing trade?
Today as we reflect on John 21 and the future ahead for us, let us consider the following points from Jesus, the disciple’s and our current context.
A) Go forward with aligned purpose – Matt 4:18-20/John 21:3-4
- The disciples were called to be fishers of people, not fish
- Celebrate past success and good tradition, but don’t be fixated on the past
- The purpose remains the same, but the methods may need to change and adapt
B) Go forward with Love – John 21:15-17
- The Lord’s reminder to Peter of his responsibility to feed and take care of the flock of God
- As we move forward as Christians both individually and collectively as church, everything we do must be centred in God’s love
- Love for God, Love for each other, love for the world, lost and those in need
- Love demonstrated in action
C) Go forward in forgiveness – John 21:15-17
- To emphasise to the Church that Peter had been fully re-instated
- To dispel any doubt that a man who sinned so grievously could still be used mightily by God
- As we move forward, we continue to embrace the forgiveness and grace through Jesus Christ and extend such forgiveness to others
D) Go forward knowing the future is in God’s hands – John 21:18-19
- Jesus highlight’s that Peter would become a martyr for the faith
- Great things happened in the life of Peter’s ministry before his ultimate death
- As we move forward, we don’t know what the future may hold, but we can rest assured who holds the future
Could it be that like Peter and the disciples we need some alignment towards the core purpose of what we are called to be doing?
Are you ready to embrace change and new methods to journey towards the same purpose of fishing for people? Are you concerned or fearful about the future post lockdown?
May I encourage you to reflect on these 2 verses of scripture this week.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
- Peter went back to the Sea of Galilee to fish. Describe a time when life seemed crazy, and you wanted to surround yourself with the familiar and go back to your comfort zone.
- If there was no resurrection, then Peter might have just gone back to being a fisherman. In what ways does the resurrection impact your daily life?
- As we look forward, what potential new methods could be utilised post-pandemic to continue the call by Jesus to feed and care for the flock of God?
- Why might it make sense now, that Jesus asked Peter three times if Peter loved Him more than these? – v15-17
- Catching a lot of fish is different from tenderly caring for a sheep. Why is it so important to not only lead people to Christ (cast the net) but to help them grow in Christ (tend the sheep)? Explain the difference.
Sermon Title: Where do we go from here?
Bible Reading: John 21
Preacher: Nathan Gordon
Worship Leader: Brian Dickson