Let Down Your Nets

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

Let Down Your Nets


Luke 5:1-11Intro. It had been one of those nights, futile and fruitless. All night           long up and down the shores of Galilee, casting out the nets,           and pulling them back in empty. You had pulled out all of your           bags of tricks that you had learned through the years with no           success. It is now morning and all you have to show for a night           of labor is nets full of weeds. As you are washing the nets           hoping for a better day, a man is coming your direction           followed by a large number of people. He gets into your boat           and calls for you to shove off just a little ways. He sits           there now protected from the pushing crowd and He begins to           teach the people about God and how He desires us to live. The           people listen eagerly and you find yourself also entranced by           the things that He is teaching. Having finished His lesson, he           now turns to you and says, "Simon, launch out into the deep and           let down your nets for a draft." I. The reluctant obedience.        A. The response of Peter was polite, and accommodating.                1. It was as if Peter said, "Look Lord, you are a good                   teacher, you tell the people fascinating things about                   God, but I am the fisherman, I know fish, I know their                   habits, I know this lake, this is not the time of day                   to fish."                2. Peter in his response also admitted to failure. "We                   have fished all night and caught nothing."                3. Have you ever had one of those days, when everything                   seemed go wrong, one of those days that seemed to be so                   fruitless, nothing seemed to go right, and at the end                   of the day you wondered why you even got out of bed in                   the morning?                4. That's the kind of night Peter had had, and now this                   Teacher who has probably never tossed out a net in His                   life is telling me how to fish.        B. Though Peter mildly objected, yet still we must note that he           did obey.                1. His obedience was in blind faith in that it was against                    everything that he knew.                        a. His knowledge and understanding of these waters                           and fish told him that it would only be                           fruitless to go out at this time of day to try                           to catch anything.                        b. He looked upon the command as a foolish                           command, yet he obeyed.                2. His experience was telling him one thing and this man                   is commanding him to do something that to him did not                   make sense.                3. Nevertheless, at Your word, I will let down the net. II. The result of obeying in blind faith. "And when they had done this    they immediately enclosed a great number of fish and the net broke."        A. Peter had never seen so many fish in his whole life.                1. He was so excited that he did not at first comprehend                   the implications and meaning of the success.                2. He called for his partners James and John who were                   still on shore to come out in their ship, and they                   began to fill their ships with fish until they began to                   sink with the weight of the fish.                3. It was at this point that Peter realized the meaning of                   this miracle.                4. This man sitting in the ship who had taught the people                   so many wonderful things about God their heavenly                   Father, was no ordinary man. I believe that light of                   revelation began to dawn in Peter's heart this moment,                   which later was to burst forth in full revelation when                   at Caesarea Phillipi he will declare, "You are the                   Messiah, the Son of the living God."        B. Peter's response was to fall down at the knees of Jesus and           say, "Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord."                1. In the recognition of who Jesus was came the                   recognition of what he was.                2. This is always true, you never truly see yourself until                   you see yourself in the light of Jesus and who He truly                   is.                        a. Isaiah's vision of the throne of God, "Woe is                           me, for I am a man of unclean lips."                        b. The result of Daniel's vision of Jesus, "My                           beauty turned into corruption."                3. You see a man who is proud and arrogant in his self                   righteousness, this man has never met Jesus. There is                   more hope for a prostitute or drunkard to enter the                   kingdom of heaven than him.                4. It is not until you see yourself as a hopeless sinner                   that you will seek the help of Jesus to redeem your                   lost soul.                5. Our problem is that we usually just see ourselves in                   the light of each other, and in your light, I don't                   look that bad.                        a. In some light I don't look too bad, say 40 watt                           bulbs. But to look at the reflection of                           yourself in bright light is often devastating.                        b. So as we stand about and talk to each other, in                            the light of each other we look pretty good.                           But let the light of Jesus shine, and we then                           behold the truth as every ugly flaw is exposed.                        c. Jesus spoke of men not wanting to come to the                           light because they loved the darkness rather                           than the light because their deeds were evil. III. The higher calling of Jesus. "From now on you will catch men."        A. As soon as Peter acknowledged his sin, the Lord was able to           cleanse and call him to a higher avocation than just catching           fish.                1. Peter said, "I am a sinful man." Jesus answered "Don't                   be afraid from now on you are going to catch men."                2. I am always blessed and amazed at the men that God                   calls to catch men.                        a. They are not always the men that I would                           choose, the cultured, the elite, the                           fashionable, the brilliant.                        b. Quite often he calls the street fighter, the                            brawler, the drug addict, the alcoholic.                3. We see this fulfilled in the book of Acts as we watch                   Peter casting out the gospel net and catching men for                   Jesus Christ.                        a. In the second chapter of Acts we find around                           3,000 men accepting Jesus.                        b. In chapter 4 we see another 5,000.        B. Just think of the thousands of men who have spent their lives           around the sea of Galilee, and have daily made their living by           pulling fish out of that body of water. They have lived and           they have died, they are unknown and nameless to the           world.                1. There are four fishermen whose names have become                   household words throughout the centuries and throughout                   the world, whose lives have made a tremendous impact                   upon the world, upon you and me.                2. What sets these four men apart from the others?                        a. They met Jesus and came to recognize Him and                           the Messiah, the promised Savior of the world.                        b. They obeyed His call to carry the message of                           His love and His gospel to all the world. IV. Lessons that this story teaches us.        A. Using our own skills, knowledge and efforts we can be a total           failure. We can fish all night and catch nothing.                1. In the ministry I think of all the years that I fished                   and caught comparably nothing, as I used all my skills                   and efforts.                2. Yet what a vast difference when our lives become                   directed by the Lord. "At Thy word, I will do it."                        a. You cast the nets in the same place,                        b. You cast the nets the same way.                        c. The only difference is that they are now so                            full that you have difficulty trying to draw                           them in.                3. What makes the difference?                        a. The difference is your service is now directed                           by Him.                        b. It is no longer doing it out of your experience                           and skills.                4. The net result is that He gets the recognition and                   glory for the success.        B. Faith acts upon the word of the Lord, that may even be contrary           to my experience and understanding. "At Thy word, I will do           it."                1. Peter's past experience would keep him from trying to                   catch any fish at this time of day.                2. Peter following his own instincts would have gone home                   and gone to bed, and try fishing another day.        C. We need to see the Lord in truth to see the truth about             ourselves.                1. Standing in His light I see myself in the true light.                2. The truth is I am a sinful man. I need cleansing, I                   need forgiveness, I need redemption.        D. God can use anyone in His service of catching men for Him.                           Common people like fishermen, mechanics, grocery clerks,           housewives. 1CO 1:26    For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men                after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are                called]:1CO 1:27    But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to                confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of                the world to confound the things which are mighty;1CO 1:28    And base things of the world, and things which are despised,                hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring                to nought things that are:1CO 1:29    That no flesh should glory in his presence.Revised 1997.07.04




Luke 5:4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

Luke 5:1-12 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennes-aret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

It was inconvenient for Peter to loan Jesus the Ship, it would take time and ENERGY TO MAKE THE BOAT READY. Peter was involved in at least three things.

(a). He Was Washing The Nets.
Luke 5:2 ...... “the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.”

1. Before Peter and the men could rest they must first wash their nets, to rid them of sand and pebbles accumulated during the night’ work. (Vincent Word Study).

2. This action tell us that the disciples were not lazy men who scorned work like so many of our day.
GOD IS LOOKING FOR BUSY MEN AND WOMEN. Elisha, David, Peter, James, John, was busy when God called them to WORK FOR HIM:
2 Thess 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Prov 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

(b). He Was Weary In Body.
Luke 5:5 ...... “we have toiled all the night,”
TOILED= (exhausting toil, work, labour to the point of weary)

ILLUSTRATION: My Boy and Myself laying carpet all night in a church 140 miles away from home we got weary in body, but we keep tolling all day and night until the job was done.
Gal 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
2 Thess 3:13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

(c). He Was Without Fish.
Luke 5:5 .......... “and have taken nothing:”

1. How many times have we said, it’s no use, I’ll never make a dine at this business, only to turn it over to Jesus and watch Him make SOMETHING WONDERFUL OUT OF NOTHING.
ILLUSTRATION: We started a Carpet store in 1979 in the heart of a depressed economy. How God blessed when we Gave Him The Business. In 1982 we were the number one store in "The quality carpet Centers", the Lord had blessed above and beyond anything we could have ever imagined.

Luke 5:4 “Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep...”

1.he spoke to Simon Peter, being the master of the vessel, to thrust it out, or put it off further into
deep water, more convenient for fishing;

(a). The Simple Command.

Luke 5:5 .... “Launch Out”...

1. How many small churches stay small because they have no interest in launching out into the DEEP. They pay their pastor a shallow pay, they participate in shallow missions, their efforts to reach the lost are shallow. Many churches have said “We’ve never did it this way before.” And they are right, THEY HAVE NEVER DONE ANYTHING FOR GOD BEFORE.

(b). The Significant Response.
Luke 5:5 .... nevertheless at...... “ thy word” ..
1. Jesus told the Pharisees and Scribes, they through their tradition:
Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

2. We should always respond to the Word Of God.
1 Thess 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

III. THE LETTING DOWN OF THE SNARE. (“trap, net, web”)
Luke 5:5 ... “I will let down the net.”....

(a). Peter’s Perception Of Christ.
Luke 5:5 And Simon answering said unto him, “Master”.....

1. When you deem Jesus as your MASTER, your DEDICATION will be SUPERB.
Matt 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

(b). Peter’s Proposition To Christ’s Word.
Luke 5:5 nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

1. Peter had toiled all night and caught nothing.
2. What Peter was doing was contrary to HUMAN REASONING and THINKING, He was a PROFESSIONAL FISHERMEN. ..... He had been their all NIGHT.

ILLUSTRATION: My Call From God To Preach: ..... against all human reasoning no one could believe that God called POOR COUNTRY BOY TO PREACH. That was over 37 years ago and this "poor - rich in Jesus" country boy is still preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and honor for ever and ever Amen!
Peter Answered the COMMAND of Jesus “launch out into the deep,” The PROMISE Jesus had made to Peter was “for a draught”. .(we never know unless we take the leap of faith)

Luke 5:6-10 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

(a). The Stress On The Net.
Luke 5:6 ...... “and their net brake.”

1. Little Is Much, When God Is In It! ...... Amen! and Amen!

ILLUSTRATION: When we came to Pewee Valley Baptist Church, we had no missionaries, now we have 31 with a faith promise of $33,500.000. We were in debt to the bank and now we are debt free. ...... Little is much when God is in it. We had no money in the bank now we have money in the bank, we can pay our bills ... to God be the Glory! Over 30 boy’s and girl’s were saved during Vacation Bible School this year ... God is Good.

(c). The Seeking Of Help.
Luke 5:7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

1. If we continue to let down at the “WORD OF THE LORD” we will need more help, It is a picture of Christian cooperation in service.

John 4:35-38 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

1 Cor 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

(c). The Sinking Of The Boats.
Luke 5:7 And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

1. The boats did not completely sink but only began to sink.
2. The boats were overloaded with fish.
3. Peter recognized His Sinfulness.
Rom 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?    (Have you repented of your sinfulness, the sin of rejecting Jesus as Saviour, of missing out on the blessing of know Him as Lord. Are you saved today, ready to meet the Lord?)


"We Have Toiled All the Night, & Have Taken Nothing!"
Luke 5:1-11
Dr. Steven G. Cook

I. Introduction

  1. READ TEXT - Luke 5:1-11
  2. Mark the phrase, "We have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing!"
  3. Background - Our story takes place on the Sea of Galilee; There was a great multitude of people who came to Jesus to "hear the Word of God!"; Since He is the Creator of All that there is, He best knew how to use creation, so He entered into Simon Peter’s boat and compelled Peter to "thrust out a little from the shore"; He then sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
  4. This was not the first time that Peter had met Jesus:
    1. 1st Time - (John 1:35-42) - In Jerusalem, Jesus met John, Andrew, and Simon Peter, as well as Phillip and Nathaniel.
    2. 2nd Time - (Matt. 4:19; Mk. 1:17) At their second meeting, the Lord called Simon Peter and Andrew, who were fishing, to "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." At that time they left fishing and followed Him "for a while", but now they had returned to their former occupations of fishing.
    3. 3rd Meeting - (Luke 5:1-11) It is the 3rd meeting that we find our text - Here the Lord Jesus "Encourages" them to AGAIN follow Him - "FEAR NOT; from henceforth thou shalt catch men." (Lk. 5:10)
  5. How gracious our Lord to suffer those of us who start out well and go back to our former manner of lives! #. We find in this text many valuable lessons in the Christian life.
  6. Peter’s Failure (Lk. 5:5a)
  7. It is probable that at least 7 of the original 12 disciples called by the Lord were fishermen.
  8. Fishermen generally have the qualities that make for success in serving the Lord - courage; daring; patience; determination; & usually a great deal of faith! Also, fishermen must be willing to work together (using nets, not hooks) as well as help one another!
  9. There is certainly not enough church members today that are willing to do these things!
  10. When the Lord came to the Sea of Galilee that morning, He saw Peter and the other fishermen "washing their nets"; Most of us would have been inclined to sell our nets if we had fished all night and caught nothing!
  11. Following the Lord’s teaching of the multitude, Jesus instructed Peter to "Launch out into the deep, and let down your netS for a draught."
  12. The kind of fishing that Christ wanted Peter and the others to do required "DEEP Water" - Not bank fishing or trolling along the shores!!
  13. It is at this time that Peter confesses his failure! Notice - "Master, WE have Toiled all the night, and have taken NOTHING!" (Lk. 5:5)
  14. The first great lesson we need to learn as Christians is that "Anything that BEGINS with WE will ultimately END with NOTHING!"
  15. Peter said a mouthful, and as usual, he did not even realize it!!
  16. Christian friend, have YOU been toiling all the night and caught nothing???
  17. There are so many frustrated Christians in the church today! Many have attempted great things, only to fail, and in their frustration, they, like Peter and his fishing friends, have stopped following the Lord!
  18. Peter’s Faith (Luke 5:5b-7)
  19. Peter was hesitant to believe that going back would accomplish anything.
  20. This is evidenced in the fact that the Lord said netS (plural), and Peter said net (singular).
  21. So often we, as Christians, are inclined to only believe God "up to a point", then we tend to waver in our faithfulness!
  22. God, however, sometimes blesses us in spite of ourselves just to Encourage Us!
  23. Notice the great multitude of fishes that they caught!
  24. It was so great that their NET Brake! Oh, the grace of our great God Who chooses to break our nets just to prove us!
  25. Even their ships could not contain the "blessings that are to be had by obeying the Lord’s commands!"
  26. Peter’s Fear (Luke 5:8-9)
  27. When Peter realized his own futility in trying to live his life apart from the power of God on his life, he fell down before the Lord in Reverent Fear!
  28. Peter had given up trying to be a "Fisher of Men", and had gone back to what he thought that he was good at - "A Fisher of Fish!"
  29. It didn’t take the Lord long at all to help Peter realize that apart from Him he could do NOTHING Well; Not even FISH!!
  30. Peter fell down and confessed, "Depart from me; for I am a SINFUL Man, O Lord."
  31. When is the last time that you fell down at the feet of Jesus and confessed your sinfulness???
  32. When we get away from God, then it is not unusual to think the way that Peter thought!
  33. Peter’s Forsaking & Following (Luke 5:10-11)
  34. What was the Lord’s purpose for this great object lesson???
  35. "FEAR NOT; from henceforth thou shalt catch MEN!"
  36. Christ Encouraged Peter for the specific purpose of making a True Disciple (Follower).
  37. God is so gracious to bless us in spite of ourselves!
  38. Romans 2:4 - "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"
  39. Neither Peter nor his fishing partners could despise such GOODNESS & FORBEARANCE of Christ, so they did the only logical thing - "They forsook ALL, and followed HIM!" (vs. 11b)

VI. Conclusion


An Illogical Command

Luke 5:1-11


1. Luke 5:1-11.

2. Peter and the others had just returned from an unsuccessful all night fishing trip.


1. Jesus’ Request (Command) – 5:4.

a) Launch out into the deep and let down your nets. This must have seemed illogical to Peter.

i) Jesus asked them to do the very thing they had been doing all night.

ii) They had been fishing in the same unproductive waters.

iii) They were tired physically.

iv) They were already cleaning their nets.

b) Bible contains numerous commands that seemed illogical to man.

i) The capture of Jericho -Joshua 6:1-21.

ii) Gideon’s victory over the Midianites – Judges 6:1-21.

iii) Cleansing of Naaman the leper – II Kings 5:1-14.

2. Peter’s Reluctance – 5:5.

a) "Master, we have toiled all night and taken nothing, nevertheless."

i) Peter seems to be saying, "It won’t work, but if it will make you happy, we’ll do it anyway."

ii) But notice the reward for his obedience.

b) We ought to obey God’s commands willingly, rather than reluctantly.

i) Jesus demonstrated this attitude prior to his death (nevertheless) - Matthew 26:28-31.

ii) Paul saw a need to continue living in the flesh even though this was contrary to what he desired (nevertheless) - Philippians 1:23-24.

3. Peter’s Reaction – 5:8-9.

a) "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord". Why is Peter now acknowledging his sin?

i) Realizes he is in the presence of deity.

ii) Realizes the sin of his reluctance in obeying God.

b) Peter now realizes what all of us must realize before we are fit to serve Christ.

i) The deity of Christ.

ii) His own sins.


1. Peter’s obedience serves as an example for us.



Forsaking All

Luke 5:1-11


1. Burning bridges.

2. Luke 5:1-11.

3. Forsake (Thayer’s) – To depart from one and leave him to himself. Thus, also, to leave possessions, home, etc. They forsook all. Quote - "What does it mean to deny self? It’s not giving up some things you don’t want anyway. It is to accept something you thought you could never accept, abandon something you desperately want to cling to; and assume a responsibility you’d much rather avoid" (source unknown).


1. We must be willing to give up the pleasures of sin.

a) The scriptures teach that sin is often pleasurable – Hebrews 11:24-25. But notice when people spend their time in sin, they are making a "bad investment." The pleasures of sin are only temporary – Hebrews 11:24-25, Job 20:5.

b) Whereas the pleasures of sin are temporary, the consequences of sin are eternal – Matthew 25:41, 46, Luke 16:25-26, Romans 6:23, I Corinthians 6:9-10, II Thessalonians 1:7-9.

2. We must be willing to please God rather than ourselves.

a) Many people, often even those in the religious world, often profess to love God but are but are unwilling to abandon their own desires and beliefs.

b) When we become Christians, Christ becomes our very reason for living – Matthew 7:21, Galatians 2:20, Philippians 1:20-21.

3. We must be willing to part with the world.

a) Paul realized that when he was crucified with Christ, he was crucified unto the world – Galatians 6:14.

b) As Christians, we are to separate ourselves from the world and "come out from among them" – I Corinthians 5:9-10, II Corinthians 6:14-17, I John 2:15-17.

4. We must be willing to pay the cost of self-denial.

a) Self-denial simply means the ability to say no to yourself – Matthew 19:16-30.

b) Jesus taught the necessity of our denying ourselves if we are to follow him - Luke 9:23-24.

5. We must be productive.

a) As Christians, we are to bear fruit – John 15:1-8, II Peter 1:5-11.

b) Our labor is not in vain – I Corinthians 15:58.


1. Consider Peter’s response after the incident of the rich young ruler – Mathew 19:16-30.

2. Illustration of Cortez burning his ships. When Cortez landed in Vera Cruz in 1519 to conquer Mexico he purposely set fire to his fleet of eleven ships. His mean watched as their only means of retreat sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. With no means of retreat, the only direction they could go was forward.

3. When we became Christians, we ought to have burned any bridges that lead back to the world.

Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more