Introduction: Have you ever made a spur of the moment decision to do
something? How did that work out? Often, last-minute decisions are
a bad idea because they give us little time to prepare. If we go
for a hike, we need to consider what kind of clothes to wear, what
kind of shoes we need, and whether we need something to repel bugs
or the sun. We might even need a GPS! If we have a work project, we
find the tools and supplies that we need to accomplish the task. If
we decide on a certain career, we go to school to prepare for it.
Is witnessing and evangelism any different? If we want to be
effective, we need to prepare. Ephesians 6 is a great chapter about
how to prepare. But, this week we will look at other ways to
prepare. Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can

  1. Fishers of Men

    1. Read Mark 1:14-18. If you were Jesus, and the time had
      come to preach the good news that you had come, would you
      choose these two? Do they strike you as being “prepared?”

      1. What are the positive aspects of choosing fishermen?
        (In a general sense, they were in the “catching”
        business. They were also willing.)

      2. What are the negative aspects of choosing fisherman?
        (No theological training. They seemed to know
        nothing about the business of evangelizing.)

      3. What did Jesus promise to do for them? (If they will
        follow Him, He “will make [them] fishers of men.”)

    2. What hope does this historical account give us? (We have
      previously discussed the issue of natural and spiritual
      gifts, but this shows us that Jesus can train us for
      witnessing and evangelism. Jesus will prepare us.)

  2. The Think Big Training

    1. Read Matthew 14:14-15. Would you make such a suggestion?
      This is being practical, right? This is a person who is
      paying attention to reality. A person who is not so
      heavenly minded that he is of no earthly good (to
      paraphrase a popular saying). Right?

      1. Is there anything wrong with this suggestion? (No.
        It makes sense.)

    2. Read Matthew 14:16. Recall that Jesus told them that He
      would make them fishers of men. Is this fisher of men
      training – being asked to carry part of the load of
      helping others?

    3. Read Matthew 14:17. Is this fisher of men training – to
      be logical and reasonable?

      1. Look again at the response the disciples made to
        Jesus. Are they “following Jesus?” (Remember, Jesus
        said “follow Me” and I will make you fishers of men.
        They are not following Jesus, they are questioning

    4. Read Matthew 14:18-21. What lesson should the disciples
      have learned about becoming fishers of men? (Jesus’
      miracles extend to practical things. Jesus could have
      reasonably sent the crowd away to go eat. But, God
      encourages us to “think big” – even when it comes to
      practical things that are not strictly needed, but which
      help to advance the Kingdom of God.)

  3. Making the Main Thing the Main Thing

    1. Let’s continue on with the training! Read Matthew 15:1-2.
      My hope is that the disciples washed their hands before
      they started handing out all that bread and fish! Do you
      agree with the religious leaders?

    2. Read Matthew 15:3-6. Have you ever done what Jesus
      appears to be doing? Someone criticizes you and in
      response you criticize them for something they do wrong?

      1. Have you ever heard that two wrongs do not make a

      2. Have you any defense for Jesus’ defense? (The hand
        washing thing is a tradition of men. The failure to
        help your elderly parents is a violation of God’s
        law – the Ten Commandments. Jesus is saying that you
        criticize my followers over small matters, while you
        teach people to violate the Ten Commandments.)

    3. Read Matthew 15:7-11. What lesson is Jesus teaching for
      those who want to be fishers of men? (That we should not
      get bogged down with the teachings of humans. We need to
      keep God’s requirements front and center.)

      1. How do we do that? (Jesus teaches that this is a
        “heart” thing. A heart for others does not get
        bogged down in the petty religious requirements
        created by humans.)

    4. Read Matthew 15:12-14. Why did the disciples care about
      giving offense? (I don’t like to offend people. Jesus was
      generally against giving offense ( Matthew 17:27). But,
      when someone is leading others astray, you can (and
      should) leave them alone. Some fish get tossed back in
      the water because they are dangerous to others in the

    5. Read Matthew 15:15-20. Peter asks Jesus for an
      explanation of this, and Jesus says, “How dumb are you?”
      Is there a lesson in this for us? (The point we are about
      to study is not a close theological question. If you
      disagree about Jesus’ conclusion, you are a dope.)

      1. In our evangelism, what should be the target of our
        efforts? (The mind.)

        1. Why? (It is the source of the evil in our

        2. Why do you think that the first thing Jesus
          lists is “evil thoughts?” (Our thoughts are the
          foundation for our evil deeds.)

        3. What would you do to target the mind? (We
          should work on changing opinions, not on
          changing the outward appearance. Our main goal
          is to change hearts, not change diets or
          clothes. A change in heart brings change in the

  4. The Faith Component

    1. Read Matthew 17:14-16. What report do we have on the
      evangelism efforts of Jesus’ disciples? (Fail! The
      disciples tried to heal the boy, but they failed.)

    2. Read Matthew 17:17-18. Who is being addressed here? The
      father? The boy? The disciples? (I think the

    3. Read Matthew 17:19. Why did the disciples come to Jesus
      privately? (This confirms they were the target of Jesus’
      words. They came privately because they did not
      understand why they failed. They did not understand how
      Jesus’ words applied to them. They did not want to be
      publically humiliated again.)

    4. Read Matthew 17:20. What was wrong? (A lack of faith.)

      1. How can we relate this to our first story – the one
        about feeding the crowd? (Jesus asks us to have
        faith that nothing is impossible for us. Just a
        small amount of faith can do great things. The
        failure to have faith shows us to be an “unbelieving
        and perverse generation.)

      2. How do we reconcile this instruction with our desire
        to do God’s will? Don’t we normally say, when
        someone is not healed, “It was not God’s will?” We
        don’t say, “We are a wicked and perverse generation
        that lacks even a mustard seed of faith – that is
        why this person died.” Which should we say?

        1. Could there be any doubt about God’s will in
          the situation of this boy?

    5. Read John 15:5-7. Jesus again promises to give us what we
      ask, if we satisfy certain conditions. How does Jesus
      describe the condition? (Remaining in Jesus describes
      faith. We have to be connected to Jesus. This connection
      should give us an insight into His will.)

      1. I always get worried when we use terms like being
        “connected” to Jesus. What does that mean, as a
        practical matter? (Read John 15:26. This connection
        is the presence of the “Counselor” – the Holy

      2. Is your life filled with the Holy Spirit? Do you
        seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit on who to heal?

    6. Friend, we need Jesus to make us fishers of men. Part of
      that training is to think big, to understand and be
      focused on what is important, and to keep a solid faith
      connection with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. The Holy
      Spirit will give us the power and direction to do the
      great and important things to advance the Kingdom of God.

  5. Next week: Releasing Into Ministry.