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Sermons and Outlines

Mark 1:16-20


Intro: As the morning dawned, the sky turned from a dark black to purple to pink to blue. The men in the boats were used to seeing the sun rise. After all, they were fishermen! Their job required them to fish during the cool of the night when the fish were feeding. After a long night of fishing, all that was left was to clean the catch, mend the nets and sell the fish to those who sold in the markets. For these men, fishing was a lucrative business. In fact, some of their catch would be salted down and transported all the way to Rome. Who knows? Maybe even Caesar himself would someday eat of the fish they caught in the Sea of Galilee. As they finished their work for the night, preparing to go home and sleep a few hours before they must return to their boats for another day's work, a man they all know passed by on the shore. He only spoke just a very few words to them, but those words would forever change the course of their lives.

Such may have been the scene there on the Sea of Galilee that morning when Jesus passed by the boats where Peter, John, Andrew and James were working. His call to those four men forever changed their lives! You see, the public ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ is just commencing. One of His first acts is to choose those 12 men who will assist Him in His work. He was busy calling ordinary men to do the work of God.

By the way, He is still calling folks! He is calling men to come to Himself for salvation. He is calling them to come to Him for service. Friend, He is calling! I wonder if the Lord is calling you for something this morning? The verses that we have read today reveal something about this matter of the Lord call. In fact, there are several marks that are revealed in these verse concerning the call of the Lord. I want to examine these marks this morning. Let us do so, so that when He calls, you will know that it is Him!

As we look at these characteristics that mark the Lord's call, I want to ask you this question: Is Jesus Calling You? If He has been speaking to your heart about you salvation, your service, or any other area of your life, this is your message. I believe the marks we will study today will help you see that which the Lord has planned for you.


A. This is seen in the fact that He walked up to those boats and called those four men specifically. There were, no doubt, other boats anchored there that day, but He chose to call the men in those two boats. He called them personally.

(Ill. So it is with us. The call of the Lord is an intensely personal matter. He calls us, He deals with us and He does so one on one!)

B. When He calls them, He finds them working. Peter and Andrew are casting their net. John and James are mending theirs. It seems that His call to them fit perfectly with their personalities. For instance, Peter and Andrew were always casting the Gospel net! They were either preaching fiery sermons, or they were out witnessing to people one on one. They were casting that net. On the other hand, James and John seemed more interested in mending the nets to ensure that the fish caught by others did not swim away. Their main emphasis seemed to be the progression and growth of the church and the body of Christ.

(Ill. By the way, both are desperately needed! The point here is this: the Lord designed and gifted each of us individually and for a purpose. He will take us with our strengths and our weaknesses and He will use us to do His work. Not all of us have the same giftedness! But God has a personal place for each of us to labor. The question is: are you filling that place? Or, are you somewhere you shouldn't be?)

C. This event describes the second encounter these men have had with Jesus. The first time, John 1:35-42, they met Him in salvation. Here, they are called into His service. Friend, regardless of what this life leads you into, the most important thing in the world is having that first, all-important meeting with the Lord Jesus Christ. However, getting saved does not end the story for any of us. After the Lord saves us, He wants us to move deeper with Him. He desires that we become disciples, Matt. 16:24; Eph. 4:13. By the way, when the call of God comes your way for service, it is a call about which God will never change His mind, Rom. 11:29.

D. Regardless of the type of call that comes our way in life, whether it be for salvation, sanctification, service, separation or surrender, that call needs to be heeded and never ignored!


A. When Jesus passed by that day, the real call was felt in the hearts of the four men who left all to follow Him. No doubt their hearts were touched and they felt a strange power drawing them to go after Jesus. You will notice that neither Zebedee, nor the servants, received the call, v. 20.

B. So it is with any call from God. No man knows what is happening in a person's heart until they make the fact of what God is doing public. His call is personal and private. It is between the Lord and the person with whom He is dealing.

(Note: Evidently, the Lord had been dealing with the hearts of these men since they had first met Him. That explains why they reacted instantly when He called them to follow Him. I wonder, what is the Lord saying to your heart today? Is He calling you to be saved? Is He calling you to some kind of Christian service? Is He calling you to leave all and follow Him? If He is speaking to your heart, do not ignore Him, but come to Him now and trust Him by faith!)


A. The Lord does His private work, but He gets no glory until His will is worked out publicly. These men are called upon to make a public stand for Jesus. They are called upon to publicly line themselves up with Him, His doctrine and His program.

B. Through the years, there have been a few servants of the Lord who tried to keep their love for Him quiet, (Joseph - John 19:38; Nicodemus - John 7:51). However, their attempts at private service did not last long. God did not save us and call us so that we could hide ourselves away and pretend that we are just like everyone else. His call demands that we take our stand with Him, regardless of what others may say about us!

C. Friends, we live in a world that is headed to Hell. They are trapped in darkness. They are lost and they need help. One of the best ways we can help them is to live openly, and honestly for the glory of God. We are called to be "Salt and Light", Matt. 5:13-16 in the world. Our duty is to live a clean, holy and public life for the glory of God.

(Note: Friend, if the Lord has saved you and you have never made that fact know publicly, you need to do that today! If the Lord has called you to be on the job for Him, the time to hide your light under a bushel is over! Now is the time to go to work for the Lord, John 9:4.)


A. These men were not special people. They were not highly educated. They were not especially wealthy. They were not among the movers and the shakers of that society. Nothing set them apart from the thousands of others who lived around the Sea of Galilee. Yet, the Lord chose them and called them to be the first of His followers. What a privilege they enjoyed!

(Note: This has always been God's way! He chose David over all his older, larger brothers, 1 Sam. 16. He chose Moses, who at the ripe old age of 80 was a murderer and a fugitive from justice, Ex. 3. He chose Abraham from all the thousands of other men who lived in Ur of the Chaldees, Gen. 12. He chose Paul, who hated the church and who hated Jesus Christ, Acts 9, 1 Tim. 1:15. He chose a small boy and his lunch to feed a multitude, John 6. What I am trying to show is that Jesus often chooses those whom no one else would choose.)

B. The very fact that a person gets saved and then is allowed to serve the Lord is a privilege and a blessing beyond comparison! After all, we deserve to be in Hell today! In fact, the only reason we have hope today is because of God's grace! To think that He would save sinners and then use then to carry out His work is a truth that is precious beyond belief! He takes us like we are, saves us by His grace and puts us into His service, 2 Cor. 4:7. That is what the Lord does!

C. Friend, you should never take the salvation of the Lord for granted! What He did when He called you and saved you is a thing more precious that the mind can comprehend! If the Lord is calling you to come to Jesus for salvation, do not spurn His call! If He is calling you to a deeper level of service, do not hesitate, but go full out for Jesus! His call is precious!


A. These men were called upon to make some real expensive choices. They were to leave their friends, their family, their fortune, basically the only life they had ever known. They were expected to trade the certain for the uncertain; the visible to the invisible; the known for the unknown, their ability for their inability; the possible for the impossible. These men knew fishing inside out, but they were helpless when it came to doing that which Jesus was calling them to do. His call was a call that would cost them everything. In the end, all but one would die for this man Who was calling them to follow Him. This call was a pricey call for every one of them. Yet, they determined that the price was worth paying. The Bible says that they "forsook their nets". This word means "they severed all their ties with the nets.". They walked off and left everything behind. Jesus was worth more to them than anything they may have been walking away from.

B. When the call of Jesus comes in your life and mine, we need to understand that often it will cost us plenty. Of course, His salvation is free and His power to serve is given to us freely by grace, but the cost of being saved and of selflessly serving the Lord is often a high price to pay. There will be those who will not understand it when you get saved. They will not understand the change in your life. They will not understand the desire to follow Him alone. They will not understand the differences that He will make in your life. They will not understand how you can give up everything to walk with Him. It won't make sense to them, and as a result, many will turn their backs on you and have nothing further to do with you, Matt. 10:34-39!

C. He would have us come to the place where we value Him and His will more than anything else in this world. It will be only when Jesus is more precious that family, friends, fortunes, anything, that we will be able to give Him the service He deserves. Sometimes, what we are called to give up is nothing more than nets. At other times, we are called upon to walk out on things that are really precious to us. We have to come to the place where Jesus is more precious than anything else in the world.

If anyone ever tells you that serving he Lord is an easy road, they are lying to you! There will be trials. There will be self-sacrifice. There will be problems. There will be enemies. However, with all the difficulties that rear their ugly heads as we pass through this world, Jesus is worth them all!

D. Is He calling you to be saved? Is He calling you to do service to Him? Let me encourage you to delay no longer, but to come to Him and get busy for the glory of God.


A. When these men stepped out of their ships and went after Jesus, they experienced a powerful change of life. Their lives were never the same, ever again. When they left their nets, their ships, their incomes, their friends, it resulted in their doing just what Jesus was doing: walking! When they started out after Him, they started walking His direction, to His destination, at His speed and in His steps. When they walked away, they were never able to make return to the old life. They tried, but they could not go all the way back, John 21. Jesus changed everything for these men!

B. When the call of Jesus comes to a life, whether it be for salvation or for service, there is a powerful change that takes place in the life of the one who follows Him. This change is so great that a return to the old way of life is difficult to imagine, 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 John 2:19.

His call and our obedience to it will result in our leaving our path to follow His path, in our walking in His direction, to His destination, at His speed and in His steps. It is so powerful that the person called wants to forsake everything that stands between us and our walking with Him.

C. There are those who have experienced the call of God to follow Him. However, they chose to hang on to the things of the world, Luke 9:59-62, Matt. 19:16-26. Friend, don't let that happen to you. If He is calling you, allow nothing to stand in your way of experiencing His life changing power firsthand! If you ever meet Him and respond to His call, you will never be the same!

Conc: When Jesus came walking by those ships that day, those four men were not wasting their time. Two were casting nets. This was important, because if you do not cast a net, you will not catch the fight. Two others were mending their nets, they knew that if their were holes in the nets any fish that would be caught would have swam free. They were busy, but they were not doing anything of an eternal nature. In other words, they would have lived their lives, died and been forgotten had Jesus not called them and had they not followed Him. When they followed Him, they received a life that produced something with eternal significance. That is what He does to ever life He touches! He takes us away from the mundane and the shallow and places us in a position where we can be a part of something that will last forever.

As I close, I want to ask you a few questions.

1. In which world are you laying up your treasures?

2. Would you like to live a life of eternal significance?

3. Is Jesus calling you to come to Him today for salvation? For sanctification? For service?

4. What will you do with His call?

Friend, this altar is open right now. Just as He passed by those boats by the Sea of Galilee that morning, He is passing by your heart right now. I know He is speaking to someone right now. If He is calling you, the time to come to Him is right now. Will you respond to the Lord's call and will you come to Him?

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