The Review and Herald


August 27, 1903

“Follow Me, and I Will Make You Fishers of Men”

[Sermon delivered in the church at Healdsburg, Cal., at the close of the Healdsburg College school year, May 30, 1903.]


“And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 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. RH August 27, 1903, par. 1

“Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 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 saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” RH August 27, 1903, par. 2

Prostrating himself, and clinging to the Saviour's knees, Peter begged Jesus to depart from him. He acknowledged that he was a sinful man. With great force there came to his mind the conviction that he was in the presence of the long-looked-for Messiah; and although he said to Christ, “Depart from me,” he did not really desire him to go away; he still clung to the Saviour's knees, as if he could not be parted from him. “And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” RH August 27, 1903, par. 3

When they had brought their ships to land, Peter and his companions forsook all, and followed Jesus. Thus were these humble fishermen called by the God of heaven to their life-work. RH August 27, 1903, par. 4

The Secret of Successful Ministry

Every one who in living faith follows Jesus, with an eye single to his glory, will see of the salvation of God just as surely as these discouraged fishermen saw their boats filled by the miraculous draught. It was because Christ was in the ship that they were successful in their efforts to catch fish. The indwelling presence of the Saviour is equally necessary in the work of winning souls. RH August 27, 1903, par. 5

In order to save the fallen race, Christ, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, laid aside his royal robe and kingly crown, clothed his divinity with humanity, and came to this earth as our Redeemer. Here he lived as a man among men, meeting the temptations that we must meet, and overcoming through strength from above. By his sinless life he demonstrated that through the power of God it is possible for man to withstand Satan's temptations. RH August 27, 1903, par. 6

We may endeavor to resist temptation in our own strength, doing our best to overcome; but we shall meet with disappointment after disappointment. And thus it is in our efforts to win men and women to the Saviour. Dependence on our own wisdom will result in repeated failure, causing us much anxiety and sorrow. This was the condition of mind in which Christ found the fishermen on the shore of the sea of Galilee, after their night of unrewarded labor. RH August 27, 1903, par. 7

Long had the fishermen toiled that night; often had they been disappointed, as time and again the net was drawn up empty. But now, at the bidding of the divine One, they launched out into the deep, and once more cast their net into the sea. And what an abundance of fish they gathered! The sight of the miraculous draught swept away their unbelief, and they were ready to respond to Christ's invitation to follow him, and learn to be fishers of men. RH August 27, 1903, par. 8

The breaking net, the sinking ship, the surprise and gratitude of Peter and his companions, their willingness to follow the Saviour and to do his bidding—all these are object lessons for us in the work of soul saving. However long and faithfully we may toil in our human strength, we can hope for no results for good; but as soon as we welcome Christ into the heart, he works with and through us, for the salvation of souls. RH August 27, 1903, par. 9

God has promised to co-operate with those who choose to labor in harmony with his purpose. We are to do our utmost to act our part faithfully, in order that he may demonstrate to the world what he can do through us. By baptism, we declared that, being dead to the world, we would henceforth remember that our life is “hid with Christ in God,” and that we have taken our position on the exalted platform of truth, there to work in unison with the hand that never fails. RH August 27, 1903, par. 10

“We are laborers together with God.” It is God that gives success to human endeavor. Without his presence with us, our efforts would amount to nothing. We are simply channels through which his blessings flow to our fellow beings. From every one in whose heart Christ is an abiding presence, will go forth a power that will influence others to accept the Saviour as their Redeemer. RH August 27, 1903, par. 11

The Training of Missionaries

Parents, train your children to become workers with you in the church. Educate them to take delight in the thought of being workers together with God. Impress upon their minds the fact that as they grow older, their opportunities for service will enlarge, and their power and ability will proportionately increase. Let them understand that those who give themselves to God will become channels of blessing to others who know him not. Teach them how to have power to prevail with God. If this were done faithfully by every parent, we should see consecrated workers everywhere. RH August 27, 1903, par. 12

I hope that many of those who are receiving an education in our schools, will go forth as missionaries accepted of God. I have faith to believe that he will work upon the hearts of teachers and students, and that they will be clothed with the robe of Christ's righteousness. RH August 27, 1903, par. 13

Opportunities for Service

To us is given the commission, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Are we preparing ourselves to engage in evangelistic house-to-house, work? RH August 27, 1903, par. 14

When school closes, there will be opportunity for many to go out into the field as evangelistic canvassers. The faithful colporteur finds his way into many homes, where he leaves precious reading-matter containing the truth for this time. RH August 27, 1903, par. 15

The Distribution of Literature

We should treat as a sacred treasure every line of printed matter containing present truth. Even the fragments of a pamphlet or of a periodical should be regarded as of value. Who can estimate the influence that a torn page containing the truths of the third angel's message may have upon the heart of some seeker after truth? Let us remember that somebody would be glad to read all the books and papers we can spare. Every page is a ray of light from heaven, to shine into the highways and the hedges, shedding light upon the pathway of truth. RH August 27, 1903, par. 16

In the miracle of feeding the multitude with a few loaves and fishes, the food was increased as it passed from Christ to those who accepted it. Thus it will be in the distribution of our publications. God's truth, as it is passed out, will multiply greatly. And as the disciples by Christ's direction gathered up the fragments which remained, that nothing should be lost, so we should treasure every fragment of literature containing the truth for this time. RH August 27, 1903, par. 17

The Ministry of Song

I am glad that a musical element has been brought into the Healdsburg school. In every school, instruction in singing is greatly needed. There should be much more interest in voice culture than is now generally manifested. Students who have learned to sing sweet gospel songs with melody and distinctness, can do much good as singing evangelists. They will find many opportunities to use the talent that God has given them, carrying melody and sunshine into many lonely places darkened by sin and sorrow and affliction, singing to those who seldom have church privileges. RH August 27, 1903, par. 18

Students, go out into the highways and the hedges. Endeavor to reach the higher as well as the lower classes. Enter the homes of the rich and the poor, and as you have opportunity, ask, “Would you be pleased to have us sing? We should be glad to hold a song service with you.” Then as hearts are softened, the way may open for you to offer a few words of prayer for the blessing of God. Not many will refuse. RH August 27, 1903, par. 19

Such ministry is genuine missionary work. God desires every one of us to be converted, and to learn to engage in missionary effort in earnest. He will bless us in this service for others, and we shall see of his salvation. RH August 27, 1903, par. 20

Our High Calling

Students, educate yourselves to speak in the language of Canaan, the language spoken in the heavenly school by the members of the royal family. Sternly determine to put away all foolish talking and jesting, all selfish amusements. By faith grasp God's promises, and determine that you will be Christians here below, while preparing for translation. RH August 27, 1903, par. 21

If you strip yourselves of every hindrance to progress in the Christian life, your minds will be worked by the Holy Spirit, and you will become indeed “fishers of men.” The salvation of God will go forth from you as a lamp that burneth. If your own hearts are filled with light from above, you have the privilege, wherever you may be, of shedding light upon those who are in darkness. Continuing steadfast in God's service unto the end, you will be granted an abundant entrance through the pearly gates into the heavenly city, where you will be greeted with the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” RH August 27, 1903, par. 22