If we desire, as fishers of men, to be largely used of God, we must copy our Lord Jesus in everything, and obey Him in every point. Failure in obedience may lead to failure in success. Each one of us, if he would wish to see his child saved, or his Sunday School class blessed, or his congregation converted, must take care that, bearing the vessels of the Lord, he is himself clean. Anything we do that grieves the Spirit of God must take away from us some part of our power for good. The Lord is very gracious and pitiful; but yet He is a jealous God. He is sometimes sternly jealous towards His people who are living in neglect of known duty, or in associations which are not clean in His sight. He will wither their work, weaken their strength, and humble them until at last they each one say, “My Lord, I will take Thy way after all. I will do what Thou biddest me to do, for else Thou wilt not accept me.”
The Lord said to His disciples, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature: he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;” and He promised them that signs should follow, and so they did follow, and so they will. But we must get back to apostolic practice and to apostolic teaching; we must lay aside the commandments of men and the whimseys of our own brains, and we must do what Christ tells us, as Christ tells us, and because Christ tells us. Definitely and distinctly, we must take the place of servants; and if we will not do that, we cannot expect our Lord to work with us and by us. Let us be determined that, as true as the needle is to the pole, so true will we be, as far as our light goes, to the command of our Lord and Master.
Jesus says, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” By this teaching He seems to say, “Go beyond Me, or fall back away from Me, and you may cast the net; but it shall be night with you, and that night you shall take nothing. When you shall do as I bid you, you shall cast your net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find.”
Again, I think that there is a great lesson in my text to those who preach their own thoughts instead of preaching the thoughts of Christ. These disciples were to follow Christ that they might listen to Him, hear what He had to say, drink in His teaching, and then go and teach what He had taught them. Their Lord said, “What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.” If they will be faithful reporters of Christ’s message, He will make them “fishers of men.”
But you know the boastful method, nowadays, is this: “I am not going to preach this old, old gospel, this musty Puritan doctrine. I will sit down in my study, and burn the midnight oil, and invent a new theory; then I will come out with my brand-new thought, and blaze away with it.” Many are not following Christ, but following themselves, and of them the Lord may well say, “Thou shalt see whose word shall stand, Mine or theirs.” Others are wickedly prudent, and judge that certain truths which are evidently God’s Word, had better be kept back. You must not be rough, but must prophesy smooth things. To talk about the punishment of sin, to speak of eternal punishment, why, these are unfashionable doctrines. It may be that they are taught in the Word of God, but they do not suit the genius of the age; we must pare them down!
Brothers in Christ, I will have no share in this. Will you?
Spurgeon, Charles H (2012-03-27). The Soul Winner (Kindle Locations 2969-2995). Counted Faithful. Kindle Edition.