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The Parable of the Net

    Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad fish away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. Then angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. -- Matthew 13:47-50

Christ's parables were designed to interest all classes of people. The laborer, the farmer, the shepherd, and the fisherman all enjoyed the divine truth brought down to their level of understanding and interest. In this parable, Christ likens the kingdom of heaven to a fishing net cast into the sea. The net encloses within it many kinds of fish which, when full, are brought to shore, where the good are separated from the bad. This will occur, Christ says, at the end of the age, and the angels will be entrusted to do the separating.

In the parable, the world is represented by the waters of the lake, which abounds with all kinds of fish, representing the good along with the bad of mankind.

The net is the gospel, which catches all sorts of men. Many will be attracted by the gospel, but not all who call "Lord, Lord" will be born again. Jesus said that only those who do the Father's will are going to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and that at the judgment day, there will be many who will argue that they had prophesied, driven out demons, and performed miracles in his name, yet who Jesus will say, "I never knew you." Many will be attracted to the gospel, but not all will accept it.





The net

  • The net is the gospel of Christ
    • Many will be attracted
    • Not all will enter into the kingdom of heaven
  • The gospel is adapted to the circumstances of all sinners
    • Embraces the whole world
    • Addressed to everyone
    • Speaks to man as man
    • Mark 16:15-18
  • Adapted to save sinners
    • Power of God
    • Salvation for all who believe and obey
  • Must be active
    • The net had to be let down into the lake
    • The gospel must be preached
      • Apostles specifically called to this task (Mark 15:16-18)
      • All Christians called to this task (Matthew 4:19, Mark 1:17)
  • Preaching the gospel is hard work
    • Fisherman's life has never been easy
    • The same is true of those who will be fishers of men
      • Wholly given to the task
      • Sacrifice comfort
      • Follow Christ in own life
      • The whole counsel of God
    • Gospel cannot be preached in vain
      • God's word shall not return to him void
  • Not everyone brought into the visible service of God are converted
    • The net catches every kind, the bad with the good
    • Not all members of a church are saved
      • Judas, Ananias, Sapphira, etc.
      • Many who enjoy having a form of religion
      • Many who are inconsistent, who may do well for a season, then fall off
  • Day of judgment
    • When the net is full and brought to shore
    • When the gospel dispensation is consummated
    • The end of the worldAngels will be the agents of separation, according to the parable of the weeds
    • Scrutiny will be exact
      • All the good will be gathered out, every sincere believer recognized
      • Every hypocrite and unconverted person will be detected
    • Fate of the ungodly will be terrible
      • Cast into the fiery furnace
      • Weeping and gnashing of teeth
    • Salvation of righteous will be certain

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