Topic: No Fishing
Series: Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, The Simpsons
Episodes: Something Fishy (Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers), Bart's Not Dead (The Simpsons)
Lesson PDF link: No Fishing
We all know that Satan is literally our worst enemy, but think of your worst physical enemy (real or imagined), what would that person be like?
This person would likely be someone that lives a lie, is hateful, judgmental, wants the worst for you and acts on it, all subtly and behind your back--you would find out when things aren't working for your good and this person couldn't be happier. A real enemy won't have remorse.
What if I told you (the reader or class) that the world's worst physical enemy against you is, quite frankly, likely you?
We, as humans have the tendency to live a lie, we are hateful creatures, judgmental, act on it and we don't even know it. For the people that are of conscience and want to be perfect, this is a big problem. Mistakes and slips happen and we must be willing to be at peace with Jesus and then ourselves.
Pretend that all of your spiritual problems are in some lake or ocean; let's look at a clip from the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers episode: "Something Fishy."
What do you see?
Bulk and Skull are trying to catch fish at a lake where they aren't supposed to be. They are catching all of the junk and pollutants in the lake, including of all things, a "No Fishing" sign and no fish. Isn't this what we do when we beat ourselves up for mistakes and sins?
Of course, we will beat ourselves up; it's our nature!
Let's look at some scriptures about mistakes and sins. We'll start at Exodus 32.
1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him."
2 Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me."
3 So all the people took off their earrings and
4 brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt."
5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, "Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD."
6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.
7 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt.
8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, 'These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.'
9 "I have seen these people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people.
10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation."
11 But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. "LORD ," he said, "why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?
12 Why should the Egyptians say, 'It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth'? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people.
13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: 'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.'"
14 Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
15 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back.
16 The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.
17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, "There is the sound of war in the camp."
18 Moses replied: "It is not the sound of victory, it is not the sound of defeat; it is the sound of singing that I hear."
19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.
20 And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.
21 He said to Aaron, "What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?"
22 "Do not be angry, my lord," Aaron answered. "You know how prone these people are to evil.
23 They said to me, 'Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him.'
24 So I told them, 'Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.' Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!"
25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies.
26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, "Whoever is for the LORD, come to me." And all the Levites rallied to him.
27 Then he said to them, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.'"
28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.
29 Then Moses said, "You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day."
30 The next day Moses said to the people, "You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin."
31 So Moses went back to the LORD and said, "Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of
32 gold. But now, please forgive their sin--but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written."
33 The LORD replied to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my
34 book. Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin."
35 And the LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
This scripture passage tells me a lot about Israel and its people at the time; they are stiff-necked, impatient, hard to live with and have no faith in God's promise here. In a huge way, Israel needs a redo. To see what happens, let's look at Exodus 34: 1-28.
1 The LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.
2 Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain.
3 No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain."
4 So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the L ORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands.
5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD.
6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The L ORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,
7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation."
8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.
9 "Lord," he said, "if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance."
10 Then the LORD said: "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.
11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you.
13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles.
14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
15 "Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices.
16 And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.
17 "Do not make any idols.
18 "Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt.
19 "The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock.
20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons. "No one is to appear before me empty-handed.
21 "Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.
22 "Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year.
23 Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God of Israel.
24 I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the LORD your God.
25 "Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning.
26 "Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God. "Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk."
27 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."
28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant--the Ten Commandments.
What does the scripture passage tell us in its meaning? God allows the redo of the tablets and had some mercy for the Israelite people. As you will see though, punishment is punishment--meaning there were consequences and it wasn't pretty. God did send a punishing plague on the people for disobeying Him and before that, 3,000 people died from the sword of the Levites who followed the judgment command of God.
God still had favor on His people, but they survived in less numbers for the time being.
Our next scripture passage, found in Mark 16: 1-20.
1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body.
2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb
3 and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.
5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6 "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where
7 they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'"
8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.
10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping.
11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.
12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country.
13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.
14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
15 He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.
20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
In this scripture, we see that Jesus is now freshly risen and is appearing to people all over town to disciples and other key people. What happened? Fear was the reaction, not gladness, thankfulness and purpose, why?
Naturally, people are skeptical and not walking in step with faith all the time. The people didn't understand that when God says he has power over death, He means physical death as well as spiritual. These people needed a redo and that's what Jesus provided. Once Jesus gave His disciples a stern talking to, He put them on a mission. Jesus didn't condemn His people at all; forgiveness was our Lord's reaction.
The next scripture that we'll look at is found in John 13: 31-38.
31 When he was gone, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him.
32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
33 "My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
36 Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later."
37 Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."
38 Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
What would you feel like if you heard this kind of message from God?
This would indeed be troubling and it would be a "Say it ain't so" type of moment.
Let's look at Luke 22: 47-62 for the fulfillment of the prediction.
47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him,
48 but Jesus asked him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"
49 When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?"
50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
51 But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him.
52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?
53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour--when darkness reigns."
54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance.
55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.
56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with him."
57 But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said.
58 A little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them." "Man, I am not!" Peter replied.
59 About an hour later another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean."
60 Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.
61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times."
62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Peter wasn't consciously thinking about the warning or prophecy until he lied three times about who he was and the rooster crowed; of course, Peter felt very miserable and needed a redo. In this case, Peter wasn't very confident that he would get any more chances; however, the Lord had a pleasant surprise for him.
Let's look at John 21: 15-25 for the Lord's reaction.
Jesus Reinstates Peter
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
16 Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.
18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."
19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"
20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?")
21 When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?"
22 Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."
23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?"
24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
Why did Jesus forgive and reinstate Peter?
The answer to the above question is easy. Jesus knew that Peter's heart was really with Him and the calling on Peter's life became obvious later on (if not already). Peter became one of the founders of the Christian church and is one of the headwaters of our history as believers. God forgave Peter because there was genuine repentance and Jesus knew that.
Let's look at a few more scripture passages for us to learn from. First, let's look at Luke 6: 27- 42.
27 "But to you who are listening I say: Love your
28 enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.
30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.
33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.
34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.
35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
39 He also told them this parable: "Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?
40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
41 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
42 How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
What does this mean?
This is a very common scripture that is used in sermons and other scripture lessons. The passages are clear; we must forgive and not judge. God is not in the business of condemning unless He absolutely has to do so. We are to actively keep open the flow of grace to even the worst of the worst. This is not only true for others, but us too. A lot of times in life, we are our own worst critic and judge--literally our own worst enemy. We need to be able to let our minds rest in Christ and let the Lord handle the spiritual junk in our lives, and then we can help others find that same freedom.
Next, let's look at Romans 12: 9-21.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
13 Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Let's look at our other clip for this lesson; this is from The Simpsons episode: "Bart's Not Dead."
What did you see in this clip? In this clip, we see Lisa try to counsel Bart, who faked his death, told everyone that he saw Jesus and became famous for his lies. What do you think of Lisa's counsel?
We, as believers, need to remember to accept the kindness and good counsel of people we know and even strangers who try to help and comfort us. When we talk about our problems, mistakes and sins to others that are trustworthy, they will usually be of help and support. This does take praying for a mountain of discernment and grace for the right people to show up here and for us to know about it. Granted, Lisa is a Buddhist, but she tries to help by her perspective. If we translate this to our Christian faith-walk, we can see plainly that she is right, but not all the way; there is only one God and one way to get to Him, which is Jesus Christ our Lord. When someone shows us that imperfection is ok, we need to take it and let this help us to heal because God will use us still, work around and through these problems. In effect, I'm saying that God forgives us in Christ, so we need to get up and try again. Our final scripture is Psalm 103.
1 Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits--
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children--
18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, my soul.
What does this scripture mean? This is a praise Psalm that thanks God for His unbounded mercy and grace for those who are His. If we are God-centered, and therefore have Jesus as our Savior, then we will have the forgiveness we need and nothing will take that royal privilege away. True repentance of sin will always be heartfelt and forgiveness granted. Since we are His, we will do His bidding and be children of God; this is true for even angels and other heavenly hosts in Heaven.
In conclusion to this study, I will say that this is a hard lesson for us if we think about it. As humans, we habitually fish like Bulk and Skull here (a place where we shouldn't be) and receive nothing but our old junk back. This shouldn't be so, because God wants us to forgive ourselves for things we have genuinely repented of in Christ. Conscience is fine, but when you don't allow yourself to let go, it's torture. Please accept the grace of letting go, so freedom reigns in your heart and not the traps we're already free from, but then go back to. Remember, faith and forgiveness in Christ are the victory.