The Secret Of The Dragnet

Bible Book: Matthew  13 : 47-50
Subject: Parables; Dragnet; Kingdom of Heaven; Salvation

Matthew 13:47-50

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea, and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angles will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth”, Matthew 13:47-50.

Several years ago I was in an area wide crusade in Boron, California. Several hundred people made public professions of faith in Christ. One of the participating pastors asked me at the end of the crusade how many of those decisions were real. I replied that I had no idea. The word of God was preached. The Holy Spirit moved in a mighty way and many responded each night. Every individual was personally dealt with and led to pray the sinner’s prayer and give their will to God. Only God knows their heart. Only God knows those who exercised faith.

I. The Illustration of Salvation

Let me illustrate. Let’s say two people respond to the invitation to accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Both publicly confess Christ as Savior. Both are led to pray the sinner’s prayer and invite Christ to come into their heart. Both call on the Name of the Lord for salvation. After all, the Bible does say, ”For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” Romans 10:13.

However, when these two people leave the crusade that night, one is really saved and the other one is not. Why? They both publicly confessed Christ as Savior. They both prayed the sinner’s prayer and invited Christ to come into their heart. Both called on the Name of the Lord for salvation. Both were sincere. How come one of them did not get saved? It’s not calling on the Name of the Lord for salvation that saves us. It’s believing that He will save us when we call on Him. We are not saved by doing something. We are saved by believing something. I realize this is a technical point, but this is what separates the sheep from the goats. This is the reason when we get saved we know it. We have to know it. Because the kind of faith that saves us is the kind of faith that makes us know we have it when we get it. If we could get salvation and not know it, we could lose it and not miss it.

II. The Invitation to Salvation

This is the reason it is so important for those who respond to the invitation to accept Christ as savior be dealt with individually. In the first place the evangelist should explain this and certainly the councilors should make it clear, it is not the asking for salvation that saves us, it is the believing that He saves us when we ask Him. The Lord says, “Come to me and I will not cast you out.” It’s not coming to Him that saves us. It is the believing that He will not cast us out when we come to Him that saves us. It’s not calling on Him that saves us. It’s believing that He will save us when we call on Him.

III. The Identification in Salvation

This is one reason we are not qualified to separate the saved from the lost, the wheat from the tares, the just from the unjust, the good fish from the bad fish, when the net is brought to shore. This job has been assigned only to the angels. The dragnet is the Kingdom of Heaven, made up of the four kinds of responders to the word of God as outlined in the parable of the Sower. The dragnet also has a mixture of wheat and tares that is explained in the parable of the Wheat and Tears. The dragnet eventually becomes full because of its unnatural growth that is explained in the parable of the Mustard Seed. The dragnet becomes full of evil (false doctrine) as a result of the three kinds of leaven (false teachings) that has expanded to corrupt the whole lump. The dragnet has in God’s treasure, Israel, and the Pearl of Great Price, theChurch. In this parable of the Dragnet the sea is the world. The dragnet is the Kingdom of Heaven that was cast into the sea (the world) and made up of the sphere of Christian profession.

The Kingdom of Heaven is made up of all of Christendom, everyone who claims to be a Christian whether they actually are or not, all kind of churches and denominations, anyone and everyone who embraces Christianity. I don’t know what it takes to make the net full, but Jesus tells us when it is full, He will send His angels to take the true born again believers (the saved, the wheat, the good fish,  His treasure, the pearl) out of the Kingdom of Heaven and then cast the rest into hell, the furnace of fire.

If we look at all seven parables as one message we see a panoramic picture of the result of the word of God being preached during the Kingdom of Heaven age (the church age). The Kingdom of Heaven begin with John the Baptist, Matthew 3:2 and Jesus sowing the first seed, Matthew 4:17 and Matthew 13:3-9, and ending with the worldwide harvest when Jesus returns to earth, Matthew 13:40-43.

It’s in our job description to scatter the seed of His word, keep it watered and cultivated, and not be discouraged with the lost, the tares, the leaven and the bad fish that the old devil has planted in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus knows who they are and He will deal with them accordingly when the net gets full. In the meantime we should not concern ourselves with the fakes. Instead of judging them, we should judge ourselves and make sure our attitude is right. Let’s be sure we have been born again by the Holy Spirit, and that our spirit bears witness with the Holy Spirit that we are a child of God, Romans 8:16.


Every time I start thinking about the spiritual condition of someone else, I’m reminded of what Jesus told Peter in John 21:22. Peter had just gotten his heart right with the Lord and Jesus had told him to follow Him. Peter pointed a finger at John and said, “What about this man?” Then Jesus said to Peter, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You Follow Me,” John 21:22.