Oct 14, 2018 | Lee Becknell

Serve like Jesus

John 13:1-17

* This morning we are completing our sermon series on Back 2 the Basics.  So far we have studied Salvation, Baptism, the Church, Giving, Communion. We will end this study with what Jesus has to say about the subject of Service.

* I shared with you last week that on the night Jesus was betrayed He instituted the Lord’s Supper and instructed the disciples on how to serve like Jesus.

* There are some churches and denominations that believe that in John 13, Jesus is instructing us to literally wash each other’s feet as a church ordinance, ceremony, or ritual. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with doing this, but I don’t think it was Jesus’ intent.

* This morning, I would like to share with you the following lessons and more importantly, look at what I believe Jesus was teaching us.

  1. Love is the power behind service.

John 13:1, “It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having lovedhis own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”

* At the time when this incident took place, people wore sandals at best, and roads were either dusty or muddy and likely had animal dung on them as well. Therefore, even though a person may have just washed, even a short walk would get his feet dirty. It was common practice when someone came into a home to have a low servant wash his feet. This is the picture Jesus was basing His lesson on.

* Jesus washed their feet was because he loved them.

John 13:34-35, “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.”

* Beloved notice the difference between the heart of Judas and Jesus.  Judas wanted to betray Jesus and Jesus wanted to love his disciples.

* Many people are more concerned about what everybody else is doing or not doing in the church. Quit waiting for someone else to do it, you yourself could serve like Jesus.

* Do you know who serves in our AWANA club? Do you know who serves in the Youth ministry?

* Do you know who cleans the sanctuary each week.  Replacing pens and clean paper from the pews? Do you know the Greeters? Or who works in the Nursery? How about those who faithfully serve in the Good News Club?

* He loved them to the end! (Verse 1)

* Here is what convicts me! Jesus is serving others, while He is dealing with His own problems, while He is facing His on trials!

* He knew what was going to happen in the next few hours, He knew Judas was going to betray Him, He knew Peter was going to deny Him, He knew the other disciples were going to desert Him and yet here He is serving others!

* When I’ve got problems, when I got situations, when I got trials, it’s hard to focus on anybody else, it’s hard to minister to anybody else, but if I want to follow Jesus, and to be the person Jesus wants me to be, then I have to learn not focusing on my needs, but focusing on the needs of others!

  1. Service is a picture of what Jesus did for us.

John 13: 12-15, “When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?”he asked them.13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

* Jesus answered Peter by saying, essentially, you don’t understand what I am doing now, but you will know later.

* If Jesus merely wanted the disciples, and us, to exactly follow His actions and ritually wash each other’s feet, why did Jesus answer this way? After all, He was simply washing feet. What was there for Peter to not understand?

* Jesus said, I have done this for you as an example. If I your Lord and Master could do this for you, then you should do it for each other.

* Peter, with his characteristic rashness, responded with an outright protestation: “Thou shalt never wash my feet.” Although motivated by an earthly modesty, Peter’s answer was rebellious. Jesus then cut him to the quick by stating, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.”

* The washing Jesus was talking about was far more than an ordinance of foot washing. He was telling Peter that such lack of submission is characteristic of someone who has not received the Holy Spirit, and, therefore, someone who cannot be in fellowship with Christ.

* Our feet, which are the part of our bodies that touch the earth, symbolize our day-to-day interaction with the world. Even though we have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus, we can still pick up “dirt” as we walk through the world.

* In 1 Timothy 5:9-10, Paul writes, “Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, well reported of for good works; if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.”

* Paul was telling Timothy that the church could take care of certain widows who would not likely want to remarry and would be willing to be put into a special group (“the number”) who would dedicate their remaining years in service to the church. He specifies that these widows must have no family members to care for them (v. 3ff.), must be at least sixty years old, and must have a record of good works. Among these good works is washing the saints’ feet.

* If this was something everybody was doing at the Lords Supper why mention it?

* Beloved, last week I share with you 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul teaches us about how to conduct the Lord’s Supper.  Notice that he never mentions foot washing.

* I believe that Jesus, instead of instituting an ordinance, was setting an example of humility and service that Christians are to follow throughout the church age. And this humble service that we are to render to each other is specifically what cleanses us from the spiritual contamination of this world.

  1. Jesus says; that a person who follows His example will be blessed.

John 13:16-17, “Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

Psalms 100:2 Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.

* Does it pay to serve God? The people in the day of Malachi had decided it doesn’t.

* The question of the day is … "Where’s the service?"

Malachi 3:13-15, “You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the Lord. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gainby carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LordAlmighty?15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.”

* Skeptics argued … "What are we getting out of it?"  Skeptics see serving God as a mere duty. Does it pay to serve God? You bet it does. There is coming a day when God will make all accounts right. Then you will see the difference between the righteous and the wicked.

Malachi 3:16-18, “Then those who feared theLordtalked with each other, and the Lordlistened and heard. A scroll of remembrancewas written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lordand honored his name.17 “On the day when I act,” says the LordAlmighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”

* Rather than complain, the righteous talked to each other about their love for the Lord and His goodness toward them.

* Beloved, notice that God made a book of remembrance and entered the name of those He see as His treasured possession.  I want my name in that book.  I long for the day He returns and makes things right.

Malachi 3:18, “Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”

A large group of European pastors came to one of D. L. Moody’s Northfield Bible Conferences in Massachusetts in the late 1800s. Following the European custom of the time, each guest put his shoes outside his room to be cleaned by the hall servants overnight. But of course this was America and there were no hall servants. Walking the dormitory halls that night, Moody saw the shoes and determined not to embarrass his brothers. He mentioned the need to some ministerial students who were there, but met with only silence or pious excuses. Moody returned to the dorm, gathered up the shoes, and, alone in his room, the world’s only famous evangelist began to clean and polish the shoes. Only the unexpected arrival of a friend in the midst of the work revealed the secret.

When the foreign visitors opened their doors the next morning, their shoes were shined. They never know by whom. Moody told no one, but his friend told a few people, and during the rest of the conference, different men volunteered to shine the shoes in secret. Perhaps the episode is a vital insight into why God used D. L. Moody as He did. He was a man with a servant’s heart and that was the basis of his true greatness.


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