Servants of God Stay Pure--Love on Its Knees
Part 2 and conclusion continued from October 2nd
Foot washing was a parable, or a living illustration by Jesus of the character of His entire ministry. Jesus was a humble servant to those He loved, and to those He led. Jesus was showing them how He can into the world not to be served but to serve; and that was exactly the ministry He had called His disciples to follow.
John 13 beautifully parallels Philippians 2. As Jesus rose from the supper in John 13, Jesus rose from the right hand of His Father to come to us. Then at the Last Supper, Jesus laid aside His garments (John 13: ) just as Paul says that Christ laid aside the blinding, glorious power of Deity to become incarnate.
Next, in John 13: Jesus “gird Himself” with the servants towel just as Paul says about Christ's humbling Himself to take the ‘form’ of a servants. As Jesus poured water in a basin and began to wash the disciples feet, so in a few hours He would pour out His blood on the Cross as an atoning offering for sin.
Then Jesus concludes His parabolic illustration of washing their feet with these words:
John 13:12-15 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?13 “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.14 “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.15 “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
How can we apply these truths to our lives tonight? Do we add a third “ordinance” to baptism and communion as some dear Christians have done? I don’t think so, otherwise Paul would have expanded upon that ordinance as he did on the other two. No, I believe that it is deeper. Christ's illustration is a call for every believer to be involved in servant hearted, humble ministry. We are to get up from the “table’ for Christ and take the servants role in what ever place we find ourselves serving.
Jesus challenges us when He said, if He as our Master did that—so should we do so for each other! And there are so many ways we can do so. We can help those who are helpless—as in children, orphans, widows, the handicapped, aged, and sick.
We can come to the suffering, the hurting, the down cast and share Christ's tender love—even by opening our homes to those who are alone and have no warmth of Christ's love.
Even more we can minister to those we love who are defiled and help them back to proper fellowship with Him. It was the defilement of their pride, their unwillingness to serve that had to be confronted. That is exactly what Paul reminds us of, as our ministry to those in His body.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
How should we “wash” those who need to be restored back into fellowship with Christ? Paul uses one very clear word: gentleness. One way to capture the metaphor of foot washing is to use water that doesn’t add to the problem. We don’t plunge a brother or sister’s feet into scalding water nor ice water. Harshness or cold formality both will never do—we must kneel with the gentle warm water of humble love as we serve them—by serving Christ's way.
One other note—use water. Some believers try to dry-clean the feet of others scraping them free of dirt in a way unlike Christ's way, and often take the skin away with the dirt.
May we see by Christ's example how to come in love, in meekness, and in humility as we serve Him by serving each other!
If you want to deepen your fellowship with the Lord, the vital element is to keep your feet clean.
A Day of Reckoning
… We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, … whether good or bad.
—2 Corinthians 5:10, emphasis added
As we will learn in this coming week in Living Hope week 16, the assembly at Pergamos faced the judgment of God for sin that was never dealt with in their lives; so will we if we don’t repent. Because God hates sin, we need to flee from it and fear the holiness of God.
As a warning to everyone called to lifelong consecration to the Lord, which is the picture we see in Christ's washing the feet of His disciples.
Now listen to the words of the Apostle of holy living—as we turn to Ephesians 5.1-14.
Ephesians 5:1-14 Follow God’s example in everything you do just as a much loved child imitates his father. 2 Be full of love for others, following the example of Christ who loved you and gave himself to God as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, for Christ’s love for you was like sweet perfume to him. 3 Let there be no sex sin, impurity or greed among you. Let no one be able to accuse you of any such things. 4 Dirty stories, foul talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, remind each other of God’s goodness, and be thankful. 5 You can be sure of this: The Kingdom of Christ and of God will never belong to anyone who is impure or greedy, for a greedy person is really an idol worshiper—he loves and worships the good things of this life more than God. 6 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible wrath of God is upon all those who do them. 7 Don’t even associate with such people. 8 For though once your heart was full of darkness, now it is full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! 9 Because of this light within you, you should do only what is good and right and true. 10 Learn as you go along what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless pleasures of evil and darkness, but instead, rebuke and expose them. 12 It would be shameful even to mention here those pleasures of darkness that the ungodly do. 13 But when you expose them, the light shines in upon their sin and shows it up, and when they see how wrong they really are, some of them may even become children of light! 14 That is why God says in the Scriptures, “Awake, O sleeper, and rise up from the dead; and Christ shall give you light.” TLB
The NIV captures verse three so clearly, look at those words again—“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
Now where have we gotten to in our American Culture? Are we listening to Paul or is our life slowly being squeezed into the shape our lusts of the flesh driven world around us pressures us to be every day?
Remember Romans 12.1-2—
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. NKJV
This evening as each family takes the water and the towel, we are going to have a time of personal consecration. While Jesus washed their feet, they were convicted of their sinful attitudes and actions. I would like to ask each head of family here (that means 42 husbands here and two single moms) to take the foot washing bottle and towel, get on your knees in front of your family and wash their feet one by one.
Start your foot washing time by reading aloud the verses in John 13. Then take as long as you need to do this illustration Jesus left us of our need to wash the defilement of the world off from our lives.
While you have your feet washed, it is a very humbling time. It is harder to have your feet washed than to do the washing of another’s feet. So while you are being washed, ask the Lord to convict you of any sins that are hindering your fellowship with the Lord. Right there where you sit, confess them, forsake them, and ask for His cleansing anew and afresh.
And then either the oldest child for the single moms homes, wash your mother’s feet or the beloved wife in each couple’s home wash your husband’s feet). Then, close your sacred time of personal consecration and foot washing in prayer.
You can spread out, move outside or anywhere in this room.
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