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Nov 7 04

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“To Change the World”

John 13:1-15

Study Guide for November 7, 2005

In a world that had strict protocols about who did what and to whom, this episode in the life of Jesus was (1) ___________ to say the least.  The teacher of all things, dared to (2) ___________ himself in such a way, was unthinkable.  Why would he do that?  Didn’t he know that that was (3) ________ job to him? 

Foot washing was the responsibility of the (4) ______.  He was to make sure that his guests were well treated.  The host usually did not perform that act himself, but delegated that to his (5) __________.  Jesus was combining the role of host and servant.

Peter was aghast at such a thing.  Jesus was too (6) _______, or may be too (7) _______ to such a thing.  How dare he go against social (8) ______________ to do such a thing?  Doesn’t he know that his actions will set a (9) _____________ for others?  Doesn’t he know that what he did could (10) _________ a society and alter the balance of (11) _________?

Exactly!  That is exactly what Jesus was trying to do.  Change the balance of power, alter society.

“I have set an (12) __________ for you,” he says.  If I did it, you should do it.

We all talk about changing the world.  We lament that the world is going to (13) ____ and something needs to be done.  We all know what needs to be done, we know sometimes how it is to be done, but we are  (14) ______  to do it.  With all the political ads on TV this year, there was one about voting that grabbed my attention.  It showed a bunch of people (15)___________ around a trash can remarking about a piece of paper that was on the ground and not in the trash can.  They were commenting on who would throw that on the ground and miss the can, someone ought to do something, then (16) _____ _______ bends down, throws it in the can and moves on.

That’s how we change the world, by bending down and doing something.  Christians change the world by serving.  We change the world by getting off our seats and on our feet.

As you come to the table of the Lord this morning, as we see the bread broken and the chalice lifted, think about the service that Jesus performed on the cross.  He is not asking us to do that, but he is asking us to serve.  In reality, that is not a request, but one of his commandments.

We all recognize the need to teach our children.  We tend to think that the parents job.  But in the church, they need to be taught so that they can continue their children’s education at home.  Some of you more experienced adults should be teaching the children so the parents can spend time learning themselves.

We all know good/bad service when we see it.  We all want good service, as long as someone else does it.  But there is no someone else, there is only us.  And if we don’t do it, we fail.  For the church, failure is not an option.  We all say we are busy, but who isn’t?    Thank God, some one was not too busy to serve you and me.

We are the host to people who come in this building, but at the same time we are their servants.  We should be more interested in meeting their needs than their meeting our needs.

Service is not optional; it is part and parcel of the faith and our obedience.

Answers: 1.shocking.  2.lower.  3.their.  4. host.  5. servants.  6.good.  7.holy.  8. convention.  9. precedent.

10. change.  11.power. 12.example.  13.pot.  14. unwilling.  15.standing.  16. one person

Monday, November 8, 2004.  We can all recognize bad service.  In a restaurant, we know good waiters from bad ones.   A bad one is one you never see again.  When you have to get your own silverware, to go box, and refills you know you have bad service.  While we can see bad service in others, are we as apt to see it in ourselves?  Maybe not, there is that speck in the neighbor’s eye while trying to see through the log in our own thing going on here.  Moses had some good excuses in Exodus 4:1-17.  “They won’t believe me…can’t talk to good…let someone else do it”.  Sound familiar?  What other excuses can you think of?  Now, what reason can we give for not doing what God calls us to do?  Most excuses involve age, ability, etc. Most reasons are just “I just don’t want to.”  What if the people who helped you find Christ had had that reason?  Where would you be today?

Tuesday, November 9, 2004.  Let’s back up to that age issue for a moment.  Abraham was 75 when God called him to leave home.  He was a 100 when Isaac was born.  Noah was 600 years old when the flood came.  Moses was 80 and his brother Aaron was 83 when they went to Pharaoh.  David was a ‘youth’ when he fought Goliath.  Samuel was very young when God called in the Temple.    Jesus was around 30 when he began his public ministry.  Timothy was a young pastor for Paul reminded him to let “no one despise your youth.”  Psalm 92.  “The righteous flourish like the palm tree…In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap.”  God is capable of doing good things through us no matter the age.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004One ‘reason’ given frequently for not doing something in the church is: “I don’t know enough about the Bible” and so on.  But I have never found that God asks us “how much do we know” when he calls us to serve.  I don’t see where he asked Noah, “Do you know how to build a boat?”  But I do see that when God calls, God enables. Exodus 31:1-11.  Bezalel was commissioned and empowered to build the tabernacle in Exodus and God filled him with ability, intelligence and knowledge.  It’s not so much that God wants to know how much we know, but are we willing?

Thursday, November 11, 2004 Service is an intentional thing.  We don’t wake up one morning and find ourselves doing something.  It is a choice that has to be made.  Joshua 24:1-18.  Joshua put before the people the choice that had to be made.  The Hebrew word, `abad  can mean to serve as in ‘work’ and/or to serve as in ‘worship.’  I think the meaning there and many other places is‘both’.  Work, doing what God calls us to do, is the highest form of worship.  Worship is far more than just saying the Lord’s Prayer; it is doing the Lord’s Prayer.  Remember James’ admonition that faith without works is dead.

Friday, November 12, 2004 Service is about obedience.  We are not ‘saved’ to sit around looking at the world and hoping that someone will step up to the plate.  Salvation is not waiting for Jesus to come and end this world.  Part of salvation is about seeing the world as God sees it and getting involved and doing and being the church.  Jesus, at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, reminds us of such.  Matthew 7:24-28.  "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.”  The key is hearing and acting.

In our acts of service, are we willing, are we obedient, or are we hoping, someone else will come along?

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