Faithlife Sermons

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Sunday, November 2, 2008 – Communion Sunday
*Following the example of our Lord*
John 13: 12-20
/14 //Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet./
John 13:14 NIV
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Would you *please stand* *for the reading* of God’s word?
Please join me in *reading aloud together* from */John 13:12-20 (NIV)/*
/12 //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.
16 //I tell you the truth, 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.
/
/18 //“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen.
But this is to fulfill the scripture: ‘He who shares My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’/
/19 //“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He. \\ 20 //I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts Me; and whoever accepts Me accepts the One who sent Me/.”
*May God bless His word* as we have read it and as we will soon *obey it*.
You may *be seated*.
*Last week and today*, our *focus* is on Jesus *washing His disciples feet* just *after* they had eaten the *Last Supper*.
*After* washing their feet, Jesus *tells His disciples* that they are to *follow His example* and *wash one another’s feet*.
By *extrapolation*, Jesus has *instructed us* as His present day disciples to *wash feet*.
So, if we are going *to be obedient* to our Master’s instructions, we need to know *what footwashing is*.
Do you *know?*
Maybe you want to *tell your neighbor* what you think footwashing is? *What is it* that *Jesus wants us to do* that qualifies as *footwashing*?
Tell your *neighbor*.
*What is footwashing?*
I would like to highlight *6** things* that footwashing is.
1. *Footwashing** is **a humble disposition** that regularly places the needs of others ahead of our own needs*.
As such, it’s a constructive way of *countering our selfishness*.
Such a disposition calls for us to *spend considerable time* with Jesus *thinking His thoughts* after Him with the goal to *gain the mind of Christ*.
Really, there is *no other way* for selfish sinners like ourselves to *gain this humble disposition*.
We must *absorb the mind and heart* of our Lord, particularly through *bathing our thoughts* in God’s word.
*Notice** again* what Jesus did.
*John 13:3-5 (NIV)*
/3 //Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God; 4 //so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist.
5 //After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him. /
*John 13:12 (NIV)*
/12 //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./
Jesus *understood who He was*.
He was *God* in human flesh *sent* by His Father on a mission to *reunite men and women to Himself* by breaking down the *barriers of sin*.
However, for Jesus *to be obedient* to His Father’s commission, He had to *lay aside His prerogatives* as God in order to *take on the nature of a servant* in human likeness.
By *His act of washing His disciples’ feet*, Jesus was *symbolizing* with the *removal of his outer garments* the laying aside of His royal, divine privileges.
*Also symbolized* by His actions is *His return* to His position in *Heaven* when after washing His disciples’ feet He *put His garments back on* and *returned* to His seat.
The words of the *Apostle Paul* in the *second chapter* of his letter to the *church in **Philippi* is really a *commentary* on this footwashing event.
*Philippians 2:3-9 (NIV)*
/3 //Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
4 //Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
/
/5 //Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: /
/6 //Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 //but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
/
/8 //And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!
/
/9 //Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, /
Possibly the *most outstanding characteristic* of Jesus was His *humble disposition* where *He regularly placed the needs of others* ahead of His own.
He had a *heart of compassion for people* and it translated into *acts of service* and *messages of hope*.
Footwashing as a *humble disposition* prepares us to make *accommodations in our schedule* for the needs of others while *delaying or sacrificing something* in our own schedule.
Sometimes footwashing actually *interrupts our plans*.
Sometimes it is *an inconvenience* and may be *something we simply don’t want to do*.
In other words, were you to be *obedient to Christ’s instruction* to follow His example, it is highly likely that *your schedule will be impacted*.
Furthermore, to *acquire this humble disposition* requires us to *think*.
It requires us to think about *why** Jesus does what He does **to** us* and *for** us*.
/12 //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./
Obviously, *Jesus had thought *about what He was doing.
And, it was *important enough* that He *wanted His disciples* to *put in some thought* about His actions, as well.
It is *a humble disposition** that regularly places the needs of others ahead of our own needs*.
Humility is *thoughtful love*.
Humility is *thoughtful obe**dience* to our Lord.
Now, *r**arely* are Christ’s actions towards us personally *intended to stop with us*.
They are intended to *start a chain reaction* bringing *blessings to others*.
Thus, this humble disposition within our Lord who washed our feet *calls on us to go as His representatives* and *regularly* put the *needs of others* ahead of our own.
Jesus has *instructed His disciples* to *follow* His example of washing feet.
/15 //I have *set you an example* that you should do as I have done for you./
So, *in addition* to a humble disposition, *what else is included* in this *assignment* to wash feet?
*What is footwashing?*
I contend that . . .
2. *Footwashing **is **the practice of prayer for believers and unbelievers** that removes barriers to a relationship with Jesus Christ.*
*We don’t simply **think** about* the people whose *feet we will wash*.
We need to *be praying for them*, praying *that* our act of service *will bring with it the blessing of God* on their lives.
We are *not acting independently* when we wash feet.
*This is an assignment* we have received *from our Lord*.
And *those for whom we will wash* their feet have *names and addresses*, birthdays and *other relationships*.
The *act of washing feet* is an act of *removing dust* from another person’s feet that has *accumulated* while they were *walking on the road*.
*Symbolically*, the dust could be *the sins* that create *barriers to a relationship* with Jesus Christ.
*Intercessory prayer* can be a means of *God breaking down those barriers *that are hindering *our friends* from *obeying God* in certain areas.
Though our *text says nothing directly about prayer*, we know that *before this evening is over*, Jesus will have spent *considerable time praying on behalf* of His disciples and for those who *will become disciples* through them.
Certainly, Jesus was *not limiting His exhortation* to follow His example to a *narrow list* of servant activities.
As a *practical application*, I suggest we do something like this:
(a) *Use the church telephone directory* to *pray* for specific *persons and families within our church*.
Take one of our *folders* called, */Praying for Christians from Scripture/*.
It will help you *develop the practice of praying* for your Christian brothers and sisters right *out of the text of Scripture*.
*In addition* to praying for believers, I suggest that you can *wash the feet* of those who are *weak in their faith* or may be *unbelievers* by praying for them.
For instance:
(b) We have a *relationship with a handful of families* in our community, primarily through our *ministry of VBS*, where *at least one adult* has expressed to us his or her *desire to come to church*, while at the same time *acknowledging how difficult it is for them* to actually do it.
These families *need the footwashing of prayer*.
As we enter the *prayer room on their behalf*, I believe we will see some of the *barriers* *come down* that have *been hindering* these folks from taking *new steps toward Christ*.
1.
A humble disposition.
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