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Love In Action

John 13:1-17 • September 9, 2020 • w1302

Pastor John Miller continues our study through the gospel of John with a message through John 13:1-17 titled, “Love In Action.”

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Pastor John Miller

September 9, 2020

Sermon Scripture Reference

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “actions speak louder than words.” We’re all familiar with that. Well, that’s really the summary of what we have in John 13:1-17, “actions speak louder than words.” Though this is the beginning of what is known as the Upper Room Discourse or teaching, Jesus basically doesn’t give any oral teaching. He basically gives an example, kind of a living parable. In 1 John 3:18, John says, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” Jesus wanted to teach His disciples some important lessons, so He gave them this parable in action. I love that expression. I read that just today. This is a parable in action. He’s not just telling a story, He’s acting it out. This is the famous story when Jesus got down on His hands and knees with a bucket of water and a towel and actually washed the disciples’ feet. You’ve all heard of feet washing ceremonies. This is not a foot-washing ceremony, this is a parable in life. This is a lesson that Jesus wanted His disciples, and us, to learn as well.

What did Jesus want them to learn? He wanted them to learn to be humble, to be holy, and to be helpful or to be servants. Those are the three sections and the lessons that Jesus had in these first 17 verses. Jesus wanted to give them an object lesson that they would never forget that would teach them to be humble, to be holy, and to be helpful.

Why at this time in John’s gospel did Jesus want to drive home these three important lessons? Let me explain. First, Jesus was with His disciples for the last time that He would be on earth. This is the evening before He is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, and then He will be crucified. What we have in the next five chapters, John 13-17, are only a couple hours of Jesus alone in the upper room where He instituted the Lord’s supper and celebrated the Passover with His disciples. Then, He would leave this upper room, go to the Garden of Gethsemane, be arrested, tried, and crucified. This is a very holy moment when Jesus is alone with His disciples before the cross when He would ultimately be crucified for the sins of the world.

John 1-12 are three years of public ministry, and John 13-17 are one evening of private ministry. We go from three years of public ministry to a couple of hours of private ministry where Jesus is teaching His disciples. As I said, it is known as the Upper Room Discourse. We move from the signs of the Savior to the secrets of the Son of God. Now, some have called these chapters the most sacred in all of Scripture; and certainly, I would concur. In John 17, we have the famous high-priestly prayer of Jesus that ends the Upper Room Discourse, and some have referred to it, rightfully so, as the holy of holies of Scripture.

Tonight we get Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. In John 14, Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled,” neither let it be afraid, “ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again, and receive you unto myself,” and in John 15, we get the famous teaching where He says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me…bringeth forth much fruit.” In John 16, we get some of the greatest teaching and understanding that Jesus ever gave on the person of the Holy Spirit. In John 17, as I mentioned, we have the great high-priestly prayer where Jesus intercedes for His disciples, for those who would believe on His name, including us. The material that is found in these chapters is exclusive only to John’s gospel. They go to the upper room. John doesn’t talk about how they found the room, how they set up the room, and he doesn’t talk about taking the bread and instituting the Lord’s supper. Everything we read, John 13-17, is only found in the gospel of John. It harmonizes with the other synoptic gospels, but it’s exclusive for the gospel of the Son of God.

There are three lessons that Jesus wanted to convey. The first, if you’re taking notes, is covered in verses 1-5. He wanted to convey a lesson of humility. Actually, there are a bunch of lessons that He wanted them to learn, but I’m trying my best to limit it to these few primary lessons and not get bogged down in too much detail. In verses 1-5, Jesus wanted them to be humble. Let’s read verses 1-5. He says, “Now before the feast of the passover,” John says, “when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” A lot of New Testament scholars believe that statement there at the end of verse 1 is the theme of these first 17 (technically 20) verses, the idea that, “…having loved his own,” and “he loved them to the end.” In the Greek it would be translated, “to the uttermost.” He loved them to the end of His earthly life and earthly ministry, and then He loved them eternally, which has the concept of the uttermost, and the same is true of us. Everything we see unfolding in this whole section we cover tonight is motivated by Christ’s love for His disciples and His love for us.

Now, it says in verse 2, “And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; 3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; 4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” I want you to notice the focus on what Jesus knew. It’s mentioned in verses 1 and 3 and later on in this section. Notice verse 1, “…when Jesus knew that his hour was come,” notice verse 3, “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands,” so what we’re reading about is based on knowledge that Jesus possessed. In light of the knowledge He possessed and the love that He had for His disciples, He gets the towel and the basin, the water, and gets down and washes the disciples’ feet.

Let’s go back to verses 1-2 and notice that He knew that His hour had come. “Now before the feast of the passover,” the feast of the Passover is one of three annual feasts when every Jew had to go to Jerusalem. Passover was celebrating that exodus out of Egypt and the lamb that was slain representing Jesus Christ who is our Passover Lamb. By the way, to fulfill Bible prophecy, Jesus was crucified at Passover; so He was the fulfillment of what those lambs in the Old Testament represented. We were in bondage to sin. Jesus shed His blood on the cross to free us from sin so that we could be released and set free. We were slaves, then we were redeemed, and we were set free. The picture is all seen prophetically in the feast of Passover. “…when Jesus knew, “ and here’s the phrase, “that his hour was come,” what’s that referring to? It’s referring to His death by crucifixion. All the way through the gospel of John, Jesus has been saying, “My hour has not yet come,” “My hour has not yet come,” “My hour has not yet come.”

Now, the hour has come. God the Father had preordained the exact time in fulfillment of the prophecy fulfilled by the Passover in type and prediction. Jesus would die at the Passover. So, “…Jesus knew that his hour was come,” and notice this, “that he should depart out of this world unto the Father,” later on He says, “I came from the Father from heaven, and I’m going back to heaven.” We see, “that his hour was come,” and He knew that. He knew that He would go back to the Father, and He was motivated by His love, verse 1, “having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” I’ve already mentioned it, that phrase, “he loved them unto the end,” means that He loved them to the uttermost. He loved them eternally. The focus is the love of Jesus.

Now, what Jesus does in washing the disciples’ feet is motivated by what He knew. He knew He was going to soon leave and go back to the Father. He knew that he had come from the Father and was going back to the Father. He knew that He loved His disciples, and so, verse 4, “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself…poureth water…and began to wash the disciples’ feet.” Notice in verse 3, Jesus also knew that all things were put “…into his hands,” or given to Him or His power. “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands,” this speaks of His absolute divine authority. The Father had invested into Christ all power and all authority, “…given all things into his hands,” and He also knew “that he was come from God, and went to God,” so we have His divine authority, His divine origin, “…he was come from God,” and we have His return, “and went to God,” so Jesus is unique. He came from heaven. He went back to heaven in a way that no one else has ever done. He came from the Father. He entered the world through the womb of the virgin Mary. He was God and man, lived a sinless life, died, buried, rose from the dead, and ascended back into heaven.

I want you to notice, because of His knowledge and love, Jesus took action. Love is a verb. You can’t just say, “I love you,” you have to show, “I love you.” How much in a marriage the importance of not just saying, “I love you.” It’s important to say, “I love you,” but equally important is to show that “I love you.” Your actions speak louder than words. You say, “Pastor Miller, did you have to throw that in there?” Sorry. It’s a challenge to me to not just say, “I love you,” but to show that I love my wife.

Jesus puts His love into action, verses 4-5. This is where the lesson comes in. “He riseth from supper,” now it’s interesting that it says in verse 2, and I didn’t point it out, some of you may not have caught this, but it says, “And supper being ended.” John doesn’t tell us what supper was. It might have been just the Passover meal. It doesn’t mean it was necessarily the last supper, but the phrase, “supper being ended,” and you can consult other translations if you want, but based on the grammar of that statement and the Greek, it actually means the idea of during the supper. So, Jesus got up during supper, and it’s consistent with what we read in verse 4, “He riseth from supper.” It wasn’t when the supper was over, it was in the middle of the meal.

Now, they were lying on what’s called the dinner bed, and I think this is just awesome! They didn’t sit up at a table like we do with chairs. The table was only about a foot or two feet off the ground in a horseshoe shape. On the outside parameter, around that horseshoe, there would actually be a giant bed all the way around so the servant can come inside and serve everyone; but you could lie on the bed, and traditionally, you would lie on your left side, reach over with your right hand, grab your food, and because you’re lying down, you would roll over and just drop it in. Sweet! Why doesn’t someone invent the Bible bed? I think that would be awesome. Have you ever had a huge meal and say, “I gotta go lie down.” You’re already lying down. You don’t have to go anywhere.

They were in the middle of the supper, and Jesus climbs off the dinner bed “and laid aside his garments,” I’m going to go back over these points, “and took a towel, and girded himself. 5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” In the setting of the custom of the time, they wore sandals. The didn’t have shoes. They didn’t have concrete or asphalt. Everything was dirt. Now, try to imagine open sandals, everything is dirt; so wherever you went, whenever you went there, your feet were going to get dirty. The custom was whatever home you entered in, it was traditional that at the door of that home there would be a pitcher of water, a basin, and a towel. Either the individual coming in would wash their own feet, or a servant, and it was the job of the lowest servant or slave, would be at the door to greet the guests. They would sit down, and their feet would be washed and refreshed.

You know when you’ve gone camping and you got your sandals on and you’re at the beach or the mountains or whatever how sometimes you don’t get to take a whole shower, but man if you could just wash your feet before you get into bed, you feel a little refreshed, a little clean, and so it’s just a nice refreshing thing to do. The custom was that there would be someone there to wash their feet, but they borrowed this room. Jesus didn’t own anything, so if you don’t own anything, you’re in good company. He had to borrow a donkey, borrow an upper room. He had to borrow a tomb when He was buried for three days. He only needed it for the weekend, no big deal. There was no prearranged set up for a slave to be there to wash everybody’s feet. By the way, the only individuals in the upper room were Jesus and His disciples. This is a private gathering.

Can you imagine? I’d love to have been a fly on the wall. They all get in there and are all hungry. They’re a bunch of guys. You know how much the guys eat when the women aren’t around. They don’t wash their feet. They probably didn’t wash their hands and they’re grabbing the food, eating, and having a good ol time; but the customary foot washing there does not take place.

There’s an interesting statement in Luke 22 about what the disciples, at this moment in John 13:4-5, were doing. Do you know what they were doing? They were not only eating, they were debating—I would say arguing—who will be the greatest in the Kingdom. I don’t know why the Lord just didn’t say, “You know what, you guys, I’m going to fire you all. I’m tired of you. You’ve been with Me almost three years now, and here you are quibbling over who’s going to be the greatest in the Kingdom.” It could be that that motivated Jesus a bit, too, to say, “Well, I’ve got to start off with a lesson here on teaching you guys a little humility and that you walk as servants to others.” They were debating who would be the greatest in the Kingdom, and halfway through the meal, their feet are still dirty. All of the sudden Jesus gets up.

Now, try to think about what it was like. They thought, Where’s He going? What’s He doing? All of the sudden, He starts walking toward the pitcher, the bowl, the towel, the water, and they realize, “No, He’s going to wash our feet.” I imagine that maybe the disciples among themselves said, “You should’ve washed them, Peter,” or “John, you should’ve washed them,” or “Thomas, it was your turn. Why didn’t you wash the feet?” It’s kind of like when you’re at a meal and someone spills milk and everybody just stares at them. Have you ever had that happen? It’s like no one wants to take the job to clean it up. It’s like everyone just waits. Who’s going to clean up the mess? Jesus makes the move. He was first to move, and He goes over there. First of all, He takes off his outer coat called the tunic. Then, He takes the towel and wraps it around His waste. That was the badge of a slave. One by one, He goes around the outer dinner bed washing the disciples’ feet, who would include Judas Iscariot. If I were the Lord, I would’ve said, “I’m not washing your feet.” He knew Judas would betray Him, but He washed Judas’ feet, and I believe He loved even Judas.

You say, “Well, what’s the lesson here? What’s the picture here?” The lesson and the picture here, and I want you to notice the steps perfectly illustrate Philippians 2. You’ve got to write this down. We won’t turn there and look at it, but you’ve got to write it down. It’s a famous passage known by theologians as the kenosis passage, which comes from the Greek phrase in Philippians 2, “emptied Himself,” or “emptying.” It means that Jesus, it says in Philippians 2, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” not something to hold onto, Paul says He emptied Himself and then took on Himself, “the form of a servant,” catch that, “…and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him.”

Look again with me at verses 4-5. “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments,” that is a beautiful picture of what Jesus did when He left heaven. He got off the throne, laid aside the manifestation of His deity. He didn’t lay aside His deity, He laid aside the splendor and majesty of His deity. Then it says He “took a towel, and girded himself,” that is a beautiful picture of Jesus taking on the form of a servant. It fits absolutely perfectly with Paul’s words in Philippians 2. He left His throne in glory, laid aside His majesty and splendor, and took on Him the badge of a servant, humility. He wrapped Himself with a towel, so it’s a living illustration of Christ leaving heaven, taking on humanity, and becoming a servant and washed them. It’s a picture of Him washing us in His blood and forgiving our sins, the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. Then, He wipes “them with a towel wherewith he was girded.” It’s a living lesson on humility.

The Philippians passage is actually written by Paul to say, “Let the same mind, attitude, or outlook be in you which was also in Christ Jesus who left heaven, took on humanity, and came and served and suffered and died.” We’re following Jesus Christ who gave up voluntarily His place in heaven to take on humanity to come and suffer and die. It’s a picture of Jesus the Sovereign taking the place of the servant. All this in His hands and yet He put it aside and took up a towel. The Father had put all authority into His hands, yet He laid it aside and took up a towel.

Write down 2 Corinthians 8:9 where Paul says, “…though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich,” again, that’s a description of Jesus in heaven coming to earth in humility to die for us.

In 1 Peter 5:5, Peter says to us, “…and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” Dwight Lyman Moody, the great American evangelist, said, “We may be easily too big for God to use, but we can never be too small.” I like that. God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. By the way, do you know what humility is? Humility is basically not thinking about yourself. It’s not thinking less of yourself, putting down yourself or thinking too much of yourself, it’s just not thinking about yourself. Do you know anyone like that? They’re just really genuinely humble and don’t think about themselves. They’re always thinking about others. They’re concerned for others, helping and serving others, and they’re not thinking about themselves. That’s the mark of a true Christian. A true Christian is humble like Jesus Christ. The Bible says the proud God knows far off. Pride is an abomination to God; but humility, the Bible says, God will exalt us in due time.

The second lesson, verses 6-11, is a lesson in holiness. Jesus wants His followers to be humble and holy. “Then cometh he to Simon Peter,” we’re right in the middle of the story and it switches to a little episode between Jesus and Peter when He wanted to wash Peter’s feet. He comes “to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. 8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet,” no doubt with an indignant tone and pride, and “This is beneath You, Lord. You’re not going to wash my feet.” “Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. 9 Simon Peter,” when he heard that, “saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head,” “Let’s go for it, Lord! Forget just the feet. Let’s do a whole bod wash right now.” Verse 10, “Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet,” Peter, you’ve had a bath, all you need is your feet washed. He’s kind of saying, “Cool your jets, Peter. Calm down.” “…but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.”

The key to understanding this part of the story is in verse 10, “Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet.” There are two completely different Greek words translated the same English word “wash” in verse 10. The first word “wash” here in the English translation is a Greek word that means full bath. The second word “wash” is a Greek word that means only washing part of your body, maybe just washing your hands, your face, or your feet. You don’t always get to have a bath or shower before you go to bed. Maybe you had one earlier in the day and you don’t really need a full bath, but your hands, your feet, or face got dirty, so you just wash a part of your body—two separate Greek words. What Jesus is saying, “Look, if you already had a bath, then all you need is your feet washed.” Why? Because that’s what gets dirty when you walk from the bath house to the house, and the bath house was outside. They didn’t have plumbing or running water; so if you took a bath, put your sandals on, walked back to the house, now your feet are dirty. If you’ve had a bath, all you need now is your feet washed.

It’s interesting that Peter, of all the disciples, said, “Lord, this is beneath You. You’re not going to wash my feet.” Jesus said, “Peter, if I don’t, I have no part with you.” That’s another key word. The word “part” means participation. It has the idea of communion. It has the idea of fellowship. We can’t really have a friendship, a relationship, if you don’t have your feet washed.

What does this symbolize? It symbolizes that when you get saved, you are bathed—the first word for “wash,” you’ve had a bath. It’s called the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:5. The Bible uses the illustration of your conversion of being bathed, being washed. The theological term is regeneration. I use that term a lot. I don’t try to use it to let people know I understand theological terms. The other term that we’re more familiar with is from John 3, born again. It’s the same thing. Being born again is being regenerated, and if you haven’t been born again or regenerated, you’re not a Christian. If you haven’t had the life of God renew you, you haven’t been bathed by the washing of regeneration, the renewing of the Holy Spirit. The moment you are saved, you’re born again, regenerated. It’s the picture there that you’ve had a bath.

What happens after you’re saved? You have to walk through life. The imagery there is as you walk through life from day to day, your feet get dirty, spiritually speaking. You think an evil thought, you say a bad word, you do something wrong, you have a wrong attitude, you sin against God, and you’re like, “Wait a minute! I’ve already had a bath. Now I’ve sinned, so what do I do?” First John 1:9. It says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and,” listen carefully, “to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” You don’t need to get born again, again. This story illustrates that you can only get born again once. Once you’ve been regenerated, you’re saved. You can be a son of God or a child of God, but you can be out of fellowship with God because sin blocks that relationship. Salvation starts with then a relationship that can be hindered by sin in your life. This is one of the things that hinders prayer. You say, “I pray, and God doesn’t answer my prayer,” then you might ask yourself, “Is there some sin in my life that needs to be confessed and forsaken?” God says, “My arm is not short, My ear is not heavy that I cannot help you, but your sins have separated you from your God.”

I don’t believe this conveys the loss of salvation, I believe it conveys the loss of fellowship, and that’s what 1 John is all about. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” We need to confess our sins, and He will forgive and cleans us, and we will be restored in our relationship so that there’s nothing between my soul and the Savior so that His blessed face I can see.

Maybe you’re here tonight, you were born again years ago, but you have really dirty feet right now—don’t take your shoes off—spiritually speaking, and you’ve really drifted far from God. Maybe you’re even deliberately getting your feet wet—practicing sinful things that are dishonoring to God. Do you know that grieves the Holy Spirit? That quenches the Holy Spirit? It robs you of your joy. It robs you of peace. It robs you of power in your life. It robs you of effective prayer life. It robs you of being an effective witness to others, but it’s so easy to remedy if you repent, turn back to Jesus, and confess your sin. When we confess (1 John 1:9), it means to agree with God that we’ve sinned, and then we forsake our sin, He cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

This episode between Jesus and Peter pictures the believer’s need for daily cleansing and confessing. When you go to bed at night, maybe you think about things that you did that might grieve God or the Holy Spirit. You say, “God, forgive me. Cleanse me from my sin,” and guess what? “…he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all,” all “unrighteousness.” There’s no sin that God will not forgive. The only sin He won’t forgive is the one that you will not repent of. If you don’t confess your sin, He won’t forgive your sin, and then you live separated from God. You don’t want that at all. This is a lesson in fellowship with God. The doctrine of sanctification is the picture—living a life of holiness, keeping your heart clean, confessing your sins.

We walk in humility, we walk in holiness, and, thirdly, and lastly, we walk in helpfulness or in servanthood. We want to serve others. The story goes on in verses 12-17. “So after he had washed their feet,” Peter finally allowed Him to wash his feet, “and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?” Jesus just told Peter, “What I do now, you don’t know, but you will know afterwards.” They probably wouldn’t know until years afterwards. You know, the same thing is true in our lives. What God is doing now in your life, what God is allowing now in your life, you don’t know or understand. We can’t always understand why God lets someone get sick and die or why I lost my job or why this happened to me. When we get to heaven, we’ll know all things. We look through a glass dimly right now, but when we get to heaven, we’ll see clearly face to face.

Now, Jesus drives home the lesson He wants them to learn. “So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?” Remember the steps of: He got up from supper, laid aside His garment, put on a towel, took the basin, and washed their feet. Now it reverses that, “So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments,” and laid aside the towel. The Bible teaches that Jesus not only came from heaven, but He’s going to go back to heaven, and that He’s laid aside His glory and splendor that He’s actually gone back to it in heaven. When we get to John 17, He says, “Father, I will that You restore Me to the glory I had with You before the world was.” This is a picture (verse 12) of Him going back to heaven.

Verse 13, Jesus says, “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily,” or truly, truly, “I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things,” I love it, “happy are ye if ye do them.” What does Jesus mean in verse 14, “…ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” Some people conclude from that statement that we should have foot washing ceremonies. I don’t believe that that’s what Jesus was teaching or instituting. One of the reasons I don’t believe that is in the book of Acts, they never practiced it, and in the epistles, it’s never commanded or instructed. It’s not really clearly taught by Jesus in the gospel, it’s not practiced in the book of Acts, and it’s not referred to in the epistles, so I don’t think we should build a doctrine on it. Now, is it bad for a church to have a foot washing ceremony? No. That’s perfectly fine. I don’t think that I would go to one of those, not because I don’t want to wash someone’s feet, I don’t want anyone to see my feet—they’re gnarly looking.

I’m sure that anyone who goes to a foot washing ceremony makes sure that they primp their feet, looking good, before they show up. You don’t get our feet purposely all gnarly and ugly looking like, “Wash those suckers, man!” You don’t do that, I mean, they’re going to be looking perfect when you go. How easy it would be to wash someone’s feet and really disdain what you’re doing. Your heart’s not right with God. Do you think God is pleased with that? “Okay, give me your stinky feet. I’ll wash them,” you know, I mean, it’s a matter of the heart. Jesus is looking at the heart.

What I believe Jesus is saying here—it’s so simple, but simply profound—is that He wants us to serve one another. When He says, “…ye also ought to wash one another’s feet,” means He wants us to serve one another. Now, to do that, you have to be part of a fellowship, and you have to be interacting with people. It can’t just be church as a spectator sport. This is why it’s so important that we gather to worship as the church because of all the “one another’s” in the Bible. How do you love one another, forgive one another, pray for one another, serve one another, provoke each other to love and good works if there are no one another’s there. It’s just you? I think Jesus is simply saying, “Serve one another.” Jesus said, “He that would be the greatest among you, let him be the servant of all.” Jesus came to serve and to give His life as a sacrifice for others. Everything about Jesus’ earthly ministry was, “I came to seek and to save that which was lost.” He came to serve others, and He was a servant to others.

Now, He’s given us an example to follow, verse 15, “For I have given you an example,” so this is a pattern, a picture, “that ye should do as I have done to you.” If Christ lives in us as believers, and He does, and the Holy Spirit empowers us, then we should be living like Christ serving others. Jesus gives the principle in verse 16, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” So, “I’m your Lord, you’re not greater than Me. I’m sending you, you’re not greater than I am,” so “As I have come to serve others, you should also go out and be a servant to others.”

In closing, notice this awesome blessing. “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them,” not know them, not talk about them, not analyze them, but do them—be doers of the word, not hearers only. That’s why I opened with the statement: Your actions speak louder than your words. You must do them, again, a reference to knowing something—knowing these things, and doing them. We will be humble, we will be holy, and we will be happy as a result of being humble, holy, and helpful toward others.

When He says, “…happy are ye if ye do them,” do you know what that word “happy” means? It means blessed. That’s what the word means. It’s the same word used in Matthew 5 in what’s called the Beatitudes. “Blessed,” is the man or woman, O how happy and to be envied. What it means is that God is actually smiling on you. It means that you have the approval of God. Max Lucado wrote a book on the Beatitudes and called it The Applause of Heaven. I love that title. God is clapping for you. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything cooler than to think of God clapping for me! You know, children just light up when they get their parents’ approval, and they live so often for their parents’ approval. How wonderful it is to be a child of God and to live in what’s called “the fear of the Lord,” which means I want His praise, I want His approval, I want His applause, I want to be happy. Now, how simple is this? You want to be happy? You want to be blessed? Be humble, be holy, and be helpful. Be a servant to others. Amen? Let’s pray.

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About Pastor John Miller

Pastor John Miller is the Senior Pastor of Revival Christian Fellowship in Menifee, California. He began his pastoral ministry in 1973 by leading a Bible study of six people. God eventually grew that study into Calvary Chapel of San Bernardino, and after pastoring there for 39 years, Pastor John became the Senior Pastor of Revival in June of 2012. Learn more about Pastor John

Sermon Summary

Pastor John Miller continues our study through the gospel of John with a message through John 13:1-17 titled, “Love In Action.”

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Pastor John Miller

September 9, 2020