Be humble enough to serve in a practical, continual, and loving relationship to those around you.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? You doing alright today? Oh, I trust so, bless your heart. If you struck a rough day, look up and say, “Lord Jesus, see me through this one.” And He will. He’s the good shepherd and He leads you through. “Yea, though I walk through the valley,” said David as he spoke of the good shepherd, “I will fear no evil.” Jesus brings you through. Trust Him to do that today, if you’ve struck a rough one. And, on the other hand, if it’s a good day and you’re rejoicing, don’t forget Him. Don’t forget Him. Don’t stray away from your Savior, just because things are going well. Keep your faith fixed upon the precious Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, as you go on through your good days, as well as those that aren’t so good.
This is your good friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you to share from God’s Word. We’re looking into the 13th Chapter of John. Our Lord Jesus, after supper was ended, it said, “Laid aside His garments, girded Himself with a towel, and poured some water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet. Simon Peter demurred and said, “You’re going to wash my feet? You’ll never wash my feet.” Jesus said two things to him, one of which we spoke about the last time we got together. “What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.” The second thing He said to them was, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” Well, Peter said, “If that’s true, then wash all of me, my hands and my head.” “No”, He said, “If you come from the public baths, just your feet get dusty, the rest of you stays clean.” What’s He talking about? “If I wash thee not,” there has to be a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. There has to be a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. “If I wash… I wash thee not,” a personal.
There is no such thing as a general relationship to Christ. We are either His personal followers or personally estranged. There’s no religion except personal religion. Christ knelt before each of the 12 in turn, separately. There has to be a personal relationship with the Lord. You wanna stop here long enough to think about that? How personal is your relationship with the Lord Jesus? It must be admitted that for many a professing Christian, the whole matter is academic. The proof of it being, that when you get into a very tight situation and someone says, “Let’s pray about this,” a number of people will get very tense, very upset, very nervous. Why? Because personally approaching the Savior about something is not part of their regular lifestyle.
I made a hospital call, I suppose 20 years ago now, upon a person whom I thought I knew fairly well. We hit it off and chatted, as acquaintances will, about different matters, everything ranging from flowers to bird watching to what to do with obstreperous teenagers, to, well, you name it, including, sometimes, religion. Now, this person was in the hospital and because 18 years in the pastorate has indelibly marked my heart with concern for people, I do make some calls upon people who are my friends or for whom I’m responsible. When I was president of the college, if any of the young people got sick and went to the hospital, I was there to see them; that’s part of the way I operated. So there I was in the hospital, standing at the foot of the bed, talking with this person who was ill. And then, just before I was about to leave, I said, “Well, let me pray for you.” And without hesitation I bowed my head, closed my eyes and prayed earnestly that God would intervene and that He would heal, and that He would bless.
When I said, “Amen,” and opened my eyes, to my amazement the entire sheet was drawn up over the body and the head of this individual, completely covered. And I waited for a moment and then finally after so it seemed to be a long time, the sheet was very slowly lowered and a couple of eyes, and then a nose, and a mouth, and a chin, showed up and that patient said to me, “Don’t you ever do that again!” I was thunderstruck. [chuckle] I have to admit, I was absolutely amazed. And so I asked the natural question, I said, “Why?” “Oh, it makes me so nervous when somebody prays.” All right. [chuckle] Listen, it has to be personal, beloved. It has to be personal. Are you comfortable with Jesus? Or do you get a little nervous when somebody says, “Let’s talk to the Lord about this”? He figured that out. He said, “If I don’t wash you, you don’t have any part with me.” It has to be personal.
And then, of course, it has to be cleansing. Christ came to save the world from sin, but only those cleansed by His blood receive eternal life. It has to be a cleansing relationship. This is implicit in the whole truth of the Gospel. “He that covereth his sin shall not prosper,” said the ancient wise man. “But whoso confesseth and forsaketh it shall have mercy.” Repentance involves turning around and going the other way. There are three Greek words in the New Testament, each of which is translated “repent” in English. One means to think differently, “metanoeo,” then another is to feel differently, “metamellamai,” and the third means to turn around and go another way, “strepho.” We get our medical terms streptomycin and streptococcus and so on, because the organisms are little corkscrew-like looking like things. Strepho, turn around, go the other way. You cannot face longingly toward your sin and the Lord Jesus at the same time. You have to turn toward Him. That’s what Paul said to the Thessalonians. How you turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God. It has to be a cleansing relationship. Personal cleansing.
Then, it needs to be a continual relationship. It’s a daily relationship. Jesus pointed to His daily cleansing, the washing with the basin, in distinction from the bathing in the fountain. There needs to be that constant cleansing. “If we walk in the light,” says John, “As He is in the light, we have fellowship, one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth,” that’s in the linear sense there, “keeps on cleansing” is the way you might paraphrase it. The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, keeps on cleansing us from all sin. A continual process. “He waiteth not for penitence, but hasteth to begin the restoration of the saint the moment of His sin.” Jesus, our intercessor, our high priest, is working all the time on your behalf to keep you clean. “You, who are kept,” says Peter, “By the power of God through faith unto salvation.” Paul said, “I believe that Christ is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” Daily cleansing has to be continual; then it has to be practical.
09:05 DC: Our service is to be personal, and it is also to be lowly, and it also has to do with the basin and the towel, something actually real being done for others. Well, I suppose the most important point we made in the last couple of minutes was this matter of being comfortable with the Lord Jesus. He said, “I have given you example that ye should do what I’ve done.” Are you comfortable with Him? And is your life constantly cleansed by the washing of the water by the Word and by the application through faith of Christ’s shed blood? And is it personal? Is it practical? All of these things come in to focus, don’t they, as we think about this passage.
Well, Peter, of course, he was a deluxe blurter, wasn’t he? So he blurted out, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” Well, Jesus said, if you’ve been to the public bath, you come back, only your feet are dusty, the rest of you is clean. But He said, “You are clean, but not all of you,” referring, of course, to Judas Iscariot. For it says, “For He knew who would betray Him. Therefore, said He, ‘You’re not all clean.'” So after He had washed their feet and had taken His garments again and had sat down again He said, “Know ye what I have done to you.” Now, He identifies Himself as to who and what He is. Notice, He said, “Ye call me Master, and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am.” Never doubt that the Lord Jesus knew exactly His position as God in the flesh. He said, “That’s what I am. Before Abraham was, I am. Abraham saw my day and rejoiced. I saw Satan like lightning cast out of heaven,” said He.
The Lord Jesus never was in any doubt as to His being, His nature or His mission on Earth. “The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost, to give His life a ransom for many. The good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” Jesus knew from the beginning exactly what He was up to. God’s provision for man’s sin, the Passover Lamb now fulfilling all of the pictures and types of the Old Testament sacrifices, our Lord Jesus dying on the cross as God’s Passover Lamb. Our Lord Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen. “Ye call me Master, and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am.”
“Well, then,” He said, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” Now, some denominations have taken this verse as being a command to have what we call foot washing services; and I have no objection to that. On occasion, I’ve had a part in services such as that, and they are symbolic. Everybody that’s going to be in any kind of a meeting like that takes care, first of all, to wash his feet thoroughly, and second, takes care to put on a pair of socks that don’t have any holes in them. [chuckle] And the men go in one room by themselves and the ladies in another room by themselves and then they have this foot washing ceremony. And it is humbling and it is beautiful and I have nothing against it.
I think, however, that the main thrust of that verse, “If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet ye ought also to wash one another’s feet.” I think the main thrust of that is, you’d better be humble enough to serve in a practical, a continual, and a loving relationship to others. That’s what Paul said, “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord and ourselves your slaves for Jesus’ sake.” Same truth. Well, we’ll get at this the next time we get together.
Father God, today, help us to do what our Lord Jesus has told us in lowly, loving service. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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