A Passion To Serve (Soul on Fire #4)


Pastor Barry Bruce/ The Gathering Church:  A Passion To Serve (Soul on Fire series #4To Hear this message and others go to THEGATHERINGHG.COM

Strip, Kneel, and Serve John 13:1-17

At that last supper with his disciples, Jesus led them in eating the traditional Passover meal which reminds the Jewish families of the time where God delivered his people from Egyptian slavery (the Exodus: Exodus 12:13-51). The celebration is called a ‘Seder’. It means ‘order’ in Hebrew. There is a set order of service that has varied little for more than 3,500 years, but Jesus took the liberty to significantly change and fulfill certain elements of that symbolic and celebratory meal.  Traditionally that meal consists of sharing unleavened bread, roasted lamb and four cups of wine to various scripture readings and narrations by the head of the house.

The first cup of wine (the cup of Sanctification) begins the Seder and celebrates the promise of God to deliver his people and the promise “I will bring you out”.  The second cup (the cup of Plagues) was drunk after the story of the Passover was read and relates to the ten plagues that God poured out upon Egypt that forced Pharaoh to let God’s people go free. That cup celebrates the promise of God that says “I will free you from being slaves”.  It is after this cup that everyone at the table traditionally washes their hands, but this is one of the areas where Jesus changed things.  He got up from the table, stripped off his outer garment, knelt before each disciple at the table and served them as a slave would by washing their feet (John 13:4-5).  It was customary that a slave would remove the guests dirty sandals at the door and wash their feet before they entered, however there was no slave at the door of the Last Supper and certainly not one of the disciples would have taken such a position especially since even after the dinner they argued about which of them was considered to be greatest (Luke 22:24). They all sat at that table with dirty feet until Jesus stripped, knelt and served them as a slave.  All of them…even Judas the betrayer. 

How would you have responded to Jesus washing your filthy feet?  Peter said “No, you shall never wash my feet”, but Jesus responded by saying “unless I wash you, you have no part with me”.  In short Jesus was showing his disciples that they needed to be cleansed of sin by his redeeming work.  Peter then basically proclaimed “then give me a bath!”

Jesus’ reply to Peter’s bath idea was to say that we are bathed clean when we come to Christ but we still get dirty feet walking in this world.  We don’t need to go to the altar and get saved again and again… Jesus has cleansed those of us who have made him Savior and Lord, but God wants us to walk in holiness —Judas desired neither, but what about the others?  Did they understand?  Do we understand what Jesus was saying when he washed their feet?

Jesus was saying to his disciples then and to everyone who follows him now:  Strip off everything that hinders you, Kneel down to others (as God has knelt down to you) and serve people in Jesus name!  Our Lord and teacher has washed away our filth so who are we to refuse this service to others? Do we think that we are greater than the one who sends us?  We are blessed by him if we burn with a passion to serve others.

Will you be the foot washing bond slave of Jesus at the door of the heart of the one he is knocking at? Do you have a soul on fire to serve Jesus? 

Strip Philippians 2:1-8, James 4:7-10, Isaiah 61:10

We must always strip something off in order to follow Jesus. That stripping off comes first by acknowledging the fact that we are a hopeless sinner and need Jesus.  We must humble ourselves under his mighty hand to be lifted up (James 4:9-10). We must never forget how naked we are without Jesus.  It is he who has clothed us with righteousness (Isaiah 61:10) so how can we refuse to remove our pride and self-importance in order to stoop down to meet another’s need to see his love in action? 

Kneel Matthew 6:9-10, 33

When you kneel down at the feet of a king you are in no place to tell him what order he may give.  He is the king and you are the subject and you are blessed to be in that place where he has called you into his service.  What has he called you to do in order to advance his kingdom?  That’s right it is about advancing his kingdom not yours or mine!  We are to seek his kingdom and his righteousness first and then oddly enough he will meet our needs—yes “blessed if we do them” (those things that he tells us to do). 

Serve Matthew 25:31-46

What is Jesus asking you to do?  Give your talents, your time, your treasure?  What do you desire to give back to the one who gave all for you?  What will you withhold?  Jesus makes it abundantly clear that whatever we do for one of the least, we do unto him.  Would you strip, kneel and serve Jesus…would you stoop down and wash his filthy feet if he had such a need? 

Will you be the foot washing bond slave of Jesus at the door of the heart of the one he is knocking at? Do you have a soul on fire to serve Jesus? 

Help Us in the Harvest Matthew 9:37-38, 1 Peter 4:10-11

Last week we learned about having a passion to pray; a passion to communicate and interact with God.  When Jesus says “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” he is saying “talk to me!  Let me show you my heart and my passion!”  The harvest field of humanity is the very passion and heart of Jesus.  He came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).  If you pray to the Lord about serving he will send you!  This is the very essence of our relationship with him.  He doesn’t have to send you to a foreign land for you to serve him.  The need for service to bring God’s kingdom to earth is everywhere!  The problem is not the need it is in the heart.  Does your heart beat with   appreciation and gratitude for what the King of kings has done for you?  Then ask him how and where he wants you to serve.  Now is the time!   

If we refuse to strip off what keeps us from serving then we will never kneel to serve the King and we will never know the blessing that belongs to those who help bring His kingdom to earth. His is the glory forever and when his people serve His glory abounds!  


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