Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Just as athletes need to clean their shoes before a race, believers in life's race need daily cleansing to please Jesus.
That's the goal of everything we do. It's a lesson Peter learned long ago when his master approached him with a towel. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, we're in a series on the life of Peter, a man chiseled by the Master's hand. Today, we hear the well-known story of Christ washing his disciples' feet, a lesson on living clean in a dirty world. You know, Dave, I think that in our very hurried world, we don't spend enough time meditating on an incident like this in the life of Jesus Christ. Imagine how those disciples felt. Of course, they knew that they should have been the one on their knees, and here it's Jesus, and he does it for a very specific purpose. There's a spiritual lesson also that he has in mind.
I want to thank the many of you who support this ministry, and at the end of this broadcast, I'm going to be giving you some information about Running to Win, and I want to thank you in advance for praying for us and helping us, because together we are making a difference all throughout the world. You and I know, don't we, that this world is a rather dirty place. It's a dirty place. The moral and the spiritual pollution is everywhere. It's just not on television or also in business today where you have a lot of corruption and a lot of temptation to corruption.
I don't need to detail for you all of the disintegration of the moral values of our country and what is being taught in the schools and what is not being taught in the schools. And you know, all of these pressures and all of these things that incite us to sin would be quite manageable were it not for the fact that there is something within me that corresponds to the stimuli that is without. By nature, as sinners, we gravitate toward certain sins. So you have the enemy without, and that corresponds with the enemy within, and so that's what sets up conflict, and we'd all like to live better lives than we're living, and sometimes we follow distantly when it comes to Christ, and what we don't really like to do is to draw near and to be exposed to the light because there's too much dirt hidden there that we have successfully covered.
We don't like to be exposed. One day Jesus wanted to give his disciples a lesson on cleansing and a lesson on humility, and the two do go hand in hand. I ask you to take your Bibles and turn to the 13th chapter of the Gospel of John, John 13. If you've been with us, you know that this is number eight in a series of messages on the life of Peter, and this passage of Scripture, though it deals with all the disciples, particularly focuses in on that apostle whom we have come to love, Peter. Before the 13th chapter opens, according to the Gospel of Luke, the disciples were having an argument as to which of them might be the greatest. You see, they believed that Jesus was going to establish the kingdom, and because he would establish that kingdom, they all were thinking that they would have positions of responsibility in this earthly kingdom.
So they were arguing as to who was going to be the prime minister, who was going to be the ambassador to Rome, and who is indeed the greatest. So they needed a lesson in humility, but they also needed one on cleansing. I want you to notice that Jesus Christ teaches the disciples three powerful lessons in this 13th chapter. Three powerful lessons, so that if you're taking notes, it's lesson one and two and three, and if you're not taking notes, you'll just remember them, won't you?
Of course. All good sermons are remembered, aren't they? All right, number one, a lesson in servanthood, a lesson in servanthood, and what a lesson this was. In those days, it was customary to walk with open sandals. We call them thongs today, and of course, the feet of those who so walked along the paths became dirty, dusty, inevitably besmirched with mud, and it was also very customary that when you came into a home, someone would have a servant wash your feet. It was a nice custom, I'm sure, which was always carried out and became actually part of Middle East etiquette. Jesus had asked the disciples to prepare a place where they would be able to eat the Passover. It's called the upper room, and so the upper room is prepared, and lo and behold as the disciples are sitting in a circle wondering who will do the job of a servant, we read in verse five, verse four, he rose up from supper, laid aside his garments, that is his outer garment, and taking a towel, girded himself about, and he poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded. This is absolutely awesome.
Take enough time to think about what's happening. This is God on his hands and knees, if you please. This is God humbling himself and serving those who were decidedly lesser than he in the eternal schemes of God. And Jesus does what they were too proud and too self-willed and independent to do.
We look at the passage and we think this is unbelievable. How can God do this? It says, for example, in verse three, Jesus knowing the Father had given all things into his hands, hands, that's the word I want you to see, these were the hands that created the heavens, by the word of the Lord were the heavens made in the host of them by the breath of his mouth, and these hands that created the universe become the hands that wash dirty, dusty feet. How could Jesus do that? I want you to notice how he internally had a good sense of destiny and that really helped him and enabled him to do it.
For example, it says in verse one, now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that his hour was come. He had a good a sense of his mission. He knew that he could not die until his hour was come. And by the way, if you're walking in faith and in the Spirit, neither can you. But Jesus knew that into that hour would be compressed Gethsemane and the cross and the very purpose for which he came and therefore he knew that this was part of the will of God and had a good sense of what he was about in the world.
Notice he knew his mission, he knew his resources. It says in verse three, Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands. Nothing was happening that was beyond the strength and the permission of God and Christ, the second member of the Trinity. Even though Satan was involved, it says in verse two, during supper the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon to betray him. Parenthesis, what does Satan do? Satan puts thoughts into our minds that we think are our own. And that's why we're not afraid of those thoughts. If we knew that these thoughts came from Satan, we'd be terrified.
But as long as these thoughts seem to give us no fear and we think that they are self-generated, we're even unaware of it. Same thing happened to Ananias and Sapphira where the thought of lying was put into their mind by Satan. But I want you to notice all things were given into the hands of Christ and even the betrayal of Christ which was so imminent through the life of Judas inspired by the devil. That too was part of the total picture of the hour. Then I want you to notice also he knew his origin.
I love this. He knew that he had come forth from God and that he was going back to God. I'll tell you something, anybody who knows those four things, if you know your mission and your resources, where you've come from and where you are going, you will be content to take the role of a servant if that's what God wills for you. We still look at the passage though and say it's still unthinkable.
How could it happen? How could Jesus do something that was beneath his dignity? We have people today who lose their jobs and then they don't find another job because they want something that is in keeping with their education, their skill level and all the rest. And Jesus had all that and more and he does something that does not fit exactly with that job description. Talk about someone who is overqualified for washing feet.
Now, how could Christ do it? Well, Jesus knew that it's not what you do that is important but who you are doing it for that gives dignity to the lowest menial task. Oh, I wish that I had the opportunity of preaching a series of messages on that and someday I will. In America we are obsessed with finding a job that you love. Books have been written about it and I'm not objecting to that. I hope you can find a job you love.
I happen to have one that I love. Some things I have to do that are part of my job description that I don't exactly enjoy doing but that's the nature of life but not everyone is that fortunate. Slaves in the Roman Empire could not find a job they loved and what did the Apostle Paul say to them? Paul says in Ephesians, he says, do not serve your masters except that see in your service of them Christ.
You're doing this for him. So you see to Jesus it didn't really matter whether he was preaching the Sermon on the Mount or whether he was washing the disciples feet. The only thing that mattered is that he was doing the will of God which had been worked out from eternity past and which he was now implementing and to him whatever he did was done with a sense of purpose and fulfillment because it was being done for God. By the way, I don't think that he did this just because he wanted to give them a good lesson in humility and says well you guys really need this lesson in humility so I'm going to show you what I'm going to do.
I don't think that was the case at all. I think Jesus did this because he really did love those disciples. It was done out of a heart of affection, a lesson in servanthood. But secondly there's a lesson in submission, a lesson in submission as he makes the rounds and I assume that he did wash Judas's feet as well.
He's making the rounds. He comes to Simon Peter verse 6. Simon Peter said to him and the Greek text here emphasizes every single word, Lord do you wash my feet? Jesus answered and said to him what I do you do not realize now but you shall know afterwards. There's more going on here than simply the washing of feet.
There's a symbolism that we're going to unpack in just a moment. And then Peter makes a profound statement. Given to excesses as Peter was he said never shall you wash my feet.
Never to all of eternity I wouldn't let you do it. A superficial reading of the text might lead us to believe that Peter was just so humble, just so humble that he didn't want to have his master wash his feet. Well if he was so humble why wasn't he washing the feet of the disciples? I don't think that this is a lot of humility going on here. I think first of all he felt very sheepish and very provoked and very uncomfortable knowing that Jesus was doing what indeed he should have been doing.
And so much of his response may have to do with his uncomfortableness rather than genuine humility. You know there are some churches and I highly respect them by the way who believe that the washing of feet is an ordinance because Jesus later says that we should do to one another as he did to the disciples. And so a couple of times a year they have a foot washing ordinance. Women wash the feet of the women and men wash the feet of the men and everyone gets their feet washed. I know what I would do before I attended a service like that.
So you would too wouldn't you? Of course we'd all wash our feet. There's something that it's humiliating to have somebody else wash your feet especially if it is someone with dignity. And in this case talk about dignity we're talking about God. And so I'm not sure that this is humility. But there's another reason why I know for sure it isn't humility and that is Peter is contradicting Jesus. Jesus says I want to wash your feet and he says never even unto eternity you will not.
You will not. Peter is in the strange position of disagreeing with his master. Three times Peter disagreed with Christ. A few weeks ago we noticed when Jesus said I'm going to the cross Peter said oh not so Lord that'll never happen to you. Peter took him aside and we noticed at that time that Peter in saying that was actually jeopardizing his own salvation because if Jesus had not gone to the cross Peter himself would have been lost forever. He disagreed with Christ on that point and Christ said this Satan recognizing that behind Peter's words were the devil get behind me. Here he disagrees with Christ and then in the cutting off of the servant's ear the night of the betrayal Peter again disagrees with Christ. Pride really. I'm not going to have you wash my feet. It's like somebody told me one time he said you know I don't need God's forgiveness I'm just going to stand before him on the basis of my own record and I'll take my own consequence.
Ouch. Not only pride but foolish pride. Arrogant pride. Damning pride. Or the pride of a person who says you know I've committed a sin that is so great that God could never forgive it. They think it's humility. Pride. Pride, pride, pride, pride, pride. You mean to tell me that God says that Jesus Christ's death on the cross was a satisfaction for sin and it was holy and totally received by God the Father and Jesus said it is finished and now you have the unutterable gall to say that you have done something which Christ's death is unable to cover.
Who are you anyway? Well when Jesus said to Peter if I don't wash you you don't have any part with me. Peter again a man of extremes says oh Lord he says not my feet only verse 9 but also my hands and my head. Jesus if it means that I'm not going to have any part with you pour the bucket over my head do the whole thing.
Don't you just love it? He was finally brought to the point of submission. But there's a third lesson. There's the lesson of servanthood. There's the lesson of submission and thirdly there is a lesson on salvation. Salvation. That word salvation means that we are saved from something. We are saved from the wrath to come. We are truly saved.
That is a good word to use. It's biblical all throughout Paul's writings. He talks about those that are saved.
It means saved forever from God's wrath and saved for heaven. And notice how Jesus now takes this as an illustration of salvation. Peter says not my hands only but also my hands and my head verse 10 Jesus said he who has bathed needs only to wash his feet but is completely clean and you are clean but not all of you for he knew the one who was betraying him for this reason he said not all of you are clean. Now Jesus indicates here that there are two different washings and I hope that you've experienced both of them. The complete bath first of all the complete bath is the washing of regeneration.
That is getting saved. It is regeneration because God does a miracle in the heart. It is the new birth. You become a child of God.
That is a bath that does not have to be repeated again ever. New Christians sometimes say well you know I've received Christ as my savior but now I have sinned. Do I have to be saved again? The answer is no you don't have to be saved again.
Once is sufficient but you do need your feet washed. You do need your heart cleansed as we shall see in a moment. And of course the cleansing of the heart takes place through confession. I'm thinking for example of first John 1 9.
If we confess our sins he's faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. What marvelous salvation we have. I want to emphasize that because of people like you the ministry of running to win goes to different countries in four different languages. For example we are heard in Spanish in about a hundred stations all throughout Central and South America.
Arabic throughout the Middle East. I remember being in Romania many years ago and being interviewed at a radio station that carries our broadcast and so it is because of you that this ministry is able to expand. And this is a very exciting time because we have some friends who say that they are willing to match whatever is contributed to the ministry of running to win up to $90,000. Would you help us? Your $10 becomes $20. Of course $25 becomes $50.
You can do the math. What a way to maximize your gift in helping us get the gospel to thousands upon thousands. Now here's what you do. You go to RTWOffer.com. That's RTWOffer.com and I'm going to be giving you that contact info again. Or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337.
As you give think about making an investment in eternity. An investment in lives who listen to the gospel of Jesus Christ in so many different ways through the ministry of running to win. Go to RTWOffer.com. Of course RTWOffer is all one word.
RTWOffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. It's time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question you may have about the Bible or the Christian life. Sue is a faithful running to win listener. She has this question about financial giving. I've not been able to find a good church in my area so I give my tithe to support other ministries or to people in need instead. Pastor Lutzer, is that okay? Well Sue, first of all I want to thank you for being sensitive regarding the question most people wouldn't worry about where their money goes or even if they give any money.
Couple of comments. First of all, yes of course it's fine for you to give that money to other ministries but I hope that you don't do that permanently because you say that there isn't a good church in your area. I hope that you find one and even if it isn't a good church, if it believes the Bible despite its limitations or its disappointments, we all need other believers to connect with. And so there's a part of me that says yes it's fine for you to continue to give your gifts elsewhere but there's another part of me that says all Christians should be connected to a body of believers. And I'm just hoping and praying that God will lead you to a church that will be good and then you can support that church. But I hope that even after you support that church that you continue to support other ministries. My wife and I do that and I'm sure that thousands and thousands of Christians really do both as well. We contribute to the church regularly but at the same time we are blessing other missionaries and other people. So keep up your generosity and keep praying and God may lead you to a church that you can fully support. Thank you Sue and thank you Dr. Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337.
You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. When Jesus washed Peter's feet, the conflict within Peter was palpable. He had a visceral reaction as his master knelt before him. Servant leadership was on display and next time we'll see why we too must heed this stark lesson in how to serve. Thanks for listening to our series on the life of Peter. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-16 11:55:06 / 2023-03-16 12:03:45 / 9