John 13, Holiness

Moving on from last week when we spoke about obedience, I wanted to follow on and say well what does Obedience give us.

In the end it gives us holiness. By being obedient we follow Christ and we work on our faith. in that we can rest assured of our salvation and grace of God that we have a heavenly spot at the table.

last week we watched a chosen video here in the hall which was fantastic and the message it brought was beautiful. At one stage I saw Aleesha was crying and it was when Jesus was talking to Nicodemus and he was mentioning spiritually about it’s not just about the flesh. It made me start thinking about holiness and that holiness also has something to do with wisdom.

The reading today it’s a bit of a long one it’s from John 13 verses 4 to 17 that’s where Christ washes the feet of his disciples, John 13:4-17 NIV

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. [6] He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” [7] Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” [8] “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” [9] “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” [10] Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” [11] For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. [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] Very truly I tell you, 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

this is the word of the Lord

on reading that it’s so juicy and there’s so much in there spiritually to get out and it is a reason why John is such a favourite book of mine to read. When I first read it I couldn’t help but contemplate why the feet. Why feet so I went to a book a dictionary and I looked up feet. The definition of feet is the lower extremity of the leg below the ankle on which a person stands or walks. I then went to OK that makes sense. I stand and walk in my faith with God through my faith. What’s wash mean? It is to cleanse. It all started to hit me that this is deep already that Christ knows that we need to cleanse our faith to be a part of him. I should have separated the reading in three sections but in my wisdom I didn’t but if we can go to the first part of the reading, I want you to focus on the fact that Christ went to this meal he knew it was going to happen, just like I knew what I was going to talk about today I prepared for it  and not everyone knows what I’m going to say up here. Christ too knew what he’s going to do. I want you to see the servant hood of Christ sitting at the table.  Be aware that Chapters before the disciples were arguing about who is going to be the greatest one once Christ does leave. instead of getting to the table and discussing who should wash their feet which was a traditional thing done back in ancient Jerusalem in that time. Not one of them had the thought to humble themselves and be a servant to wash their fellow disciples’ feet. They all sat down.

Now this feet word is important because in those days they walk everywhere in sandals or barefoot, the tables were small and close to the ground so cleaning your feet before dinner was something that was done all the time traditionally and always done by the servant of the lowest of the low.

So we see the worldly mindsets of disciples focused on themselves is really seeing the table where no one is giving a thought to wash their own or anyone else’s feet. Regardless Jesus got up and prepared himself to wash their feet. now he’s washing all of the disciple’s feat. He came to Simon Peter, Lord you are going to wash my feet. it offended Peter and when Peter asked the Lord replied unless I wash you, you have no part with me and in response Simon Peter replied well then don’t just wash my feet, wash my head and wash my arms. Christ replied those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet the whole body is clean and you are already clean but not everyone of you talking about Judas. this moment where Simon Peter was confused, he needed Christ to tell him, for him to obey. Bare in mind the disciples had been with Christ travelling and learning from him everyday for the last three years listening to him every single day and there obedience was still something they had to learn walking and journeying in the world.  A world of sin, hence the importance of Christ cleaning their feet.

 You do not understand what I have done you call me teacher and Lord and rightly so for that is what I am. Now that I’ve washed your feet you should wash others feet. Jesus’ attitude of servanthood was in direct contrast to that of his disciples who had recently been arguing amongst themselves.

we read in that passage and understand that salvation is a one time act of justification by our faith but the lifelong process of sanctification is one of washing from the stain of sin we experience as we walk through the world. We need continual cleaning from the effects of living in the flesh in a sin cursed world. The continual washing of sanctification is done by the power of the Holy Spirit within us through the washing of water by the Word 

Water is used so much in the Bible from the starting genesis when it restores and brings order to the world that separates from day to night. Water again is used in genesis, Noah’s Ark story, we know it was used to flood and to cleanse the world of sin and then used again in the baptism of Christ to be reborn new in the world. It’s one of the conversations that nicodemus had with Jesus and he couldn’t understand

How he was supposed to be born again. Born of the flesh and born of the spirit it’s important that in our faith we realise. Obedience is forever and just because we declare ourselves a Christian it doesn’t mean that we don’t pick up things along the way on our feet on our faith.  it doesn’t mean that we succumbed easily to jealousy and hatred and a false gospel.

Obedience means we need to clean ourselves with Christ and what washes over us is not water it is the spirit and the spirit is what cleanses us. some extreme Christians have taken the washing of feet seriously and they wash everyone’s feet to this day still maybe they’re right maybe they’re wrong.  

But for me the wisdom in this is the continuing washing of our faith that we need to remain holy. I don’t say holy as in look at me on a pedalstill.  I say holy to help us maintain the wisdom that we have to be a light and shine for Christ in this world and at times a Dark World.

 This dinner Jesus knew it was his last dinner he could have given them any gift he wanted to in the world he didn’t give them a house, he didn’t give them a mode of transport.  he didn’t give them any money. the gift that Christ gave them I believe was wisdom and their ability to hopefully see.

 To see the importance of the spirit in their life and the continuing importance of that spirit working cleansing you caring for you washing over you.  In Ezekiel God says to his people, I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols I will give you a new heart and put on a new spirit in you. I will remove you from your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh and I will put my spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors you will be my people and I will be your God I will save you from uncleanliness.

Christ does save us and just because I have a baptism and we declare I believe God. it doesn’t mean I take my ticket and I walk back into the world. It means I continually need to be cleansed by the spirit in my life by being obedient to the spirit.  Funny enough, Paul mentioned in his gospel to be cleansed by the word, the word allows the spirit to light up, renew and fill our hearts which allows us then to go out.

Jesus washing their feet, that took preparation it took his action it took his will; it took his obedience to be lower than low to be the lowest servant there to wash their feet and then don’t  forget the fact that he even washed Judas his feet. he knew what Judas was going to do but he still washed his feet. he didn’t judge him he didn’t go, past him or say I’m not doing yours!  

That’s the love that Christ has for us the hope that he has for us that we should mirror in him and through our hearts.

 Peace I leave with you my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

 Christ does not give to us as the world gives but he allows us the gift of grace and the gift of wisdom to see him and to seek him and to follow him and obey him.

Christianity in that obediance and holiness we find our peace and comfort. 1 John , whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.  that’s a hard task I can’t do miracles sometimes I struggle giving a sermon about God he’s more knowledgeable than I will ever be, more powerful and he’s more loving and compassionate. I can’t do what Jesus did.

But I can wash my feet, I can cleanse my heart with the word of God. we all can.

I was reading a sermon by stott this week and in the sermon he mentioned a Muslim Imran and his view of Christianity. He was quoted saying , if Christians acted like Christians and did and were christlike there would be no need for any other religion.

 And that’s true. alas human concerns that haven’t been cleansed have taken over.

William Temple, Archbishop in the 1940s, used to illustrate this point from Shakespeare:

It is no good giving me a play like Hamlet or King Lear and telling me to write a play like that. Shakespeare could do it—I can’t. And it is no good showing me a life like the life of Jesus and telling me to live a life like that. Jesus could do it—I can’t. But if the genius of Shakespeare could come and live in me, then I could write plays like this. And if the Spirit could come into me, then I could live a life like His.

The spirit is here its in all of us, that’s why we’re here today. it’s incredible to think that and that’s why it’s so humbling to realise that the more wisdom you learn the more unholy you see yourself even now. I have no doubt that Christ will save leash and Meredith, Rachel Ian I have no doubt. But when I think of myself. It turns to I hope he does. Apart from working on my obedience, I t’s just a normal human concern that is going to take more wisdom and obedience to overcome. Because Christ truly does love us and has saved us through his obedience to the father.  human messenger no greater than the one who sent him.  

It really is the good news. when I first heard the term good news of the Bible i rejoiced. because it’s true, there is nothing I can do in this world that will save me apart from my faith in Christ.

I wouldn’t be talking up here if i didn’t have a faith in Christ. in fact off the subject, I had to put a portfolio together for my period discernment. I used the fact that during covid lockdowns, I still wanted to keep going. it would have been so easy to quit because the world allows us to quit. The wants us to quiet, give up. The world allows us to be disobedient.

But back to the topic your obedience leads to holiness and that holiness comes from the wisdom, we as Christians learn only through the spirit and through each other. cleansing each other. Do as Jesus said, as an example I don’t go and wash Leesh’s feet. but I’ll talk to her about her questions. I don’t go up to her and start saying well God said you should be doing that every day and you need to be Good Wife.  No I’ll go up put a hand on her What’s wrong. I’ll listen to you, how can I help you. I go with kindness, compassion as s servant there to help.  all these gifts of the spirit are provided for us to go for God to cleanse those around us.

Philippians, in your relationships with one another have the same mindset as Jesus Christ who being in very nature of God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.

 It’s true apart from saying follow me, this open question he never demanded anything. He always acted with love and kindness and was always doing things for the will of his father the one who sent him.

 Leesh had a beautiful point after that chosen video last weekend. She said, you know what it makes sense that Jesus was born a baby like us. oh why babe I replied Because if he wasn’t us he wouldn’t truly know us. You couldn’t relate to him and he couldn’t relate to us.

If Christ didn’t know us he, couldn’t wash our feet. he couldn’t cleanse us. your faith is something that will continue to grow the more you thirst for knowledge and explore the written word.

The journey we are all on in our faith will see our feet be used to walk and stand. Our feet are going to get caught or trip sometimes. they’re gonna get hurt. Just like our spiritual faith. They in turn will need washing, cleansing just like our faith.

I hope Don wouldn’t mind me saying, but Don couldn’t walk the other day because his feet were so sore. if that was someone’s faith that couldn’t walk anymore. how would you cleanse them.  I won’t tell you the answer. I might not know the answer but I want you to think, how would you clean someone’s feet because they can’t walk anymore.

Again Christ at this dinner gave them a gift of wisdom. he gave them a gift of comfort and compassion and peace, kindness cleanliness and servant hood. he gave them his grace his humbleness and sanctification. He gave them a hope and he gave them a command.

God gives us gifts every day not of this world, of the spiritual world. Because that spiritual world is real it’s why we’re here and if you don’t believe me look at Stevens prayer this morning if he had a prayer of flesh he would have said, Meredith tell them to pray that i m cured tomorrow to tell them to pray that it will go away. But he told Meredith, tell  them to pray for the sick children in the world. Pray for the Sick.

God doesn’t give us gifts of this world I’m hopping on it because I want you to realise is the best gift he’s given us is his grace. which is the gift that we can give out to others based off love. Off his love of Christ teachings.

The other thing I wanted to bring up briefly was the fact that, has anyone ever called or said a prayer and said Dear Teacher. I haven’t.  I have said counsellor, peacemaker. Iv said God capital G and lower G but I’ve never called him teacher.

 It goes to show that we are continually learning in our faith and never stop. if you do stop pray for the thirst to continue to seek him, pray to knock on that door because although we might think we’re not good enough for God and we aren’t. God thinks we’re good enough for him.  

The word holiness. When I think about it my human mind takes me to this man at the front of a stage, all eyes on him in greatness stating Look like me, be holy wearing this beautiful coat with a wife who obeys him.  That’s not holiness.

Holiness is being a servant for Christ humbling yourself, going for Christ as an example because I guarantee you every single person in your life who knows that you’re a Christian is watching and listening to everything you say and do whether it’s for the edification of their thoughts or for  having in their mind for reasons only known to them. But know they are watching you and they are listening to you and the best advertisement is Holiness. Christs example of holiness.. doing the will of God as a humble servant with, compassion helping someone clean their feet not necessarily physical for glory not of their own. It can get deep and you should explore and explore and explore go’s word trusting God as he will guide you in your obedience though the spirit to holiness.

Prayer

Dear teacher thank you for your word that’s able to cleanse our spirit continually day after day. help us to be an example for you and go in the example that you set for us help us Lord to understand you to find you and seek you and help us Lord too show the hope and shine as a church in the world run by the Prince of darkness. I ask you Lord for the peace for all of us to leave here today and to go about our lives on our journey no. matter where it takes us continue to help us find you and seek you and love you.

Amen

Bennediction

Romans 15:5-6 NIV

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.