Summary: Notice 3 truths that will refill our faith in Jesus' love (Material adapted from Mark Atteberry's book, Free Refill, Chapter 5 on Refilling Your Faith In His Love, pgs. 77-89)
A "Dear John letter" is a letter written, originally to a soldier overseas, by his wife or girlfriend to inform him their relationship is over, usually because the author has found another lover.
Because human love is failing, at times we doubt God’s love for us. When some terrible set of circumstances comes into our lives, we pull away, wondering how a loving God could allow such a thing to happen. Or when we fall into sin, we pull away, assuming that a holy God could only be disgusted with us. The result is that we never really get to know and enjoy God’s love because of our doubts. Suspicion or guilt always seems to stand in our way.
Let’s face it. There is no misery greater than feeling unloved. If we have ever been abandoned by a parent, betrayed by a spouse, or dumped by the girl or the guy of our dreams, we know this all to well. I’ve watched strong, capable men and women crumble under the anguish of a lost love, and the agony can be even worse when we don’t feel loved by God.
Mark Atteberry in book, Free Refill- I opened an e-mail from a reader who told me the story of how, after many years of living for herself, she finally gave her life to Christ. She was giddy with excitement and determined to spend every day of the rest of her life serving her Lord. Then, just a few weeks after her conversion, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given only a few months to live. Can we blame her for turning her face toward Heaven and screaming, “OK, God, what up with this? I give you my heart and you give me cancer!”
Does our faith in God’s love need a refill? Is there something- perhaps pain or guilt- that makes us wonder where we really stand with God? Let’s journey back to John 13 (story of service for Labor Day), where we find Jesus teaching an unforgettable lesson about his love
Chapters 13 through 17 of John are known as the Farewell Discourse. They contain Jesus’ last words to his disciples before the cross. When we know we’re about to die every word and action is significant and packed with emotion.
As John 13 opens, we’re told that Jesus set out to show his disciples “the full extend of his love” (vs. 1). I find significance in the word “show” here. Jesus understood that just telling his disciples about his love wouldn’t cut it. Many people say that they love us. Jesus knew that actions speak louder than words, that a demonstration would stick with them longer than a declaration. So Jesus took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, poured water into a basin, and prepared to wash their feet.
Leonardo da Vinci once observed that “the foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.” He’s right. Of the 206 bones in our body, 52 of them are in the feet. They are connected by 66 joints, moved by 40 muscles, and held together by 200 ligaments. Each foot also houses an intricate network of nerves and blood vessels.
The foot is a masterpiece but the foot is also the most unattractive part of the human body (I know how beautiful are the feet of him who brings good news but what makes that remarkable is that the foot is unattractive). During the typical day our feet endure the force of several hundred tons. That’s during the typical day. On days when we participate in sports, the pounding our feet suffer is multiplied many times over.
Our feet can suffer from maladies. Corns, calluses, cracked heels, ingrown toenails, bunions, warts, and rashes are painful and make our feet horrifying to look at. I’ve failed to mention the smell. The reason feet stink is because they contain approximately 250,000 sweat glands that can secrete as much as half a pint of moisture per day.
If feet are unattractive today, think of feet in Bible times. Imagine people walking everywhere on dusty roads that were traveled by donkeys and other animals. The disciples undoubtedly had some nasty feet under those robes. To have the host wash one’s feet would be insulting and humiliating, this was the job for the lowest slave. Peter, knowing this, refused to have Jesus wash his feet.
Jesus used this situation as a teaching opportunity. Jesus was showing the disciples the extent of his love for them.
Thesis: Notice 3 truths that will refill our faith in Jesus’ love
Our filth doesn’t diminish Jesus’ love for us
Jesus was showing his disciples that he could and would stomach their filth.
The Bible teaches this truth through many dramatic stories but the most intriguing is the one found in the book of Hosea. God told the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute. “When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife (some translations a prostitute) and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.”” Hosea 1:2, NIV.