Summary: What makes feet beautiful is when they become leathery, dusty, gnarled in taking the Gospel across the street… across the fence post… we must go across our community… across the country… and across the continents.
Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (July 1, 1818 – August 13, 1865) was a Hungarian physician now known as an early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. He is known as the savior of the mothers. His story was portrayed in a 1938 movie, That Mothers Might Live, that won an Academy Award. Philip was born into a world of dying women. In his day, 1 in 6 women died in childbirth. His desire to know the reason for the high death rate led him to become a physician. He discovered that these women were dying of something called “childbed fever.” Studying the way doctors worked in his day, he discovered something that we would consider appalling. When the doctors began their shift, they often went first to the morgue to do autopsies. Because they did not understand germs and bacteria, they did not wash their hands as they moved to the maternity ward. As they delivered children, they were killing the mothers. Philip began to experiment with washing his hands. He encouraged his colleagues to wash their hands in a chlorine solution. Immediately the maternal death rate dropped from 1 in 6 to 1 in 50 among their patients. Yet, many patients remained skeptical of this simple solution.
Finally, Philip spoke to a convention of his colleagues: “This fever is caused by decomposed material conveyed to a wound. I have shown how it could be prevented. I have proven all I have said. But while we talk, talk, talk gentlemen, women are dying. I’m not asking you to anything world shaking, I’m asking you only to wash. For God’s sake, wash your hands.” But they laughed him to scorn. Philip died insane at the age of 47 with the death rattle of a thousand women in his ears.
We continue our series this morning, Seven Practices of a Healthy Christian, as I want to discuss with you something equally simple as washing your hands. I want to talk about Developing a Passion for Others. This series began with the heart where our greatest pleasure… our greatest satisfaction is found in Jesus Christ. The worship of Him isn’t just a duty; it is a delight. And the practices continue with your feet. It’s with the heart we worship Christ and with our feet that we are sent to commend to others our joy we have found in Christ. Both the heart and the feet demonstrate that Christianity is not to be practiced with listless apathy. The heart and the feet are set on fire for a passion to spread the supremacy of God in our community, in our country, and to the continents.
Today’s Big Idea: We Exist to Spread the Supremacy of Christ to All People.
I have one HUGE assumption I am operating under this morning: There is no Christian faith without Christian conversion. Conversion is turning to God. It’s the process where we turn from our sin in repentance and turn to God through faith in Christ’s death on the cross. Conversion is the only way we can enter the family of God. And this act of change… this conversion… is a supernatural act of God. It’s where God touches deep inside of us and completely changes us and makes him us. The change that a person experiences is solely by the kindness and mercy of God. Consequently, only two categories matter spiritually speaking: you are saved or lost. You are on the inside of God’s grace or you are still on the outside of His grace. You are a believer or non-believer… You are in Christ’s kingdom or in the kingdom of darkness. He does the work of saving and he doesn’t call on us to do anything to add to His grace, mercy, and kindness. The Bible says it this way: “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). There’s no need to attempt to assist His grace. God’s grace single-handily accomplishes what He intends it to achieve. Conversion is the doorway to house of the Christian faith. So here again is my assumption: You cannot practice the Christian faith without entering the doorway of conversion. For the next few moments I want to drill down into Romans 10 to best see how we can use our feet to share the Gospel with others.
“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?’ 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. 18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for ‘Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’ 19 But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, ‘I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.’