Summary: 1st in 5 part series. This is an all church campaign/study put out by Zondervan in order for us not to just go to church but be the church.

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Faith In Action - Week 1

JOHN 13: 1-17

INTRODUCTION: Video Clip: The Guardian - Start: Chp. 5 43:54 - Stop: 46:16

Senior Chief Randall had a choice. He could have taught the recruits about hypothermia as an abstract theory during a lecture from the comfort of a classroom. Instead, Randall chose to fill the pool with freezing water and then share the experience with his students. He wanted them to “see” and “feel” the effects of hypothermia not just hear about it from a sterile classroom.

Jesus Christ, the greatest teacher, did something very similar. He wanted to teach his disciples about serving others. But instead of just telling them he showed them. John 13:3: “Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he had around him.” Then he said, “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant...” Just as those recruits understood hypothermia by being in the cold water, Jesus knew that we would learn best by watching Him actually serve.

But you know what? Some of us would rather stand in freezing water than be known as a slave. Slave? Yes, when Jesus says “servant” he uses the word “doulos” which literally means “bond-slave.” A bond servant wasn’t someone who just served another once in a while, a bond-slave was one who was in bondage to another. I doubt that anyone in this room said as a little child, “When I grow up I want to be a slave.” Or “When I grow up I want to be somebody’s servant! Our pride keeps us from seeing service to others as an aspiration. But Jesus Christ asks us to go against our carnal natures and to go contrary to today’s cultural characteristics of self-promotion and self-centeredness and serve others. In fact he would say that your faith, your belief system is best seen in how you serve. Jesus said, “You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. 26But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must become your slave. 28For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”(Mt. 20:25-28 NIV)

So, for the next 6 weeks we are going to put our faith in action, we are going to talk about and then jump “into the pool” and serve others. That’s the purpose of this all church campaign called Faith in Action. To not just go to church but be the church. We’ll talk about it for 4 weeks but on the 5th week we are actually going to go out and serve. On the weekend of October 20-21 we hope some 3-4000 strong are going to rally here and then go out and serve others. PRAY

We begin in the upper room. Some of Jesus’ most significant words were said in this chamber when He was alone with His disciples. This particular episode of Jesus washing the disciples feet really convicts me of my need to serve others, even in the most menial tasks. So, let’s see from the Master Servant what characteristics He demonstrated in this incident that we need to develop. How do we serve like Jesus?


First, we need to develop Christ-like compassion. It was the custom in Jesus’ day for someone to perform the routine of washing feet. Someone should of volunteered.. When they ate back then, they reclined at table and the person next to you had his feet at your elbow, just about in your face. So your neighbors feet would be very visible and very smellable. Naturally, that made it very important that they were clean. They paid as much attention to washing feet as we do to washing hands before a meal. And according to William Barclay, if there was no host, hired servant or owner, as occurred on this night, then the first person in the room was responsible for making the provisions. That meant that the first one there would normally volunteer to do the customary thing- wash feet. But not this crowd.

Why did that happen? Why, didn’t someone, other than Jesus, jump to the task and grab the basin and the towel? Well, it happened because the Disciples had an attitude problem: they were more concerned about rights and superiority than they were service. There’s a couple of times in Scripture that identify their problem of pride.. In fact they had this penchant for arguing about who was the greatest among their little group. That’s the attitude they had that night. Luke 22:24 tells us that even after the institution of the Lord’s Supper, hearing that Jesus would lay down his life for them, they still argued about who was the greatest. Is it any wonder then that no one volunteered to wash feet? Please remember this principle: You will never serve properly if you are worried about your position of importance. (repeat)

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