John 13:1-17 CHRIST'S FORMULA FOR TRUE SPIRITUAL JOY
Intro: It is said that as Benjamin Franklin concluded a stirring speech
on the guarantees of the Constitution, a heckler shouted, "Aw, them words don't mean
nothin' at all. Where's all the happiness you say it guarantees us?" Franklin smiled
and replied, "My friend, the Constitution only guarantees the American people the
right to pursue happiness; you have to catch it yourself."
What Benjamin Franklin said is the truth. Happiness and true spiritual
joy is out there fore every believer, but we have to make the effort to apprehend it for
ourselves. In these verses, Jesus gives us His Formula For True Spiritual Joy. Notice
verse 17, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."
According to this verse, the secret to true spiritual joy is to be found in these verses
that we have read this evening. In fact, I believe that Jesus has given us 3 principles
for living that, if followed, will produce true spiritual joy in your life and mine.
Please allow me to share these things with you tonight that you too may experience true
True Spiritual Joy Is The Result Of:
I. v. 3-5, 12-16 LIVING A SERVANTS LIFE
(In these verses, Jesus teaches some powerful lessons. Lessons
that have the ability to permanently change the hearts and lives of those who will learn
them and do them. The Lord of Lords teaches us how to become servants.)
A. There Is A Lesson In Humility (Ill. Foot
washing was the work of slaves! In fact, Jewish servants were never required to wash their
Masters feet. However, Gentiles slaves, who were considered dogs, were forced to do
this demeaning task. It was the most menial and degrading work possible.) Why did Jesus do
this? He did it to teach the Disciples, and us, a lesson in true humility. Notice what
Jesus accomplished by doing this task:
1. The Master Became The Servant (Ill. Phil. 2:5-8; Mark 10:45), This act
pictures Jesus as the servant of man. The fact that He willingly left His heavenly glory
to come into this world to die like a common criminal demonstrates His great love for us.
2. The Master Used This Lesson To Rebuke The Selfishness Of The Disciples (Ill.
Luke 22:24) They were all concerned over who would be the greatest in Heaven, but Jesus
reminded them that true greatness is a great paradox. Men never earn the respect of others
by forced obedience, but they earn the respect of others by first being a servant
42 "But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know
that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and
their great ones exercise authority upon them."
43 "But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great
among you, shall be your minister:"
44 "And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of
3. In This Lesson, Jesus Is Giving Us An Example To Follow
Verse 14 - Some may ask, "How can I do this? Should I get a pan of
water and wash peoples feet here in the church?" Well, nothing would be wrong
with that! However, I dont think thats what He wants us to do. This is more an
attitude of the heart than it is an activity of the hands. Jesus is telling us that we are
to become the servants of those around us. We must be willing to humble ourselves so that
others may be lifted up. How?
a. By Helping Another With His Burden Gal. 6:2
b. By Forgiving Another His Trespasses Eph. 4:32
c. By Reaching Out To Someone Outside The Family Of Faith Mark 16:15
4. There are many ways to serve, the idea that Jesus is trying to communicate is that
He expects us to be about the business of serving!
B. There Is A Lesson In Honor (Ill. It might have been easy to
wash Johns feet. After all, John was the "Beloved Disciple." Yet, John and
his brother James were always trying to get just a little bit ahead of the others. What
about Simon Peter? He was the one who would deny Him three times before dawn. What about
Thomas? He was the one who would doubt the word of the others and refuse to believe in the
resurrection of Jesus. What about Judas? He was the one who for 30 pieces of silver would
sell His Lord to the enemies. Jesus didnt allow any of the considerations to cloud
His love or His service! He treated them all equally and, in doing so, taught us a tough
lesson.) (Ill. We all have people that we seem to connect with and we have no trouble
serving these folks. However, the true servant soon learns that he must serve all and
serve them equally. The true servant is not allowed to pick favorites, but must have the
heart of Christ and be willing to serve his enemies just as readily as he serves his
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them
that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun
to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
(Can we honestly say this evening that we serve all men alike? Not
if we hold grudges. Not if we remember slights. Not if we think ourselves above others.)
C. There Is A Lesson In Honesty (Ill.
Jesus was, and is, superior toall men. However, when He washed the Disciples
feet, He not only lowered Himself to their level, He lifted them to
His!) (Ill. The Servant of God has the ability to lift men. He can go
to them in their need and lift them to his level by getting down on
theirs.) (Ill. I am not saying that some are better than others are.
On the contrary, I am saying that all of Gods children are equal
and the wise servant knows how to lift his brother to a higher level
of life and service in Christ Jesus
(Ill. Rom. 15:1-2; We then that are strong ought to bear the
infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (2) Let every one of us please his
neighbour for his good to edification.
Rom 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for
peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.)
If we were all honest tonight, many would probably have to admit that there are
some people over whom they feel superior. That some folks just dont measure up to
what we are. May I remind all of us tonight that we are all just sinners who God has saved
by His wonderful grace and that none of us are anything to brag about this evening. So,
before we go looking down our long noses at others and thinking we are so much better than
they are, we need to remember that Jesus called us to be a slave to all men. That the path
to greatness in the Kingdom of God is not worldly recognition or the applause of men, but
it is adopting the attitude of a servant. (Ill. The heart of John the Baptist Mark
1:7 "And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the
latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose."
(Ill. It is said that George Whitefield and Charles Wesley had an on going feud
over some disagreement that they had had. After many years someone asked Whitefield if he
expected to see Wesley in Heaven. After a moment the old preacher shook his head and said,
"No, I dont suppose I will. You see," he continued, "men like Wesley
will be so close to the Savior that men like me will never get a glimpse of them.")
Not only is True Spiritual Joy the Result Of Living A Servants Life, But It Is
Also The Result Of:
II. v. 6-10 LIVING A SEPARATED LIFE
(Ill. In the midst of this lesson on humility, Jesus takes the time to
teach a lesson on holiness and submission to the will of God. In these verses, He points
out that a submitted and separated life is essential to true spiritual joy.)
A. v. 6-9 Peters Confusion (Ill. Peter is
amazed that Jesus wants towash his feet and he flatly refuses to allow Jesus to do this.
Jesus responds by telling Peter that if Christ isnt allowed to wash Peters
feet, then Peter is out of fellowship with Christ. Then, Peter decides that he wants the
Lord to wash his whole person. If the feet mean that much, then how much more the entire
body?) Peter is apparently bothered that the Master wants to perform such a menial task
upon him. However, Jesus is seeking to teach us a lesson about personal cleansing in this
passage. Peter misses the illustration and Jesus clarifies it for him and for us.
B. v. 10 The Lords Clarification (Jesus is
telling Peter that when a man has washed his entire person, louw,
and he gets his feet soiled by walking through the streets, all he needs at that point is
to wash, niptw, just the feet.) The image here is
crystal clear for the believer. When we received Jesus as our personal Savior, He forever
washed us from our sins Rev. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:18-19. We have been eternally cleansed
from head to toe already through His cleansing blood. However, as we walk through life, we
tend to fall into sin and we need cleansing. Not for the entire person, since that was
accomplished when we were saved and can never be repeated. But, just for that particular
stain we gathered when we sinned in our daily walk. This is where 1 John 1:7 2:2
comes into play (1:7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have
fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all
sin. (1:8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in
us. (1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1:10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him
a liar, and his word is not in us. (2:1) My little children, these things write I unto
you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus
Christ the righteous: (2:2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours
only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
(Ill. Jesus is teaching us that we do not need to get re-saved every
time we sin, but we do need to come to Him for forgiveness and restoration of fellowship.
You see, if you allow yourself to go on in sin, you will keep widening the breach between
you and the Lord. The secret to true spiritual joy is the practice of instant confession
of sins and failures before the throne of grace. You see, Jesus is still washing feet this
(Ill. We need a heart like Davids Psalm 32:5 "I
acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my
transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.")
Not Only Is True Spiritual Joy the Result Of:
Living A Servants Life and
Living A Separated Life
It Is Also The Result Of:
III. v. 10 LIVING A SECURE LIFE
(Ill. in Christs words to Peter, we can find a source of strength
and security for our lives. Far too many Christians live with constant doubts concerning
their souls salvation. Jesus doesnt want us to live in doubt and constant fear
of losing the great gift He has given us. In this verse, there are found the ropes of His
grace that can help us securely tie down the matter of our salvation and its security.
Because, unless there is absolute security and the knowledge of it, there can never be
absolute peace and joy in the heart of the child of God.) We know this is true because our
cleansing in Him is:
A. AFinished Cleansing (Ill. Needeth not.) This implies
that those who are in Christ need nothing else to make their salvation complete. (Ill.
Salvation is by grace and by grace alone! (Ill. Eph. 2:8-9) When the sinner trusts in
Christ for salvation, God cleanses that soul and gives it eternal life. We are secure in
Him! How do we know? Well, we have His Word on it:
1. His Promises John 3:16; John 5:24; John 10:28
2. His Power 1 Pet. 1:5
3. His Prayers Heb. 7:25; John 17:24
4. His Person (Ill. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer John
14:16-17; Every believer is inside Christ 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:3) My
friends, there is no way that any child of God need ever fear losing his/her salvation. We
are eternally secure in Him! Therefore, that alone ought to give us fullness of joy. Just
to know that I cant mess it p is a blessing to my heart!
B. A Full Cleansing (Ill. "Every whit") When Jesus
cleansed us, He took care of all our sins past, present and future were all forever
Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath
he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
I Jn 2:12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you
for his name's sake.
And, if that werent enough, look at these blessed promises!
Ps 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our
transgressions from us.
Isa 38:17 Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my
soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy
Isa 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake,
and will not remember thy sins.
Jer 50:20 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of
Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall
not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.
Micah 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue
our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
I Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship
one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
This afternoon, are you secure in your salvation? My friends, it is not a hope so
deal. Until real security is your in the matter of your salvation, you will never be at
peace and you will never experience this fullness of joy and happiness that can be yours!
(Ill. I once knew a lady who could never get peace in this area. Hers was not a problem
of believing God, but it was a matter of not being able to forgive herself for things she
had done before she trusted Christ. Because she could not for give herself, she could not
fully receive the forgiveness that Jesus had already given her through his blood. As a
result, she was always defeated, depressed and going through endless attempts at getting
saved. She was already saved, but she didnt know how to enjoy what she had.)
Conc: What about you my friends? Are you living the kind of life that
guarantees true joy and happiness? Look again at verse 17. Jesus promises us that if we
know these things and do them, then we will experience true happiness and joy. Maybe there
are one or more areas of your life that need work today. If so, then now is the time to
come to Jesus and get it settled. Why live anything less than a happy, fulfilling
Christian life? You dont have to live that way, therefore why would you? The secret
of true happiness in the Christian life lies in humility before God and men, holiness in
your walk before God and acceptance of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for you in
salvation. Are there areas that need work? If so, bring them to Him tonight and He will
make them right!
Sermon By Alan Carr
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