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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 spiritual joy.

True Spiritual Joy Is The Result Of:

I. v. 3-5, 12-16 LIVING A SERVANT’S 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 Master’s 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 –

Mark 10:42-44

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 all."

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 people’s feet here in the church?" Well, nothing would be wrong with that! However, I don’t think that’s 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 John’s 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 didn’t 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 friends!)

Matt 5:43-48

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

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 the same?

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

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 God’s 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 don’t 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 don’t 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 Servant’s Life, But It Is Also The Result Of:


(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 Peter’s 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 isn’t allowed to wash Peter’s 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 Lord’s 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 afternoon!)

(Ill. We need a heart like David’s – 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 Servant’s Life and

Living A Separated Life

It Is Also The Result Of:


(Ill. in Christ’s 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 soul’s salvation. Jesus doesn’t 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. A Finished 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 can’t 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 washed away!

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 weren’t 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 back.

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 didn’t 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 don’t 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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