In this sermon, Khaleef Crumbley looks at John’s account of Jesus’ washing the disciples feet. Khaleef explains how Jesus’ words to Peter about the need for feet washing points to every Christian’s obligation to pursue holiness.
Good morning, Calvary. As we look at the whole book of John, you see a marked division. The first twelve chapters Jesus is performing miracles, and He is making these “I am” statements so that we would believe that Jesus is the Christ. He is presenting these miracles as proof. The main thing that you see with these miracles and all the things that Jesus says is that He is constantly rejected to the point of them wanting to kill Him. He is constantly rejected by the Israelites.
In the first twelve chapters of His public ministry, the call goes out too many in the nation and the vast majority rejected it. In John 6, we see that many are surrounding Him, and when He begins to talk about what it really means to follow Him, they all leave, and He’s only left with a few disciples.
However, in John 13, we see a difference in the shift, which goes from this public ministry to a private, intimate time with His disciples. In the next four chapters, we see Him teaching them different lessons. This is the beginning of Jesus now turning directly to the disciples, and we only get to see it for one night, but we get four chapters of it, which is considered Jesus’ High Priestly prayer for all of His disciples including us.
As we look at His word, consider how John presents it because it is important in what plays out here. Let’s go to the Lord in prayer. Then, let’s look what He has to say to us in His word:
Our Father and God, we want to thank You for Your word. We want to thank You that we can come, we can read, we can hear, and we can understand what You have for us God. We don’t have to guess, we don’t have to wonder, we don’t have to look to different gurus and figure out which version of mysticism is the right one to follow, but we have the words that You have for us right here. I pray, God, as we go through it, You will guide us, and You would direct us in how we should live our lives, how we should look out ourselves, and how we should ultimately view You and each other. I pray, God, that You will speak right now, Lord, and that You will be with us during this time. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.
On this night, there is a lot going on that John highlights for us. John 13:1 says:
Now before the Feast of the Passover…
The Feast of the Passover is happening, which is huge in Israel. Because it was Passover, there are lot of things going on in the nation of Israel. Of course, God lined-up His crucifixion happening during Passover because Jesus is the true Lamb of God. However, we see that in the minds of those who are plotting to kill Him, they decided to take Him now. They even wanted His body off the Cross after He died because it was Passover.
Remember, Passover commemorates God delivering Israel out of Egypt when He sent the last plague to Egypt, which was the death of the firstborn in every house. To the Israelites, He delivered special instructions and said:
If you take the blood of a lamb and cover your doorpost with this blood, then the death angel will pass over you.
That’s where we get the name “Passover,” which is also a pointing to Christ. Death will pass over us if we are covered by the blood of the true Lamb. As I mentioned, Jesus is about to be crucified. He is arrested on this night and crucified the next day. If you’re thinking about the timeline, this is Thursday evening, and He was crucified Friday afternoon. John 13:1 says:
Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
So, His hour had come for Him to be crucified, and He’s also going back to the Father. Then, John 13:2 says:
During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him.
Jesus knew this. With all these things going on, this isn’t just a typical evening dinner. It’s the Feast of the Passover, and He’s celebrating it with His disciples. If we look at Matthew, He says, in the last time He’s going to have this meal with them, that He will drink the fruit of the vine with them on this side of heaven. Then, John 13:4-5 says:
Got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. 5Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet
So far, this is probably the most important night of their lives. Their Master and Lord, who is about to leave them, takes time to wash their feet. The picture of Him getting up is one of humility. You can just see Him as they are reclining at this table, He gets up, He takes off His outer garment, and then He gets a towel and wraps around His waist like an apron.
This is God on earth. He didn’t make a big scene about it. He didn’t say, “Hey, John, your feet look kind of dirty over there. What’s that about?” Rather, He quietly got up to serve them. Now, why was this important? Why did He have to wash their feet? Well, there were a couple things.
One, the main mode of transportation was walking. Two, they wore sandals and the roads were very dirty. Not just dirty, but dry and dusty. You could be clean, but as soon as you started walking, you would get dirty. So, a friend would invite you over to their home, you would walk on these roads, you would get there looking your best, but your feet were dirty. As part of typical and common hospitality, there will be someone there to wash your feet before the meal.
Typically, the lowliest servant washed feet. It was seen as one of the most degrading jobs that you can have, and you can imagine that today. I mean, I’m sure you guys all took a bath this morning, but I’m not touching your feet, and let’s just make it clear: I’m not up here preaching to say that we’re going to have a foot-washing ceremony after the service.
Right before this happened, there was a conversation amongst the disciples and they were talking about who would be the greatest. When you look at how some of the homes were, you didn’t say, “I’m not going to invite someone to my home,” simply because you couldn’t afford to have a foot washer. If you didn’t have any servants to wash feet, then the host would wash their feet or provide a basin for the person to wash their feet.
Here, the disciples could have washed each other’s feet, but they were too worried about who was going to be the greatest once Jesus departs. They couldn’t say that they would be over someone and then wash their feet. That’s a degrading and demeaning thing that only a servant would do. If someone is trying to be in charge to be the head disciple, then they can’t give up that posturing and wash feet. So, Jesus sees and knows this because He knew they had that conversation right before this. Then, He just gets up and does it. He says nothing to them about it.
There is an account, in Luke 7, where a Pharisee invited Jesus into his home. Jesus is there and then this woman comes with a box of perfume, breaks it, anoints His feet with the oil and her tears, and then she dries it with her hair. Then, the Pharisee starts thinking, “Well, if He knew what type of woman this was, He wouldn’t let her touch Him at all.” In Luke 7:44, Jesus said:
Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
One of the indictments against this Pharisee, was that Jesus walked into his home and he didn’t even give Him water to wash His feet. Yet, someone comes, in humility, and goes above what the Pharisee should have done, and the Pharisee was thinking negative about that person.
Another thing to note about this foot-washing, or even the lack of a foot-washer, is according to Luke 22, the disciples are the ones who prepared the Passover. Even if they didn’t want to wash each other’s feet because they wanted to argue about who was the greatest, they could have at least arranged to have a servant there to wash everyone’s feet, but they didn’t even do that. After the foot washing, Jesus answered in John 13:26:
Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.
Jesus washed Judas feet. He was there. Would you wash Judas’ feet? I just told you I will not wash your feet, so I’m definitely not going to wash Judas’ feet. Jesus already knew he was going to betray Him. In fact, that was the sign. In John 13:26, He was saying:
Hey, this is how you will know who is going to betray me. I’m going to dip the morsel, share it with him, and then you’ll know that is the one.
Jesus washed Judas feet. Of course, this wouldn’t be a good story in the Gospel, especially when Jesus is giving a lesson himself, if Peter didn’t say something about it. If it wasn’t for Peter, we would miss out on so much. There are so many conversations that happened because of Peter. There are so many truths that we learn in the Bible because of what Peter said and did, which had to be corrected either by Jesus or even Paul after the church was founded. In John 13:6 says:
So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?”
I think most, if not, all of us would have reacted the same way. All of the disciples were probably there talking and saying, “I can’t believe He’s doing that. I haven’t washed my feet in three days, and he’s touching them. This is Jesus, our Lord and Master, and we should have been washing His feet.”
However, none of them said anything but of course Peter does, and Jesus understood that Peter would have these reservations, so He doesn’t rebuke them. Jesus says in John 13:7:
Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”
If anyone could get the benefit of the doubt, it is Jesus. This isn’t the first time Jesus taught them that. Jesus taught them many things and said that they will understand this. In fact, the Gospel of John is full of these parenthetical statements that John inserts to let you know that they didn’t quite understand why Jesus did or said something at the moment, but they understood it after.
Now, this is Jesus talking to Peter, the one who saw Jesus walking on water and said “Lord, if it’s really you, call me out of the boat and I’ll go walk on the water, too,” and he did it. Actually, he took a few steps on water himself. If anyone has the character that has a track record to ask for patience, it is Jesus, and if anybody should grant Jesus patience, it’s Peter.
However, Peter refused to let Him wash His feet. He knows who Jesus is. It wasn’t a mystery at this point. He knows that Jesus is the Messiah. He knows that Jesus is God, and he refused to let God do what He said He wanted to do. Now, I know I’ve looked at this text a lot and I’m supposed to just preach it, but that still blows my mind right now as I say to you. Peter said in John 13:8:
Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
Jesus meant that in a literal sense, a spiritual sense, and a physical sense. He was saying, in other words, “If you don’t obey me right now, then you’re showing you’re not even one of mine.” This was a great act of service in the mind of the disciple, especially in the mind of Peter, for the Lord and Master to put a towel around His waist and wash their feet, which is something they’ve seen slaves do all of their lives.
If Peter wasn’t willing to obey Jesus and let Him serve Him in this small way, then how could he possibly understand Jesus’ ultimate act of service a few hours later on the Cross? Jesus said, “I’m going to serve you by washing your feet.” Without this lesson, what would he have done seeing Jesus on the Cross?
In fact, when they come to arrest Jesus, Peter is the one who pulls out a dagger and cuts off the ear of one of the servants who came to arrest Jesus. Peter still had a tough time with Jesus making this sacrifice although he knew it was necessary. Then, we get the beautiful book of 1 Peter, which we have been going through for the last year-and-a-half, and we get to see Peter holding Jesus up as the model of suffering.
In all different situations, he points us back to Jesus and says, “you have to suffer the way that Jesus suffered for us.” However, in this passage, he told Jesus no, and Jesus had to get them to realize that your small act of obedience now is just going to mirror your huge act of obedience later in watching Him serve the ultimate way. Mark 10:45 says:
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus didn’t just wash the feet here or serve people on Earth by having wine at a wedding or healing people but bringing people from the dead. His ultimate act of service was on the Cross, and that’s why He came. If you look at John 13:13-14, Jesus says:
“You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14“If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
Jesus didn’t say, “Hey, just see me as another person. Just pretend that I’m one of the servants who typically washes feet.” Rather, He said, “I am your Lord and Master. You are right to call me those things. Yet, I still took the role of a servant on your behalf.” Finally, Peter gets it. Jesus wanted to wash Peter’s feet. After hearing that, Peter now wants a whole-body treatment. He wants Jesus to take him to a spa. John 13:9 says:
Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”
Just do it all. If there’s a blessing in obeying You and letting You serve me to wash my feet, then wash my hands and wash my head. Peter finally got it. Then, Jesus took the conversation and turned it into a spiritual lesson. John 13:10 says:
Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”
I want to look at this and take the first and middle part of what Jesus said. He who has bathed is completely clean, so we will look at that first. In the first eleven verses, the word “washed” is used at least seven times. Every time it is used, it is the same Greek word, which means to wash your hands or wash your feet. However, in John 13:10, Jesus uses a different word:
He who has bathed…”
Some translations say:
He who is cleansed
Actually, this word refers to taking a bath or fully becoming clean. Here, He takes what is just a simple task done by a slave and He uses it to teach a monumental lesson about salvation and sanctification. The Bible uses the language of cleansing to talk about salvation in both the Old Testament and New Testament. Jeremiah 33:8 says:
I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me and by which they have transgressed against Me.
That’s in the Old Testament talking about the New Covenant. Titus 2:14 says:
Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
In 1 Peter 1:22, Peter really got it:
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart
Titus 3:5 says:
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.
It’s not just washing, but this washing cost transformation. It wasn’t just external, but it was internal. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says:
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
We have been cleansed, and Jesus says he who was bathed is completely clean. There’s nothing that needs to be added to our salvation. There are no works, nothing we can say, no special prayer that gets us right with God, no special formula, and there’s no amount of money we can give.
We have to come to Christ understanding that the only way of forgiveness is through Christ’s death on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sins that we can never pay. Then, we have to repent all those sins. Then, and only then, are we completely clean. That’s an encouragement. We are completely clean.
When I first became a Christian, I was seventeen or eighteen. I got saved through music. I started doing things in the church. I started singing in a Gospel choir, and actually started playing for church before I became a Christian. It was through music that I begin to hear the Gospel and grab the Bible for the first time in my life and start reading it.
I didn’t really understand what salvation was. I thought it was just getting your life right. Not just me, but many of the young people who I played with and sang with. Every time there was an alter call, we would just get up and say, “I have to come and get saved again because I cursed this guy out last week and got into a fight yesterday, so I have to get saved again.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been saved in my life. How many times that I went up or I raised my hand when a preacher said, “If anybody wants to accept Christ.” I sinned again, so I must have been doing it wrong. If I have the Holy Spirit, then I shouldn’t be sinning at all. I used to say that Christian’s should be perfect because we have God in us.
It was just a thought that every time I sinned or every time, I thought something that wasn’t a Godly thought, I didn’t think I was going if Jesus came back. There’s an old saying and I was listening to a song that has this same saying in it:
Get right or get left.
So, get your life right, behave right, but when Jesus comes, you’ll be left because you’re not acting as a Christian. When Jesus comes back, what will you be doing? If we did something and we wanted to try to correct someone we would say, “if Jesus came back right now, what will happen to you?” Then, you stop doing that.
However, in John 13:10, Jesus says:
He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet but is completely clean.
That should be an encouragement to us. Even in moments where we don’t fully trust God, even the moments where we seem depressed, even in moments when we don’t feel energized for service, even in moments where we get caught up in the sin, or even in moments where we take revenge on someone or think I’ll of someone even in the church.
If we have been cleansed, that’s it. If we have been cleansed, if we are in Christ, and if we belong to Him, then we have been cleansed completely and it doesn’t keep happening. It’s not like in the Old Testament on the day of atonement, they will bring a sacrifice and they will be cleansed from all their sins from the past, and anything else they committed, they would kind of keep a count of them and then have to get those sins washed away in the next year or covered in in the next year.
I’m a visual person, so I have to picture these people as if they are me and my friends. I could just picture Jesus saying to Peter:
He who has bathed is completely clean, but them feet though. You gotta wash those feet! You may be clean and perfectly cleansed, then you walked here, and those feet need some work.
This is the warning and it is true for all of us. Many times we focus on the direction or the work of salvation, and we carry that truth over into our sanctification that it was only God working. We carry that over into our sanctification, and we think that in our sanctification, it is only God working.
We think that constantly reading the Bible, listening to Scripture, listening to sermons, listening to podcast, and always feasting on the word of God is enough, and we don’t become active participants in our sanctification. Now, I don’t think anyone here ascribes to this Hyper-Grace movement. Meaning, you do nothing and it’s all Grace all the time. There is nothing that you need to do. There is no learning, there is no putting into practice things what the Bible says, and there is no trying to work out your salvation. That the Christian life is completely passive.
I haven’t talked to any who feels that way, but I think we can get a little comfortable. In this analogy, I can picture someone saying:
Hey, you’re feeling a little dirty. There’s something in your life that that needs to be cleansed.
Then, they reply:
No. Jesus paid it all. I’m good.
Then, when you talk to that person, you weren’t really Godly, and they say that Jesus paid it all. Because Romans 8:1 says there is no condemnation, they ask why you are confronting them about their sin. So, I think we just get comfortable.
However, Jesus says, “but them feet though.” That’s the word that you still have to do. You still have to be cleansing yourself daily. John 14:15 says:
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
We can only love Christ through the power of God. No person loves God on their own unless they are a believer, part of God’s family, and part of the body of Christ. If you love Jesus, then you are the same ones who have been cleansed completely and are called to keep His commandments.
You don’t keep the commandments to be saved, but the ability to keep the commandments is proof of your salvation and of your conversion. In Romans 12:1-2, Paul says:
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
This is a command for action. There is a command for us to present our bodies, not be conformed, but constantly be renewing out mind. Also, in Romans 6:13, Paul says regarding this great discussion about sin and sin within the life of the believer:
and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
This is our responsibility. Sanctification is active. We are to be pursuing holiness. For those of you who were in Iron Man on Friday, Professor Gordon mentioned 1 Peter 1:16:
because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
We must understand that we can’t do this without God’s power, but if we are believers, we have that power in us, so we must be pursuing holiness and righteousness. Constantly, we are to be going and washing our feet. Yes, our body is clean, but just like these people back in the day, who walked down this road, we walk down this road of temptation and sin, and we are just dragging things on.
The book of Hebrews calls them weights, not even sins, but things that are not profitable and slowing us down in our walk. We constantly walk in these things and our feet get dirty. We have conversations with people, we have thoughts about people, and our feet get dirty. We constantly have to be cleansing ourselves and cleansing our feet, but the rest of the body has been clean.
We see this encouragement and warning in these words of Christ. Well, how do we wash our feet? Well, that’s what the whole New Testament is about, especially the Epistles. It is on how we actually live out the Gospel in our everyday lives, but here are a couple things. 1 John 1:9 says:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Confession is us saying the same thing about our sins that God says. It is having the same mindset and perspective about sin as God does. Not just about the whole big sin in general, but our particular sin. We need to hate it the way that God hates it, and we can’t see it as a joke. We can’t see it as something that’s light. We can’t see it is just not a big deal, or even as, “that’s just who I am.” For example:
This is how I am, you know, I’m just a fiery Italian, and that’s just the way that we are.
No, you’re a sinner and that’s the way that you are. However, you’ve been cleansed so you’re not slaves to that anymore. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul lists more than a dozen sins and sinful states that define people, and he said such were some of you. 1 Corinthians 6:11 says:
Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
That is not you anymore. You have the power to overcome that. You are no longer slaves to those things. When we do sin, we confess it to God. Not so we can make it to heaven since we have been cleansed, but so that the fellowship with God isn’t broken.
The Bible says that we can both quench and grieve the Holy Spirit by things that we do or fail to do, and by attitudes that we have. So, do not be in that state. We go to God and we confess our sins. We also confess our sins to each other. James 5:16:
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
Now, there’s more than one reason for this. Of course, we will come seeking forgiveness when we sin against each other. We send out an email when we celebrate the Lord’s table to remind people of the seriousness of examining yourself, and even trying to get things right with people where you know there is an offense. I love it because Jesus says, in Matthew, that if you find that your brother has an offence against, you’re supposed to be the one to go and try to make it right. You don’t say:
They didn’t come talk to me. They got a problem then come say it to my face. You over there talking behind my back. You ain’t go say nothing to me, then fine. I’m not dealing with it.
No, that’s not what the Bible says. Rather, if you know someone has an issue with you, you’re supposed to go to them to try to make it right. You’re not supposed to sit and say:
Well, they didn’t ask for forgiveness, so I’m not even going to deal with them. I’m going to pray that God works in their heart and moves them to ask for forgiveness. Then, I will think about what the Bible actually says after they give me what I think I deserve.
Of course, we seek forgiveness and we confess our sins to people when we sin against them. Also, we should do it to seek edification and support whenever we sin against God. That’s why we have fellowship with each other. We are to encourage each other. We are to hold each other accountable. We are to bring each other’s mind to Scripture. We are to be there and to be practical support for people when they’re going through trials.
This is why we have to talk to people about what’s going on, so on this one, it’s not confessing our sins asking for forgiveness, but we’re confessing to people where we are with God to get encouragement, to get support, to be support for other people. That only happens in the small relationships and we’re going to look at that as well as another way. Ephesians 5:25-26 is talking about relationships. Now, he switches to marriage and the husband’s responsibility to the wife:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word
The word we see is a means of sanctification. That’s one of the main ways Christ sanctifies the church. As husbands, it is our responsibility to be one of the tools and the agents of sanctification with our wives through the Word. Colossians 3:16 says:
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you…
Again, we see that that the word of God is something that transforms us. Not in one moment, but I’m constantly seeing this washing. It’s constantly being washed with the Word, thinking about it, meditating on it, acting it out, and talking to others to try to figure out what it means. It’s attending church gatherings such as corporate worship, fellowship, and other times the body of Christ assembles together. Hebrews 10:24-25 says:
and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
So, it’s fellowship with other believers. Specifically gathering together in family fellowship, home-group, Sunday school, family night, and other different ministries that come together. Even in the times where it’s not a church sanction official gathering, make sure that you’re connecting yourself with other believers, and that you’re discipling and being discipled for encouragement and stimulation. 1 Peter 4:7 says:
The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.
Very recently, our pastor has increased a message on this verse, and a few weeks ago, he preached a message on fasting and prayer. I would suggest listening to those. Prayer is so powerful. Philippians 4:6 says:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Is there anyone here anxious about anything? Are you bringing it to God? Now, I didn’t say have you brought it to God, but are you bringing it to God? Are you continually bringing it to God? If you’re dealing with particular sins, study what the Bible has to say about those sins and pray about those sins. As you develop these relationships with mature believers, talk to them about those sins. You should be attacking it. It’s just keeping with the analogy of the washing.
For everyone who knows me, they know I hate paper. It’s 2018, why does paper still exist? OK, so we have paper. At work, there’s paper and I have to approve things and sign things, so I will sign it. Sometimes, I get ink on my hand. Then, I’ll go and I’ll scrub so hard to try to get the ink out because I don’t want it to dry and settle in. If I do, then I have to wait a day or a week until you won’t see it anymore. I just go crazy scrubbing it out.
However, that’s the picture of us when we sin. We should be trying to put our sin to death. We shouldn’t be saying, “Oh! There it goes again…that’s just how I am.” Every time you go to God, you should be asking Him to remove that sin. You have the Bible. Do you know every single verse and every passage that deals with that sin? If not, then I would say that you’re not trying hard enough to put that sin to death.
You should know the Bible inside and out about any sin that you have or any area in where you’re trying to grow. You should be constantly praying to God about it. You should be talking to other people about it. Read books about it.
Automatically, when a sin is identified in your life, you prepare for war. That sin is the enemy and I know that I already have the victory, so why wouldn’t we fight if we know we already won? It’s just like boxing. The other guys were paid to throw the match and you are still scared to step in the ring, but you do. You must put in the work. You have to make it look like it’s a good fight. You got to put in some work. I’m not telling you to show up there and say, “I’m with Jesus and the sin is gone.” You have to put in the work, but you know you already won and that it’s going to be fruitful.
Why don’t we do it? Is it that we love our sin too much and we really don’t want it to go? We still want it there just, so we can go back once in a while. Then, we’ll say:
It’s been two weeks. I used to do this every other day and I’m doing it only every two weeks. Okay, I won. I’m good.
I had conversations where that was the victory. The full victory is when they get to heaven and they are content with that. Instead, we must be fighting for holiness. You must look worse than I do when I am being OCD by trying to get the pen stain out. You must do everything possible to be getting rid of the sin.
This includes practical things as well. If you have to install software, then install software. If you have to tell somebody, then do that. If you have to give somebody access to your GPS coordinates because you know you may be tempted to go somewhere, then do so.
When I first decided I wanted to lose weight, one of the things I started doing was taking a picture of everything that went in my mouth. First, I was sending it to somebody, and then I started posting it online for everyone to see. Some would say:
Now, what were you doing with that pot? You said you’re trying to lose weight and you’re mad because you’re stuck at this weight.
Well, I had to do that. If not, I would keep saying, “I’m doing everything that I can. Trust me, it just doesn’t work. This is just the way that I am.” We have to be doing everything that we can to fight against sin. We have been cleansed, but we still have that daily washing as we walk through life and we collect the dirt and sin of life.
Reflect on God’s holiness. As I mentioned earlier, in 1 Peter 1:16, He commands that we be holy, and the foundation of that command is His holiness, so it’s not some foreign concept. We understand what Holiness is because we have a holy God. Reflect on that and what the Bible says about his Holiness. Find out and understand who God is, the standard that He set, and the weapons He gives us in our warfare.
Lay aside the weights, which are the things that may not be sinful, but slow us down. Now, this is hard because what may be a weight for one person may not be a weight for someone else. Many times we say we can’t do a particular thing because it may lead me to that sin over there. If somebody else has no problem being here or staying here, we assume that they’re trying to get to the sin. Many of the times, you’ll judge someone, and the correction will be pretty stern. Then, the elders have to hear about it.
Usually, it starts from this idea that the Bible doesn’t say to not do. It may not be wise, and if you see someone doing something that’s unwise, you can probably still talk to them about it. However, don’t confuse a weight with a sin. If the Bible doesn’t say someone can’t do something, then don’t automatically tell them not to do it, but show them through wisdom.
This may not be the best use of your time, of your money, of your talents, or of any resources that God is giving. You may be an unwise steward right now. Maybe not unjust, but just unwise. If we’re trying to be all the we can be in Christ, then we don’t even want to make unwise decisions. We don’t want to make unwise use of God’s resources, so always be praying about that. Always be praying about how we use what God has given us.
If we’re being wise or if we’re investing our resources in things that are actually weighing us down, stopping us from walking this Christian walk correctly, then be humble. Whether you’re trying to correct someone, whether you’re just going to God, whether someone is giving you correction, or if you’re offering advice, just be humble.
You’re so close to Holiness if you could just be humble because that impacts so many other things. So many sins come out of a lack of humility. Practice self-control even in neutral areas. I remember listening to a sermon by John MacArthur where he mentions how sometimes he’ll just eat dinner and he’ll decide not to have dessert. Not because he thinks his body can’t handle it because he knows he’s in shape, but it’s just so he can show his body who’s boss. Regardless of what urges come, he has the power to say no to anything he wants. He can have his favorite thing in front of him and say no to it.
When you don’t have to say no, it’s easy to build up that strengthen and self-control. Don’t try to summon it. When the ultimate temptation is in front of you, don’t try to reach for the self-control that you never exercised, but build it up in these areas where they are neutral just to make sure you can control your impulses. Then, you can control your time, energy, and focus.
With Jesus seeing dirty feet and not wanting dirty feet at the dinner table, it turned into this great spiritual lesson thanks to Peter speaking up. We see a huge difference in how we look at salvation and sanctification. In our sanctification, we have to do a lot of work.
Now, all of these things that I just mentioned would be worthless if we weren’t believers. You can say no to things, you can try to find everything in the Bible where it says don’t do when you cannot do them, but if you weren’t saved, it wouldn’t mean anything.
This started off with Jesus making the distinction saying that he who has bathed is completely cleaned only needs to wash his feet. That’s an encouragement, but it’s also a warning. When some people looked at the bulletin and saw the title, they chuckled, but I wanted this to be memorable.
I want us to really think about this. It’s not just about Jesus setting an example by washing the feet, but Jesus was teaching that even though you have been cleansed and you’ve been washed by the blood, there is still work for you to do. However, that work is energized by the Holy Spirit and that’s something you have to do on your own. Whenever you want to rest and be comfortable in your salvation, just hear Jesus saying, “but them feet though.” Let’s go to the Lord in prayer:
Our gracious God, we just want to thank You for the truth of Your word. We want to thank You, God, for cleansing us, which is something that we couldn’t do. We were defiled, and we were in darkness, but You brought us into light, You cleansed us, You washed us, and You freed us from the bondage to sin. We want to thank You for that. God, as Your word said, it is our reasonable, logical, and spiritual service to pursue holiness and constantly wash our feet. I pray that You give us the power, You give us the desire, and Lord, that You would help us to always remember these trusts as encouragement in our salvation and as a warning by not truly pursuing sanctification, especially, Lord, as we go into our special time of communion with You. We pray that You would be with us and You would be working in our hearts God. That You will let Your truth reside in us. We ask You in Christ’s name, Amen.