Tyler David speaks on John 13:1-7 on being for the city
Series: A Church For The City
What does it mean to be a church for this city? As a church, we want to be faithful to everything God has commanded us in His Word. We want you guys to be equipped to follow Jesus wherever He wants you to go. In particular, in how He wants you to serve this city.
When you first get married you go through a lot of new experiences together. The most embarrassing one is when you get sick in front of your spouse for the first time. You don’t look and feel terrible. It’s embarrassing. I remember the first time for me. I was just pathetic. I felt so self conscious and vulnerable in front of my wife Lauren. But I also remember being amazed at how well she served me.
She took such good care of me, being kind and compassionate. She didn’t do it because she was getting something out of it. She did it because she loved me. It was cool to see how much my wife loves me.
When someone cares for you while you’re sick, there’s an unwritten expectation, an unwritten rule, that you’ll do the same for them when they get sick.
Jesus serves His church in extravagant ways. He does so because He loves us. When He serves us, laced into His love, there is a certain amount of expectation. When He serves us, the expectation is that we would then mimic that service toward other people. If He has served you, you have therefore been commissioned to serve other people.
Jesus Came To Serve
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:1-5 (ESV)
During their last meal together, Jesus took a moment to wash the feet of His disciples. At that time, people walked everywhere in sandals, so to wash their feet would have been be humiliating. This task was reserved for the lowest class of people. Yet Jesus stooped down, assuming the lowest status possible, to serve them and wash their feet.
He wanted to give them a physical and tangible picture of His heart for them. He was basically saying, “This is what my love is like for you. I care for you and want to serve you in the most extravagant ways.”
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1 (ESV)
Jesus loved His disciples to the end. Their love and care waivered, but His didn’t. The love that caused Him to wash their feet would be the same love that would cause Him to walk to the cross and be humiliated once again, being crushed and killed for them. It wasn’t out of some obligation; He wanted to do it.
Jesus came to serve us, not to be served. The gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t about God telling the world to get better.
Every other religion, philosophy and ideology say they need your service, your money and your time. If you do those things, they’ll accept you and God will too. Often we think God is coming to us asking us to do all these things, read your Bible more, clean up your life, do this or that. If you really want Him to bless and love you, you have to do a couple of things. We think He’s saying He needs us to serve Him. But that’s not the Gospel.
God’s command of us is to receive the service and love of His Son, Jesus. He doesn’t need our service. We need His.
Jesus wanted His disciples to understand they couldn’t fix or save themselves. He wanted them to know He had to serve them. They needed His serving; He didn’t need their serving.
Jesus doesn’t just wash our feet from dirt, but He washes our hearts from sin. The Gospel is counter intuitive. We naturally think we need to get better first, but God continues to explain to us that we can’t clean ourselves up enough for Him to receive us. Only Jesus can.
We Should Mimic His Service
This should melt our hearts and make us want to follow Him. God cleanses us from all our sin, so we should want to go after Him.
Jesus’ love was free and He wanted to serve the discples, but as He served them, laced within His love was a certain amount of expectation.
13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. John 13:13-17 (ESV)
He didn’t say for them to serve Him, asking them to wash His feet. He didn’t need their service. He wanted them to serve other people.
When Jesus serves us, His expectation is that we would mimic His service to other people. Through His service, He has become our teacher, master, leader, our Lord, Christ and Savior. He was saying, “If I get on my hands and knees to wash your feet and I’m your Lord, how much more should you get on your hands and knees and wash other people’s feet?” We should not expect anything less. He doesn’t need our service, but other people do.
Sadly, this is where following Jesus becomes difficult.
It’s Difficult To Serve
We don’t have a problem being served; none of us hate being served by other people. It’s easy for us. Especially to be served by Jesus. You may struggle receiving the grace of God, but none of us think He shouldn’t serve us. For some reason it seems natural for Jesus to serve us. He should, He loves us. But it’s different when He asks us to go and serve other people. That doesn’t feel as natural.
The person you think you’re better than, your spouse even though they wronged you yesterday, the person who’s made bad life decisions and you feel like they’re getting what they deserve. Serving these people doesn’t feel as natural.
That’s the tension of following Jesus. You get around Him and hear about His grace, mercy, love and forgiveness and you love it. It’s refreshing and it ministers to us. We love Him for it. But then He expects us to serve other people? God wants us to do things we feel are impossible, actions that feel unreasonable. To serve in a way you’ve never thought of or you’ve never wanted to.
We, As A Church, Will Serve
The passion of our church is to say, “Ok, this is hard and difficult. We don’t know what it looks like or how to do it, but God says we need to. So we say ok!” Even if it’s hard and difficult, we’re going to say yes, knowing He’s better.
We want to remind each other as a community that it’s hard, but encourage each other to keep going. There is life when you follow Jesus. Nothing satisfies like Him. Especially when it comes to us obeying God’s command to serve the poor in our city.
When you read the narrative of the Old Testament, God is always telling His people not to forget about the poor. Serve, care, clothe, resource them. Sacrifice for them. He was always saying we must serve them, because we were once poor, marginalized and oppressed and God served us.
We have to be the advocate for those in our city that are easily forgotten and oppressed. We have to serve them and come alongside them.
For The City Network
When we don’t know them or live around them, how do we do this? How are we to love somebody who has a very complicated life story with lots of struggles? How do we serve them and still be faithful to our family, job and workplace?
We’ve been wrestling with these questions for some time. To be faithful to Jesus is to receive His love and grace, but texts like John 13 and the story of the Good Samaritan show us that it’s more than that.
We should receive His love and service, but it must turn into action.
Often, as the church, we love the first part, but then have a hard time doing the second part.
Out of our conviction to do both was birthed the For The City Network. It’s a non-profit designed to equip the church to love and serve the orphan, the widow, the under-resourced and forgotten of this city, to help us be their advocates. It’s built and designed to help those of you who have received the love and service of Jesus to mimic Him and get your hands dirty serving and loving other people.
Here’s a video explaining it: CLICK HERE TO WATCH
All of us have a role to play in serving this city. The For The City Network is here to equip you and help you do that.
Before you find yourself checking out and disqualifying yourself from being a part of this, I want to be clear and candid that all of us will have varying degrees of involvement with this.
Not everyone will be doing everything in the exact same way.
Some of you are dying to be a part of this. Your role will be on the front lines, by being the hands and feet of this organization. That will be your mission. You will make it a point to sacrifice what you need to in order to be a part of this.
Others of us hear about all this and love it, but nothing in you feels particularly passionate about it. There are other things you really love and are already involved with. That’s great, but we are not exempt from this. We still need to play a role, which may mean supporting the organization financially or in other ways. It may mean you serving from time to time when you have the opportunity.
All of us have a role to play. Whether you’re on the front lines or on the back end giving financially and praying, all of us have a clear and tangible next step of obedience.
Usually on Sundays, we preach the Word of God and respond by singing praises to Him. When God’s Word is preached, we should repent, having joy and faith in Him.
But today, your response of worship is not to sing. Today, your response is to visit the organizations that are set up in the cafeteria right now. These are organizations that have been vetted and partnered with by the For The City Network that serve within this city. Consider what it means and looks like for you to mimic the service Jesus has given you to the poor and marginalized of this city.
Don’t dream small dreams. Ask yourself what God is calling you to. You don’t want to look back at your life and see that you spent all your money, time and resources on yourself. You want to look back on your life and be able to say you gave everything for the Kingdom.
What will it say to our city when people will sacrifice for those who don’t have much? It sounds like the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. John 13:14-17 (ESV)
We all have a role to play. There is more blessing and joy waiting for you in obedience.
**Please Note: HERE is a link to the For The City Network and their list of organizations in Austin. Please take the time to look around and see what opportunities there are that you would be interested in serving with.