Honor God With Your Service
HONOR GOD Sermon Series
Week 4: Honor God With Your Service
We all know the story in the 13th chapter of the Book of John of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. It was the custom of the time for servants to wash the feet of those who will be around the dinner table. But to the surprise of the disciples, it was their Master who did this seemingly menial task. Their silence was screaming the reality of their perplexity. After washing their feet, Jesus asked his disciples if they understood what he had just done to them. He went on to say that as he, their Master and Lord, washed their feet, they also ought to wash each other’s feet.
In this story, Jesus had given his disciples a powerful example of serving one another. Very rare do we see this kind of leadership in society. When we do, we marvel at it and even applaud it. Yet we intuitively desire, even demand, to be served. The kingdom of God, however, is counterintuitive to this world’s sense of entitlement, as demonstrated by the Lord Jesus. Serving others takes primacy in the kingdom of God over positions and titles.
Later in the story, we find the motive behind Jesus’ lesson on serving one another: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35, ESV). You see, serving one another from the heart is an expression of the love we are to show one another. Love for one another, as Christ loved us, is the motivation to serve others.
Peter, the outspoken one among the disciples in the story, learned this valuable lesson, as evidenced in his encouragement in his first epistle: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8, ESV). It is in this context of love that Peter spoke of serving others. He says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11, ESV)
A few lessons are presented here. First, believers are to serve others using the gifts God has given them. Our gifts are for the benefit of others, and not our own. Second, believers are to serve God and others faithfully. We are stewards of the things God has entrusted to us, and faithfulness to him in the management and use of these is inherent to this truth. Third, believers are to serve in God’s strength, and not in their own abilities. Lastly, as we remember and do the foregoing, God will be honored and glorified in everything.
Going back to our story, Peter refused to have his feet washed by Jesus. Perhaps he thought that this menial task was beneath one whom he considered as Master and Lord. To this Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me” (John 13:8, ESV). This service of “washing” pointed to Jesus’ ultimate act of service to man by dying on the cross, thereby washing away the sins of those who put their faith in him alone. A revelation of what Christ has done for us at the cross will enable us to serve Him and others from our hearts. You see, serving is burdensome when our focus is on ourselves. But when our focus is on God, knowing who he is and what he has done for us, loving and serving others will be a great honor and privilege. Simply put, God is glorified when we serve others with the love that we have received from him.