Men, God wants you to serve; women, God wants you to serve. Having eyes of how you drive, what you do, where you go, seeing yourself not as, How do I climb over other people to get to this role? But, How do I actually help other people be successful? What do they need to hear? What do they need to do? What tools do they need? How do I help my kids be, not make me look good, but be successful in their relationship with God and how God has wired them?
When you begin to think that way, it will transform things. Now here’s the thing. The promise is that when we live that way, what did Jesus say? “Blessed are you.”
The word makarios. It means, “happy,” “joyful.” Here’s all I can tell you, this is true in a family. You are either a consumer: What do I get? What do I get? Who is coming through for me? What about this? And no matter how much you can consume, it’s never enough.
Or you’re a servant, and you are helping other people be successful. And as you give your life and give your time and help others, God fills you up with joy and out of His goodness, often gives you the things you dream about.
Have you ever wondered why people who are mega, mega, mega wealthy get to a point where it’s like, you can’t consume anymore! How many steaks can Bill Gates eat in a day? About the same as you. How many vacations can he go on? How many jets can he buy?
So whether it’s Gates or whether it’s Carnegie, or whether it’s Buffet, or whether it’s the Ford foundation, almost every person who gets mega, mega wealthy has this crisis of life and realizes – what? The only thing that matters is helping other people. So they start a foundation.
You know what they are realizing? They are just realizing what Jesus taught. The only thing that is really going to matter very much out of your life, out of my life – we think it’s all about the achievement and what people think and what we acquire. The only thing that will really matter is faith working itself out in love.
And wherever you are, whether it’s here at church or in your home or with your roommates or at work, when you begin to say, I want to serve, I will tell you, a paradigm shift, and something begins to happen that will change the course of your life, not only for you, but guess what? People will begin to see a Christian living like a Christian. Love humbly serves those we lead, those that we have influence with.
Second, we are going to see the next picture is He is going to be betrayed. Pick up the text with me if you will, in verse 21. “After He had said this, Jesus was troubled in His spirit, and He testified, ‘I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray Me.’ His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which one of them He meant. One of the disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to Him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple,” it’s John, “and said, ‘Ask Him which one.’ Leaning back against Jesus, he asked Him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is the one I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ Then dipping the piece of bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.”
Jesus turns to His left, “‘What you are about to do, do quickly,’ Jesus told him. But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the feast, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out.” And I think this is both accurate and metaphorical, “And it was night.”
Darkness is coming. Evil is going to reign for a very short season. Jesus predicts His betrayal because the disciples need to know this is not an accident. And then He does something that is absolutely mind-boggling. He has Judas seated at the second place of honor.
And I can’t go through it in time, but if you knew how a Passover happens, the meal is very mechanical, if you will. You do this, then there’s a glass of wine for redemption, and you tell the story, and there are the herbs, and then you get to a certain place and then what the leader does is he takes a piece of bread, it’s like flat bread or like falafel bread.
And he would take it and there would be a dish with part of the lamb, and he would dip it in and then he would offer it to the guest of honor. And it was a point in time where they were talking about, This dish and this dip was for the forgiveness of our sins. They have been passed over by the grace of God.
Jesus was extending love and opportunity and forgiveness to Judas. And Judas rejects it. And he gets up and he leaves, and he cooperates with Satan.
And for a period of time, then, evil will reign. And the disciples, now that the tension has gone out of the room, can you imagine? Some of you, can I just ask you to think back to when you have been betrayed? Some of you have been betrayed in business, right? Some of you had a mate walk out on you and hook up with someone else. Some of you have had a boyfriend or girlfriend that you came in and found out…
Some of you have walked into a room and seen either your girlfriend, your boyfriend, or your husband, your wife logged on and looking at pictures that you’re thinking, What about me?
Can you, I’ve been betrayed two or three deep, deep times and the level of anger and hurt was almost overwhelming. Can you imagine the kind of love that extends forgiveness to someone? Earlier, He washed the feet of the very person who He knew, remember? I said, repeated, He knew His time has come. He knew.
Application: When you look on the front of that sheet and say, Am I really a loving person? It’s not a lot about emotion, sometimes. It’s not about an ooey-gooey feeling. It’s about humbly serving those we lead and then it’s about intentionally serving those who hate us, even when it doesn’t change their behavior.
Sometimes you hear the great stories, and I have certainly told my share. And it is amazing that sometimes we love those who hate us and we do good, those who do evil against us and good is more powerful than evil and Romans 12, right?
That great principle of 17 to 21, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. And in so doing you heap burning coals on his head.” And that’s not a picture of burning their brains out. It’s a picture, in the ancient near East of repentance.
You do good to your enemies, you love your enemies. Jesus would say in Luke 6, I put the passage there, “What profit is there if you love those who love you? If you lend money, who lend the money to you.” But when you love your enemies, when you pray for those who desperately use you, when you love those who persecute you, this finds favor with God, because then you are being a son or a daughter, in other words, like the Most High God.
Because God is a God who gives mercy to the good and to the evil. If we could grasp how good and how kind God is to everyone, and the apostle would say it is the kindness of God that leads to repentance.
And so I am telling you that your love quotient – are there ways that that person even who has betrayed you…? Now, don’t get me wrong, there has to be some boundaries. This doesn’t mean you’re a doormat. You might have to do it anonymously, because you can’t have a relationship with someone who has abused you.
But good is more powerful than evil, and the kind of love that turned the world completely upside down was a group of followers who started washing each other’s feet. They didn’t come to church as consumers. They didn’t say, “Well, this children’s ministry is like this. I kind of like the worship at that church a little bit better. I liked this. And you know what? They are doing too many of those kinds of songs and I want them to do more of these kind of songs,” and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
That’s a consumer mentality. Christians who live like Christians come and say, God, how do You want to use me? Who is here that is lonely? Who is here that is hurting. I have been through a divorce, I’ll bet I could help someone. I had an abortion, I’ll bet I could help someone with that. You know what? I’ve got a business and I am looking for people. You know what? I’m going to probe. Maybe there are some people who need a job. I am coming to serve, I am coming to love, and I am even going to do it to the people that I know hate me.
Our impact in the LGBT community will be being truthful and holding true to Scripture, and then loving them in ways where they shake their head and think, I thought you were the narrow, bigoted, evangelical, anti-intellectual people who blow up clinics and hold up signs and call us names.
And, unfortunately, many of them have experienced Christians like that, and they will meet you at your work and in your neighborhood, and our deep, genuine friendships and they will just meet someone who loves them.
And you know what? We won’t agree with the sin in their lives anymore than the fornicators and the idolaters and the drunks and the porn addicts that we have in our church, right? Right? I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. Right? Okay.
So, sexual sin is sexual sin. But I got to minister in Santa Cruz for twelve and a half years. And before things got big here, it was way, way big there in terms of the LGBT community. And they picketed the church and thought we were crazy and on and on. And we just teamed together and we drove HIV patients to the doctor. We drove all the HIV patients to the grocery store, and we told them, “We will only tell you about Jesus if you ask.”
And then we launched a ministry to runaway teens and then we fed the poor downtown. And the mayor, who was an avowed homosexual, he and I began to get to know one another. Literally, his view of us was that some of us have jaundiced, prejudicial view of people. You think all people in the LGBT community are like this or like that. You know what? They are people. Real people with real personalities, with real issues.
And we can disagree and there is a sin issue there, like I have my sin issues and you have your sin issues. But what helped me was not people telling me how bad I was. What helped me was a group of people who actually loved me.
And they didn’t compromise the truth, but they loved me. And as we did that, I watched God turn that whole little city around. And that’s His plan for this.
But you know what? That’s got to happen where you work. This isn’t like how are we going to react. How do we proactively serve those people? And whether it’s…think of what happened when the Church responded the way they did in Charleston. Think of what has happened in the Middle East as people have responded with forgiveness, even as their family members get their heads cut off.
The real Jesus, the historical Jesus, the supernatural Jesus, the power of God – that is what is going to change the world. The day of: I believe in God, I come to church, the guy is fairly interesting, he is semi-motivating, the music is okay, or maybe it’s really good, depending on your style, and I want to be kind of a nicer person. That Christianity is gone. It’s done. This is following an historic, fully God, fully man, Lord and Savior of the world as historic, cataclysmic events are aligning in a way, and we are followers, and we serve.
We serve those we lead, we serve those who hate us, even if they never change. And they know that, You know what? Our relationship with you isn’t based on, “Now you start coming to church, now you repent, now you come to Christ.” I pray they will. But Judas didn’t change, and Jesus washed his feet. Judas didn’t change, and Jesus offered him the place of honor.
Scene number one, He washes their feet. Scene number two, Judas betrays Jesus. Scene number three, Jesus prepares His disciples for His arrest. And we pick up the story in verse 31.
“When he was gone,” speaking of Judas, Jesus now responds. Whew. What has happened? A prophetic moment. Darkness has happened, the plan is going to go, He will be arrested, there will be three mock trials, He will be beaten within an inch of His life, they will take thorns and put it into His scalp, there will be this moment in all of history where the sin of all men will fall upon Him and the Father will turn away. And He will bury your sin and my sin, and He will cry out in anguish, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
And what He knows is He has got to prepare these disciples to make it through this. “Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, then God will glorify the Son in Himself, and will glorify Him at once.”
Here is His perspective to the betrayal: All authority and power has been given to Me, I know where I came from, heaven; I know where I am going. I am on mission. And Isaiah, in prediction would say, “And He set His face like a flint. Now I know…”
Glory means something is revealed. It is enhanced. The Hebrew word means, “weight.” The weightiness, the reality, the truth, the love of God is going to be made known, because God the Son will die for you and me and then rise from the dead. That is His response to suffering.
Now He wants to prepare His disciples because He realizes they are going to be scared to death and they are going to fail. And so He says, “My little children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for Me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you know: Where I am going, you cannot come.”
He uses a very interesting word. It’s not just “brothers.” He literally, it’s a word for a smaller child. He is being like a father to them. “I am going to leave, and you can’t come right now.”
And now He gives them a new commandment to sustain them. “A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another. That you love one another just as I have loved you.”
So it’s new. The word means, “fresh commandment.” The old commandment was what? Love your neighbor as yourself. So the bar is, I need to love you the way I want to be loved. He goes, No, no, no, no, no. The bar goes up. I want you to love each other the way I loved you.
And if you’re a disciple sitting in that room, how did He love them that night? He took the lowliest position and washed their feet. In a few hours, they will realize, Here comes Judas. Who are all those people with him? And the clubs and the sword? He’s the one. And in their mind they will go, He washed his feet. He gave him the seat of honor.
And the reason we are in this room is there was a very small band of struggling people who lived out loving one another and washing each other’s feet and being servants to one another and servants to people who hated them in such profound ways that love never fails. And it turned the world upside down.
And then what happens is any good thing that starts as a movement, what happens? It gets institutionalized, right? And then people want status and then there are all these roles. And then if you have a big role, then they put your face in stained glass and then you get connected with politics.
Did you know that forty percent of the people who are followers of Jesus don’t go to church at all anymore, in America? Because they have had such a bad church experience. Or they have been burned. And someone let them down or someone gossiped about them or there was immorality or they got used.
Application: Love passionately serves those in the body of Christ. Love passionately serves those in the body of Christ. Love doesn’t come to a service. Love passionately serves.
Hebrews 10:24 and 25 here, it says, “Let us consider one another, how to spur,” or spark, stir up, “one another to love and good works, not abandoning the habit of assembling, as is the manner of some.”
In other words, the expectation of the New Testament is that we will be doing life in community and know one another and spur one another on by our example, by our love, by our servanthood that I would want to walk more with God because I get to hang out with you. I watch how you love your family, I watch what you do at work, I watch the sacrifice of your time and your energy and your money to help other people. That’s the picture. It’s iron sharpening iron.
If you went back to that front page and you looked at: so what gets circled? Probably our energy is going into those things that we want people to think about us. And, by the way, they are all good. They are all good.
But the greatest of these is: it’s love. So the question I have for me, the question I have for us is: Are we going to be people who love each other? Are we going to be people who love those who hate us? By our attitudes, by our words, by our sacrifice. And are we going to be people who are willing to wash each other’s feet?
You live and I live in such a consumer oriented culture. It is in the air, it is in the water, it is just not – it’s almost impossible to come to a church and not be evaluating what they offer or what they don’t offer and how you think it could be improved, as you sit in a seat and do nothing and give nothing and care little for anyone but you. That’s the church in America.
And let me say this really delicately. In the next three to four months, and you can just start wherever. In the next three to four months, make a commitment to say, I am going to serve. And, by the way, a lot of the service ought to happen outside this church. Some of you are leading Bible studies in corporations and you’re involved in helping unwed moms and we are involved in all kinds of…I lead a thing with ethnic pastors once a month and building relationship and we are helping other churches.
It doesn’t have to be all on this campus, believe me. But you’ve got to serve.