The “Power” Series #5



TEXTS:       Ex. 3:1-6;  Jn. 13:1-17;  Deut. 29:5; 3:4;  Eph. 6:15


INTRO:       Your feet are marvels of God's creation!  They each contain 26 bones, almost ¼ of the total bones in your body! (52 bones from both feet out of 206 total ones in your body!)  Each foot has 19 muscles and 107 ligaments ... and the average person will put about 65,000 miles on these wonders of the body ... a little better than the best radial tires!


Your feet are important to the health of your body!  We all know that walking is healthy for you physically ... to say the least "walking with God" in the spiritual sense does the same for your SOUL!


Those who do not walk risk losing the use of their feet ... in the extreme one can lose the ability to walk ... as well as damaging cardiac capabilities and jeopardizing the rest of the body's health!


Feet represent the activity of the body, the actual mileage of life ... spiritually speaking this means our contact with God and with the world.  How are we walking?


ILLUS:      The Christian walk is much like riding a bicycle; we are either moving forward or falling off. -- Robert Tuttle, Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 3.


PROP. SENT:      The Bible teaches us that it is important to not only be in contact with God ... but have our walk be righteous in the world!  The spiritual health of a body of believers is directly connected with the exercise of their walk!


I.   CONTACT!    Ex. 3:1-6


A.   Extraordinary!   Ex. 3:1-4

1.   Moses encounters an extraordinary sight one day going about a regular day’s routine in the desert!

a.   Moses had been doing the same thing for the past 40 years ... day in, day out!

b.   His routine was quite ordinary and boring ... so after 40 years, any diversion out of the ordinary would likely catch his attention!


ILLUS:     If there are a thousand steps between us and God, he will take all but one.  He will leave the final one for us.  The choice is ours. -- Max Lucado, Leadership, Vol. 17, no. 2.


2.   Moses notices a bush ... an ordinary bush doing an extraordinary thing!

a.   This is ministry ... ordinary people doing extraordinary things for God!

b.   God took two common sights in the desert to catch Moses' attention by adding a twist to them:  A bush on fire was not strange in the desert ... but one that was still green and not burning up in the flames was certainly different!

3.   It is kind of interesting that we see here another bush being used in Moses' life...

a.   As a baby his life was saved by being in the bulrushes in a basket!

b.   As a man his call was given by being drawn to a bush on fire ... but one that was not consumed!

4.   The message here is simple: Jesus seemed to be an ordinary man to many ... He was a man in history, but He is also God, something that is unique in the desert of humanity!

a.   God sent Christ to grab our attention ... to make us see that He was different; even though He appeared to look the same physically as other men!

b.   CONTACT is first made by God!

c.   Even as God makes contact with Moses by this extraordinary sight He is trying today through Christ to make contact with man!


B.   Expectation     Ex. 3:5-6

1.   Moses' expectations were for the bush to burn ... until suddenly a voice comes from a bush that is not consumed by the fire!

a.   This was not part of Moses expectation!

b.   God now had Moses' attention … now that initial contact is made; God clears the way for closer contact!

2.   At first God's request seems strange: "DON'T COME ANY CLOSER...!"

a.   If God made such an effort to get Moses' attention then why this sudden request to keep his distance?

b.   There was some barrier on Moses that needed removing first!

3.   God continues: "TAKE OFF YOUR SANDALS"...

a.   There must not be any manmade barriers in our relationship with almighty God!

b.   God desires direct contact with us as people – Moses' sandals insulated him from direct contact with “Holy ground” … God wanted direct contact with Moses, nothing between them!

c.   God's expectations of Moses are that he comes as he is ... nothing to insulate their relationship ... no man made barriers!

4.   This is evident from the original Hebrew which could be translated, "STOP COMING AS YOU ARE DOING"... meaning with the sandals on his feet because he might have thought he was coming to an ordinary bush - but God had made it extraordinary!

5.   This was NOW “Holy Ground” ... not because there was something special about the dirt or territory, but because God was present there to speak to Moses!

a.   The Midianites held that mountains were sacred places ... even bushes and trees might be.

b.   But Moses clearly understands that this was unusual ... and holy for the moment because God is there with Him!

(1.   Church buildings are not sacred in themselves; they are simply "buildings" ... they become sacred when they are used as places for us to meet with God and hear from Him.

(2.   In this sense "any place" can be "holy ground."  We just need to be in His presence, listening to Him!

c.   Another possible meaning:  Slaves always appeared before their masters barefoot ... which demonstrated a sign of respect, Moses therefore is being asked to honor this tradition of submission to the greatest Master, God Himself!  Moses is the servant, God is the master.

6.   The next statement rejects the Midianite connection ... God reveals Himself to Moses as the same God of his fathers ... not some local god of the Midianites!

7.   The ordinary shepherd was about to have an extraordinary change in his life!


ILLUS:      A folklore surrounding Poland's famous concert pianist and Prime Minister Ignace Paderewski includes this story: A mother wishing to encourage her young son on the piano took her son to a concert of this famous performer.  They had good seats down front ... they could see the master in the wings waiting to come out.  Suddenly mom looked down and her son was gone ... to her horror she watched as he scrambled onto the platform and onto the piano bench!  To her further shock, her son began playing "TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE STAR" as the lights came on and the audience quieted themselves.  Before she could even get up however to fetch her son the master walked up to the piano and spoke to the boy, "DON'T QUIT ... KEEP PLAYING!"  Leaning over, the master reached over with his left hand and added a bass part to the boy ... then leaning over with his right hand he added a running obbligato ... together the old master and the young boy held the crowd mesmerized!  An ordinary boy doing an extraordinary performance ... because of the master’s touch! 

     In our life we need to understand that the MASTER is leaning over saying, "DON'T QUIT ... KEEP PLAYING!" ... extraordinary things happen through ordinary people with the right master!  EXPECT IT! – Source Unknown


II.  CLEANSING!   Jn. 13:1-17


A.   Extraordinary     Jn. 13:1-11

1.   In another example involving feet ... we find a similar pattern, Christ is trying to show His disciples the servanthood principle!

2.   Jesus the master does the extraordinary ... He becomes the servant and washes His disciples’ feet!

3.   This unusual sight initially confused the disciples ... they didn't understand what in the world Jesus was doing!

a.   It was not the Master's place to wash the servant's feet ... after all they were His disciples!

b.   If anyone should be washing feet it would be them, or some ordinary servant of the home!

4.   Jesus realized they wouldn't understand at the moment this extraordinary event ... but He planned on them understanding it later!

a.   In fact, by it being recorded it indicates that Jesus hoped WE would also understand its message!

b.   The message isn't just servanthood ... it is SERVICE ITSELF!

c.   JESUS EVEN WASHED JUDAS' feet ... His enemy and betrayer!  There is no discernable distinction from their perspective between the service rendered them and the service given Judas!



ILLUS:      Most of us are good at ministering during a crisis ... like the pastor of First Christian Church in Chandler, Arizona.  He told this story: A car had broken down in an alley behind their church.  The driver had jacked the car up and crawled underneath when suddenly they all heard a scream for help following the sound of the car crashing off the jack.  Someone in the church yelled, "CALL 9-1-1-!"  Several others gathered around the car and began lifting as hard as they could.  Nurses from the congregation were rounded up quickly and brought in close to the action ... someone carefully pulled the man out as the others held up the car.  It turned out he was only scratched and bruised, the point:  Everyone did everything they could!  People were risking themselves at the moment of crisis ... what about those who are dying without Christ right now?  Do we hear their screams anymore ... or still run for help? – Source Unknown




B.   Expectations       Jn. 13:12-17

1.   When Jesus finished washing their feet and returned to HIS PLACE He gave them His expectations!

a.   They were simple:  "Go and do likewise" ... in other words, “SERVE!”

b.   Jesus however adds a comment of importance:  "NO ONE IS ABOVE HIS MASTER ... IT IS ENOUGH IF HE IS LIKE HIM!"

c.   What's the point: Jesus served Judas the betrayer as well as the other eleven disciples; therefore, we are to serve all we come into contact with ... not just the ones who respond positively to us, or the ones we like!

2.   The point is obvious:  To be willing to serve some but not others puts us in a class ABOVE THE MASTER ... we are saying in essence: WE ARE BETTER!

3.   Therefore Christ's expectations are clear:  WE ARE TO SERVE ALL!

a.   This separates us from the business world:  If someone is not producing, the business world says, "IF IT IS NOT PROFITABLE … LEAVE THEM ALONE."

b.   In business we put our money where we get the best return ... in God's Kingdom we sometimes do crazy things that don't make much business sense!

c.   Our investment is not money ... it is us ... for all!

4.   Jesus adds however a note of incentive: "YOU WILL BE BLESSED (HAPPY) IF YOU DO THIS!"


ILLUS:      Most people think giving our all is like laying on a table a $1,000 bill saying, "HERE'S MY LIFE LORD ... I'M GIVING IT ALL."  But in reality it is more like taking that $1,000 bill and changing it into dimes and quarters and putting it here and there, bit by bit over a great deal of time.  Many people want to give their life for Christ ... BUT ASK FOR SOMEONE TO VISIT A SHUT-IN, or SPEND SOME TIME WITH A KID IN TROUBLE, etc. and see what happens!  USUALLY, giving our life to Christ isn't all that glorious ... it's done in the dimes and quarters experiences ... instead of a flash of glory in a moment; it is the fullness of God's love over a lifetime! -- Source Unknown


5.   We are called to "WASH" other people’s feet ... to minister to them in their walk in life no matter how they respond!


III.  COVERED!   Deut. 29:5; 8:4   Eph. 6:15


A.   Extraordinary    Deut. 29:5;  Eph. 6:15

1.   God promised and fulfilled an extraordinary thing for Israel during their 40 years in the wilderness: Their shoes would never wear out!  They must have been wearing something better than even FLORSHIEMS!

2.   Yet, this extraordinary promise of God would only happen if they followed through on an ordinary thing: 40 YEARS OF WALKING ... AND IN RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!

a.   We all want the EXTRAORDINARY EVENT … what about the ordinary walk?


ILLUS:      Most Hindus have a desire to visit the city of Banares at least once in their lifetime. It is a holy city to them, with fifteen hundred temples.  The road encircling the city is thirty-six miles long. To walk all the way around the city with devotion is deemed a very holy thing.  But Christians believe that how you walk is far more important than where you walk. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).


b.   The miracles didn't seem to faze Israel much because they lived with them one day at a time ... and these miracles were daily and therefore became routine.  They lost the sense of the "special" nature of God feeding them, keeping their shoes from wearing out, because they only looked through the lens of "that" one day.

c.   Yet the profound nature of these miracles was in its ordinary context!  God was providing "basics" each day, but supernaturally!

3.   This is the call to ministry ... to minister in all the ordinary ways, one day at a time, and trust that God will do extraordinary things that we will recognize when we look back on all that time!

4.   God promised to keep their walk covered; their shoes will never wear out ... as long as they walked!

a.   The sandals would prevent the earth from hurting and soiling their feet.

b.   Christ's salvation will keep our walk from being soiled by this world also!

c.   But we need to slip on God's covering for our feet as we walk through this life toward the promise land!

5.   Even Paul talked about "standing our ground" by putting on the armor of God, which included protecting our feet! ... "and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." (Eph. 6:15)


B.   Expectation      Deut. 8:4

1.   Notice that their feet did not swell during the trip!  "Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years." Deut. 8:4

2.   The promise then was better than just "SHOES" that didn't wear out ... they were even comfortable and God protected their walk and journey from damaging their feet!

a.   So often we are afraid ministry might hurt us ... the truth is just the opposite!

b.   God knows how to keep our feet from swelling from the journey too!


ILLUS:      God's Word often refers to the Christian experience as a walk, seldom as a run, and never as a mad dash. -- Steven J. Cole, Leadership, Vol. 8, no. 4.


3.   The miraculous quality of the shoes is attested to at this point ... not just the longevity of them!

4.   Dr. SCHOLL's and Florsheim can't come close ... the Gospel is still the best fit in town - and the universe!


CONCLUSION:    To get from Egypt to the Promise Land Israel had to walk!  The obvious symbol of "feet" is that of walking ... walking means action, and a journey!  They could have tried to stay at Mount Sinai where they experienced God's Word and the display of His power, but the plan called for them to get up and walk ... to confront the enemy ... to confront themselves, and then to possess the Promise Land!  Are you sitting or walking?