On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus acts out a lesson in servitude. He shows us the spirit He expects in those who follow Him: He puts others first. When we find our identity in Jesus— when we know we are His children and part of His family—we can serve others in any capacity. Greatness in Christ’s eyes does not come from having many servants but from being the servant of many. He gives us His spirit to be able to go, serve and love!
Ryan Bramlett • modgniK • John 13:1-20
Message: Others First
Pastor: Ryan Bramlett
Study Guide (PDF)
Ryan Bramlett • modgniK • John 13:1-20Traders Point, how are we doing? Hey, its so good to be with you. My name is Ryan and I’m one of the pastors around here. To everyone at the campuses, everyone watching online, welcome. It’s so good to be with you. Today we are in this series modgniK. A moment of vulnerability as we kick things off—when I found out we were doing this series, I did not know what modgniK meant. And that’s kind of a big deal. If I’m at Lowe’s and they are like, “Where are the modgniKs at? Which aisle?” I can say, “I don’t know,” and that’s okay. But when I’m here and I need to preach about it, it’s a big deal. I was trying to find ways to get Aaron to talk about it. “Can you tell these guys what modgniK is? They don’t know what it is. Can you tell me for them?” Maybe you’re here and you don’t know either. There is no shame in that. We’re in this together—modgniK is simply Kingdom spelled backwards, the trickery. And maybe you’re thinking, “Kingdom? This is America.” Also true, this is America. But we know what kingdoms are. Kingdoms have existed for thousands of years, and they still exist to this day. And a lot of kingdoms have some of the same things. You have a king. You have a queen. You have someone overseeing a territory and a group of people. That’s a kingdom. But maybe you don’t know about the first kingdom, and it’s God’s Kingdom. You see, we believe God created everything—the heavens, the earth, the moon, and the stars, every animal. And then he created us. He looked at everything he created and said: This is good. This is really good. I really outdid myself with all of this. Wow. And then he decided, in this kingdom, to give us dominion. And we oversaw everything. But the Kingdom was short-lived. You see, you have this Adam and this Eve, they are doing life and they get tempted by this snake, the Devil. And he comes in and throws things off. Adam and Eve go against God’s Kingdom, and the Kingdom falls. And now they get ushered into this new kingdom, where this serpent, the Devil, is actually the prince. He is the worst prince ever. But God does not give up on us. He does not give up on Adam and Eve, and the rest of time, the rest of the Bible, as we read it, is God lovingly and patiently trying to get us back into his Kingdom. He is trying to get things back to the way they were, the way he intended, back to what he said was good. That’s God. Enter Jesus. Jesus would step on the scene as he began his ministry. He talked a lot about God’s Kingdom. You know, we have four accounts of the life of Jesus and with all of them we have 126 mentions of Kingdom. Jesus talked about this a lot. The Kingdom is here. The Kingdom is at hand. And he talked about it a lot, but people were still a little confused. People didn’t know exactly what to do with all this Kingdom. They thought they knew, but Jesus was trying to tell them that this is going to be different than what they think. His disciples followed him around and kept asking him questions like: Hey, they do it like this. Shouldn’t we be doing it like this? Or they say: It’s like this over there, should we be saying it like that? And then the other religious leaders, they would come up and they wouldn’t ask questions, they would straight up say: You cannot do this. You cannot operate the way you are operating. Stop it.And Jesus, over and over again, would say: You’ve got it wrong: You’re trying to judge me by human standards. (John 8:15, NLT) You’re trying to make this Kingdom that I bring make sense, but you can’t because this isn’t the kingdom of earth, and I’m not a human king. This is from heaven. This is from God, and so am I, and this is going to be different. This is one of my favorite things Jesus says when he is going around. He turns to his people and says: Listen, I don’t care what’s going on around there:Among you it will be different (Matthew 20:26, NLT)Turn to the person next to you and say, “I’m different.” Now turn to the person on the other side and say, “Like a good different, not a weird different.” It’s different. It reminds me of growing up. I was always wanting to do something or be somewhere that I probably shouldn’t have been doing or going. But I would go to my mom and say, “Can I go?” And over and over again she would say, “No, you can’t.” But I was ready for that. I have co-signed more people’s parents to things than anything. Has anyone else ever done this. “No, no, no, you didn’t hear me. Eric’s mom already said he could go. Can I go?” Does anybody know what my mom would say? “No.” She would look at me and say, “Do I look like Eric’s mom? Eric is not mine. He is not my son. For you, this is going to be different. For you, you live in my kingdom. For you, you live under my rules. For you it is going to be different. You let Eric worry about Eric, this is going to be different.” And that’s what this series is all about. So maybe if you’re here for the first time, or maybe you’re here and you don’t really believe in God, I just want to say you picked a great time to come. Please come back and back again. This series is really what we are all about. This series is all about God’s Kingdom, that shapes all we do. Each week we are looking at a different letter that makes up the word modgniK and kind of breaking it down. So, last week we kicked things off with M, which stood for More is Less. And this week we’re going to take a look at the second letter, which is O. Others First.Now, this is kind of a big thing you’ve heard for most of your life. And chances are, if you’re anything like me, this came up a lot. And it was usually behind one thing. It was the golden rule. Does anybody here remember the golden rule? Four of you, good. I don’t know where you guys went... The golden rule was plastered everywhere, on every bulletin board, every hallway. I knew what the golden rule was. It was to treat other people how you wanted to be treated. I knew the golden rule. If you were to ask me, “Who said it first? Where do we get this idea for a golden rule?” I would not have known. If you would have asked me, “Who started this?” I would have said, “George Washington.” No. “Thomas Jefferson.” Zero for two. It was neither one of those guys. This idea, this golden rule idea to put others first comes right from the teaching of Jesus. Look at this. “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12, NLT)Everyone say this with me: Essence. This is the essence of it all. Jesus says, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you,” this is the essence behind every law in God’s Kingdom. It is “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.” And Jesus not only preached this, he lived it out. He was an example of this over and over again. And what we’re going to look at today is one of the best examples of Jesus putting others first. And there is so much here for us to get. So, we’re going to be in John 13, starting in verse 1. If you don’t have a Bible, no worries, everything will be on the screen behind me. But John 13, starting in verse 1. I’m sorry if I didn’t give you enough time, next time use the table of contents. Don’t have too much pride. Use it, and you’ll get there. “Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas,” the snake is back, “ son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God.” So, what we’re doing is we are jumping into a night out with the crew. This is Jesus and 12 of his closest friends. There is a lot of detail just in those first few sentences. We know it is time for dinner. Everyone is getting together, but this is not a normal dinner. There is a lot going on. It says that Jesus knows his hour has come. He knows he is about to be murdered. On top of that, he not only knows he is about to be killed, he knows who is about to betray him. It’s not somebody he hasn’t met yet, it’s not someone down the road, it is someone sitting down at his table to eat with him. This is at the very end of his ministry. So, what is he going to do? What do you say in a moment like this? You do something that is unforgettable. You talk about the thing that is most important. You do something that reminds them: This is the essence of it all. Look at what Jesus chooses to do. “So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.”What? And maybe if you’re reading this, it almost seems normal. That’s a nice thing that they liked to do, for the host to get up and start washing everyone’s feet. This was not normal. This was absurd. This was backward, different than anyone had seen before. To think that the leader, this teacher, this guy they are calling Lord would get down and wash their feet. But I know we’re 2,000 years removed from this. Let’s start with some common ground. Today, feet are gross. Right? Feet are gross. Feet are gross today, and they’re covered with shoes and socks. We take showers all the time, and we drive places so we’re not walking. These feet were gross. They did not have cars. They walked anywhere and everywhere, and they were not walking on the Monon. They were walking on dirt, mud, and poop. Yeah, I said it. And there was nothing to cover these things. They were walking around in sandals that covered maybe four percent of their feet. Not even as much as a thong sandal. That’s what these guys were walking around in. And it’s dinnertime. They’ve been walking on these bad-boys all day. Their dogs are barking. It is disgusting. And they are sitting down, and Jesus does the unthinkable. He pours the water and one-by-one he begins to wash their feet. The air would have been sucked out of the room. No one would have known what to say, but you can’t say no can you? It’s Jesus. I can picture a lot of shoulder shrugs and mouthing things to one another like: I’m not going to say anything. It’s kind of nice. He is really good at it. I’m not surprised, he’s good at everything, but this is pretty nice. I’m good. Everyone is going with it, everyone is cool, until it’s Peter’s turn. For everyone who doesn’t know who Peter is, think of the person in your life who says exactly what they’re thinking when they are thinking it. They don’t have a filter. There is nothing to catch a thought before it comes out, and everyone has to deal with it. Like it becomes Peter’s turn, and then look at what happens. Jesus comes to him. Look at this. “When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus replied, ‘You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.’ ‘No,’ Peter protested, ‘you will never ever wash my feet!’”
Now, everyone is uncomfortable. No one knows what to do. Then it comes to Peter, and you can almost picture it. The disciples are trying to get him to stand down. James is going: Peter, just sit down. And he is like: Bro, get your hands off me. I’m not. Touch me again. Touch me again, and they’ll be washing your face for the blood. Jesus, bro, grab the wine. Let’s get back to dinner, have a good time. You are never, ever going to wash my feet. I can’t let you do this for me. Just really quick. Does anyone here have a hard time accepting good things from God? Does anyone here have a hard time believing God wants to do good things for you, this idea that God wants to serve you. And not even just God, other people. Is it hard for you to accept when other people want to put you first? You dodge; you kind of deflect everything and say, “No, no, no, I don’t want you to do this. I don’t want to be a part of it.” I know I do. And that’s what Peter is doing, saying: I’m uncomfortable with this. I don’t like this idea that you are going to do this. Sorry, get up Jesus. This isn’t going to happen not now, not ever. Look at Jesus’ response. “Jesus replied, ‘Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.’ Simon Peter exclaimed, ‘Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!’” How the tables have turned. He goes from: Jesus, get up. Let’s get back to dinner. You’re not going to wash my feet, until this one line that Jesus says: “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” And Peter almost backpedals out of the room: Jesus, why didn’t you lead with that? If I would have known, I wouldn’t have made a scene like this. For sure, wash my feet. And then he goes to trying to get naked in the middle of his living room. Let’s do a bath. Let’s do the whole thing. I’m confused. What do you want me to do, Jesus?Jesus looks at him: You don’t get it. You never get it, but please guy keep your shirt on. That’s not what this is. And then he’s going to tell us exactly what this is and why it’s so important, why it’s the essence of everything.Look at this, “After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, ‘Do you understand what I was doing? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.’” So, here it is. He’s been with these guys long enough to know if there is a takeaway from the day, chances are they missed it. So, after he has put the water away and his shirt back on, he says: Hey, I want to make sure everyone gets this because time is of the essence. I’m about to leave. What I just did is the essence of it all. You can’t miss this, because I’m going to be leaving. You are going to be my representatives. You are the ones who are actually going to advance the Kingdom of God, so you have to get this. This is the example: Because I’m your Lord, because I’m your teacher and because even I was willing to do this, I want you to go and do what I did. Wash each other’s feet. Serve one another. This is what God did. “Do to others as I have done to you.” And if we could just take a pause for a second, if you want to know what separates God’s Kingdom from everything else you will find, it is what God was willing to do for you. This is not a system or a kingdom based on how many good days you have, how hard you have worked, maybe come back later, wait until the end of your life. No. This Kingdom says the King went first, the King took the form of a servant. The King went first with washing their feet. The King went first with reconciling the Kingdom that we have broken. The King went first with loving you and me. If you know that God is a good King who went first, if you know what he was willing to do for you, let’s celebrate that today. If you are thankful. And this is what he came to bring me and you. This is the example. And how does that translate? What exactly is he saying there? Simply put, he is saying: Put others first. If you want to know what my Kingdom is about, if you want to know how it operates, it’s very different than anything you’ve ever experienced. It’s different than what your gut, and your heart, and mind would ever say a lot of times. What I’m telling you is it is different. He is saying put others first.Now, no one is hearing this and saying, “No.” No one is hearing, put others first. Treat people how I want to be treated. Serve others. “What, are you trying to get me arrested? I can’t go doing that stuff to other people.” No. I believe there is a whole bunch of good in us that wants to do these things. We want to serve other people. We want to put others first. But there are all these things that creep into our lives and steal the opportunities. They stop us from being able to serve other people, to put them first. And I just want to go over a few of those things, the big ones that I think steal our opportunities to put others first and to bring God’s Kingdom everywhere we go. The first one is:Time. Time, right? Time is a big one. Time comes up in every conversation I have. “How are you doing?” “Good. How are you?” “Good, just wish I had more time. You know?” “I know. I know.” Or, “How are you doing?” “Good. I wish I had more time. I would love to do more. I would love to be more involved. I would love to start that or begin this, or… I just don’t have the time.” It’s not just here at church, but in every aspect of our lives. You’re at work or at school and that email comes across, that service day or make-a-difference day, whatever the subject line is. And you read it. And you think, “That’s a good thing. Wow, I should do that. I should be a part of what they’re doing here. Huh.” Delete. “I just don’t have the time.” And for a lot of us, we live with this mindset of we know what Jesus said. We know we should put others first, but now is just not a good time. But soon we’ll have more of it. “When I get that bid, then I’ll put others first. Then I’ll be more generous with my time. But right now, I’ve got to knock out school.” Then after you finish school it’s like, “Now I’ve got to find a job,” and then “I’ve got to settle into the job,” and “I just got married. I’ve got to handle this and pay off the debt, but then one day when time slows down then I will be more generous.”And this is a lie. Time never frees itself up. It takes me and you making decisions and saying, “No, no, no. This is important. Jesus told us this is the essence of it all, so starting today I have to put others first.” That’s what I love about the example Jesus gives here. It’s so powerful. Because it’s one thing to put off serving when you think you have a better season coming, it’s a whole different thing to serve when you know this is the last season. It’s a whole different thing to put other people first when you know you are about to be murdered. That’s where Jesus is. He knows death is coming, but that does not stop him from this opportunity to serve the people around him. He shows us that there is never a wrong time to serve the person in front of you. There is never a wrong time to put other people before yourself. This is the essence of it all. Time is never going to free itself up, we have to make the choice to put others first. That’s a big one, time. I would say the other one that kind of stops us from being able to put others first, more than anything else is:A title. A lot of us, we want to do something, we just don’t know exactly what to do. So, then we think about what gifts do we have? What strengths do we have? Then we try to match that up like some match.com thing where we want to find the perfect serving opportunity. “When I find that, then I will be more involved. I just don’t know if I can do any of the things going on around me. I’ll just wait.” And I hear you. If you’re here today and you are serving in a spot where you feel like your gifts and your abilities match up with exactly how you serve, that is incredible. Praise God that you get to do that. Jesus had those moments. Jesus not only did the washing of the feet, he did some pretty big, powerful, amazing things. Like, there was this one time where he served this guy who was dead. And then Jesus met him and he was no longer dead anymore. That was pretty big. Jesus did that. There were other times where Jesus showed up and healed people. He did powerful things that matched up with his gifts and his abilities. He healed people of blindness. There were people who weren’t even able to walk. He healed them. There were people with leprosy. He healed them. Over and over again he did these big and powerful things. God is powerful enough to do everything, but he was humble enough to do anything. So, when the situation came it didn’t matter what the job was. He knew he was of the father. He knew he was of God and he was able to tackle anything that was in front of him. It didn’t matter how big it was. It didn’t matter how small it was. He was willing to do it because he had his title right. I think that’s what separated Jesus from everyone else in the room that night. Everyone else, they were a disciple. That’s who they were. They were followers of Jesus and they were at the top. They were at the top of this new Kingdom that was being ushered in. Jesus was the leader. Jesus was about to take over, and they had their spots. They thought they were royalty and they knew how royalty acted. So, it never even crossed their minds when they walked into this room that one of them could wash each other’s feet. They were disciples, and that’s not what disciples do: We are about to be leading this thing baby. We aren’t washing any feet. But Jesus, Jesus knows his title. It is Son. Everything else was what he did in the moment, he was a Son first. He was a teacher. For sure, he taught about the Kingdom of God. Yeah. But he was a Son first. He was a healer. He did miracles, for sure. But that’s not who he was. Who he was is a Son, and that identity is what shaped him. That identity is what allowed him to say: Nothing is above me, and nothing is too low because my God is a God of really big things. And my God is a God of really small things and the details. So yes, I will do anything and everything for my God because I know I’m a Son. Come on. Let’s go. I know for me, I’m a pastor. Maybe you are thinking, “Yeah, we figured that, microphone, stage, the whole thing.” But this is what I went to school for. This is what I studied for, and this is what I’ve been doing for years. And God has given me this. He’s given me gifts and abilities to do this. He has not gifted me in other areas, like in the area of construction. And I don’t even know if that’s what you call it, that area. Some of you are like, “I don’t know what you mean.” Building things, putting things together, using tools is not my speed. It would bum you out if you had to watch me hammer something in or screw something in. You would be like, “Wow, good thing he does the preaching thing because this would not work out if it was what he was doing all the time.” Nonetheless, preaching is what I do. But when my dad calls me to come over and work on a project, when my dad calls me to come and work on the deck, I’m there. And I have very little to offer. I’m not there because of my expertise. I’m there because I love my dad. I’ve been helping him my whole life, and not much has changed in how I help. When I was 10 years old I held the board while he cut it. Does anyone else have this role? This is when you know you’re not good at something, when someone has you hold something all the time.Twenty years later (I was just over there) I hold the board while he cuts it. That’s what I do. Advancements in technology have brought us here, though. When I was 10 years old I held the board. He said, “I’m about to cut this. Close your eyes and don’t let the dust get in there.” Twenty years later we have safety goggles. So, he gives me the glasses now before he starts cutting. But that is the only difference. I’m a child, but I’m there to help. I will pick stuff up, I will move stuff, I will sweep the screws, I will do anything he asks me. And it’s not because what I’m doing matches up with who I am, but I get to be with my dad. And I know this is a job he wants done. I know no matter the role, it doesn’t matter. I get to play a part in it and I get to be with my dad. That’s why I’m there. He’s my dad, I’m his son. Listen to this. This is the example Jesus came to bring. When you know in this Kingdom that what makes it so different is you’re not just members, you’re not just citizens, but you are family, you are sons and daughters of the Kingdom, you are sons and daughters of the King--it changes how you approach life. It’s not about how good you are, how great you are doing this. It just says, “No, my Dad has called me to do this. And now I just want to do what my Dad is doing, because I know if I’m working I’ll be alongside him. So, I’ll serve. I’m going to love you like crazy. I’ll show up early, I’ll stay late, I’ll sweep the floors, I’ll change the lights, I’ll do anything and everything because I know it is for my Dad. And I know my Dad loves you more than anything. And I know my Dad has called me to put you above myself, so I’m here.” And this is what so many of us have. This is why so many of us are serving right now. And we serve in all kinds of capacities. We serve foster kids here in our city. We serve out in the parking lot directing traffic. We serve in security. We greet people, we welcome people, we serve kids. We do anything and everything because we want people everywhere to know about this Kingdom, and about this good King. And when we do this, when we put other people first, they don’t forget. It’s life-changing. When you put someone before yourself, it changes everything. You can just picture that. Think back to a time where someone put you above themselves. When you were going through and you just noticed, “They didn’t have to do that, but they did.” It just changes your day. It changes even what you think about yourself. Like even small things. If you’re at Chick-fil-A later this week, and they’ve got the double lanes going. And you know the person over here, they got there first. They got there first. But there is the awkward time where you both pull up at the same time. You’re like, “Okay, who is going to go first? Am I going to go first?” And they wave you on, then you wave them on. Protocol says they have to wave you on again, since you waved first. But you don’t push that. You’re just like, “Go. You, go.” Seriously, I’m going to go. You will tell everyone. “The day was good, got Chick-fil-A. I was behind this guy and we were at this spot of you go, I go, and he let me go. It was unbelievable.”When you put other people first, even in the little things, and in the big things, it makes a difference. Not only in your life, but in the lives of those you serve. Like Jay. Jay is a guy who goes to our church. He is a busy man. He is a successful man. But he is someone who started serving in our special needs ministry. His story is incredible. It is so incredible, I even asked him about it. “Just tell us. How did you get here? How did you get to this spot of serving the way you do, because you are making an incredible difference?” Look at what Jay said. Jay said, “Jodie,” his wife, “has an extensive amount of experience with kids. She has the gift of relating with children and a huge heart to go along with it. I had hesitations because I had little to no experience with kids, and I probably also let my masculinity get in the way of that path. I was nervous of how a grown man could possibly relate to these children.” Now if you want to know how you can know if a grown man is nervous, it’s when he tells you, “I’m a grown man. I’m a grown man. I can take the trash out. I’m a grown man. I can sleep without the TV. I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m a grown man.”But I love how vulnerable he was. He’s like, “I didn’t see it. I figured I’m an adult male, and I maybe let my masculinity get in the way of it. But I looked at the serving opportunities, and I didn’t know where I fit in. I had a lot going on. Work is busy. Life is crazy.” But I thank God he did not let any of that stop him. Instead he said, “I let God show me. I was just open. I just went and I started serving.” And he started serving in our special needs ministry here, and he has a buddy he is with every single week. And they hit it off. He got to know him. Over the year it moved past just a serving relationship. It became a real relationship. They started hanging out outside of church. They went on fishing trips. They went on camping trips. Now, Jay would say, “Their family is our family. We are family.” Church, can we celebrate Jay right now? That’s not normal. But Jesus said, “For you it will be different.” There are so many stories like that that get my blood pumping. To see other people putting others first. Like what is going on at our West campus. Maybe you know this, but our West campus has a setup and tear down team every week. They turn a school into a church. And talk about not the right time. They have to get up before the sun does. They are there bright and early doing everything. Nothing is for them. Everything they setup is for someone else. Every sign, every kid’s environment, every microphone, everything they do is so everyone can come in and hear about this good King and this incredible Kingdom that they can be a part of. Church, can we celebrate everyone on the West setup and tear down team? That’s not normal. But Jesus said, “Among you it will be different.” And for everyone, I just want to take a moment right now for everyone here at every campus in every room. If you serve in any capacity, could you just put a hand up? No matter the ministry. If you serve here, just throw it up. Incredible. Come on, church, celebrate that at every single campus. You are putting others first. And people will not forget that. There is no way the disciples ever forgot that night that Jesus washed their feet. Jay, there is no way your buddy ever forgets those camping trips and those fishing trips. West, there is no way anyone is ever forgetting that time they met Jesus in a school. It’s not happening. Everyone here who serves, please know that even when you don’t get to see it, just by showing up and putting others first you are saying something. You are speaking volumes about what the Kingdom of God is like. And you are making more of a difference than you’ll ever know on this side of eternity. It’s incredible. And this is us. This is who we are. We are the way we are because of Jesus. He is the ultimate example of all of this. When you want to see what it looks like to put others first, it’s him. And you can see it, it’s in the big things and the little things. This week, whenever you find yourself just having a moment, whether you’re in a drive thru, the hallway, your classroom, wherever you are, just have that thought. What would it look like in this moment to put the person in front of me before myself? What would it look like for me to serve? What would it look like for me to get involved, and to not wait on the right opportunity, to not wait on the right time? And if you’re here, and you are saying, “I want that. I just don’t know where I belong. I don’t know where I fit in. But I’ll serve. I’m ready,” we’ve got one spot for you and it’s called Growth Track. Come back next week. Next week Growth Track is all about how to serve, how to get plugged into a serving team. We would love to have you. Growth Track happens at every campus after every service. Stop in there. We would love to have you on the team. Because for all of us, what we’re doing is following this beautiful example of Jesus. You can just look at his life and you can see this is someone who knew who he was. He said: I am a Son of God. So, whatever is happening, yes, I’ll do it. Do you want me to leave heaven? Yes. Do you want me to wrap myself in skin and bones, the very skin and bones I spoke into creation? I’ll do it. You want me to go to them even though they won’t understand? Even though they will think it is backwards and different? Even though they will reject me, you want me to go? I’ll go. Do you want me to go there and go all the way to a cross? Do you want me to die for them? I’ll do it. For me and you, God put us first. Jesus lived that perfect life. Jesus went to a cross for me and you and he didn’t just die for us, he rose. Three days later Jesus rose. Jesus rose defeating sin and death. Jesus rose bringing in, ushering in this new Kingdom. This new Kingdom that says, “You don’t just belong, you are family,” and that changes everything. This is the essence of it all. The essence is that time is so short. There is not a wrong time to start serving. The essence is in this teaching that we need to put others first. The essence is all here. It’s not to wait, but its right now. And God knew this. He said: This is going to be unbelievably hard. You to live this life, to live the life of a son, to do the work that I want to do, to put other people first truly, to put other people first like Jesus did, you not only need the essence of what to do, you need my very essence. And Jesus said: If you just believe. Believe in my finished work on the cross. Believe that I am a good King. Believe that I was willing to do for you what you couldn’t do for yourself. Then I’m going to send you my very essence. I’m going to send you the Spirit of God. And the Spirit of God, for all who live in God’s Kingdom, lives in us. So, everywhere we go, the Kingdom goes. And everywhere we go, we have the power to take it. Everywhere we go, in every situation we find ourselves in, we can serve the person in front of us. We have the power to do it in the name of Jesus. This is the Kingdom. And we live in a unique time. We live in a time where Jesus has conquered the grave, but we still have to die to ourselves every day. Don’t let this just be another time you heard about this golden rule. Don’t let this be a time you heard about Jesus washing the feet of some men.This idea of putting others first can change the world, but its hard. And what it takes is me and you waking up every single day and saying, “No, I’m going to die to myself. Today isn’t about me. I’m going to die to myself. It’s not about what I want, I’m going to put others in front of me. It’s not about me, I’m going to die to myself. I just want to do the work of my Father. That’s what I’m here to do.” It takes me and you dying to ourselves every single day. But hear this. When we do this, when we live out this ethic, God said: It will be so different. You don’t even know. You don’t even know how different it will be. It will be so different, it will change your life for sure. It will change your relationships for sure. But by doing this, by taking my Spirit with you, by living out this teaching, it will change the world.The city that you live in can begin to look like heaven. Think about that. That’s what Jesus was saying. He said: If you believe in me. You pray this, my Spirit comes, and it will be like heaven is on earth. Can you picture that? Can you picture that kind of love? Where me and you are dying to ourselves, loving one another? That people mistake Indy for heaven. That’s what we’re here for. And if you’re here today, and this is the first time you are hearing about this Kingdom, we just want you to know the doors are wide open. The Kingdom is yours. Come on in. You are sons, you are daughters. Jesus proved that. Jesus stomped on the head of the serpent, the devil. Jesus crushed the enemy. He removed the prince, and now me and you are family. You are welcome. And for the rest of us, I’m going to pray and I’m going to pray something crazy. If you are crazy enough to pray it, pray it with me. I’m going to pray that we would go out from here and, starting today, Indy would look more like heaven. If you’re crazy enough, pray it with me. God, we thank you for today. God, I thank you for riling us up. I thank you for this example, for these pages. I thank you for this account we have. This is what you really did. This is what you’re really about. And this is what you’ve called us to. So, God I pray. I pray right now that we would die to ourselves, and that seems different. But God, you said among you it will be different. God, I pray right now that there is no one who doesn’t know about your Spirit. If there is anyone here who has a body that is not filled with your Spirit, I pray today would be the day. God, I pray that right now. Let that be a prayer that makes its way to heaven. Bring your Spirit here, Jesus. And God, I pray that as we go we would live this out; that we would treat others how we want to be treated. That we would treat others how you treated us, which means we would do anything. We’ll love them like crazy, God, and in doing so we’ll know we are step by step in step with you, that we’re walking with you, that you love this world more than we ever could, and we’re here to help bring your Kingdom. God, help us. God, I pray that starting this week, starting today, Indy begins to look more like heaven. Use us to do it, Jesus. Amen.
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