Summary of the Sermon by Pastor Gilbert Khoo, at Bethany International Service, on Sunday, 8 April 2018.
A Life of Sacrifice
God’s unconditional love for us is Agape love – a sacrificial love. It was expressed in Jesus’ action to the point of death. Probably before we came to know the Lord, our ambition was to please ourselves. However, after following Jesus, living for Him becomes our desire by the works of the Holy Spirit.
How can live our life for Christ as a living sacrifice? It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit and with the understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice that we can live a life that honors God.
Jesus Loved His Disciples – God loves us unconditionally
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (Luke 15:13).
The life that Jesus led shows the intimacy between Him and God the Father. He was willing to go all out for His Father. His love for His Father was so great that He endured the Cross. It is not an easy task to bear the Cross, but Jesus bore it all for us.
Jesus could have given up on His disciples – most of them were uneducated. Peter denied Jesus three times! Judas betrayed Jesus. None of them were perfect, yet Jesus loved them. Jesus even appeared before Peter and asked him if he loved Jesus. Jesus loved His disciples beyond the flesh - beyond Philia (deep friendship) and Storge (between parents and children). He loved them through Agape love – the love of God. Fleshly love has its limit and conditions, but godly love has no limitation.
We need to love and see it through the eyes of Jesus. When we love with the love of God, the bond is stronger and helps us to forgive each other. The apostle John wrote, "Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth" (1 John 3:18).
Jesus Humbled Himself – God wants us to walk in humility
John 13:1-17 - Jesus washes His disciples’ feet.
Jesus took it upon Himself to wash the feet of the disciples. Beyond the religious act itself, Jesus demonstrated that even as a Lord and Master, He did not lord over His disciples. He took the towel and the bowl. The focus is not on the washing, but the gesture and humility in serving.
During those days, people do not have shoes like we have. They walked long distances and endured rough terrains and weather conditions. The paths they take may even be dusty and dirty. The washing of feet was performed by the lowest level of the slaves. Jesus humbled Himself to the Cross. He was humiliated, whipped beyond recognition, and was asked to carry a heavy cross (more than 130kg). We are supposed to be at the Cross but He took our place.
Job, Joseph and Moses went through humbling moments before they were raised up and used greatly. When we humble ourselves before the mighty hands of God, only then will God act (1 Peter 5:5-7).
Jesus Demonstrated Servant Leadership – God wants us to serve His Kingdom
Jesus could have asked someone else to wash the feet of the disciples, but He did it Himself. He does what He says. Jesus walked the talk. We may say that it is difficult but we know Jesus endured it all when He was on earth. He endured ridicule, humiliation, rebuke, and even a horrible death!
The Book of Mark sums up His Leadership example in Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus was the perfect Passover Lamb. He showed us what it meant to live a life of sacrifice. He was willing to go through it all for you and me.
Let us develop a thankful attitude to God. We should ask ourselves, “God you have done so much for me. What can I do to offer my life as a pleasing sacrifice?”
The Apostle Paul changed the course of Christianity. His life was a demonstration of God’s power. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
“To live as a living sacrifice” means that Christ is our focus, our goal, and our desire. Everything that we do, we do for the glory of Christ.