Archive for the ‘Profit Principle’ Category


Last week we were in John 12, and observed a woman washing the feet of Jesus with an expensive ointment. It was shocking to the Disciples, but gave great delight to the Lord. This week we will focus on Jesus washing the feet of his Disciples. It was equally shocking to the Disciples and equally delighting to the Lord.

Lydia Will, a mother of 4 young boys writes in Small Town Simplicity,

No matter my nagging, they just cannot seem to resist kicking off their shoes and squelching in the sun-warmed mud. Four sets of mud encrusted feet patter up the path and up the porch steps, one by one dunking feet into the warm white foam. I’ve got the rolled up sleeves and scrub tiny toes, searching for the pink skin beneath all the grime. Then towel dry and open the door, in they come looking for their dinner.

I wish I could say I had a good attitude about all of this, but it was not the first time I cleaned them up today. Nor the second, for that matter. In fact, if I am completely honest, I was downright annoyed.

I tossed out murky water, turn toward the sink to scrub the pot. And right there it strikes me.

Today I didn’t make a million dollars.
I didn’t attend an important investment meeting.
I didn’t wear expensive clothes.
Today I didn’t save a life, or change a law, or bring about world peace.
It may look like I really didn’t do much of worth to anyone.

But today, and really, every day, I washed feet.

As I make my way through this life of mine, I am taught so much. I am learning, daily, to look for the small and the humble – the quiet and the meek. The foot-washing moments that point me toward the blessings of laying down self and striving to serve. In lowering me, He elevates.

Read John 13:1-20 There are three things that Jesus said which bear closer examination. They reveal the motivation and message of the Gospel.

  • “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”
  • “I have given you an example”
  • “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them”

Most of us know this story. Jesus washes the feet of His disciples. Peter protests at first, but relents. It is a touching story reenacted in many churches even today. But too often we miss the message Jesus wanted to get into the thick skulls of His disciples. 

“Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

There is a Blessing here, but we have to make it a part of our life. Its roots are in the Gospel. Its foundation is in the power of the Gospel we saw last week, the waste that Mary exhibited.

This is the Passion Week, and the memories of that week frame each of the Gospels. Obviously, of all that happened during 3-1/2 years of training, the events of those weeks stuck out most in their hearts and minds. Yet only in John’s gospel is this story mentioned – the one in John 13:1-20.

Coming just a day or so after the Disciples had been chided for their treatment of Mary, Jesus was having a His Last Supper with His Disciples. In one simple act Jesus reveals the power of the Gospel through His Motivations and the Message He wants His Disciples to learn.

The Motivation of Jesus

John 13:1 reveals that before this supper, Jesus had determined two things:

1. His hour had come to depart and return to His Father

All through his ministry he knew he was to be the “Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world,” (John 1:29). The time has also come when he, as the grain of wheat, must fall into the ground and die. He sees, as a result of his death, a great harvest of Jews and Gentiles to follow in the power of the second Adam, freed from the defeat of death and sin. This is the power of the Gospel, Death with a View to Increase!

2. Having loved his own, He would love them to the uttermost.

Regardless of their denials or flight, Jesus would love them to the very end, or ‘uttermost’ as the Greek could be translated. He knew what was coming and knew the Disciples would need His Love. Within a few hours of this event, he would be hanging upon a cross. His Disciples would be scattered in utter dismay. He must love them to the uttermost!

Later this evening he says to his disciples, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” (John 15:13 RSV). No one can go further in his expression of love for someone than to die for him. This is what it means for Jesus to love his disciples “unto the uttermost.”

The Gospel of John is very clear that the relationship, which Jesus had with his disciples, is the relationship he has with all who follow Him as Savior and Lord. This means each of you who are born again have a Savior who loves you to the uttermost.

Nothing we do, or fail to do will stop Him from loving us to the uttermost. He will discipline us, He will grieve, but His love will always be there.

That is the first thing about this love. It is not offended by our failures. He does not withdraw His love because we make mistakes. We may often disappoint Him, we may often fail Him, we may often grieve His heart, but He goes on loving us. He loves us unto the uttermost, right to the end. He is not offended by our failures. That is a very different kind of love from our love. This is God’s love in Christ. – T Austin Sparks[1]

He may bring remarkable experiences into our lives, but we may be sure that underneath all is his loving concern for us. How important it is for us to remember that. Jude writes, “Keep yourself in the love of God,” (Jude 1:21). When you by faith enter into the New Covenant with God through the Blood of Jesus, God takes full responsibility for your life. He is faithful. His Love guides everything that happens in our lives.

We can see this because even though Jesus was facing the greatest trial of his life, his focus was not on Himself. His focus was on loving His disciples.

  • Verse two reveals that Jesus was also aware of something else:

3. The Devil had entered the room and was in the heart of Judas.

Yes, there was an unwelcome guest at that meal, a guest that escaped the attention of everyone else but Jesus. You will not see him in Da Vinci’s: “Last Supper,” but he is there.

John 13:2 “the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him”

Jesus knew that the devil was bringing about a crisis and that he had determined to use Judas to betray him. This indicates how easily we can be victimized by the devil. He can put thoughts into our minds and hearts and, if we follow them, we will end up betraying our highest hopes. It is so important that we guard our hearts through the Word of God. If you are not daily in the power of the Word, do you think you are immune from Satan’s influence and doubts? Faith comes by the Word of God. Doubts come when our faith is weak.

Judas was a devoted disciple. He went out witnessing. He even healed people. But Satan used a desire of his to cause him to turn away. His desire for wealth and standing got in the way of his following a Savior who was to be crucified. The only way wrong desires can be changed is through the power of the Word! Never resist it. Always honor it.

Jesus knew that the Devil was in the room and so Jesus had to show his disciples something drastic.

There is the third motive: The devil, the enemy, is at work, closing in on Jesus, and he knew it!

  • Something else that Jesus knew is mentioned in verse 4:

4. All things were given into His hands. He had come from God and would return to God.

Now that may seem like a slogan, like Allstate Insurance – You are in Good Hands. However, I believe the Word of John 13:3 is quite literal. Jesus had the most powerful hands in the Creation of God. All things had been placed in His Hands. Jesus was no helpless pawn, drawn along reluctantly. He was the director; He was in control of Passion Week. He was behind the smallest detail.

Can you visualize what this means?

Those soldiers who were beating Him, mocking Him, nailing Him to the Cross- were given into His hands. The Pharisees who were crying out to crucify him were in His hands.

Your sickness, your disease, your pain, is in His hands.
Your children, your grandchildren are in His hands.
Your life, your possessions, your career, your reputation are all in His hands.

Everything has been given into His hands. He knew exactly who He was and where He was headed. Jesus is Lord of ALL! Throughout the Passion Week, Jesus never panics. He is always in control. He moved with a quiet majesty through the events of his arrest and his appearance before Herod, Pilate and the chief priests. He is in full control because He knows who He is. He is God.

How important for Christians to understand this! The New Testament constantly thrusts this one truth upon us! When you are facing pressure at home, in your job, in relationships, in temptations, in whatever, the Scripture urges you, “Remember who you are. You need no longer be the victim of the wiles of the enemy; you no longer must obey him. You belong to Jesus Christ, Lord of the Universe. You are part of His Kingdom of love, not of anger and fear. You are loved and cherished by your Father. Your situation is in His hands.”

What worries do you have? What problems are keeping you up at night? See His hands! He has hold of it. Nothing is too great for His hands to handle!

Jesus is about to use those powerful hands to demonstrate the Message and Power of the Gospel.

B. The Message of Jesus

Verse 4 & 5: (He) rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

When Jesus took his outer garments off, he was taking on the dress of a slave. This would have been quite shocking to these Jews. Slaves were non-people, treated like livestock, property.

The rich used slaves to have their feet washed. The poor would set water by the door and you would wash your own feet. Roads were dusty, dirty, and muddy in ancient Palestine. There was no asphalt or concrete. No curbs and gutter. Travel was along footpaths that were dusty when hot, muddy when wet. The custom was to bath in the morning, but by the dinner hour, feet would need to be washed because they would be filthy with the grime of the streets.

For some reason this had not been done. Perhaps the disciples were stressed by the busy week, but perhaps Luke sheds light on why their feet were not washed. I am sure the disciples, being poor, would take turns washing each other’s feet. However, Luke reveals something that had been discussed that evening.

Luke 22:24-30 A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.

The disciples had been arguing over who would hold the leading positions in the government Jesus was about to set up (cp. Luke 22:24; Mark 10:35-45, esp. Mark 10:41). The discussion was heated. They were caught up in the ambition for position and power and authority.[2]

Jesus needed His disciples to realize that the glory of the Gospel is through death and service, not through position and authority.

Jesus had to get this truth across forcibly enough that they would never forget it as long as they labored for the Gospel.

I want to correct the picture of the Last Supper that most of us have from Da Vinci. Unlike his painting, the disciples reclined on their left side, leaving their right hand free to eat. This accounts for the fact that John lay “on Jesus’ breast,” as his head was right next to Jesus’ head. It is clear also that Judas lay on the other side of Jesus. Somehow, he had managed to place himself next to Jesus, which later allowed Jesus to hand him a piece of bread to indicate that he was the traitor.

So as they were all reclined around the table, about to eat, the disciples began to argue over who was greatest. Like children who won’t do their assigned work (washing the dishes, for instance) because they are angry at each other, they refuse to acknowledge whose turn it is, until one is made to do it by a wise parent. This was happening in the Upper Room as the argument over who was the greatest went on. Each of the disciples said to himself, “I’m not about to wash that turkey’s feet! I am above all that. We’re about to see the Messiah manifest himself as the Deliverer” and “I’m so close to Jesus I shouldn’t have to do this kind of work.” However, Jesus waited until they were all reclining around the table, no one having offered to do the foot washing. Without a word he rose, took off his garments (reducing himself to the position of a slave), and, kneeling in front of each disciple in turn, including Judas, washed his feet and dried them with a towel. They were shocked, stunned, and embarrassed. They did not know what to make of this.

Jesus came to Peter, and he protested, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus said, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”

John 13:9-11 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

Now here Jesus is illustrating Spiritual Truths through a Physical example. They certainly understood the need to wash your feet after a day of walking. They understood what he meant by being clean from your daily bath. But Jesus wanted them to see that they were clean in Him, as Peter had confessed that Jesus is the Messiah. The clean that Jesus provides is at once for past, present and future sins. Romans says we are justified before God – Romans 3:24 “we are justified by his grace as a gift.” We are declared righteous. We are saints. But Jesus through this one example of washing their feet illustrated Four Spiritual Truths:

1.  The Fellowship Principle

Jesus wanted them to see that the dirt of this life accumulates and must be washed, it must be cleansed, or it will keep us from sharing in Jesus. Here our Savior was showing the power of His hands. All things had been placed in His hands, even the power to wash us from our daily sins.

We are clean before God, but sin in our life will hinder our fellowship with Jesus. It will cause us to lose passion and desire for Him and what He wants to accomplish.

No matter how you fail Him after your salvation, no matter how despicable or horrid or selfish your sin is, all things have been given to His hands. Let Him wash your feet through the power of His Word. He is faithful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This is the advice of 1 John 1:5-10

1 John 1:5-10 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

One point of information for your understanding of the Blood of Christ.

Jesus washed their feet with water, not blood. Sometimes we will say we need to be cleansed through the blood, but that really is a onetime thing.

The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin — past, present, and future — in one application. There is only one sacrifice. Hebrews 10:14 says: “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”

When you and I came as sinners to Christ Jesus, it was His shed blood that once and for all cleansed us, justified us, redeemed us and gave us a righteous standing before God.

Romans 3:24-25 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

However, we get our feet dirty with sin along our journey. We need washing. Jesus washed the disciple’s feet to illustrate this. But what washes us? It is no more than the Word of God, for the Bible says if we agree with Him about our sins, He is faithful and just to cleanse us. If we disagree, we call God a liar, and the power of His word is not in us.

Therefore, the power of the Gospel applies to sins past present and future, and it has power to keep us clean so that we can enjoy fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word…

But more than 1 John 1:9, Jesus wants us to understand that the Gospel is not man’s wisdom, not man’s standing, not man’s righteousness.

Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

The Gospel is the wisdom of God in the Cross. The Gospel is the Justice of the Word of God over our lives. The Gospel is the Righteousness of Christ alone. If we do not embrace the Hesed, Mishpat and tsedaqah of the Gospel, we will not enjoy the blessing that it promises us.

2. The Honor Principle.

John 13:12-17 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Gaining by Trading

The foundational truth of Discipleship is “Gaining by Trading.” Therefore, Jesus says if you want to share with me, you will embrace this principle.

Luke 22:24-30 A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jesus says “It shall not be so among you,” indicating his rejection of hierarchical authority in the church. Here in John, he says, “I have given you an example that you also should do as I have done to you.”

The Gospel is not about position or authority. It is about humble service to others. It is about meeting the needs of others, regardless of their position or authority.

Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Regardless of your position in the church, or workplace, or home, we must remember that we are not greater than our master. A wife is not greater than her husband, a husband is not greater than God, an employee is not greater than his boss, a boss is not greater than God. A deacon is not greater than the pastor, a pastor is not greater than God.  Jesus realized that He too was under God’s authority. He wanted His Disciples to realize they should not seek to exalt themselves as they work for the sake of the Gospel.

We are all under authority, and as such none of us is exempt from serving. When we realize and continually do this Christ says we will be blessed.

To embrace the Honor Principle, you must embrace God’s Unfailing Love that extends to each one, even those we do not like. His Hesed working in our life instead of our pride will motivate us to love and honor those around us, especially those authorities God has placed in our life. It will motivate those in authority to love and honor those under his employ or care.

So an employee serves his boss, and a boss serves his employee. A wife serves her husband, and a husband serves his wife. A deacon serves his pastor, and his pastor serves the deacon. Regardless of your position there is an obligation of service, because we are all under God’s authority.

There are no “But’s” to the Honor Principle.

You don’t say I will not honor him because he’s a lousy boss. I will not honor him because he is a lousy husband. Jesus honored Judas when he knew Satan had entered his heart. In effect, Jesus was honoring Satan. The Honor Principle defies man’s wisdom and points out the wisdom of the cross!

  • 1 Timothy 6:1 Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.
  • Philippians 2:1-8 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
  • Ephesians 6:5-8 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

3. The Cleansing Principle

Jesus indicated we need a daily spiritual cleansing from the dirt of this world. When He exhorted His disciples to do as He did, he charged them with the responsibility of cleansing each other. We have a ministry to one another to help keep our spiritual feet clean.

Followers of Jesus are to be servants, not putting up walls, but building bridges. Walls are erected on a foundation of sin and fleshly pride. Bridges are built because of God’s Justice. When we bring God’s Justice into our lives, and respond to His Word by serving other brothers, feet are cleansed, disciples are encouraged, and the Body is blessed with healthy growth.

When flesh and pride prevent the Justice of God’s Word, the body is not cleansed, it gets dirty and Satan has a foothold. That is what happened when the Disciples focused on themselves rather than on the Lord. Judas focused on himself, money, and power and Satan was given a foothold.

Just as Jesus cleansed His disciples, so do we cleanse each other through our service to each other. This brings cleansing and encouragement and keeps the body healthy.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Hebrews 12:12-15 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

4. The Profit Principle

Jesus shocked his disciples with what He did. This was unheard of. Peter protested most of all. But Jesus said, “if you do not let me do this you will have no share with me.” Jesus wanted His Disciples to see that Jesus was willing to go beyond what was expected to show His love for them. If they wanted to share with Jesus, they must follow His example, and do more than what is expected of them.

Following Jesus is not about position or accomplishments or degrees or knowledge. Following Jesus is about service beyond what people expect. It is along the Waste Principle we saw last week, it is the Second Mile Principle that Jesus preached on the Mount. If you want the power of Jesus in your life, if you want to share in the beauty of His Love and Glory, you will embrace this profit principle. Jesus taught it in Luke 17.

Luke 17:7-10 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ”

Duty serves most Christians well. They feel good about their religion as long as they are doing such and such. For each one it is different. It can be attendance, tithe, reading the Bible. We feel close to God as long as we are fulfilling our ‘duty’ as we perceive it.

Jesus wants us to see that following Him is much more than ‘fulfilling a duty’. If we are to be profitable to Jesus, if we are to share with Him, we must go beyond our perceived ‘duties’ and serve when it is not expected.

This is the Victory that is in the Righteousness of Christ. If you are living your Christian life as a duty, you are walking in the flesh. You are serving in your own strength. You can ‘handle’ the Christian life.

However, Righteousness and sharing with Christ comes only as you go beyond what you can naturally do, or handle. When your service forces you to rely on Christ because you cannot do it, that is when you share with Christ. That is when His Righteousness is yours. You depend upon Him.

Ephesians 6:7 Rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man,

2 Corinthians 4:5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

The Promise attached:

John 13:17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you DO them.

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. Mother Teresa discovered the joy and blessing of service. After all, service for the sake of others is the Gospel in its simplest form.

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa lived her life by the simplicity of the Gospel and experienced great Joy through the power of Jesus: Mother Teresa sang a hymn to joy that went like this:

Joy is prayer
Joy is strength
Joy is love
Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.

She said: “The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy.”

  • “Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Risen Christ.”
  • “We all long for Heaven where God is, but we have it in our power to be in Heaven with him right now to be happy with him at this very moment.

But being happy with him now means:

  • loving as he loves
  • helping as he helps;
  • giving as he gives
  • serving as he serves
  • rescuing as he rescues
  • being with him 24 hours a day[3]

Whose feet will you wash today?


[2] The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible – John, (Chattanooga: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1991), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “XIII. THE REVELATION OF JESUS, THE GREAT MINISTER AND HIS LEGACY, 13:1-16:33”.

[3] “Mother Teresa—Messenger of God’s Love” by E.Le Joly.


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gods-profit-principle-2Faith is the substantiating of things hoped for, the proving of things unseen. By Faith we are able to see God creating the World by simply speaking it into existence. Able saw an invisible God and offered to him a more excellent sacrifice. Enoch saw an invisible God that was so real that he lived his entire life just to please this invisible God. As a result Enoch never tasted death.faith-is-the-substantiating

Now if you want to please God you must have faith such that you can see Him who is invisible. And if you are going to know God in a close and intimate way like Able and Enoch, you must believe first, that God, our Creator God, REALLY IS and second, that God rewards those who diligently seek to know Him!

Do YOU See God? Do you see Him every day? Is it your HOPE to know God in an intimate way, a daily substantiating, with daily evidence of His presence and power in your life? Of course you do! Then you need FAITH! Faith is the FOUNDATIONAL Component of HOPE! If we can’t see the possibility of the thing we are hoping for, we lose all hope. How do we increase our faith?

I believe our faith is increased when we learn to honor our social authorities. Here is the Biblical Key:

Let as many bondservants (doulos) as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed. 1 Timothy 6:1-5 (NKJV)

includes-bosses-coachesYou are thinking, this verse applies to slaves! Not Me! No, this verse applies to every employee, every student, every soldier, every athlete with a coach, every person that has someone telling them what to do. Masters includes our employers, bosses, teachers, coaches and so forth.

  • Let as many as are employees under hire count their employers or bosses or managers worthy of all honor.
  • Let as many as are students under education count their teachers worthy of all honor.

Ephesians sheds further light on this:

Bondservants (Doulos), be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. Ephesians 6:5-8 (NKJV)

Paul wants us to understand and realize that we are actually slaves of Christ. When we honor our boss, our teacher, our coach, we are really honoring Jesus Christ! When we do, we will grow in FAITH! The phrase from the above verse, “doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men” says the following that we need to pay attention to:

  • Obedience is required to see the will of God.
  • This obedience requires a heart change and heart dependence upon God
  • This is enthusiastic obedience, because you are doing it unto our Lord.
  • This Obedience is rewarded by God.

AX045648Put another way by the New Living Translation: “As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Ephesians 6:7 (NLT)

Give extraordinary affection to the Lord by giving extraordinary service to your boss, your coach, your teacher. Paul paints this picture clearer in the relationship between husband and wife. “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:3. The word affection is the same word used of how we are to serve our masters and therby serve our Lord. We are to serve withthe passion of “goodwill” toward our Lord. We are to render affection with enthusiasm, from our heart. This is really needed in marriages. No one enjoys a heartless, dull passionless marriage. To have this passion and enthusiasm for service we must realize:

We Are Servants of Jesus Christ.

nnoah_and_his_sons_building_the_arkwe-are-servants-of-christWhat does being a SLAVE of Jesus have to do with honoring my SOCIAL AUTHORITIES? More importantly, how will this allow me to SEE GOD in a real and personal and everyday way? Let’s continue our personalization of Hebrew 11 for more insights into the role of faith, honoring social authorities and seeing and knowing Him who is invisible.

  • If an invisible voice from heaven tells you to quit your job and start building this huge boat because a big rain is coming, it takes faith to see Him and believe he is real. The reward of doing your job with enthusiasm is enjoying life when all those around you are drowning.
  • If an invisible voice from heaven tells you to leave your home and family and move to a desolate, foreign country, it takes faith to see Him and believe He is real. The reward is a heritage of Salvation and blessing for a people more numerous than the stars.
  • If that same invisible voice tells you to take your only boy whom you waited almost 100 years before having, and lay him on an altar and stab him with a knife, it takes a great deal of faith to actually lift that knife over your boy and plunge it into his heart. The reward is eternal life because your faith has been counted as righteousness.
  • It takes a great deal of faith to spend your life looking for an invisible city with eternal foundations, designed and built by this same invisible God. (Hebrews 11:10)
  • If a bush becomes engulfed in flames and this invisible God starts talking to you, and He tells you to back to a country you fled from because you were wanted for murder, it takes faith to go back and face the mightiest ruler on earth and tell him to let your people go!
  • When this same invisible God tells you to walk straight into the sea to escape this mighty ruler, it takes faith to believe He can part the waters and dry up the ground.

Hebrews continues to list people who all saw this invisible God, saw him in a real, intimate, personal way. They heard Him speak, they heard Him direct their lives, and they responded with heartfelt obedience. To them this invisible God was real, personal, powerful and worth following, even if it meant leaving home, moving to a strange country, sacrificing your children, sacrificing your own life. NOW, is this invisible God real enough to you that you would honor your boss as if he was this invisible God?

  • If your boss told you to go out and build a huge ark, would you do it?
  • Is this invisible God real enough to you that you would honor your teacher as if she was this invisible God?
  • If your teacher told you to go tell the principal to dismiss school and let the student’s go home, would you do it?

jim-has-had-many-jobsI have had many jobs in my life, as I’m sure you can also attest to. I have been a door to door salesman selling goods made by the blind, a casual laborer loading trucks for a trucking company, a parts counter, an o-ring installer, a dishwasher, a waiter, a bouncer in a college cafeteria, a janitor at Sears, a salesman, a General Manager working for my Dad, then a company President, General Manager for others, then started my own company, but even as Company President I went out striping parking lots with my family, finally am doing the greatest job in the world, ministering the Word of God.

I have gained some valuable insights from dealing with social authorities. Insights that have increased my spiritual understanding of the ways of God. Insights that are so important in understanding how honoring your boss or any social authority can increase your faith in God!

As I see it, in learning to Honor Social Authorities, in learning to Honor Jesus Christ, you have three choices:

you-can-be-a-slave1. You Can Be A Slave. (Doulos)

You can do only as you are told. You do only so much because your primary motivation is your self. What you can get or not get by doing just enough to stay under the radar. You don’t want to get beat, you don’t want to get in trouble. So you have to look busy, just not too busy. There are different levels of slaves. God indicates this when he cursed the son of Noah: “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” Genesis 9:25 (NIV)

I have to admit I did not enjoy being a janitor. I saw it as a temporary job, and did only enough to get a passing grade. I was only doing it for myself. I was like Onesimus.

I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me. I am sending him back. You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, whom I wished to keep with me, that on your behalf he might minister to me in my chains for the gospel. Philemon 1:10-13 (NKJV)

onesimusOnesimus had run away from his master because he had stolen some things. Paul says he was unprofitable. But something happened to make him profitable. He discovered Jesus Christ. Was he still a slave, yes. Did he have to answer for what he did, yes. But in the mean time he discovered the value of seeing that as a Slave, he could serve Jesus Christ. Paul said he was now ministering to him in his chains. You can function as a slave at work or school, you can just get by and have an ok life. Some people work only to play. They just want money to be able to do what they want. They just want an education just so their parents will get off their back. This “slave” mentality is evident everywhere you look in society. It can either be because you have been beaten down before, or a boss has stabbed you in the back before, or a teacher has ignored this or that. So you lowered your expectations, you retreated and now do only what you have to.

If we are to advance beyond simply being a “slave” in our Christian walk, and grow in our faith to see Him who is invisible, we must understand “God’s Profit Principal”gods-profit-principle

God’s Profit Principle

Realize this, you are at best an unprofitable servant if you only do what you have to for your social authorities, in fact anyone over you.

And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ” Luke 17:5-10 (NKJV)

If you are going to increase your faith, you must move beyond being a slave and doing only what you have to toward your authorities, and especially God! But remember, as Christians we should never lose sight of the value of those “menial tasks”.

MENIAL TASKS

Jesus performed menial tasks as a true slaveWe must realize that Jesus set the example for all Christians to do menial taks. Jesus came into this world as a slave, surrendering all his rights so that he might become as one of us. However, as a slave, he gave us an example, that we should always do our best. That we are never too good to do even menial tasks.

So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. John 13:12-15 (NKJV)

If you only do as you think you are required, at best you are only an unprofitable servant. You are only overhead, an expense item. We need to be like Jesus, willing to do anything and everything to honor our authorities. We need to be like Onesimus, and move to the next stage and become an enthusiastic servant unto Jesus Christ himself.

A Profitable Servant2. You Can Be A Profitable Servant. (diakonos)

Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45 (NKJV)

JOSEPH went from slave to profitable servant

Joseph had more than one opportunity to really mess up his life by not growing in faith. To become profitable requires faith. As Joseph certainly demonstrated. At every phase of Joseph’s life he demonstrated that two undeniable beliefs:

  1. Joseph the Profitable ServantOverwhelming belief that God Is
  2. Overwhelming belief that God rewards those who diligently seek him.

Joseph, no matter what pit he was in, what dungeon he was forced to live in, what gruel he was forced to live on, believed with all his heart that God was there with him, and that it was worth his while to please God with all his heart.

Joseph could have got made at his brothers, mad at God, started being rebellious to his captors, they would have killed or maimed him and that would have been the end of the story. Or he could have stolen from Potiphar, taken his wife, served only his interests, and that would have been the rest of the story. At many points in his life he could have made a decision that would have put himself first and ruined the entire Bible. But he didn’t. As a result of having a heart that sought the success of his Jailer, his master Potiphar, his King Pharaoh, he became the most powerful man in the most powerful kingdom on earth. God rewarded Joseph because Joseph was a profitable servant toward his authorities. He always did more than was required of him.

Jesus had the same attitude:“… The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

If anyone serves (diakonos) Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant (diakonos) will be also. If anyone serves (diakonos) Me, him My Father will honor. John 12:26 (NKJV)

Apply your heart to becoming a profitable servant

are-you-a-profitable-servantYou want God to Honor you? Honor your boss. Honor your teacher. Honor your coach. Don’t just do enough to get by. Do more! Your hearts desire is that in serving your authority, you are serving Jesus Christ. If you want to be a profitable servant to your boss, work not for yourself, but work to make him successful. If you want to be a profitable athlete or student, let your coach know you want to do whatever he needs to make him successful as a coach. Same with your teacher. Your servant’s heart will be contagious. There may be a student you can influence, another team member you can push to greatness. By honoring your social authorities, you will learn to see Him who is Invisible. Your faith in God and His power in your everyday life will grow. Once your faith starts to grow, and you discover the value of becoming a profitable servant, you will go to the next step.

3. You Can Be A Friend Of God

But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Isaiah 41:8 (KJV)

be-a-friend-of-godJacob, son of Isaac was called a servant of God. Jacob had suffered most of his life because he was selfish, focused on what he could get out of life. He had been an unprofitable servant because of his selfish ways.

Finally at Bethel, he discovered the secret of becoming a profitable servant. Dying to what you want and desiring only what God wants. After wrestling with the angel all night, the Angel crippled Jacob, giving him a constant reminder that his strength was not sufficient. If he was to become Israel, he would do so in and through Jehovah’s strength.

In Isaiah we also see that while Jacob was called servant, Abraham was called “my friend” by God. Why? I believe Abraham was called My Friend because only Abraham had learned to really trust God no matter what. Abraham had a deep-seated fear that began in his early days in Ur of the Chaldees. While he was willing to leave home and follow God, while he went beyond what was expected and gave Lot the better land, went after the Kings to get his brother back, bargained with God to try to save Sodom, even made sacrifice to Melchisedek and refused spoil from the King of Sodom; Abraham had a deep down fear. He was afraid that his beautiful wife Sarah would be taken from him, and he would be killed. He really doubted God’s ability to protect him. So before they even left Ur, he had Sarah swear that if anyone asked if they were married, she was to lie and say she was his sister.

“And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”‘ Genesis 20:13 (NIV)

This happened once in Egypt, and then again in Philistia with Abimelech. The last time, God confronted Abraham through Abimelech, and Abraham repented of his deep-seated distrust of God. Genesis 20 says that “Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his slave girls so they could have children again, for the LORD had closed up every womb in Abimelech’s household because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.” Genesis 20:17-18 (NIV) He didn’t need to pray for himself. God had already seen the change in his heart. Within weeks, Sarah conceived. This total trust that Abraham had for God was revealed a few years later when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac.

abraham-trusted-god1Abraham did not hesitate, he knew that God was his friend, and would never do anything to harm him. He knew that God would raise Isaac from the dead.

If you want to become a friend of God, you must go from simply doing more than is required. You must do all that is required.

You must trust God with everything in your life. You must be willing to sacrifice everything you own, hope to own, hope to accomplish, everything upon God’s altar. This means your job, your salary, your advancement at work, your standing in school, at sports, whatever you want. You are willing to place it on the altar. If you are going to increase in faith, if you are going to become a profitable servant, if you are going to learn to honor your social authorities, you must give your all to Jesus Christ.

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants (doulos), for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:14-15 (NKJV)

Each one of us can become an intimate friend of Jesus Christ. We simply must be willing to do whatever He tells us. He has given us His heart. He has revealed his word to us. A friend will listen, will learn and obey.

  • Not because you have to
  • Not because you want some reward.

But because you love him with your all your heart, your soul, your mind and with all your strength.

SO, why should I honor my social authorities?

  • so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed.

In other words, when we fail to honor our social authorities, it results in disrespect for the name and character of Jehovah God. It even results in people ignoring and then despising God. Christians should be the hardest working employees, students, athletes. Regardless of your abilities, whatever we do, do it heartily, as if Jesus Christ was right there, watching. Sure, there are a thousand excuses for doing less than that. Your boss is a so and so, the teacher is so and so, the coach is so and so. Do you want to grow in faith? Do you want to see Him who is invisible? Learn to see Him in the face of those bosses and those teachers that you don’t like. Don’t give unbeliever’s another chance to say you Christians are all alike. You’re all lazy, dishonest, so and sos. When we fail to honor our social authorities, even when they are harsh, we give them a reason to blaspheme God!

We Discredit the Very Thing We Preach

  • Our Actions Speak louder than our words.
  • With our children, our grandchildren.
  • Christians should work harder than any other employee
  • They should be honest and trustworthy
  • They should never argue, complain or talk back.

The Greatest Test You will ever face as a Christian is how you respond when you are treated like a lowly servant.

DAVID GREEN

A 20-year-old man was given a chance to be an assistant manager of a TG&Y store in Oklahoma. The manager took one look at him and reacted with the thought, “Why would they send a young kid like this out here?” Trying to break him, the manager sent him down to the storage room, which was in utter chaos. Undaunted, the young man organized the fixtures and supplies in bins. Within a couple of weeks the storage room was transformed. Instead of giving any recognition or approval, the manager’s only response was, “Ya know, we’re not slave drivers around here. It’s okay for you to take a break.”

Young David Green spent 13 years advancing in the TG&Y organization. Then “In 1970 … there was a little craze about taking some small canvases and paintings, a group of small frames, to put on a wall,” he says. “We saw the opportunity to start manufacturing these frames. We borrowed $600 from the bank and started making them in our garage.” This young man’s servant’s heart and diligent work paved the way for his present work as the founder and CEO of one of the nation’s largest privately owned retail chains. David Green’s story is an amazing account of God’s blessing on a spirit of serving. In 2008 he was listed by Forbes as one of the 400 richest men in America.

God wants each one of us to become mighty in our faith. He wants each one of us to see Him and how much He is at work in our everyday lives. He wants us to know the power of His grace. He wants us to see His power behind our bosses our teachers our coaches.

Complain Complain

look-to-the-crossThe Hebrew Children were complaining about life in the desert. They wanted this they wanted that. People were turning away from God, they were blaspheming God. That is when God told Moses to place a brazen serpent on a cross. All who looked upon the cross in faith would be healed. Have you been complaining about work, about school about this and that. Have you been slacking in your love for God. Have you been causing others to stumble by you poor attitude. You need to look at the Cross this morning. You need to have your heart and eyes opened to the reality of God and His power. You need your eyes of Faith restored.

WE WERE ALL SLAVES OF SIN

Everyone of us started life as a slave, a slave to sin and to Satan. The price on our heads was greater than any of us could ever hope to pay. Jesus Christ, our creator God became clothed in this flesh and through His obedience to the horrible cross, paid the price on our heads in full. He wnet down to the devil’s slave market and through the price of our freedom through the gates of Hell. All that is required is for you to open your eyes and by faith believe that what the Bible says Jesus did is true. Jesus redeemed your from the deadly chain of sin dragging you down to Hell. He broke that chain and by faith you are free. You are free to become a slave of Jesus.will-heavens-door-be-open-to-you

But praise God, Jesus doesn’t want to hold you down. He doesn’t want you to plod along in life with no Joy no passion No LIFE! He shows you that it is possible to have an abundant life in Him.If you see Him in your life and in every authority you face, if you serve as unto Him, He will reward you with blessing after blessing. You will discover the joy and power of becoming a profitable servant. But even more than that. Our great Savior calls you to become His friend. By learning to give your entire life to Him, and obey Him in all you do, you will be the abiding branch, the dearest friend fo the greatest friend you can ever have. Jesus Christ himself.

Are You Living By God’s Profit Principle? Will Heaven’s Door be open to You when You Die? Is Heaven’s Door of Honor and Blessing open to you while you Live?