Sermon Illustration: Identity-Security-Purpose

Recently, I preached through a series of messages entitled “Living Sent.” One of the messages had to do with the reality that we do or don’t live to make disciples of Jesus based on our identity, security and purpose. Another way to say it is that believing in who we are and resting in whose we are compels us to risk everything so that others know the incredible love of God for us in Jesus. You can listen to the message here.

I closed the sermon by using an illustration from the Bible. My main text was Ephesians 3:14-21, but I closed by taking a look at John 13:1-5. As you know, John 13 is the night Jesus meets with the disciples in the Upper Room. It’s the same night Jesus is arrested and the night before His crucifixion. I have always been struck how John starts the chapter. Before we are told Jesus washes the disciples feet and serves the Last Supper and is arrested, John spends several verses telling us what Jesus knew to be true:

13:1 Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father (identity). Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end (purpose). 2 Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betrayHim. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God (security). 4 So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. 5 Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him. (italics and parentheses mine)

This is a perfect illustration! John is crystal clear. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples hours before His arrest and a day prior to His crucifixion BECAUSE of who He was (identity), who His confidence and hope was in (security), and His mission of being on earth (purpose). To John it is the obvious result of these things. He says in verse 4: “So. . . ” In other words, this is what you do when your identity is found in being a child of God, when you are secure in whose you are, and when you know your purpose is love. To put it another way, you don’t look for what others can do for you when you are living out your God-given identity, security, and purpose. A Jesus follower lives to love by joyfully risking everything to invite others along to know and enjoy this love.

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