John Winter - Rochedale, Queensland Convention - December 2006

Hymn 314

Genesis 18, “And the Lord appeared unto Abraham in the plains of Mamre, and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, and said, 'My Lord, if now I have found favour in Thy sight, pass not away, I pray Thee, from Thy servant: let a little water, I pray You, be fetched, and wash Your feet, and rest Yourselves under the tree: and I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort Ye Your hearts; after that Ye shall pass on, for therefore are Ye come to Your servant,' and they said, 'So do, as thou hast said.'”

When I read this portion of scripture in relation to what Abraham said he would like to do for these men that came to him, this is what God and Christ wants to do for us as we come here to convention. Abraham had a love for those people, and because God and Christ love us, they have made it possible for us to be here. The first thing Abraham said was, “Let a little water be fetched and wash your feet.” Cleansing. He knew that these three had walked and they would be tired from their journey, and their feet would have been dirty. John 13, we read of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. It says, “Jesus, having loved His own, He loved them unto the end.” Think of the love of Jesus for His disciples, even though He knew Judas would betray Him and Peter would deny Him, but He still loved them. It doesn’t matter what our condition is before was, maybe He could see some faults in us, but He still loves us.

Jesus, after supper, took a towel and washed His disciples’ feet, and He was setting that example and wanted to show them that they should be like a servant towards each other, and there was never any task too lowly to do for others. If we follow this example, there will be a good relationship between us. Jesus wanted His disciples to feel that He loved them, and He wanted them to feel settled. There was much that would cause them to feel unsettled. Jesus treated them all as individuals, and He treats us as individuals, and He doesn’t point out our failings to others. He wants us to know cleansing. Jim Easton said that in Japan, when the husband comes in from his work, he goes and has a shower and changes his clothes, and then the first thing he says is, “I am clean.” Christ wants to cleanse us as individuals, so that we could say, we are clean. The cleansing that Jesus gave to 11 of those disciples was effective, but because Judas had allowed Satan to enter into his heart, and his love wasn’t wholeheartedly on Jesus, but it was on the love of money, so the cleansing of Jesus was not effective on Judas.

Jesus never exposed to the other disciples that Judas was the one that was going to betray Him, and Jesus doesn’t expose our failings to others. The disciples wanted Jesus to tell who was going to betray Him. John asked him, “Who is it that betrayed thee?” Jesus said, “It is he to whom I dip the sop,” and He gave the sop to Judas. Giving of the sop meant that there was a bond of undying fellowship between the giver and the receiver, so the other disciples could never think of Judas betraying Jesus. Jesus didn’t want the other disciples to know who would betray Him, because they might have tried to prevent him, and the scriptures would not have been fulfilled.

When Jesus came to Peter, Peter questioned whether the Lord should wash his feet. Perhaps Peter felt it should be him washing Jesus’ feet. Jesus said, “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.” There are some things that Christ wants to do for us, and we may not understand at the time, but in the future we will understand why He was dealing with us in a certain way. Peter said, “Thou shalt never wash my feet.” Jesus wanted to work on the inside, and He said, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.” Peter couldn’t bear to think of not having a part with the One he loved, and he said, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” Complete submission to what Christ wanted to do. Jesus said, “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.” When our walk is clean, we are completely clean. Then Jesus said, “And ye are clean, but not all.” He was meaning Judas.

Abraham spoke to those men about resting under the tree. It was quiet there, and Abraham wanted them to know of rest. Nothing to disturb. This is what Christ wants us to know as we come here to convention. The sheep, if it doesn’t have time to rest and chew the cud, it will die. We are sheep in God’s flock and the devil would like to keep us on the move, get us all concerned about things, because he knows we will die if he does that, but we have a Good Shepherd who will make it possible for us to know of rest.

That hymn we sang, “My Saviour, Thou hast offered rest, Oh give it then to me, the rest from ceasing from myself and find my all in Thee.” Perfectly satisfied in Christ Jesus. “In Thy strong hands I lay me down, so shall the work be done, for who can work so wondrously, as Thou Almighty One.” No one can work like the God of Heaven and Christ His son.

Abraham said, "I will fetch a morsel of bread,” and that is what God and Christ want to do for us - feed us as we gather here. Jesus spoke of Himself in John 6 as the bread of life which came down from Heaven. “I am the living bread, which if any man shall eat, he will live forever.” The bread of life will strengthen us and enable us to walk in God’s way. I want nothing else to feed on, but Christ. When we feed on Christ, we will be a light in this world - Christlike in our attitude towards one another and towards the world.

Abraham said to those men, “Comfort Ye Your hearts; and after that Ye shall pass on: for therefore are Ye come to Your servant.” Before Christ left His disciples, He said, “I will not leave you comfortless.” He spoke of the Holy Spirit, and it would not only be their comfort, but also their teacher and their guide. As God comforts us, then we will be encouraged to continue on realizing that everything is right with God and we have nothing to worry about. Those two people walking to Emmaus would feel comfort after Jesus spoke to them. The way up to the kingdom of God is the way down as we humble ourselves. Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit being a guide. Some mountain climbers were going to do a difficult climb. They hadn’t done it before and they needed a guide. The guide said, “I am your guide and you have never done this climb before, and I want you to trust me and follow me and my instructions, and you will finish this climb safely." If we trust the Holy Spirit to guide us in all things, we will get to eternity safely.