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Wait…Beautiful Feet? August 10, 2014

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Romans 10:5-17

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

August 10, 2014

 

Focus: God is Lord of all.

Function: That the hearers preach the good news of Jesus Christ.

Structure: .

 

Wait…Beautiful Feet?

 

How many of you think feet are gross?  Go ahead, raise your hand.  There’s no need to be afraid or ashamed.  Alright, so I don’t have to convince you, as you already think being a foot model is one of the craziest things you could spend your life doing.  But for the rest of you…I need to convince you!

Imagine what your feet go through in a day.  All the sweating from the hard work of carrying the rest of your body around:  10,000 steps?  A few miles of walking, perhaps some running?  How many things do you step in or kick every day?  And did you shower this morning?

Now take those thoughts back two thousand years ago and remove the closed-toed shoes.  And socks.  All you have are open leather sandals.  Now remove the tiled floors, the hardwood, the carpet.  Remove the concrete sidewalks and streets.  Everything’s dirt.  Everything.  Now imagine trudging around in your labors all day.  Imagine walking a couple of miles because you don’t have a car, walking through the dirt, the dust, and the mud.

I probably have those of you who raised your hands earlier queasy already, so I won’t go into too much more detail about wounds and sores and infections and bathing only once a year, or we might make Jim’s job of cleaning up around here harder.

You see, feet were gross.  They were one of the most shameful things about your body in that day.  They just weren’t clean and it was impossible to keep them clean.  That’s why only the lowest of servants had the job of washing feet.  That’s why Peter at first denied Christ the opportunity to wash his feet.  That’s why Christ tells His disciples that they should wash other people’s feet.  They were filthy and it was a humbling experience of service to clean them.

This is what makes the prophet Isaiah’s statement so powerful, so meaningful.  “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”  Beautiful feet?  That phrase was an oxymoron in those days.  But that’s the worth of the gospel.  That’s the value of the good news.  It is so marvelous, so wonderful that it makes even the worst of things beautiful.

Because no matter how far that messenger had traveled, no matter how much wear and tear those feet had seen, that man was bringing you the message of salvation, the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  That He died on the cross to forgive your sins and that He rose again to give you life everlasting.  There’s no better news than that.

Our text today from Romans is about faith.  It’s not something we can do.  We didn’t bring Christ to the earth to save us.  We didn’t raise Him from the dead.  God did those things for us.  Thus faith is a gift; it’s a free gift for us.

And so through this gift we “confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead.”  And thus we are saved.  We call upon the name of the Lord and He saves us.  What a gift!  How beautiful the feet!

But this world’s not perfect, we’re not perfect.  And so Paul tells us how this happens.  We can’t call upon the name of the Lord if we don’t believe.  We can’t believe if we’ve never heard.  And we can’t hear it if no one preaches it.  And no one can preach it unless their sent.

That’s us.  We’re sent.  We’ve spoken about this before, how God is a missionary God, how it’s part of His nature to send us.  He has sent us.  Whether it’s the words of the Great Commission in Matthew 28 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all the commands I have given you.  And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” or the words He spoke in Acts 1, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth,” or in John 20 when Christ says “as the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.”

We’ve been sent, so that the Word can be preached, so people can hear it, so people can believe it, so people can call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.  So they can proclaim, “how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

And yet, this is difficult for us.  We struggle with the idea of going and being sent.  We struggle within the comfort of our own lives, within the comfort of our own friends.  We don’t like to risk our friendships.  We don’t like to step outside of our social or economic statuses.  It’s not easy.  It’s not comfortable.  But it’s precisely what God has called us to do.

I’ve used this example before, and I’ll use it again, because I truly believe it says all that needs to be said.  As I was thumbing around on the internet a month or so ago, I ran across something really cool and really valuable.  The kind of information you really want to have.

Did you know that you can file for a property tax refund in the state of Minnesota.  Whether you own or rent a home, if you pay property taxes, you can request a refund.  There’s a tax return form for it.  Sure, there’s a few hoops to jump through, but you can get some of your money back.  You have less than a week before this year’s August 15th deadline.

It sounds too good to be true, right?  So we weren’t expecting much.  Maybe they’ll give us like $50 and we can go out to eat sometime.  So, Hannah and I filled it out.  We had paid $2600 on property taxes for this year, and based on our income and family setting, they’re giving us over $1200 back.  $1200!  That’s a lot of money.  That was a shock to us.  But it’s great news!

In fact, that news is so terrific, I feel like I should it share it with everyone.  Who wouldn’t want this free gift from the government? Let’s say you made $40000, and paid $1200 on your property taxes.  You’d get $278 back.  Or if you made $90000 and paid $3000 on property taxes, you’d get $466 back.  Why not give it a shot?!

This is how we should feel about the good news of Christ.  We should be so overflowing with joy that we want to share it with everyone we know.  I mean, what better gift is there than salvation through the blood of Christ?!  There isn’t one.  If they don’t want it, like the Jews didn’t want, there’s nothing we can do.  I told one of my neighbors about the free money and he just shrugged it off.  That’s on him.  That’s on the Jews.  But we still try to tell them!

That’s what we’re called to do.  We’ve been sent to tell the world about the free gift of life and salvation in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  That’s the goal of Rebecca’s Garden of Hope, that we’d go to children in at-risk settings, and we’d use tutoring to share the gospel.  That’s the ultimate goal of our Wee Care and VBS programs.  That’s the goal of the Evangelism board this week in grilling out and handing out free burgers at the park.  That’s the goal of Orphan Grain Train, of our Backpack program, of so many other things we do, and you do in your daily life.  Because that’s what we do as Christians.  We have a wonderful gift, so wonderful that we want to share it with everyone.  So go: get your feet dirty, so that they might just be called beautiful.

 

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