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Official Joseph Prince Sermon Notes

Be Washed And Refreshed By His Word

Sunday, 28 January 2024
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These are notes on the sermon, Be Washed And Refreshed By His Word, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, January 28, 2024, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!

This sermon will be available for free as a Gospel Partner episode on February 15, 2024. You can get access to this sermon now through a Gospel Partner subscription or simply purchase the sermon.

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  1. You are seated with Christ in the heavenly places
  2. The Lord delights in serving you
  3. Jesus’ present-day ministry for you
  4. God sees you as beautiful and righteous
  5. Let Jesus serve you today!

You are seated with Christ in the heavenly places

This sermon is a continuation of the message of the year 2024, The Year Of Living In The Upper Room.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
—Ephesians 2:4–7 NKJV

The upper room is a picture of us seated with Christ in the heavenly places. As we remain seated with Christ (taking a posture of rest in all He has done for us on the cross), He is going to show us the exceeding riches of His grace!

in the ages to come” — This tells us that God’s abundant grace towards us is a blessing that we can expect to receive now and forever!

This year, we can experience more and more of God’s blessings as we uncover new covenant truths (these truths are what Jesus revealed or alluded to in the upper room from John 13–17). We discover new covenant truths largely by reading the letters written by the apostle Paul.

“. . . assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets. And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.”
—Ephesians 3:2–9 NLT

Paul’s teachings are important because they are based on the words of the ascended Christ (1 Thess. 2:13). And the Bible tells us in the verses above that Paul was given the special responsibility to reveal God’s mysterious plan, which refers to the gospel of grace and the Church!

The Church, the many-membered body of Christ, has been God’s dream since the beginning. In fact, hidden in the Old Testament, we can find pictures of the Church.

An example is Genesis 24, the longest chapter in the book of Genesis, which records the story of Abraham’s servant searching for a bride for Abraham’s son, Isaac. The servant succeeded in finding Rebekah and brought her back to marry Isaac.

In this story, the servant who is unnamed typifies the Holy Spirit, who does not draw attention to Himself but points to the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. It is likely that as Rebekah traveled with the unnamed servant to meet Isaac, she asked him to tell her more about her husband-to-be, and the servant would have shared with her about Isaac’s character and personality. This is a picture of how the Holy Spirit is today revealing the splendor of our Lord Jesus to us, the Bride of Christ, before we get to see Him face to face!

God’s heart is always full of thoughts about His Son. Long before mankind was created, the Father loved the Son. Even when God made man, He had in mind Jesus and His bride. For those of us who are spouses or parents—we get a glimpse, an inkling, of how Jesus loves His bride and how the Father loves His children!

The Lord delights in serving you

“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.”
—John 13:1 NKJV

To the end” — In the original Greek, this phrase also means “to the uttermost.” Beloved, this is how much the Lord loves you—that He would go through the ordeal of the cross for you to make full payment for your sins once and for all.

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.”
—John 13:3–5 NKJV

During Jesus’ time, the washing of the guests’ feet was the work of a slave. Yet Jesus did this act of service for His disciples without feeling degraded because He was secure in who He was. Knowing that all things had been given into His hands by the Father, He washed the soiled feet of His disciples.

With all the power in His hands, the Lord chose to serve because He was full of love in His heart for His disciples. This shows us that service is borne out of love! Love delights in serving and giving. Today, the Lord still delights in serving you!

There is a law concerning Hebrew servants found in Exodus 21:

“Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them: If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing. If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.
— Exodus 21:1–6 NKJV

According to this law, a servant could choose whether he wanted to go free or stay to serve his master after six years. If he chose to stay, his master would pierce his ear with an awl.

The servant in this law is a picture of our Lord Jesus, who was pierced at the cross for us. Even though He is now risen and at the right hand of the Father, our Lord Jesus remains our Servant forever. His heart is to serve us!

Jesus’ present-day ministry for you

The Lord’s washing of His disciples’ feet was His last act of service before going to the cross. This tells us that it carries important truths for us.

So, what’s the significance of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet? Many would quote this as an example or demonstration of humility. But let’s look at these verses:

“Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
—John 13:6–7 NKJV

The disciples would have understood the Lord’s intentions if the act of service had been merely a demonstration of humility. Yet, our Lord Jesus tells Peter, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” This tells us that His act of washing His disciples’ feet was a symbolic act representing a truth to be revealed after His death.

This act of the Lord washing His disciples’ feet is a picture of our Lord Jesus’ present-day ministry for us! The Lord wants us to be conscious that right now in heaven, He is serving us. In this Year of Living In The Upper Room, let’s be conscious that while we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Eph 2:4–7), He is serving us. Though He is Lord, His desire is to serve you!

Be washed and refreshed by His Word

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
—Ephesians 5:25–27 NKJV

This is how our Lord Jesus serves us today—by washing us with the water of His Word!

We can also see a picture of this in the Old Testament:

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it, for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it . . . . So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them—to him and his descendants throughout their generations.”
—Exodus 30:17–21 NKJV

This tells us that it’s important to continually be washed by God’s Word. When we do so, it keeps us in divine life!

Just as Jesus washed the dust off His disciples’ feet in the upper room (John 13), He wants to wash away the dust and dirt we pick up in our daily walk—things like negative thoughts and emotions or mindsets that do not align with the truth in His Word. Let’s choose to allow the Lord to wash us with His Word so that as we navigate daily life with all our responsibilities, as we get exposed to things we see in mass media, we do not let negativity and wrong beliefs latch on to us!

We allow Jesus to wash us today through His Word—by listening to grace-based, Christ-centered sermons, by reading devotionals, or even by watching preachers on social media talk about the finished work of Jesus. We can also open the Bible on our own and ask the Lord to wash us!

that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” — When we spend time in God’s Word, we become glorious, healthy (spots are a picture of disease/illness), and are kept young (wrinkles refer to old age). To be without “any such thing” also means that any name that is named, whether it’s an addiction or depression, will no longer remain in our lives!

“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. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed (Greek—‘makario’) are you if you do them.”
—John 13:13–17 NKJV

“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” — The word “blessed” is ‘makarios’ in Greek, which means happy. As the Lord washes our feet, He wants us to wash others’ feet too. And as we serve others, we will be blessed and happy!

This could mean reaching out to a fellow brother/sister in Christ and sharing a word of encouragement with them. We can also serve our spouses and children by speaking words of affirmation and edification over them!

Husbands, when you speak to your wife, does it feel like a refreshing, cleansing bath for her, or does it cause her to feel inadequate? Learn to find and speak the good you see in her and make her feel special!

God sees you as beautiful and righteous

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
—Ephesians 5:25–27 NKJV

that He might present her to Himself” — Notice how it doesn’t say that the wife would present herself? Instead, she is presented. In the original Greek, this phrase is also a present active participle. This means that today, Christ is presenting us to Himself.

And how does Jesus see us?

“How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!
Your eyes are like doves behind your veil;
Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Mount Gilead.”
—Song of Songs 4:1 NASB

“In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:”
—Colossians 1:22 KJV

Because of our Lord Jesus’ finished work, we have been made beautiful, holy, and blameless.

This doesn’t mean that there is no sin in us, but it means that the Lord does not see sin upon us, because He isn’t looking at us with natural eyes.

Let’s look at this example in Numbers 23:

“He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, Neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: The LORD his God is with him, And the shout of a king is among them.”
—Numbers 23:21 KJV

It wasn’t that the children of Israel didn’t have sins, imperfections, or iniquities. The verse does not tell us that they were without sin or iniquity. Instead, it says that God did not behold iniquity in them.

Likewise, God does not see sin on us today—because His holy eyes saw all our sins punished in the body of another, our Lord Jesus. So when God looks at us today, He does not see us in our flesh, but in the Spirit, in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:9)!

We are beautiful and blameless because we are in Christ Jesus, who is altogether lovely!

Beloved, even when you fail (e.g., lose your temper), know that God still sees you as righteous and beautiful. He sees you completely clean (John 15:3). So, will you esteem yourself the way God esteems you today?

Start laying hold of your true identity in Jesus! The more we behold Him and His glory, the more we become like Him. This is how we can overcome our mistakes and failures and reign in life!

Let Jesus serve you today!

“Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed (Greek — ‘louō’) needs only to wash (Greek — ‘niptō’) his feet, but is completely clean . . .”
—John 13:10 NKJV

Here, the Lord makes a distinction between bathing and washing. The word bathe is louō, which refers to a deep and thorough bath. Whereas to wash, nipto, means to wash the smaller parts of our bodies, usually the hands, feet, and face.

The bath here refers to our salvation. We are saved once, and saved forever. There is no need for us to repeat this “bath.” But, we do need to be washed daily to wash away the “dust” we’ve collected in our daily walk. So, keep washing yourself with the water of God’s Word! Continue listening to Christ-centered messages and reading the Bible. Whenever you spend time in the Word, be conscious that Jesus stands ready to serve you, to speak the right words to you.

Beloved, this is how you can fully lay hold of God’s promises for you in this Year Of Living In The Upper Room: see Jesus your High Priest ready to serve you, to love you, and to lavish His exceedingly rich grace upon you!

We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.

© Copyright 2024
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.

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