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Passover Footwashing
Service of 17-April-1981
by Herbert W. Armstrong

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Herbert W. Armstrong


The thirteenth chapter [of John], beginning with verse 31:

Joh 13:31  Therefore, when he [Judas] was gone out, Jesus said, …
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Most people would not understand how that could be a new commandment.  You'll find it quoted way back in the Old Testament.

It is new because any thing new never becomes old.  It is a Spiritual Commandment and Spiritual things never become old.  They are continually new.

Therefore, it is still a New Commandment and always will be.

Joh 13:35 By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another….
14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.

He will come in clouds.  He will receive those who have at that time God's Holy Spirit whether dead or living.

The dead shall rise first.  We which are alive will be changed instantaneously from Mortal to Immortal and caught up to meet Him in the air -- but we are merely going to meet Him as he is coming back here.

For His feet will rest that same day on the Mount of Olives and He is going to remain here for the next Thousand Years -- and where He is that is where we shall be also.

Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, …

… Dwelling in Him by the Spirit -- the same as the Father can dwell in us by His Holy Spirit.

… He doeth the Works.

Jesus is the Word of God.  He does not speak of just His own will alone.

He speaks the will of the Father but his will and the Father's will are one.  They are united.

Two cannot walk together except they be agreed (Amos 3:3), so says God.

God the Father, and Jesus Christ have been walking together for Trillions and Centrillions of years [eternity actually] because they are totally agreed and always will be.

May we be agreed with them.

Joh 14:12  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

He said it was expedient for them that He go away (John 16:7).

If He did not go to the Father, the Holy Spirit would not come.  But if He went to the Father, He would send the Holy Spirit.

We could not do such works without the Holy Spirit.  That is why it was expedient for us that He go away.

He is in Heaven, has been alive these 1950 years.  Incidentally, it is -- [[[1950 years ago to the day [to 1981 from 31 A.D. it is 1950 years -- to 2007 from 31 A.D. would be -- [[[1976 years ago to the day]]] that Jesus died -- one century of times cycles, plus [[[50 -- 76]]].

That is rather significant that it happens to be exactly that time in this day.  He did not die at this time of day, but it was the same day.

Joh 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].

But you cannot ask in his name, unless if you ask in the power, you might say the Power of Attorney, of having His authority to do it.  And, you cannot ask something that is contrary to the will of God, and expect that He will perform it.

Joh 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

At the time, Jesus spoke that, the Holy Spirit was dwelling with them in the person of Jesus, but it was not in them yet -- not until the Day of Pentecost after His resurrection.

So, He was dwelling with them in the Holy Spirit through Christ, and was later, and on the Day of Pentecotst to be within them.

Joh 14:18  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you …

… and Christ does come through the Holy Spirit.

Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Reminds me of something that you will read in the first chapter of First John -- that our fellowship is with God the Father and with Christ, as well as with one another.  Fellowship is a very, very important thing.

And, our fellowship is not only with one another -- it is also with God the Father and with Jesus Christ His son.

Joh 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Now coming to Chapter 15:

Joh 15:1  I am the true vine, and my Father is the Husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away….

The Father takes away as the Vinedresser…

Joh 15:2 … and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

In other words, corrects and chastens, even punishes every son whom He loves. 
God's punishment is never revenge.

God's punishment is never making us pay the penalty of what we did.  God's punishment is always corrective, to correct us, and to get us Back on the Track, and to help us.

God's punishment is always given in Love.  Many people do not understand what Jesus meant when He said to pray for your enemies.  Pray for them that despitefully use you (Matthew 5:44).

I pray for all such -- by praying that God will bless them by dealing with them in the way that He knows is for their good

Now, sometimes that might be punishment to correct them.  But it is never going to be with an intent to just harm -- or to make them pay the penalty themselves.

You cannot pay the penalty of your own transgressions.  Well, some things you can.

It is like on a blackboard, or a green board, such as we have in college classrooms.  You make a mark with chalk and you can erase it.

But there are some things, some mistakes you make, you cannot ever erase.  If you should murder or kill a man, you cannot bring him back to life.

Some sins cannot be corrected.  If you steal or take from a man, you can give back -- and the Bible tells you how much to give back.

But overall, it is Christ who paid the penalty of our sins for us.

If God corrects us then we will not need to sin again.  Then we will not need His shed blood for other sins.  But if we sin, we certainly will need it.  But, He punishes every son He loves.

Joh 15:3 Now, He says (John 15 verse 3), you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

If we are clean in this Church, it is through the Word of God.

If I am your leader, Brethren, and you are all my children directly or indirectly in the Lord.  If there is any reason why God might have called and chosen me, I can only think of one. 

It is because I have been willing to believe God.

But thousands heard Jesus preach for three and a half years when He was on Earth.  Only 120 were still believing Him after His crucifixion.

It is a very, very rare thing to believe God.

There are many Churches, many Religious organizations.  They all follow a leader.

Where did their leaders get what they preach, and what they believe, and what they teach?

I know of none who got it directly from God.  They all got it from other men, other people.  They come up in a certain denomination.  Many of them go to a seminary, or a school of that denomination, and they just absorb whatever the men of that denomination teach them.

I was challenged.  I began to study the Bible.  I found it said just the oppositie of what I had been taught.

I had to begin to prove whether or not I could believe the Bible.  I had to prove whether God exists and I did prove that.

And, I have proved it to Atheists and caused them to admit it.  I proved that the Bible is the Word of God in its original writings.

We have translations.  There are a few errors or mistakes in the King James translation -- or any other one translation.

We have many translations to compare.  We have many, many copies of the original -- thousands of copies -- and it is possible to know exactly what is the Truth.

I found I did not agree with God.  I agreed to what I had been taught in Sunday School -- and coming up in a Protestant denomination.

And, I found that if I was going to walk with Christ, I had to agree with Him.  And so, I had to change what I believed and begin to believe what He says here.

Jesus Christ in person taught the original Apostles.  Jesus is the Word of God in person.  I read to you a while ago that He said only what the Father told Him to say.

Everything He said is precisely what the Father says.  He and the Father are of one mind and in total, absolute agreement.

The Bible is the same Word in writing.  The first Apostles received their knowledge, their understanding of Truth, from the personal Word of God -- in person.  He is not here in person now.

He is in Heaven as our High Priest.  But [And] He is alive and He is the Leader of this Church.  He is the Head of this Church.  But [And] He taught me through this Word.

I found I was wrong.  I was wrong about this and that and the other thing again and again and again -- and I had to be corrected and begin to believe what God said, by Jesus Christ.  That's what I have been trying now for the last 55 years, or 54 years, to teach you people -- and thousands of others like you.

And It is the truth -- and it is truth alone that makes sense -- that explains humanity, explains the world and its conditions -- explains why things are as they are -- explains the evils and the problems and the troubles in the world that the world cannot understand.  And the world too often is not willing to understand.

[I] didn't mean to preach a sermon tonight -- but I just felt that I needed to make a comment or two as I go along on some of these things.

Well, again Jesus said (John 15:5):

Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Whatever has been done in this Work in these last 54 years [since 1947 -- to 1981] has  not been done by me at all.  It has been done by the Living Jesus Christ.

I have merely been an instrument that has been used.  You may hear a beautiful violin number but it is not really the violin.  It is the man who plays the violin that is giving you the music.

The violin is his instrument.  And I have only been an instrument.

  Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples.

(Verse 11):

Joh 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full.

(Verse 16):

Joh 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
18 ¶ If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.

(Verse 22):

Joh 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.

Coming on to the 16th chapter -- just a few little excerpts here.  (Verse 5):

Joh 16:5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?
6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
7  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you….

That is the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ has been very busy for these 1950 [1976 or @@] years in Heaven on His Father's Throne as our High Priest -- guiding this Church for one thing in our lifetime.  He has been guiding it.

He built this college campus -- the most beautiful in the United States - or in the world -- and another very beautiful one over in Big Sandy that will soon be restored [past history] -- and a third very beautiful one that is now owned by a public utilities company -- and their pride and joy in Bricketwood in England.  They are all the type that glorifies God, His kind of character, of stability, of beauty, and of the godly type of character.

Now I would like to come to Jesus' final prayer -- a little of it.

Joh 17:1  These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, (this is in chapter 17 [of John], Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

(Verse 4):

Joh 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

I would like to make a comment right there.

He had finished the Work that God gave Him to do -- that is, gave Him to do in His person as a human while He was on Earth.  And, that is what He meant on the cross when He said, ''It is finished,'' just before His head dropped, and He died.

What was finished was the Work God gave Him to do.

But He's had other Work to do and that is to guide us in a Work that we have to do.  And, we areare only instruments in his hands in doing it.

Joh 17:4 I have glorified thee, (He said to His Father), on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
6  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.


9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.


11  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we [are] [one].

... Kept in the name of our Father God.  That is why we are the Church of God -- not the Church of Armstrong, or Luther, or Calvin, or of Wesley -- that we may be one and united.

Joh 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name….

The name of the Church is very important.

… I kept … in thy name those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

(Verse 20):

20  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

I think that that will suffice.  It is just some of the things that Jesus said to His disciples on that night before He was taken by an angry mob, and taken from one court to another and tried by the Jews and by the courts of Caesar's Government, until He was put to death and crucified.

This Church has been persecuted.  I have been persecuted ever since I gave myself over to Him -- and I expect to continue to be.  I counted the cost.

I knew what He said about persecution.  And, it has happened.  And it will happen.

I need your prayers, and you do have mine -- continually.  And we all need to be much in prayer.

So, I will just give a prayer and then we'll sing a Hymn and go out.

CLOSING PRAYER:  Almighty God in Heaven, I ask You to somehow impress the solemnity of this service and of the meaning of some of these things on all of us who are here.

I ask You to carry these things in the mind with all of these lovable Brethren as they leave, and that we will start now to rid our lives of sin.

Now, we are coming on to seven Days of Unleavened Bread -- putting sin out of our lives, as we shall now have put leaven out of our homes and out of our properties.

Thank You Almighty God for this Service.  Thank You that You gave it to us, and for what it means.

Bless all of these people as they leave.  I ask it in Jesus' name.  Amen.