James Merritt - Get On Your Feet
Your feet are super important to God. Now, you may not think about that. You may think, "Wait a minute. You mean the God that runs the universe? You mean the God that keeps things flowing and going? You mean that God's concerned about my feet"? He is very concerned about your feet, and your feet are very important to him. But it's better than that. If your feet take you where God gave you your feet for you to go, your feet are actually not just important to God, they are beautiful to God. So, I have to stand corrected because even though I've never really thought about feet are beautiful, God evidently does, and I wanna show you where I found that in God's Word.
If you brought a copy of God's Word, I'm gonna be in an Old Testament book today called Isaiah. Now, don't let that scare you. You just kinda start turning toward the middle of the Bible, you'll run into Isaiah. We're in Isaiah chapter 52, and you can look on with me. We're gonna throw a verse up on the screen here in a moment, or you can look it up on your iPhone, or your smartpad, or whatever you're looking at. But let me kinda give you a background on what's going on here. Isaiah was a prophet, and Isaiah was speaking to the nation of Israel, and he shared something that God specifically revealed to him about, of all things, about feet.
Now, listen to what this verse says: "How beautiful on the mountains," this is God speaking to Isaiah. "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" Now, that's a staggering thought to me, and that's one reason I love the Bible, because every time I read it, almost without exception, I find things that I never thought about before. I would have never known that God would have looked at feet and said, "Those feet are beautiful. I just love looking at their feet. I just think those feet are just absolutely gorgeous".
But now here's the catch. God thinks that feet are beautiful, not primarily because of how they look. It's not because, ladies, your toenails are polished, or, guys, your toenails are trimmed, or anything like that. It has nothing to do with aesthetics. God thinks your feet are beautiful not because of how they look, but because of where they can take you, and because of where they can go. Let me put it to you this way. God did not give you feet so you could go where you want to go. He gave you feet so you can go where he wants you to go. Listen to that carefully. God didn't give you feet so you can go where you wanna go. He gave you feet so you can go where he wants you to go.
Now, if you are a follower of Jesus, and I'm gonna talk to you for just a moment. If you are a follower of Jesus, God wants your feet to take you to people who need Jesus. God wants you to use your feet to take you to people to share Jesus. Now, let me just say a word to those of you, you're not a follower of Jesus. You're not a believer. You may be a guest of ours for the first time. Maybe you just kinda showed up out of curiosity. Maybe you've been thinkin' about Christianity. I don't know exactly where you are on your spiritual journey, but I just need to prepare you for something. You may not like it. You may wonder why we do it, but I just wanna be honest. If you're not a follower of Jesus, we serve a God that expects us to use our feet to walk to you so we can share Jesus with you.
So, if you wonder sometimes, "Why do these Christians feel the need and the necessity to share their faith and to tell people about their faith"? It's not just something that we do with our mouth. It's actually something we do with our feet. Now, I want you to do this for me. I want every one of you right now to look down at your feet, or just look down. I know you're wearing shoes, but kinda use your X-ray vision and look down right now, and I want you to see your feet. Now, listen carefully. I don't want you just to see the shoes you're wearing. I don't want you just to think about your toes or your toenails or your arches or your bones or your feet.
Here's what I want you to think about. Maybe for the first time for many of you today, I want you to think about where those feet can take you. And I want you to think about, just for a minute today, what God could do with your feet, what those feet can do for God, and where those feet can take you for God. Because according to what God said to Isaiah, when I look at my feet, and you look at your feet, we oughtta realize why we have our feet to begin with, and what our feet are supposed to be doing, and where they're supposed to be going. Here's what Isaiah said. Number one: our feet have a message to share. Our feet have a message to share.
Now, the feet that God thinks are beautiful are not ordinary, run-of-the-mill, dime-a-dozen, everybody-has-them feet. God's talking about a particular kind of feet that he thinks are just absolutely beautiful. "These are feet that bring good news. These are feet that proclaim peace. These are feet that bring good tidings. These are feet who proclaim salvation. These are feet who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" Now, in case you don't know that, or that hasn't really registered with you, and particularly if you don't read the Bible or you don't know much about the Bible, let me tell you what you're reading right now. You ready? That is the message of the Bible.
If you wanna know what the Bible is about, you're reading it right there. It's about good news. It's about peace. It's about good tidings. It's about salvation. It's about a God that reigns and rules over the entire universe. That is the message of the Bible. By the way, that message is the message of Jesus. Oh, by the way, that is the message of Christmas. If you wanna know what Christmas really is all about, it's not about Rudolph. It's not about Santa Claus, not about the reindeer, not about jingle bells. It's all about what's tied up in this verse right here. It's what the Bible message is. It's what the Jesus message is. It's what the Christmas message is. By the way, that's not only the Christmas message. That is the message of Easter. Or to put it very simply, that's what we call "the gospel". Because there is a message of peace.
We can say to a world that's filled with strife and conflict and war that "in Jesus Christ, there's internal peace". That is, you can know you're right with God. There is external peace. You can know that God in control of the universe. There is eternal peace. You can know you have a relationship with God that will never, ever end. So, you got a message of peace. Then he says, "We've got good tidings. We've got good news". That's what we call "the gospel". "The gospel" literally means "good news".
Now, by the way, I know you know this, we live in a world filled with bad news. The lead news story every time you turn on your local news broadcast will always be bad news. The lead headline in a newspaper will always be bad news. You turn on the radio, they're gonna lead with bad news. Do you know why I love Jesus so much, and why I love the Bible so much, and why I love the gospel so much? Because we always lead with good news. My major message is not bad news. My major message is good news. You say, "Okay, well, what is the good news"? Well, it's all found in that simple little word called "salvation". That is the good news. Now, that's good news because Jesus died on the cross. Jesus came back from the dead so that God's salvation, his forgiveness, and his eternal life is available to anybody that wants it.
I love to be able to say to anybody, no matter what their station is in life, no matter what's going on in their life, no matter how bad they have messed up their life, or how badly they've ruined their life, I can say to them, "You know what? Salvation for you is a prayer away. Forgiveness for you is a prayer away. Eternal life for you is a prayer away. Peace with God with you is a prayer away". Now, I just have a simple question. So, when I read about good news, and I read about peace, and I read about salvation, let's just take those three words right there. I got a simple question. Who needs peace? Who needs salvation? And who needs good news? I'll tell you the answer to that: Everybody, everybody needs peace. Everybody needs good news. Everybody needs salvation. And neither geographical distance nor language barriers nor cultural differences should stop our feet from carrying the gospel to everyone who needs it.
So, every person on planet Earth, it doesn't matter their color, their wealth, their education, their position, their influences, every person on earth needs to hear, "There's good news about peace. There's good news about salvation. There's good news about Jesus Christ. There's good news about eternal life". However, the vast majority of people who deserve to hear it and need to hear it will never hear it unless our feet take us to them so that they can hear it. And I don't know whether you believe this or not. I hope you do. There's not one tribe, there's not one tongue, there's not one people group, there's not one nation that does not deserve to hear the missionary message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
You know, I got to thinkin' about this the other day. And sometimes this thought hits me and it really humbles me. We didn't ask to be born in America. We didn't win the lottery. It wasn't the luck of the draw. God, in his goodness, and God, in his grace, for the most of us here, allowed us to be born in this country. We could have been born in the darkest, deepest part of the most remote jungle in South America or Africa. We could have been born under the regime of a North Korea or another Communist nation, but we were born here. And so, it's very easy for us to kind of take for granted the things we get to hear and the things we get to see almost on an every day basis.
And I just want you to understand, I just really believe that every tribe, and every tongue, and every nation deserves to hear at least one time what we hear day after day after day after day after day. And why do I believe that? Because Jesus Christ gave to every church and to every Christian one job description. He said, "I want you to go, and I want you to make disciples of all nations". He said that to everybody. He said that for everybody. Here's what I want you to understand. There are some people, and some of you are listening to me right now, there are some people think, "Well, missions is only for professional missionaries".
If you are a follower of Jesus, we are all missionaries. Nobody gets a pass. We are all missionaries. By the way, well, you say, "I haven't heard God calling me to be a missionary". We don't need a voice to call us. We've got a verse that commands us: "Go and make disciples". I love the way a medical doctor put it. Listen to what he said: "No one can say, 'Since I'm not called to be a missionary I do not have to evangelize my friends and neighbors.' There is no difference in spiritual terms between a missionary witnessing in his hometown and a missionary witnessing in Katmandu, Nepal. We are all called to go, even if it is only to the next room or the next block". We're all called. If you are a believer, you are a missionary. Not all missionaries are believers. We've got missionaries who are missionaries of false religions.
So, not all missionaries are believers, but every believer is a missionary. And our missionary feet are to go to mission fields locally, nationally, and internationally so that others can hear the good news about the salvation and the peace and the joy that comes through knowing Jesus Christ. So, our feet have a message to share. Everybody got it? Number two: our feet have a mission to fulfill. Our feet have a message to share. Our feet have a mission to fulfill. Now, listen to the first part of this verse again: "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news". Now, it's interesting that the things we kinda notice with people that we think are beautiful, God doesn't even notice. He doesn't say, "How beautiful are the eyes" or "How beautiful are the lips, how beautiful is the face". He says, "How beautiful are the feet".
See, your eyes can look upon a world that needs God. Your ears can hear about a world that needs God. Your lips can even talk about a world that needs God. But what good does it do anyone in the world if you see a world that needs God and you hear about a world that needs God and you talk about a world that needs God? What good does that do if our feet does not take them into that world so that they can hear about the God that loves them? That's exactly why God gave you those feet. By the way, the reason why the emphasis is on feet, I think you probably know this, but if you don't, why does he talk about feet? Well, because in Bible days, quite frankly, the way most people got around was they walked. You know, you had to be rich to even own a camel or a donkey or somethin' like that. The vast majority of people walked, and that's why there's so much emphasis on feet.
See, today, right, we can drive. We can fly. We can sail, but guess what? Ultimately, you still gotta walk to the car. You still gotta walk to the plane. You still gotta walk to the ship. These feet were made for a mission. Now, I want you to understand this. There's no special class of feet. There's no special category of feet. The feet of a Christian who is living as a missionary on a foreign mission field is no different from the feet of a Christian who's selling insurance in Atlanta, Georgia. It's the same feet. See, we get this idea. "Okay, missionaries are kinda like the Navy Seals of Jesus". You know, we get this idea. "Missionaries are kinda like a super Christian with a super calling".
Now, I'm gonna give you a shock right now. This is somethin' I didn't know till I prepared this message. This is gonna blow your mind. Did you know that the word "missionary" is never found in the Bible? Isn't that amazing? I would have never thought. I'd have flunked the test on that three weeks ago. The word "missionary" is never found anywhere in the Bible. And I thought about that, and I thought, "Wow, we talk about missions, and we talk about missionaries. God, you didn't even put it in your Bible". And it hit me. Do you know why the word "missionary" is never used in the Bible? Because we are all missionaries, no exemptions, no exceptions, no exclusions. We are all missionaries. Every pair of feet is under the same Lord, has the same message, and the same mission. We are all commanded to go.
Someone has said it like this. I love the way, someone put it this way: "It is not so much that God has a mission for his church in the world as it is that God has a church for his mission in the world". I'm gonna say that again. "It is not so much that God has a mission for his church in the world as it is that God has a church for his mission in the world". So, if you're a part of the church, you have a part in this mission. So, I'm gonna use a military analogy. If you're like too many believers, and you've spent your entire Christian life AWOL, you've never gone on a mission trip, never thought about goin' on a mission trip, you've never even thought about crossing the street and trying to be a witness to your neighbor, I'm going to ask you in a moment to get back in God's army and let your feet fulfill the mission your feet were created for. Our feet have a message to share. Our feet have a mission to fulfill.
And then Isaiah said one last thing: "Our feet have a master to serve". Our feet have a master to serve. Now, I want you to listen to the last part of this message that these feet bring. Listen to this: "Who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" Now, three last words, "Your God reigns"! Very, very important. It's almost as if God were saying to Isaiah, "Isaiah, make sure you tell your people it's not just any run-of-the-mill god that reigns. It's your God that reigns. And oh, by the way, it's not that your God is just around. It's not just that your God is there. It's not just that your God kinda shows up occasionally. Your God reigns. Your God rules. Your God is in charge. Your God is in control".
The destiny of every human being who has ever lived or ever will live is in the hands of this God, and this is the God who so loved this world that he gave his only Son to die for our sins. This is the God that we are to serve. This is the God that we are to share. So, the very first part of body that God begins with is our feet because, listen, now, this blows me away every time I think about it, and it really burdens me. God only has one method to accomplish his mission: your feet and my feet. God only has one method to take his message around the world, and that's your feet and my feet. Now, don't misunderstand. I believe we oughtta use every technological invention and every tool we can to fulfill the mission and share the message and to serve the Master.
I'm thankful that I pastor a church that partners with us and allows us to broadcast our services in 144 countries around the world. I wish you could see the emails we get in every single week, from some places I have never heard of in my life. We've got people who watch our programs in countries I can't even share with you. They watch it secretly by computer because if they were ever caught, they would be killed for their faith. But we do that because of you and because of your faithfulness. And I thank God for that. I'm thankful we live in the age of the Internet and podcasts and radio and television and live streaming, but I wanna tell ya, I don't care how advanced we get in our technology. I don't care how brilliant we get in every other way we can carry the message.
God's number-one method to fulfill his mission and to share his message will always be our feet. Everybody look down at your feet right now. I'm lookin' at mine. And seriously, everybody look down at your feet, all right? Now, look up here at me. Those are not only the only feet you've got, they're the only feet he's got. There's no plan B. There's no second method. There's no other way. God says, "I want, James, your feet, Richard, your feet, Charles, your feet, and, Mildred, your feet, and, Sally, your feet. I want your feet to share the message. I want your feet to fulfill the mission".
There are still many miles to walk, many places to go, many people to tell, many stories to share, and we need every foot available to go across the street, and down the road, and around the world so that others can hear the good news of peace and salvation through Jesus Christ. Let me just tell you what you can be a part of. You ready for this? Get ready, we had a team just last week that got back from Cuba. One staff person, and the rest people just like you, just like me, just ordinary people. No seminary training. For some of them, very few trips ever anywhere abroad. And for some, maybe their very first trip ever to do a mission trip.
Now, listen to this. Through their efforts, partnering with 100 Cuban missionaries, do you know what they got to be a part of? They saw 750 adults and 319 children give their lives to Jesus Christ in a Communist country. You can do that. You can be a part of that. You could have people come up to you in eternity and say, "You know, I know you don't remember me, but you came to Cuba, and you led my daddy to Jesus. And because you led my daddy to Jesus, he told me about Jesus". "You know, you went with your pastor to South Africa, and you don't remember, but you knocked on my home and you came into my home and you gave me a little gospel booklet, and you just told me your testimony about Jesus, and my whole family got saved. And because my whole family got saved, we are all here today".
Now, listen, I realize there's still so many of you out there, I mean, you've let the devil convince you, "Nope, you can't do it. You're not qualified. You're not prepared. You don't have what it takes to let your feet take you where they need to go". So, I just wanna share with you this last story, and hopefully, it'll really push you over the edge, and I'll be done. Listen to this.
I wanna tell you about a man you've never heard of by the name of George Stott. George Stott was a 19th-century missionary to China. He didn't have any seminary education at all. He was, you know, literate, but that was about it. Was not, by any stretch of the means, a Bible scholar, but he just felt a burden to go to China. He spent his entire life there. What you don't know about George Stott is he only had one leg. Now, if you think that could be a handicap today with all the prosthetics and all the things we have available today, this is the middle of the 19th century. He has one leg. When someone asked George Stott, "Why would you even think about leaving America and going to a foreign land like China with only one leg"? I want you to listen to what he said. He said, quote: "Well, I don't see anybody with two legs going, so I guess I'll have to go". Well, by George, if he can go on one leg, we can go on two. So, let's get on our feet, and let's go.