Summary: Earmarks or distinguishing marks of the Christian.
INTRO.- The apostle Paul bore the marks of Jesus on his body. What did he mean? Many commentators suggest that those “marks” were scars from being beaten as a Christian.
Do you have any distinguishing marks that you are a Christian?
ILL. - I heard it said years ago that if you were sent to prison for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you? That’s very thought provoking.
Let’s think about the marks of a Christian or rather earmarks. An earmark is some kind identifying mark or characteristic. An earmark could apply to a person, a place, or business.
ILL. - For example, what would you say is the earmark of the McDonald’s restaurant? What about Ron’s Catfish restaurant? What about DQ? Graceland? Las Vegas? New York City? New Orleans?
People also have earmarks or distinguishing marks.
ILL. - For example, name what you think is the earmark or distinguishing mark of these various people:
- Donald Trump
- Martha Stewart
- Oprah Winfrey
- Dr. Phil
- Judge Judy
- Billy Graham
- Lance Armstrong
- Michael Jordan
- Michael Jackson
- Mark McGuire
- Brad Pitt
- Angelina Jolie
Every living person has some kind of distinguishing mark about their lives, the way they live, the things they do, etc.
Likewise, businesses, churches, etc. have certain distinguishing earmarks.
ILL. - Preacher Ed Bousman from Lynchburg, OH, has a sermon entitled, “Earmarks of the New Testament Church.” What do you suppose they are?
1- The Bible (as the inspired Word of God)
2- The Banner (meaning the name Christian. We are not the only Christians but we prefer to be Christians only.)
3- The Bishops (that is, the elders, the overseers in the church)
4- The Breaking of the bread (meaning the Lord’s Supper – Acts 20:7)
5- The Baptism (Jesus commanded us to baptize people in the name of the Godhead, which must mean it is important!)
PROP.- In this message, let’s consider some earmarks of the Christian. 1- Faith 2- Evangelism
Romans 1:8 “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.”
Their faith was known throughout the world at that time. What about our faith? Your faith? Mine? Are we known in our neighborhood or our town for our faith? For living by faith?
ILL. - For the umpteenth time Mrs. Young came to her preacher to tell him, "I’m so scared! Joe says he’s going to kill me if I continue to come to your church."
"Yes, I understand," replied the preacher, more than a little tired of hearing this over and over. "I will continue to pray for you, Mrs. Young. Have faith that the Lord will watch over you."
"Oh yes, he has kept me safe thus far, only....."
"Only what?" the preacher said.
"Well, now he says if I keep coming to your church, he’s going to kill YOU!"
"Well, now," said the preacher, "Perhaps it’s time to check out that little church on the other side of town."
That preacher suddenly had a loss of faith. And true, many times when we’re faced with difficulty in life our faith seems to “go out the window.”
ILL. - One man was having so much trouble in life that he said, “All of this trouble could make a man lose his religion!” A friend suggested, “It looks to me like it would make a man ‘use’ his religion.”
Difficulties in life with generally do one of those two things to us: make us better or bitter. Make us use our faith or lose our faith.
ILL. - Someone told of overhearing two little girls, playmates, who were counting their pennies.
One said, “I have five pennies.”
The other said, “I have ten.”
“No,” said the first little girl, “You have just five cents, the same as I have.”
“But,” the second child quickly replied, “my father said that when he came home tonight, he would give me five cents, and so I have ten cents.”
That little girl counted that five cents as already hers, because it had been promised by her father. That’s faith.
Brothers and sisters, this is somewhat similar to our heavenly Father. He has promised us many things in life that we may not have at this moment, but faith means that we will trust Him for it just like it was already ours.
Doubt sees the obstacles.
Faith sees the way!
Doubt sees the darkest night,
Faith sees the day!
Doubt dreads to take a step.
Faith soars on high!
Doubt questions, “Who believes?”
Faith answers, “I!”
ILL. - Someone said, “Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and receives the impossible.”