Summary: That the indelible charachter of a Christian should be love!
Help me finish these statements, you can probably think about each one and figure it out:
-You can tell what wood it is by its: __________ (grain)
This next one I have actually inverted:
-You can tell there is fire by its:__________(smoke)(reversed: “If there’s fire, there’s smoke”)
-“You can tell a winner by how s/he:______ (loses) (by David Mitchell, The Observer)
-“You can tell a lot about a fellows character by his way of:_____ (eating jellybeans)” (Ronald Reagan,quoted in Observer, March 29th, 1981)
-They say You can tell the warmth of a person by their:_____ (smile)
-How about this one: You can tell a Christian by their:______ (love)
On Facebook this week I posted a question: “If there was one thing that people could see in you that told them you were a Christian, what would it be?” And here is what some of my friends; some of you answered:
Cindy: "compassion.....Jesus haz it...I need more...."
Susan: "Encouragement and empathy....have to have it to be a teacher, as well as a Christian."
Ted: (a Police officer): "on duty or off?"
Laura: "My love for all mankind and living by the Golden Rule"
Jeremey: "Love… John 13:35" (This is to the heart of the subject) "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."(NIV)
Brent: "Love..I have lots of love to give"
Clearly these sayings and their answers are based upon identifying marks; or characteristics; qualities that make up something. And the last question, and its answer are formed by understanding the theological nature of a Christian. It has became the fundamental quality upon which Peter Scholtes published the 1966 song: “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love; by our love; Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love”.
Our text today comes right to the heart of this: (1 John 5:1-3) “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3This is love for God: to obey his commands.” It becomes a circle of love, in that what we love God, so we love God’s children, and in loving God’s children we show love to God. 1 John 3:18-19 proclaims: “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him. By love we will know this! It is a quality, not just words to a song, but to be found written on the heart of every Christian. It is something that should always remain; always be prevalent; always at the forefront of who and what we are. You can challenge us; shake us; confront us; ridicule us; even martyr us, and the core value that should always be part of our response, is love. I know that is sometimes hard; even difficult, and we aren’t always good at making it happen, but, “How can you tell a Christian?” Love!
As I was reading the text several weeks ago, I suddenly though that this characteristic of love in the “indelible ink” of our lives. Indelible means “that it cannot be removed, washed away, or erased; or making marks that cannot easily be removed.” (1) When “Nicky Cruz, a New York gang member, walked up to David Wilkerson, a young street evangelist, and said, as he pulled out his knife, “I’m going to cut you into a thousand pieces!” David answered, “And every piece will cry out, ‘I love you!’”. Nicky’s dramatic conversion by this love encounter is told in The Cross and the Switchblade! (1 – The Most Wanted Devotional, Terry Teykl, p. 15)
Every piece will cry out – “I love you!” Today we are recognizing our Graduates and also confirming the new members of the church. The Graduates will move away. The Confirmands are stepping up to youth group and membership in the Church. Both are milestone steps in their lives. Graduates completing a course of twelve or thirteen years of Education. Almost their entire life spent in school. The Confirmands have spent the better part of a year preparing in Sunday School and with some recent classes with the Pastor; District Rally and a local retreat! But if all of that happens, and you are not marked indelibly with the love of God in your life, then I would say you are not prepared!
Indelible ink is something that cannot be washed away when you go off to college. Indelible ink is a fabric that won’t wear out or fade. Indelible ink is something that will remain visible your whole life through. It is a quality of a life that no matter what you will face in your future ahead, will prepare you with a response to the very thing that challenges you.