Marks of a Christian
1 John 3: 11-19
Intro: There was a married couple sitting on their front porch and the neighbor across the street came home. The man got out of his car with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and started walking toward the front door. When he was about halfway there, his wife opened the door and ran out to meet him. He presented her with the flowers and took her in his arms and gave her a big kiss, right there in the driveway. As the couple on the porch watched this, the woman looked over at her husband and said why can’t you do that. The man looked at his wife and said that he couldn’t possibly do that. Upset now, his wife demanded to know why he couldn’t do that. He looked at her and said my god woman, I hardly know the lady across the street.
. Valentine’s Day was on Thursday and I hope that each one of you told the person that you love just how much they mean to you.
. When we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of love don’t we?
. As this week has progressed, I have thought a lot about love also.
. How do we show love, or how does someone know that you love them.
. The bible has much to say about love and how and who we are supposed to love.
. We are told throughout that a Christian is identified by his love for his Christian brothers and sisters.
. You could call this love the Mark of a Christian
. This is how a Christian should be identified or stand out from others.
. This mark of Christianity should be easily identified.
. When a person looks at a true Christian, they should see a person who loves.
. The bible speaks of what is called the “mark of the beast” over in the revelation chapter 13: 16-17.
. 16He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead.
.17And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name.
. He, being the beast, will require people to bow down and worship him and their reward will be the mark either on their forehead or their hand.
. Without this mark, they will die because they will not be able to buy or sell food or anything else.
. There is a lot of mystery here and I don’t want to get caught up in those issues.
. The point is that you will be able to identify those who bow down and worship the beast or anti-Christ by the mark that is place upon them.
. While Satan will have the mark of the beast to identify his followers, Jesus also has a mark that identifies his followers.
. That mark is love.
. While it’s not a tattoo or some other form of marking, it should be obvious to all that we meet.
. Our scripture this morning gives us some characteristics that a person who has the Mark of Christianity upon them should exhibit.
. 1 John 3:11-19
. 11This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
12We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous.
13So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
14If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead.
15Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
16We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.
17If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
18Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
19Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.
. The first thing we see here is that when a person carries the mark of Christianity they will exhibit:
. Reverence for God
. Look at verse 12 again:
. 12We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous.
. Do you remember the story?
. Many times all we remember is that Cain killed his brother. We see this as a trivia question as the first recorded murder.
. The story is found in Genesis 4.
. Adam and Eve have disobeyed God and have been removed from the Garden of Eden and they are starting their family. They have two sons named Cain and Abel. One was a farmer and the other was a shepherd.
. John is using what happened at the first recorded offering made to God as an illustration of how we are to have reverence for God.
. Gen 4:3-7
. 3When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD.
4Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his gift
,5but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.
6“Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected?
7You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”
. I have heard many people say that they don’t understand what was wrong with the offering that Cain gave to God. After all, God did accept grain offerings later on from the people.
. Cain’s problem was not in what he gave; but in how he gave.
. You see Abel brought the best of the flock, the best of the firstborn to God for an offering.
. He had a reverence for God. He understood that God deserves the very best that I can give Him.
. He gave Him the best because of who God is.
. The creator of the universe. The great I Am.
. Abel had a reverence for God.
. Cain on the other hand just brought some of his crops.
. Look at verse 3 again:
. 3When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD.
. He didn’t pick through his crops and find the best of the first crops that had come in.
. I get a picture of someone just going to a basket of fruit or vegetables and just grabbing what was there and presenting it to God as an offering.
. God didn’t want all that Cain or Abel had but; he did want their best.
. You see Abel had a reverence for God. Recognition of who God was and knew that God was to be given his very best.
. People who bear the mark of Christianity, will have a reverence for God and want to give Him their very best.
. We recognize who God is and present to Him our best.
. We as professing Christians should be giveng God our best.
. We must realize who God is and live a life of love and reverence for our God.
. He should be first in our lives.
. Is he first in your life or is he an afterthought like He was with Cain.
. The mark of a Christian is that they will have a reverence and love for God that is obvious to all people.
. The next Mark that we see is:
. Love for our Christian brothers and sisters.
. Look at verse 14 again:
. 14If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead.
. Notice here that John is talking about love for our Christian brothers and sisters.
. While this week was the week for love, it’s not the kind of love that john is talking about.
. John is talking about a love that the people who do not bear the mark of Christianity understand.
. Folks we live in a loveless world.
. We live in a world where self is more important than others,
. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and everyone must take care of themselves it seems.
. The world doesn’t believe in the kind of love that John is talking about here because they don’t know Jesus.
. You see, when we know Jesus, we become a new person. No longer are we to be part of that world.
. John writes that if you do not have love for your brothers and sisters in Christ, that you are still dead.
. You don’t have a new life.
. You are still dead and living in the old life.
. You have not become a new creation.
. Wow, what an eye opener.
. If you do not love your brother and sister in Christ, you are still dead.
. This teaching has driven many away from church.
.As I was researching for this message I ran across a sermon on brotherly love and the preacher told this story.
. When I became a teenager I really started to understand what was being taught in Sunday School, from the pulpit about how God loved the church, and that we should love each other. It really started bothering me that I was not seeing the Love that I was being taught to have. When I was about seventeen I started noticing that the Sunday school teacher who I had for about four years (we only had one teacher for the whole youth group) did not like the pastor. I witnessed some actions that went completely against what they where teaching me. As a result of this I was confused. I left the church because I didn’t know what to believe. The people who taught me to love my brethren could not practice it themselves. For years I thought of the church as a place for hypocrites.
. He goes on to explain how he finally met some folks who wore the marks of Christianity and was brought back into the church and even into the ministry.
. John writes that we must love one another within the church.
. When a church does not love, it has lost its credibility and its effectiveness.
. I thank God every day that He has brought me to a church that has love.
. I encourage you to continue in this love.
. As we grow, let us become known as a church that loves each other in Christ Jesus.
. As the apostle Peter writes in 1Peter 4:8:
. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.
. A mark of a true Christian is their love for their brothers and sisters in Christ.
. Another mark of Christianity is self confidence.
. Look at verse 19 again:
. 19Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.
. Self confidence in your salvation is a true mark of Christianity.
. John writes that when we show respect for God.
. When we love God and each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
. We can then be confident when we stand before God.
. You can stand before God trusting and relying on your salvation and the fact that because He loved you, you also loved your brothers and sisters.
. This will also give you the confidence to proudly stand before others and proclaim that you are a Christian
. You can do this because you love God and have placed Him first in your life.
. You can do this because you have love for your brothers and sisters in Christ.
. You can do this because you bear the mark of a Christian on your life.
. Christian, I ask you this morning:
. Do you bear the marks of Christianity in your life?
. You know the greatest thing about God is that He is a God of second and third and fourth and on and on chances.
. Maybe you haven’t been showing the marks of Christianity on your life. It’s not too late. You can start today.
. If you’re here and have never accepted God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, it’s not too late.
. Today can be your day of salvation and you can leave here today bearing the marks of Christianity.
*** To my Christian brothers and sisters, thank you for taking the time to read this sermon. I ask that you take another second and score this for me. I am always open to feedback so that I can continue to grow in the proclamation of God’s word.
May God bless you as you continue to strive to walk worthy of His calling.
Sources: The Holy Bible, NLT
Brotherly Love, Doug Sanders< (sermon central)