Summary: There are several characteristics that every Christian should possess. Reveiwing these will help us to examine ourselves, and be in a better position to help the erring.
The Characteristics Of A Christian
A Question Of Judgment
1. What characterizes a disciple of Jesus? I ask this question because I believe there are some people who are “confused” about this!
2. In this lesson I will share my concerns and remind us of what ought to characterize a person who is a disciple of Jesus.
The aim of this lesson is to highlight the responsibility we have to consider both our own and others spiritual status and development, with a view to taking the appropriate action.
I. The Characteristics Of A Christian
A. There may be many characteristics that are peculiar to God’s people, but here we shall mention some of the more salient.
"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)
"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him" (1 John 3:16-17)
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35)
a. The words love and charity in these verses are from the Greek word agape. This type of love is demonstrated in actions:
1) God so loved the world that he gave His son for us (John 3:16).
2) Likewise, we demonstrate our love for one another by our actions: a willingness to lay down our lives for the brethren (Jesus being the supreme example), a willingness to provide the needs of our brethren (1 John 3:16-17).
b. It is this love that we are to have “above all things” (1 Peter 4:8).
1) This does not mean that we seek love and nothing else.
2) The point is this: “love is the animating spirit without which all other duties are dead” (JFB Commentary).
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40)
c. This love is also a means by which others are able to identify disciples of Jesus (John 13:35).
"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." (John 14:21)
"And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;" (Hebrews 5:9)
a. Our love for the Lord is demonstrated in our obedience (John 14:21; cp. 15:10).
"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." (Ephesians 4:24)
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:" (Hebrews 12:14)
"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2 Corinthians 7:1)
"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (James 1:27)
a. Paul exhorts all Christian to “to put on the new man” which, he says, is “created in rightousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).
c. What is this holiness we are to pursue?
1) It means we are to be constantly cleansing ourselves of all filthiness, both in mind and body (2 Corinthians 7:1).
2) James says the same thing using different words: “…to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9)