Summary: In Mark 8:27-38, Jesus provides six marks of an authentic follower of Jesus, and these serve as the basis of this six question test to determine the reality of your Christian faith.
The “How Do I Know I’m A Christian?” Test
There are a lot of people who think they’re Christians and really aren’t. Then there are some Christians who have no assurance that they are Christians and are afraid they’re not Christians. Then there are a lot of people who think that by going to church you’re a Christian. Some people think that by being good you’re a Christian. Others believe that if you pray and read the Bible you’re a Christian. Others think if you were baptized you’re a Christian. Mark 8:27-38 contains a six question test to determine if you’re a Christian.
Question #1 is the identity question.
Mark records in verse 27, “Now Jesus and his disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi and on the road He asked his disciples saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?” That’s an interesting question for Jesus to ask. That’s a marketing question. It’s designed to ascertain the word on the street. What are the polls saying? And the disciples answer that some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, some say one of the prophets. It’s interesting that 2000 years later, that’s still the word on the street about Jesus. That’s still who people say Jesus is. Most people today think Jesus was a prophet, or a good man. Then Jesus asks, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter says, “You are the Christ.” The Messiah. The Anointed One. Matthew adds that Peter said, “You are the Christ. The Son of the living God.” And Matthew records Jesus saying, “Blessed are you Simon bar Jonah, flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but My Father in heaven.” In other words, “You got that right.”
Here the first test question. Do I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, God who became man?
1 John 4:2 says, “By this you know the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.”
1 John 4:15 says, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God.”
1 John 5:1 says, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.”
John 5:24 says “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment. But has passed from death to life.”
So, the first question, again, is this: Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
Question #2 is the gospel question.
In Mark 8:30, right after Peter declares “You are the Christ,” Jesus says something amazing. He says, “Don’t tell anybody.”
Why would He say that? The answer is in the next verse. “He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer and be killed and rise again.” That’s why Jesus tells them to be quiet. Because the cross and His death and resurrection haven’t happened yet. The cross and the resurrection are the gospel. In 1 Corinthians 15:3, Paul says, “I declare to you the gospel… that Christ died for our sins, that He was buried, and that He rose the third day.” That’s the gospel.
And before Jesus died and resurrected, the gospel wasn’t complete. But after the resurrection, that’s a whole different story. Jesus said after the resurrection “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…”
So here’s the question. Do I believe the gospel? Do I believe Jesus suffered and was rejected and was killed on a cross and rose from the dead. Do I believe that I was helpless and spiritually dead because of my sins, that I need Jesus to be my Savior. And that I needed Him to pay the penalty for my sins, and that He promises me reconciliation with God the Father and a home in heaven forever.
Question #3 is the love question. In v34, Mark records that, “When He had called the people to himself with his disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’” That’s quite the invitation, isn’t it? That’s a commitment to love. “Deny self,” means to love. “Take up his cross” meant death. Jesus’ listeners that day knew exactly what a cross was. It was a Roman instrument of death. Jesus was talking about dying to self. That’s love. Jesus said, “Greater love has no man that this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Then this phrase, “Follow me.” That means “Obey me,” and that’s love. Jesus said, in John 14:21, “He who obeys My commandments, he is the one who loves Me.”