Summary: Christ marks you as His own with the Holy Spirit, consequently, we 1. Care, 2. We Bear, 3. We Share
“The Mark of Christ”
August 22, 2010
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,”
“19Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 News of this reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. Acts 11:19-26
What does a Christian look like? Well it depends on who you ask. I went to “Answers.com” to find out how many people in the United States claim to be Christians. What’s your guess? 50%? 75%? Statistics show that 81% of the people in America claim to be Christians. Given the shape our country is in – that seems a little doubtful. Of false prophets, Jesus said you will know them by their fruit. On the other hand, we can’t see into the thoughts and intents of the heart. Only God can do that. But we try. Liberal Christians look at those who make great changes in their lives and do great things for the Lord and accuse them of trying to ‘earn’ their way to heaven. So they judge they can’t really be Christians. They have “Good Works”.
Conservative Christians look at liberal Christian and judge them not to be saved because there is no repentance. It is dangerous to try to figure out someone else’s spirituality. “If you compare – you will despair!”
But we need to know what a true Christian is like. We need to know so we can emulate them. In our Scripture in Acts the disciples were first called Christians. Why? It was because they were ‘Christ-like”. Prior to that they were called “Followers of the Way” or “Believers”. But if you were a true ‘Believer’ or you truly followed ‘the way’ you became Christ-like – hence the word “Christian”. The true Christian is Christ-like. The true Christian doesn’t just “talk the talk – he walk’s the walk.” The Scripture says,
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
In both of those verses you see the word ‘transformed’. Strong’s Concordance says this about that word: “metamorphoo met-am-or-fo'-o from 3326 and 3445; to transform (literally or figuratively, "metamorphose"):--change, transfigure, transform.”
The Greek word for transform is the same word we use to say a caterpillar changes into a butterfly – metamorphous. So the Christian is to change, through the Holy Spirit, into Jesus’ likeness. We are to become Christlike.
I want you to also note that when we metamorphous into a Christ-like being - God gets the glory. The miracle of becoming Christlike is as astounding and dramatic as a hairy worm changing into a beautiful butterfly. Only God can do that. Only God has the power to change a person like that! The only difference between that caterpillar and us is that our wills are involved. It doesn’t happen unless we present our bodies as living sacrifices to the Holy Spirit. When we do, He can change us and transform us through His power. But when we do – and God does His work – what a change comes to our heart. To God be the glory! Only He can make the change. I’ve tried on my own. I can’t do it. God can and does – and to Him belongs the glory.