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Summary: Love is the identifiable feature of the follower of Jesus Christ.

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Title: The Recognition Factor

Text: John 13:31-35

Thesis: Love is the identifiable feature of the follower of Christ.

Introduction

How do we recognize people? People have identifying features…

• We recognize Jimmy Durante or Carl Malden when we see them because they have prominent noses.

• We recognize rocker, Mick Jagger when we see him because he has large lips.

• We readily recognize Donald Trump when we see him because of his distinctive hair. It is interesting the presidential candidate can spend $400 on a haircut that is without distinction.

• We readily recognize television late night hosts… Jay Leno has a jutted chin and Dave Letterman has a gap between his from teeth.

And yes, I am aware that I did not include women in my introductory comments. My sense is that it would be ill advised to speak of a woman’s big nose, jutted chin, gappy teeth, or comb-over hair style.

In our text today, Jesus says to his followers, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 In other words, Jesus is saying that love is the identifying feature of a Christian’s identity.

Do agree or disagree with the following statement?

It is possible for Christians to live in the world without being recognized as Christians.”

When Bonnie and I were in the market for a car, we went to the auto dealership. I had done my homework online and we I knew what I was looking for… it did not turn out to be what Bonnie had in mind. However, we were both interested in certain features. We wanted seats and windows. We were hoping for an engine and transmission. Brakes. Most things were standard. But, there were numerous options… leather seats, sunroof, CD player, power windows and door locks. 2 wheel or 4 wheel drive. And then there was color…

However, when it comes to the Christian life, there may be many options but there is one standard feature. There is one feature that makes Christians recognizable.

I. Love is imperative to the life of the followers of Christ.

So now, I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other just as I have loved you, you should love each other. John 13:34 We would be correct in saying, love is a necessary expression of a Christian’s life.

A. Love is not the only evidence of spiritual life for the follower of Christ.

• Fruit - Galatians 5:22-23

• Gifts - Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12

B. Love is the preeminent evidence of spiritual life for the follower of Christ.

• The first and greatest commandment - Matthew 22:37-40

• The greatest - I Corinthians 13

• The summation of all commandments - Galatians 5:14

It is love that is the deciding evidence of one’s relationship with Jesus Christ and others.

II. Love is also the identifying mark of the followers of Christ.

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:35

A. Love is readily apparent because it is counter culture.

• It is not normal to express love to your enemies - Luke 6:27-36

• It is not normal to be nice - I Corinthians 13:4-7

• It is not normal to give up your life for just anyone – Romans 5:6-8 (John 13:34)

Doing nice things for people is not the norm…

Re’na Garcia is a 24-year-old wife and mother of two preschoolers and a full-time nanny for two other children. She leads a busy life, but her favorite part of the day is when she goes out to RAOK somebody’s world—as in performing "Random Acts of Kindness."

She and her husband, Aaron, are part of a growing network of Christians who seek to anonymously bless other people in the name of Jesus. They may:

• Leave a roll of quarters at the laundromat

• Pay for the person behind you at a drive-thru

• Leave grocery gift cards in mailboxes

• Pay rent for a family in need

• Hand out water or sports drinks on a biking trail.

She says, "People were drawn to Christ not because he stood on a mountain and preached," she says, "but because he filled their needs."

Actually, there nothing random about her kindness. Love may not discriminate, but it is always discerning. A loving attitude or action is always a conscious decision before it is an expression. Love acts out toward those for whom we have little or no affection, in situations that evoke less than gracious responses, and does so indiscriminately.

Interestingly enough, Jesus does not state that loving our enemies or our neighbors is the mark that will distinguish us as his followers before a watching world. He says, it is our love for one another that makes that impression.

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