Summary: There are stigmas to bear if we are to be genuine Christians in this world.
I¶ - If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? For so many so-called Christians the answer is "no". Because all they have is a profession they made years ago. They bear no marks of Christ’s ownership. Think about yourself this morning.
What marks of Christ’s ownership do you bear?
T¶ -Open your Bibles to Galatians...This book of the Bible = often called "Magna Charta of Christian Liberty" because of Paul’s strong defense of salvation by grace and not by the works of law. Judaizers were perverting the Gospel adding works...circumcision = mark of identification...Paul reacting to it defends the Gospel of grace: "knowing that a man is not justified..."(Gal 2:16)
As he ends this letter defending the grace of God, The apostle Paul said that he bore on his body the brand-marks of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is an odd thing to say at the conclusion of a letter on Grace! This Morning I want us to camp on this one text & see what Paul meant & what it means for you and me.
R¶ - In public life today, it seems that any time a Christian stands up against evil, they are persecuted...Anita Bryant...Dan Quayle...The Apostle Paul knew the same kind of ridicule from his judaizing enemies in Galatia & so he writes: “From now on let no one cause trouble for me. For I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.” What is Paul talking about ?
STIGMATA “brand-marks” [from which we get our word “Stigma” - "a mark of shame or discredit"] - was a mark pricked in or branded upon the body. To ancient oriental usage, slaves and soldiers bore the name or the stamp of their master or commander branded or pricked (cut) into their bodies to indicate what master or general they belonged to, & there were even some devotee’s who stamped themselves in this way with the token of their gods. With initials-kept others away-sign of freedom from all others & servitude to one master.
When Paul made his first trip into the Galatian region he got stoned in Lystra...nearly killed. Looking a those wounds, he considered them the brand-marks of his master Jesus on His body.
There are stigmas to bear if we are to be Christians in
this world. What stigma’s ...marks of ID do you have to show that prove you are a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ? (Not talking about T-shirts,bumper stickers, etc.) I am talking about a life of self-denial & cross-bearing.
Indeed the question we’re asking this morning is “What are the marks of a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ?” Let’s consider 3 marks of
identification every Christian should have:
1.) OBEDIENCE to Christ our Master.(vs. 17c)
There is no doubt in Paul’s mind that his wounds = the brand-marks signifying his ownership by Jesus Christ. Consistently Paul describes himself as a “bondslave of Jesus Christ” Vivid description of his hardships = (2 Cor. 11:23-28)...
Illust: In America, we don’t like the idea of being a slave Our “climb to the top of the ladder” mentality made us proud. So proud that any mention of being one’s slave = demeaning) The false gospel being propagated today that Jesus can be Savior without being Lord fits our cocky arrogant society perfectly.
Jesus is either master of all he is not master at all! Hear me clearly Justification is by faith alone but not by faith that is alone! A Christian cannot look upon the sacrifice Christ made for him & not seek to live a life characterized by obedience to Him.
[TR] Which brings us to the second mark of I.D. every Christian should have.
2.) SACRIFICE to Christ our Redeemer.
He gave his very life to redeem us & he expects nothing less from us. He said: “if any man will follow after me let him deny himself...” If he’d been preaching in some circles today they would have said "hold it brother that sounds like ’works’ to me". That’s not works, it’s just honest working faith w/o which we are “dead” (James 2:17)
There is no mistaking Jesus’ words. “For whoever would save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s shall save it.”
Illust: Stephanie Stevenson/Dean Jones
gave up their careers on "principle"
When Christ calls a person to salvation, that person responds by sacrificing their natural arrogance & begins to walk humbly before God & gains a heart empowered by the Holy Spirit to love others.
Sacrifice = not only putting Christ first but others too.
[TR] Brings us to third mark.
3.) LOVE through Christ our Protector.
Jesus said: “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” (John 13:35)