The Marks of a Christian
1 John 2:1 through 1 John 2:11 (NIV)
I. 1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
II. 3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
III. 7Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
IV. 9Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 11But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.
It seems that this college student needed a small two-hour course to fill out his schedule. The only one that fit was in Wildlife Zoology. He had some reservations as he heard the course was tough and the professor a bit different. But, it seemed like the only choice so he signed up.
After one week and one chapter the professor had a test for the class. He passed it out and it was a sheet of paper divided into squares and in each square was a carefully drawn picture of some bird legs. Not bodies, not feet -- just different birds' legs. The test simply asked them to identify the birds from the pictures of their legs.
Well, the student was absolutely floored. He didn't have a clue.
He sat and stared at the test and got madder and madder. Finally, reaching the boiling point, he stomped up to the front of the classroom, threw the test on the professor's desk, and exclaimed, "This is the worst test I have ever seen and this is the dumbest course I have ever taken." The professor looked up at him and said, "Young man, you just flunked the test." Then the professor picked up the paper, saw that the student hadn't even put his name on the paper, and said, "By the way, young man, what's your name?" At this the student bent over, pulled up his pants, revealed his legs, and said, "You identify me."
I. They Receive The Cleansing of Christ.
A. The Prevention of Sin Addressed
- The purpose of our salvation is not that we can be forgiven and continue in our sin, but that we can be forgiven as the woman caught in adultery was and then go and sin no more.
* Three guys -- one from Massachusetts, one from Vermont
and one from Maine -- were fishing in a lake one day, when Jesus walked across the water and joined them in the boat.
When the three astonished men had settled down enough to speak, the Maine guy asked humbly, "Jesus, I've suffered from back pain ever since I took shrapnel in the Vietnam War ... Could you help me?"
"Of course, my son," Jesus said, and when he touched the man's back he felt relief for the first time in years.
The Vermonter, who wore very thick glasses and had a hard time reading and driving , asked if Jesus could do anything about his poor eyesight. Jesus smiled, removed the man's glasses and tossed them into the lake. When they hit the water, the man's eyes cleared and he could see everything distinctly.
When Jesus turned to the Massachusetts man, the guy put his hands out defensively -- "Don't touch me!" he cried, "I'm on a disability pension."
B. The Prescription for Sin Addressed
Getting out of sin is painful, but urgent. A great warrior was
once persuaded by his enemies to put on a beautiful robe, which they presented to him. Not suspecting their design, he wrapped himself tightly in it, but in a few moments found that it was coated on the inside with a deadly poison. It stuck to his flesh as if it had been glued. The poison entered his flesh, so that, in trying to throw off the cloak, he was left torn and bleeding. But did he for that reason hesitate about taking it off? Did ye stop to think whether it was painful or not? No; he had more sense than that. He tore it off at once, and threw it from him, and hastened away from it to the physician!
C. The Permeation of Sin Addressed
* Why is it if we are all so well-educated and brilliant and gifted and artistic and idealistic and distinguished, that we are so selfish and scheming and dishonest and begrudging and impatient and arrogant and disrespectful of others? Why is it if our civilization is so advanced that we have the world's biggest prison population? Might the reason be sin? Of course it is!
II. They Respond in Obedience to Christ.
A. Christ Commands
Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say. What does it really mean to call Jesus Lord?
Jesus is our commander and Chief.
*When God puts a period, do not change it to a question mark.
B. Counterfeits Condemned
*A Christian father was one day explaining to his little boy what a Christian is.
When he had finished, the little boy asked, "Daddy, have I ever seen a Christian?"
* The Bible tells us that we can't serve God and Mammon, that no
man can serve two masters. Too many Christians, so called, are
like the little chameleon which adapts its coloration to that of
its surroundings. Even a gainsaying world is quick to recognize
a real Christian and just as quick o detect a counterfeit.
- Confidence Confirmed
* There is a legend of a great teacher who had a strange
experience while walking through an orchard on a windy day. Coming
to a fence which divided the grove from an adjoining forest, he
imagined hearing the different types of trees talking to each
other. Boastfully a common maple said to a nearby fruit tree,
"Why don't your leaves rustle in the breeze like ours so that you
can be heard from a distance?" "We don't need such useless
fluttering to draw attention to our presence; our fruit speaks for
us!" was the reply.
III. They Reflect the Brightness of Christ.
A. An Incarnational Light
* A missionary in India was once teaching the Bible to a group
of Hindu ladies. Halfway through the lesson, one of the women
got up and walked out. A short time later, she came back and
listened more intently than ever. At the close of the hour the
leader inquired, "Why did you leave the meeting? Weren't you
interested?" "O yes," the Hindu lady replied. "I was so
impressed with what you had to say about Christ that I went out
to ask your driver whether you really lived the way you talked.
When he said you did, I hurried back so I wouldn't miss out on
B. An Indwelling Light
*If there is light in the soul, There will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, There will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, There will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, There will be peace in the world.
- Chinese Proverb
C. An Invading Light
* Robert Lewis Stevenson, best known for his adventure story Treasure Island, was in poor health during much of his childhood and youth. One night his nurse found him with his nose pressed against the frosty pane of his bedroom window. "Child, come away from there. You'll catch you death of cold," she fussed.
But young Robert wouldn't budge. He sat, mesmerized, as he watched an old lamplighter slowly working his way through the black night, lighting each street lamp along his route. Pointing, Robert exclaimed, "See; look there; there's a man poking holes in the darkness."
- Peter James Flemming, Preaching, November, December, 1994 p. 53
IV. They Reveal The Love of Christ.
A. With a Consistent Witness
* Love talked about is easily turned down, but love demonstrated is irresistible.
B. With a Capable Walk
*A man bought a new hunting dog. Eager to see how he would perform, he took him out to track a bear. No sooner had they gotten into the woods than the dog picked up the trail. Suddenly he stopped, sniffed the ground, and headed in a new direction. He had caught the scent of a deer that had crossed the bear's path. A few moments later he halted again, this time smelling a rabbit that had crossed the path of the deer. And so, on and on it went until finally the breathless hunter caught up with his dog, only to find him barking triumphantly down the hole of a field mouse.
Sometimes we as Christians are like that. We start out with high resolve, keeping Christ first in our lives. But soon our attention is diverted to things of lesser importance. One pursuit leads to another until we've strayed far from our original purpose.
--Love keeps us on the right track, and makes us sure footed along the many trails of life.
C. With Corrective Vision
*In our relationships with others, often what passes for love
is little more than a neat business transaction. People are
kind to us, so we repay them with equal consideration. When
they treat us unjustly, our negative response is really what
they asked for. Everything is so balanced, so fair, so logical
with this eye-for-an-eye and tooth-for-a-tooth kind of justice.
But Christian love never settles for only what's reasonable. It
insists on giving mercy as well as justice. It breaks the chain
of logical reactions. General Robert E. Lee was asked what he
thought of a fellow officer in the Confederate Army who had made
some derogatory remarks about him. Lee rated him as being very
satisfactory. The person who asked the question seemed perplexed. "General," he said, "I guess you don't know what he's been saying about you." "I know," answered Lee. "But I was asked my opinion of him, not his opinion of me!"
- Hate makes us blind, but love frees us to see and respond with a greater sight, and insight into others.
According to United Press International, a 9-year-old girl was raised by barnyard pigs in the Chinese province of Liaoning. The girl had been suckled and raised from infancy by a peasant family's pigs because her disabled parents could not care for her.
Like a Chinese version of "Believe It or Not," the report indicated that the severely deprived child is now being taught to abandon pig-
like behavior in favor of acting human. Her counselors said that the child had learned to crawl like a pig and imitate other piggish actions. She displayed fluctuating emotions and tended to want to live in solitude.
There is something worse than a 9-year-old child who behaves like a pig. It is a professed Christian who thinks and acts like a pagan.