Five Birthmarks of a Christian

Sunday April 30, 2017   Phone: 570.829.5216
Pastor David Miklas e-mail pdmikBBM@aol.com
Message: Five Birthmarks of a Christian – Text: IJo 1-5

Five Birthmarks of a Christian

 

INTRODUCTION: Imagine what would happen to our Bible if the books given to the apostle John by the Holy Spirit were removed from the Scriptures. The Spirit of God directed John to pen five of the New Testament epistles. Apart from Paul, no other author would write as much sacred scripture in the New Testament as he did. His five books are:

 

The Gospel of John – Speaks of Salvation, Christ as the Prophet and the believers are described as “sheep in God’s fold.”

 

Epistles of I, II, III John –     Speaks of Sanctification, Christ as the Priest and the believers are described as members in a family.

 

Revelation of Jesus Christ – Speaks of Glorification, Christ as the King, and the believers are described as priests in God’s Kingdom.

 

In I John we do not find such expressions as “in my opinion, as it were, the way I see it.” With John the Beloved, writing under the inspiration of God, “light is light, truth is truth, error is error.” There is no “twilight,” no half-truth.” We might refer to this epistle as “the book of no compromise!” It is crystal clear. God gave this epistle to John for the believer so that, “hereby we KNOW.”

 

In John’s Gospel 20:31 we read, “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and believing ye might have life through His name.”

 

In I John 5:13 we read, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that YE MAY KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

 

Comparing these two verses, we see the Gospel of John and the first epistle of John are complimentary one to another.

 

The Gospel of John was written specially that men might believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and believing, have life. The first epistle of John was given to the church, so that true believers might know that they have life and that this eternal life is in Christ Jesus.

 

In the Gospel of John we see divine life as revealed in Christ Jesus, the Son of God. In the first epistle of John we see the same divine life realized in the true born again believer.

 

In the Gospel of John we discover the WAY of eternal life, through the Son of God, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” In the first epistle of John we see unfolded the nature of eternal life now possessed by the true believer.

 

As we carefully read through 1 John, we notice a five-fold argument for the certainty and assurance of salvation. We could call these the “Five Birthmarks of the Christian.”

 

FIRST: The Birthmark of CONFESSION described in 1 John 5:1 where we read, "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God."

 

In verse 4 we read, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, ever our FAITH.”

In verse 5, we read, “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that BELIEVETH that Jesus is the Son of God?”

 

When it comes to faith it is NOT what I FEEL, it is NOT how I THINK! Faith is what I KNOW!

 

In John 6:47 we read, “Verily, Verily, I say unto you, He that BELIEVETH on me hath everlasting life.”

In Acts 16:31 we read, "BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."

 

Before you can have assurance of salvation, you have to believe and confess Jesus Christ as Saviour.

 

Some people assume they are saved because they grew up in a Christian culture.

Others assume they are a Christian because of the kind of church they have gone to all their lives.

Still others believe they are going to Heaven because they have been baptized, or they have tried to live a good life.

 

Yet they've never personally confessed Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. In Romans 10:9-11 we read, 

 

“That if thou shalt CONFESS with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt BELIEVE in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man BELIEVETH unto righteousness; and with the mouth CONFESSION is made unto salvation. (11) For the scripture saith, Whosoever BELIEVETH on him shall not be ashamed.”

 

The Bible teaches that we are sinners, separated from God by a sinful nature. We can never earn, buy, or climb our way into heaven. By our own efforts or goodness, we can never be saved.

 

That's why God became a man who lived a wholly righteous life, died on the cross, shed His blood for us, and rose from the dead. He paid our penalty, took our judgment upon Himself, and He offers us, the opportunity to be born again.

 

SECOND: The Birthmark of CHANGE The first birthmark is our confession of Christ as our Savior and Lord, the second is a changed life. In 1 John 2:29 we read, “…every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.”  

 

When Jesus truly saves us, it makes a difference in how we think, act, speak, and conduct ourselves. In II Corinthians 5:17 we read, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

 

As we learn to practice righteousness, our habits should change.

 

The places we went to before we were saved should change.

The people we associated with, the way we dressed, the music we listen to, the things we read and laugh at along with the TV shows we watched should change.

 

Old things have passed away – literally they have died, they are gone. I am not what I used to be. All things have now become refreshingly new. I am a new man living life 24/7.

 

We will not be sinlessly perfect while we're on this planet; but if we're Christians, we need to behave like Christians. If we say we're saved but nothing has changed about us, something is wrong. Listen to this

 

 

We are not saved by good works, but we are saved for good works, and the Gospel is a transforming agent in our lives.

 

To be honest with you this is one of a number of areas that really bothers me about God’s people. They talk about being saved, but all the while they live as if they are unsaved. They live just as worldly as they did before they came to Christ.

 

The first Birthmark is CONFESSION.

The second Birthmark is CHANGE.

 

THIRD: The Birthmark of COMPASSION Those who are truly saved also bear the birthmark of compassion.

 

Question, how can you know that you are a Christian?

Answer, by what you believe, by how you live, and by whom you love.

 

Love is a recurring theme in I John, and the apostle leaves no doubt about how it permeates the lives of true Christians.

 

In I John 4:7 we read, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

 

In I John 3:14 we read, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”

 

The command to love in the New Testament is one of the scripture’s most repeated, inescapable directives for the believer. It affects us in each of the many roles we play, as parents, spouses, children, friends, and fellow believers.

 

Someone said, “The church is God’s audio presentation to a dying culture and people are looking and people are listening. People should be able to walk into a Christian fellowship and see the God of love within the lives and activities of his people.”

 

Another said, “God's love is PROCLAIMED in the Word of God, and His love is PROVED at the cross. But here we have something deeper. God's love is PERFECTED in us. Fantastic as it may seem, God's love is not made perfect in angels, but in sinners like us saved by grace.”

 

Listen, it is not your belief, rather it is Christ’s love in you and from you that communicates to the unsaved world of people in Edwardsville, and all over this valley.

 

They don't care about your Confession of Faith.

They don't care how much you know about the Bible.

They don't care how much time you spend in church.

They don't care how much time you spend in prayer.

 

Your unsaved neighbors want to see if you’re for REAL. God has placed an obligation ON us and it is by this that we shall tell the world not only God is love but Jesus saves.

 

The bottom line is, we cannot say we love the Lord one minute and turn around and snub our brother or sister in Christ the next! I reckon this is probably one of the greatest shortcomings of the church today.

 

Do you love your brothers and sisters in the family of God? Those who are truly saved are those who enjoy and bless the household of faith, the family of God.

 

 

The first Birthmark is CONFESSION.

The second Birthmark is CHANGE.

The third Birthmark is COMPASSION.

 

FOURTH: The Birthmark of CONFLICT  In 1 John 5:4 we read, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” The word “overcometh” implies a struggle. We're faced with an adversary whom we must overcome.

 

Our adversary is identified in 1 John 2:14 as the wicked one: “I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.”

 

John went on in verses 15-17 to say: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (17) And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”

 

John comes right out in verse 15 and says "STOP loving the WORLD'S SYSTEM and the things that are IN that system." The tense of the language tell us if you love the "world's system" as a habit then you cannot say you love God.

 

The WORLD'S SYSTEM or WORLDLINESS is not so much a matter of ACTIVITY, as of ATTITUDE. If you love the things of this world, then you cannot love the Father in Heaven.

 

Here is one of the best descriptions of this WORLD'S SYSTEM I have read, "The world is human nature sacrificing the spiritual to the material, the future to the present, the unseen and the eternal to that which touches the senses and perishes with time."

 

Let's face it, we either belong to God and live for God, or we belong to this world and live like the world. And if you belong to God but live like the world then you are an enemy of God. James 4:4 expressed this,

 

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the WORLD is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the WORLD is the enemy of God.”

 

The world's system without God surrounds and touches our lives every day. There is no escaping its reality.

 

WORLDLINESS is in our homes.

WORLDLINESS is in our lives.

WORLDLINESS is in our churches.

 

As someone said, we looked for the church and found it in the world; we looked for the world and found it in the church. "Is it any wonder that our teenagers are so confused when they see the church acting like the world?"

 

Everything about the LIFE STYLE OF THE WORLD touches us every day. Someone said, "CHRISTIANS must live in the WORLD but they are not to let the WORLD LIVE IN THEM."

 

Jesus said as Christians we are to be "the salt of the earth" and the "light of the world." We are to change the World, but not allow the World to change us.

 

When you're genuinely born of God, you'll be growing to be an overcomer as you deal with the temptations around you—the world, the flesh, and the devil.

You may not be victorious over every temptation every time, but you'll make progress in gaining more victories and losing less battles as you grow stronger in Christ and in the power of the abiding Word of God.

 

The first Birthmark is CONFESSION.

The second Birthmark is CHANGE.

The third Birthmark is COMPASSION.

The fourth Birthmark is CONFLICT. 

 

FIFTH: The Birthmark of CONDUCT We should see evidence for the validity of salvation in our desire to conduct ourselves in a way that pleases God.

 

In 1 John 3:9 we read, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

 

The word for sin in this verse is a present active infinitive and it describes a continuous action.

 

John is not saying that whoever sins once is not born of God. That would disqualify all of us. It would certainly disqualify me.

But John is saying, in effect, "Whoever keeps on willfully sinning, violating God's law with stubborn disregard and ongoing wickedness, cannot have assurance of salvation."

 

If we are truly saved, we will grieve over our sins, confess them, and seek God's grace to do better.

 

His grace is inexhaustible and His salvation is irreversible. His Word was given that you might know Jesus Christ as Savior and that you might know that you have eternal life. Now let’s quickly review:

 

The first Birthmark is CONFESSION.

The second Birthmark is CHANGE.

The third Birthmark is COMPASSION.

The fourth Birthmark is CONFLICT. 

The fifth Birthmark is CONDUCT.

 

Now, with these five birthmarks in mind let’s look at your “maturity level in your Christian life.” Since you have been saved, has there been a difference in your life? Have you begun to grow as II Peter 3:18 tells us “In the Grace and Knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ?” Or are you just drifting through life.

 

Unfortunately I have heard this statement more than I would have liked to have heard it. Someone comes to me and says, “They’re not growing or they’re looking for deeper teaching.” They claim they need a church where they can grow and mature more spiritually.

 

While everyone might have one or two life-time changes in churches, the kind of ‘this isn’t doing it for me’ movement that characterizes church today alarms me.

 

I’ve noticed that the people who often claimed to be the most spiritually ‘mature’ (or at least on that quest) are often people who are

 

Somewhat judgmental,

Generally disinterested in reaching their unchurched friends,

Self-focused and serially dissatisfied, and

Often unwilling to actually commit long-term to any local church.

 

Question: are these really the characteristics of maturity? Maybe what poses as maturity isn’t always maturity. Here are three points of confusion I’ve noticed in the maturity discussion in the church today:

 

Number 1: Depth of knowledge is seen as the goal of maturityIt’s wonderful that people understand what they believe, but knowledge in and of itself is not a hallmark of Christian maturity. In I Corinthians 13, “knowledge puffs up. Love, by contrast, builds up.” And some of the most biblically literate people in Jesus’ day got by-passed as disciples.

 

Number 2: Clarity is mistaken for superficialitySometimes people assume a teaching is ‘deep’ because they can’t understand it. They walk out of church and you ask them what they learned. They say “I’m not sure, but wow, it was deep.” How helpful is that?

Preachers need to be clear, but often, there’s a pressure on us ‘to go deeper’ by offering information that’s confusing or even irrelevant in the name of ‘being deep’.

It is possible that you can become so involved in the deep pursuit of Bible knowledge looking for the deep things of God that you, as I have seen, trip over the simplicity of the truth God is seeking to bring to your attention.

Number 3: People think the church is responsible for their spiritual growth. People leave churches because they’re not growing. But really, whose responsibility is growth? Is it THEIRS, is it MINE; is it YOURS?

 

Why is it that people who say they are most passionate about maturity, blame others for their lack of maturity? I just don’t get that. Isn’t responsibility a sign of maturity?

 

For sure, the church can help. In the same way a gym can help you get fit; a friend can help you through a tough time. But you are responsible for getting in shape, for getting better and even for your personal and spiritual growth.

 

So what are some marks of a different kind of ‘maturity’ that ought to be in your life today?  Here are five to consider.

 

First: A passion for application Biblical knowledge is ultimately designed for application. The kind of maturity that honors God most deeply is knowledge applied in love.

 

Our lives should be different.

Our marriages should be different.

Our parenting should be different.

Our love for our neighbors and community should be different.

Our confession and repentance should be deep and authentic.

Our transparency should be authentic.

 

We should be radically committed to living out our faith.

 

Second: Humility True Christian maturity has always been marked by humility. In James 4:6-10 we read,

 

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the HUMBLE. (7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (9) Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. (10) HUMBLE yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

 

Third: A servant’s heart True maturity shows in many things (including faith) when your quest becomes about others, not yourself.  Mature Christians live for Christ and live for others. They live like the example the Apostle Paul gives in Colossians 4:7 where he said, “All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:”

 

Fourth: A love for unchurched people Real maturity is not a life lived in pursuit of self but in a life lived pursuing the unsaved. It is obeying the great commission of reaching the lost. Mark 16:15 tells us, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” This verse speaks of the  GREAT COMMISSION of which our chorus could be,

 

Lord lay some soul upon my heart,
And love that soul through me,

And may I humbly do my part to win that soul for thee.

 

Every Christian is under the mandate to win souls. Soul-winning is not a matter of personal choice but of divine command. It is mandatory. Hundreds of people in our community are waiting for somebody to bring them the simple message of salvation.

 

Fifth: A deep investment I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I do think one of the marks of mature faith is a deep investment in the Kingdom of God.

 

I have not done this, but sometimes I wonder if you checked the giving records of people who complain most about being fed, you might see scant evidence of a sacrificial investment in the Kingdom of God. Conversely, you will see many people deeply committed to quietly serving others who have a deep investment in the Kingdom.

 

I remind you that tithing is not an option. It is a part of life that upon the first day of the week we are to bring unto God the first tenth of what we receive. Remember Jesus said, “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”

 

So having discussed the FIVE BIRTHMARKS of our faith, how are you doing with your maturity level?

 

What do you think the future of the church would look like if we pursued application, humility, service, love for the unchurched and a deep investment in the Kingdom?

 

***********************************************************************

If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon “The FIVE Birthmarks of a Christian” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.

 

Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in

 

Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”

Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”

If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.

The “Weekly SERMON” was sent as a ministry of Bible Baptist Ministry, 48 Alexie Rd., Hanover Township, PA 18706. Privacy policy: your e-mail address will not be sold, or shared with any third party.

 

Copy write permission: Because the “Weekly SERMON” will be reproduced into other formats, PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THE FOLLOWING: The “Weekly SERMON” in its original form, without any changes, may be copied and re-transmitted by electronic mail, and copies may be printed for individual or ministry purposes, provided that such copying, re-transmission, printing, or other use is not for profit or other commercial purpose.  Any copying, re-transmission, distribution, printing, or other use of the “Weekly SERMON” must set forth in full the heading that is given before each “Weekly SERMON.” Any other request for use, please contact Bible Baptist Ministries at pdmikBBM@aol.com or by phone at 570.829.5216.

In His Amazing Grace,

Pastor<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
David Miklas
PS: In order to access the Weekly SERMON, in various FORMATS please SUBSCRIBE to our weekly email list at https://theweeklysermon.com/subscribe-or-unsubscribe/ where SUBSCRIBERS  ONLY have access to the link to Weekly Sermon Library, SUBSCRIBERS can choose: Plain Text (TXT), Microsoft Word document (DOC), Rich Text (RTF), Web Page (HTML) or PDF (Portable Document Format), any of the format(s) you desire. After you decide on the appropriate format(s) you may then print a copy of the Weekly SERMON, save it to a file on your computer, or download it and save it to a disk for future use. SUBSCRIBERS use of this material is meant to be flexible: UNSUBSCRIBING is easy, just follow the same link above..