Putting God's Word into Practice…

1 John 4 ~ Marks of a Christian

on March 1, 2014

This chapter points out three marks that characterize someone who calls themselves a Christian.  1) They have the ability to discern truth from a lie due to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. 2)  They confess that Jesus is God’s Son and the Savior of the world.  3) They love others like Jesus loves us.

Verses 1-6, 13.  Indwelling Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit affects our speech.  How we speaks shows if we are filled with the Holy Spirit or not.  People filled with the Spirit, don’t speak in a way that makes sense to the world.  The power of the Holy Spirit also gives us the ability to discern if others are speaking truth or lies.  The indwelling Spirit is more powerful than anything we face externally from the world.  He gives us victory over the lies of Satan and over worldly influences.

Verses 14-15.  Confession about Christ.  What we believe and confess about Jesus Christ shows whether or not we understand the good news and can truly be called by His name.  We must believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  He is not just a prophet, a teacher, a moral man–He is God’s perfect Son!  He is not just one way for people to believe and get to Heaven–He is the ONLY way to the Father!  God sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world.  Only Jesus can save from sin, death and hell.  If someone calls themselves a Christian and speaks anything other than these truths, they are not a Christian. And according to verse three they have the spirit of the antichrist in them, not the Holy Spirit of God.

Verses 7-12, 16-21.  Love one another.  God is love, and He is the giver of love.  He showed His love by sending Jesus to give us life (not to give us rules to follow or guilt), and to be the sacrifice to take away our sins (not take away our fun).  God loved us first.  We didn’t earn it–nor can we.  We didn’t love Him first or ask Him to love us.  He is love, and He gives love.  Therefore, it is impossible to know God and be unloving.  If God abides in us, so does His love!  It is also impossible to keep the first commandment to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength without keeping the second commandment to love others!

“And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.” (1 John 4:17)  How do we live and love like the Lord?

  • We love first!  No one should have to earn our love or behave in a lovable way to keep it!
  • We love in a way that gives life to others.
  • We sacrifice ourselves and give grace freely to others.

Christian means “little Christ.”  If we don’t love people we are not like Jesus at all and make a mockery of the title “Christian.” Christian is not merely a title–it is a way of life!


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