How Do You Recognize a Christian? is a study of the New Testament letters of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. In writing these three letters, John hoped to encourage the young churches scattered throughout Asia Minor to have an authentic, contagious walk with Christ; to rekindle their faith, love, and hope. His challenge to them -- live rightly and boldly in a world gone wrong -- is as relevant for us today as it was for his original readers. We know Jesus is the only real hope. Do we live like He is our only real hope? How will the world recognize real hope if they don’t see it in us?
This week, we’re beginning a new sermon series called, How Do You Recognize a Christian? We’ll be studying through the New Testament letters of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. In writing these three letters, John hoped to encourage the young churches scattered throughout Asia Minor, to have an authentic, contagious walk with Christ; to rekindle their faith, love, and hope. His challenge to them - to live rightly and boldly in a world gone wrong – is as relevant for us today, as it was for his original readers. We know Jesus is the only real hope. Do we live like He is our only real hope? How will the world recognize real hope, if they don’t see it in us?
We are on the front end of our new series, How Do You Recognize a Christian? We’re diving in to the letters written by the Apostle John to the early church. This week, we’ll be taking a look at what it means for those who claim to follow Jesus to walk in the light. Are we really as averse to darkness as our emergency kits would indicate? Or are there places in our lives where we’ve been reluctant to let the light shine in? How well does what we say line up with how we really live? Join us as we look at three indications that we are wandering in the darkness rather than walking in the light.
This week, in our series How Do You Recognize a Christian? we’re looking at what it means to level up in our journey to become more like Christ. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t exempt us from the challenges of life. In fact, in some ways, it can make life harder. There are definitely hazards, obstacles, and an enemy to defeat, as well as treasures to collect along the way. But every step of our adventure with Jesus is intended to challenge us to level up in the way that matters most. We are called to level up our love.
In this message, we’re taking a look at a warning the Apostle John gives to those who have chosen to follow Christ. We all know that God is love. And that the love God has for the world has conquered the power of sin and death for those who accept His love. But not all love is created equal. In fact, there is a particular kind of love that God hates. And this is the love that John wants to warn us about. You might wonder how any kind of love would be problem. I encourage you to join us as we find out together.
In this message, we’re talking about the importance of being able to tell the difference between biblical teaching (doctrine) and false teaching. It is vitally important that we know the truth. Because ‘truth’ comes in a wide variety of flavors these days. Everyone seems to have their own version. We must know, without a doubt, how to navigate the sea of half-truths, almost-truths, and outright lies, in order to stand firm in our faith. And the Apostle John has some important instructions for us on how to develop the ability to identify the liars.
In this continuation of our series, How Do You Recognize a Christian? I’m creating a new word: abidiance. I’ve decided it means “the act of abiding in Christ.”
But what does abiding mean? What does that look like in the life of someone who follows Jesus? Where do we abide and how do we do it? The apostle John, whose letters we are studying this summer, stresses the importance of abiding more than once in his epistle. It’s important that we understand what it means and why it’s so vital for us!
This week in How Do You Recognize a Christian? we’re learning about the hope that is available for our sin-sick world. We do not have to live enslaved to the power of death and destruction. Victory over sin can be our new reality. Are you in need of some hope? There is a Deliverer, a Rescuer, a Hero - who promises freedom to those who will follow Him. I invite you to join us this Sunday, as we talk about what it means to experience freedom from the power of sin, to walk in victory and experience true joy.
There’s an old song that says, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” That’s the heart of what John is getting at in our study this week. The only way the world will know what the love of Jesus looks like, is if they see it authentically reflected in how we love them.
We’ve been working our way through the letters of the Apostle John, in a series we’ve called How Do You Recognize a Christian? We’re looking at the first six verses of 1 John 4 this week, where we find some strong words of exhortation. Like a father warning his children, John reminds his readers, “You can’t believe everything you hear!”
So how do you know what is really true? What sources warrant our trust? There is more information available to the average person today than at any other time in history. It can be overwhelming to even attempt to try and make sense out of the rhetoric, the reporting, the spin, or the sales pitch.
As followers and lovers of Jesus, the way we live should give to those around us clear evidence that we are who we say we are…people who love and follow Christ. Our lives should tell the story of God’s extravagant love for us…and for others. One of the first Bible verses kids learn in Sunday School says, “We love because He (God) first loved us.” In his gospel account of Jesus’ life, John records these words spoken by Christ, “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” Just as I have loved you is a pretty tall order. I mean, I want to love others like Jesus did; but what does that really mean, practically speaking, for me and for you?
Every decision you make, every word you speak, every action you take is directly linked to what you REALLY believe. So, as people who say they believe in Jesus, does the way we live, day in and day out, line up with what we say, or do our actions speak a louder and contradicting message from our words?
We’ve looked at several characteristics that should mark the lives of a Christ-follower over the last couple of months. This week we’ll be taking a look at the concepts of faith, understanding, and belief and how those things impact how we live.
This week we’re coming to the end of John's first letter. As John concludes this first letter, he wants to remind his readers that there are things that we can know; things that are certain, things we can count on, be sure of, bet the farm on. In an uncertain world, that we can be certain of anything brings joy and hope and life to our minds and hearts. And when we choose to focus on the things we can be sure of, those unexpected, unwanted, uninvited things in our lives have far less power over us. We can walk more consistently and with deeper joy, peace, confidence, hope, and love when our faith is sure. Who wouldn’t want that?
In this message, in our series How Do You Recognize a Christian, we’re taking a look at the short book of 2 John. Though only 13 verses long, this letter from the Apostle John holds important truth for us. In just a few verses, John tells us how to keep our love for others within safe boundaries – by building into our lives two solid guardrails that protect us from going off-course: truth and discernment. As pastor Chuck Swindoll writes, “Love flows with life-giving power, but without boundaries, it can do great harm. In the name of love, we can go too far.” Throughout his first letter, John challenged us over and over to love one another. Now in his second letter, he helps us better understand what that love should look like.
In our current culture, identification is a huge deal. We wear our allegiances on t-shirts, baseball caps, bumper stickers, and tattoos. We declare our affiliations and identities on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. So what does your life say about who you are, and what message are you communicating? We are wrapping up our summer series How Do You Recognize a Christian? this Sunday, by taking a look at the last of the Apostle John’s letters. In his final letter, John urges his readers to consider the importance of who or what you represent, how you represent them, and the ripple effect that representation has on the world around you.