Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Being Different (1 John 3:11-24)

What makes Christians different from everyone else? I bet if you asked a hundred different people, you'd get a hundred different answers but I'd be pretty certain that many would say things like...

- They think they're better than everyone else
- They think they're the only ones who've got it right
- They're arrogant and boring

Having said that, I also think that many others in the survey would say things like...

- They really care about people
- They think of others more than themselves
- They seem to be full of peace/love

What do you think? Maybe it's worth doing the survey to find out!

1 John 3:11-24

I think John suggests three big ideas about what marks Christians out as different from everyone else...

They believe in Jesus (v23). Not just that he existed but they believe in his name. That means they believe in who he is - the Son of God! And believing in doesn't just mean an intellectual agreement with but it means a total trust in and dependence on Jesus. It's like me saying I believe that a chair will hold my weight when I sit in it. It won't do me any good until I actually sit down in the chair! Believing in Jesus means being in Jesus! It's about complete love and trust towards God. Believing is the main command John talks about when he's describing what it looks like to do what Jesus says (v23).

They love people (v11, 14, 16-18). Not just people they like but everyone! Even people who mistreat them and mock them. Even strangers. In fact, anyone who has any kind of need should find that Christians are the first people to step up and care emotionally and help practically (v17). All hatred is gone because we have passed from death into life (v14).

They have the Spirit of God in them (v24). None of this is possible or sustainable without God himself living is the hearts of Christians. Not just his power or his life or some impersonal force, but God himself by his Holy Spirit living in Christians. All Christians have the Holy Spirit living in them and it is he that makes it possible for them to love God and love others the way they should - the way God has loved us first (v16).

If you're a Christian - How are YOU different from anyone else?

If you're not - How different can you be without a relationship with God?