A Distinguishing Mark

No Dual Citizenship

We live in one world with two kingdoms intersecting — the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God. Because of the sin of Adam and Eve, we were born naturalized citizens of the kingdom of the world. But, because of the love of Christ, He transferred us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His beloved Son.

The Bible says, “If anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation.” We have been born again. God still has us here on earth because there are still many people who need to know that they have an opportunity to become citizens of heaven. We share the same earth, but we are different.

Remember, there is no dual citizenship. We choose whether we are going to be a citizen of either the world or the kingdom of heaven. There are different distinguishing marks of each kingdom.

Couriers of His Message

We live on the same earth, yet there are distinguishing marks about us as citizens of heaven. In the Book of John, we find one of the most important, distinguishing marks of citizens of heaven. We are to represent Him to those who are still caught as slaves in this old world in which they were born.

He gives us as ambassadors, as couriers of His message. When we have gone through our own death and resurrection, we can be couriers of His message and testify to others there is a way home.

A Different Love

“A new commandment I give to you, that you may love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this, all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

It is not just love. It is a certain quality of love.

We have all kinds of qualities of love in this world. The distinguishing mark of every Christian is the same kind of love that Christ has for us. It cannot be counterfeited and it is the kind of love that only comes from heaven. When we love with this quality of love, all men will know that we are His disciples.

1.      Love People as God Loves Us

The world’s love is one of emotion and performance. It’s a certain quality of love that’s easily tainted and easily destroyed. The Lord will not change the world through this kind of love.

The Lord loves us in every situation. He loves us when we are bad and when we are good. It doesn’t matter. The more we know Him, the more we will know His love and we will be known by this distinguishing mark. The more we get to know God, the more our love changes for others. It becomes a more mature love.

Our love starts to mature when we understand His love, His forgiveness and His healing. When we know we have been forgiven much, we love much. If we think we have just been forgiven a little, we love little. The more we know about His grace, the more mature our love becomes, and the more we love Him, the more we become like Him.

If we are not careful, we will have wrong ideas and wrong concepts about love. We need to define and understand love correctly, and then we will live it correctly and become the person that God wants us to be.

2.      We Must Develop a Knowledgeable Love

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:9-10).

God wants our love to grow in knowledge and discernment. There is a love out there that is unknowledgeable and doesn’t have discernment. It’s a wrong kind of love that will cause our life to stray, because we are going to be pulled toward that which we love the most.

If we don’t have a knowledgeable and discerning love, we will take a wrong definition of love into our marriage, into our families and into our relationships. We need to allow our love to grow or we will lose our identity.

When we lose our identity, we get mixed up. There is a certain kind of love that is a distinguishing mark. There are certain characteristics of this knowledgeable and discerning love.

It is a Love of Character — This kind of love is a love of character, a love of commitment and a love of integrity. The best way to love Jesus is to grow in character.

It is a Love of Choice — It’s a love of choice and commitment and not always a love of emotion. Even when things aren’t going right, I choose to love and I love people.

It’s a Love that Grows — There is a certain quality of love that can be stretched and strained without being broken. That is a quality of love that can cover a multitude of sins. That’s the kind of love that Jesus had for you and for me.

A Transforming Love

When we know God’s love and forgiveness, it is not just a gift that we receive; it is a gift that transforms us and makes us more like Him. It doesn’t just give us a new beginning; it gives us a whole new perspective. This kind of love transforms us and the love that we now give is a quality of love that will change the world and bring redemption. It is His love in us. When people see that in us, they will say, “That’s a distinguishing mark of the people of the kingdom of heaven. That’s the kind of people we want to be.”

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