Reformed Baptist Church - Providence Baptist Church
Four Birthmarks of Every Child of God

Four Birthmarks of Every Child of God (1 John 5:1-5)

By Pastor Bob Boyd

Click Play to Listen to the Sermon

Back to Sermon Archive | Listen on SermonAudio


Introduction Faith Love Obedience Endurance

Clicking the gray titles below will reveal and hide the sermon text.

Clicking this icon (located below each Bible text with a green background) will allow you to further study the text on Blue Letter

Focus Text: 1 John 5:1-5 (ESV)

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him.

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments.

3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.

5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Have you been born again? Maybe? Not sure? You think so?

In order for you to inherit eternity, being born again is essential.

This is what Jesus was referring to when speaking with Nicodemus.

John 3:3 (ESV):

3 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Nicodemus was a religious, pious man who was knowledgeable of the scriptures. By the worlds standards, Nicodemus was a child of God, but Jesus told him he must be born again.

You may be a church member, know all the songs of our faith, have memorized a multitude of Bible verses, wear "church" clothes, and possess an external morality. You may be a preacher, or a deacon, or have been a member of your church for years - you were even there when the foundation was laid. It doesn't matter who you are or what your religious upbringing, you must be born again.

Just as you had no choice or part in your physical birth, so it is with your spiritual birth. You do not become a child of God by your own doing. Your new birth is a work of God.

John 1:12-13 (ESV):

12 But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God,

13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Nicodemus could not seem to grasp the meaning of this.

John 3:4 (ESV):

4 "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"

He understood that with man what Jesus was saying was impossible.

How can we know we are born again? It is not by feelings, nor childhood experiences.

It is true we have the inner witness of the Spirit of God, but is there more objective evidence? Can we check the spiritual DNA of a churchgoer to see whose child they really are?

The Bible speaks to this issue. The Gospel of John and 1 John were written for this purpose. John is going to give some objective proofs of a born again believer.

John is going to reveal some birthmarks that all children of God should possess.

Corporately, he will help us determine the following:

Individually, he will help you determine the following:

2 Peter 1:9-11 (ESV):

9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

At conception, every person takes on some qualities of his or her parents: nose, eyes, ears, skin, etc. These are physical features that delineate you as your mother or your father’s child. In the same way, there are marks that will distinguish you and I as children of God. If we are born of God then we are going to take on the qualities of our Heavenly Father.

I praise God that when He begins His work of grace in His adopted children, He conforms them to the image of His only begotten Son. Not all the way at first, but rest assured that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it.

1 John was written for the assurance of salvation. The pastor's goal should not be to make people doubt their salvation, but to help them be sure of it.

There are 4 birthmarks of every child of God:

1. Faith

2. Love

3. Obedience

4. Endurance

1 John 5:1 (ESV)

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him.

Verse 1 speaks of the continuing faith of a born again believer, signifying that faith is a gracious gift of God and a result of the new birth, not the cause of it. Faith is therefore a mark of every born again believer - every child of God believes in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, the Messiah - the chosen and anointed One, is the man of God’s own choosing. No one claiming to be a child of God can reject Jesus the Chosen One. The Jesus who is represented in the Scriptures, that is.

This is why we can label the cult member as an unbeliever. They create a Jesus from their own imagination - a Jesus who can't save anyone.

Today, many say it doesn’t matter what you believe, just believe in something or someone, or not. Or, if you want, just create your own god.

In many Christian circles, there is no longer a need for a bloody cross and a physical bodily resurrection. However, the Bible is very direct in saying that without a bloody cross and glorious bodily resurrection there is no Christianity.

Colossians 1:19-20 (ESV):

19 For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,

20 and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.

We know that to be born again one must be a believer.

Romans 10:9 (ESV):

...because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

There are some who view faith as a force to be exercised. Well, even an unbeliever can exercise faith. And if you think about it, this is a contradictory statement. Faith in what? This usually means faith in their faith, which is not biblical faith. Biblical faith has as its object the person of Jesus Christ.

The true child of God believes in Jesus because God has graciously placed that belief in him. Peter says this in the book of Acts.

Acts 4:12 (ESV):

12 "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

The Christian is no longer in the realm of unbelief, darkness, and lies, but now dwells in the realm of light, truth, and belief.

There is no such thing as an unbelieving believer. Jesus is the Christ, God’s anointed, His approved, His only begotten Son. To deny Christ is to deny the Father. If you are born of the Father, you will not deny the Son.

If someone says they believe in Jesus, but claim that other gods are equally valid, they deny the very Christ they claim to believe in.

John 14:6 (ESV):

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Colossians 1:15-20 (ESV):

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

16 For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him.

17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

18 And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent.

19 For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,

20 and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.

There is no other god who is equally valid. There is no one or no thing that compares to Him.

The child of God gives evidence of the new birth by his or her continual belief in Jesus Christ. What if they stop believing? This is John’s point - The true believer will not stop believing.

1 John 2:19 (ESV):

19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

The faith that God grants in the new birth is permanent and cannot be lost.

Ephesians 2:8 (ESV):

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God...

2 Peter 1:1 (ESV):

1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Not only can the faith that God grants not be lost, it cannot die either. James tells us that a dead faith is really no faith at all.

James 2:17,26 (ESV):

17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Jesus is the object of our faith. No one who rejects Christ is born again.

1 John 2:22 (ESV):

22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.

1 John 4:3 (ESV):

3 ...and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

So, we see that faith is the first mark John gives.

1 John 5:1-2 (ESV)

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him.

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments.

Not only does the new birth bring us into a faith relationship with God, but also into a love relationship with Him. Love is a gracious gift and mark of a born again believer.

Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit who lives in us and a distinguishing mark of the child of God. And just as it can be cultivated and grown, it can also be neglected and grow cold. This is why we are are encouraged and commanded in both the Old and New Testaments to love.

Humanity does not naturally love God or others. Men naturally love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.

John 3:19 (ESV):

19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

When we experience the new birth we start to look like our Father.

How many times at family reunions have you been told by someone that they know or knew your father?

1 John 4:7-8 (ESV):

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

We love God because He first loved us. This is the priority love of the believers life - not ourselves, not our spouse, not out children, but God.

God's elective love has changed us. This love is natural and right only for the children of God and is what what makes every other love possible.

Love for other believers flows out of our love for God.

If you have siblings, chances are you've fought a time or two. However, regardless of the extent of these fights, you wouldn't let anyone mess with your brother or sister. In the same sense, we should be seeking ways to defend one another.

We shouldn't care about their skin color, finances, or social status. Our only question should be, "Are they a child of God?" If so, then they should be the object of our deepest love.

1 Corinthians 12:26 (KJV):

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

You are a lot of things if you don't love the church: illegitimate, a liar, a pretender, a hypocrite; but not a child of God. Your love for God is called into question as well as the validity of your new birth.

1 John 4:20-21 (ESV):

20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

21 And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

You may be having a hard time with love. If you have a love problem, then you have a relationship problem with God because God's children love one another.

We all know people who are difficult to love. In fact, we can all be that way - fearfully and wonderfully weird. A perfect example of loving the "unloveable" was demonstrated by Paul and Silas when they were in the Philippian jail. Through the way they loved God and through the way they loved the jailer and the other prisoners, there was a change in the jailer's life.

It is the Spirit who gives us a capacity for love and causes us to start looking like our "Dad". John has outlined this truth all throughout his letter.

The character of true love is described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-13.

1 Corinthians 13:4-13 (ESV):

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant

5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

And let's not forget 2 Peter 1:5-7.

2 Peter 1:5-7 (ESV):

5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,

6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,

7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

1 John 5:2-3 (ESV)

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments.

3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

Obedience - This is how love is demonstrated.

Jesus emphasized this point in John 14:15.

John 14:15 (ESV)

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments."

Love Him they did with the exception of one, Judas, who was not a true child.

God has always called His children to obedience. He reshapes their desires so that they fulfill 2 Corinthians 5:15.

2 Corinthians 5:15 (ESV)

15 ...and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.

A child may obey his or her father out of fear. However, they obey best when it is out of love.

We must understand that God's commandments are not meant to be burdensome, but are a loving framework to protect His children. We see the loving character of God in them.

There is also something new in us, an ability we didn’t have before, an ability to obey God. We were taken out of the realm of disobedience, sin, and darkness, brought into His marvelous light, and given a capacity for obedience.

To a people weary of trying to keep all the burdensome traditions of the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus said concerning the religious leaders, they “lay heavy burdens on men’s shoulders”. However, He said to weary that His yoke was easy and His burden was light.

Duty becomes desire when we meet Jesus - when we are born again. Then it is no duty when God says, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." It is no duty when He says, "Don’t steal, kill, lie, or commit adultery”. It is our joy and good pleasure to please our Father.

It is Jesus who sets a man free in the new birth. He sets him free to serve, to be a slave of righteousness, which is the greatest freedom you and I could ever know. There is no freedom, however, if a person is a slave to sin.

Psalms 119:54 (ESV):

54 Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.

The child of God delights in the laws of the Lord. He knows the Lord loves him, saved him, and met the requirements of the law for him.

These are days of spiritual insanity. Even in Bible-believing churches obedience has become optional - just a matter of personal preference. Loving discipline is described as harmful, hateful, and destructive to the church. Morals no longer matter in the day we live. We are expected to be accepting of everyone and whatever they want to do.

Jesus says we are most loving when we obey.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV):

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,

10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Galatians 5:24 (ESV):

24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Does your life reflect who your Father is? It may be hard sometimes, but it's not a burden you can't carry.

1 John 5:4-5 (ESV)

4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.

5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

We are in an all out battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil. This requires the child of God to endure every hardship. John says that God's children are described this way.

There is an enduring quality to the life of a believer. They don’t quit before the end, they endure to the end. Every child of God perseveres, not because they are tenacious, strong, or courageous, but because God keeps them and produces an enduring quality within them.

The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 is a record of how true faith endured every trial and emerged victorious.

Job 13:15 (ESV):

15 Though He slay me, I will hope in Him; yet I will argue my ways to His face.

When we read Christ's letters to the seven churches in Revelation, we see one overarching message - “To him who overcomes...”

In addition, Jesus made promises to these churches if they could endure and overcome:

The victory of endurance lies with the Lord Jesus. The child of God has an endless resource in the Word they delight in and in the Spirit they are inhabited by. He is kept by the power of God until the completion of his faith, which is eternal glory.

John 16:33 (ESV):

33 "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Remember, what you think you are unable to do, Christ has already done for you. Endurance is a continual work of God for you and in you.

Romans 8:18-39 (ESV):

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope

21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?

25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

27 And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

29 For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.

30 And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

32 He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?

33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.

34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,

39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Philippians 4:13 (ESV):

13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

So many people live defeated lives, but enduring through Christ is a distinguishing mark of born again believers.

2 Corinthians 4:7-14 (ESV):

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;

9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak,

14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.

Consider these examples of endurance:

Many Christians have the mindset of a beggar; they're constantly crying, "Woe is me!” - Unwilling to tap into the victory that is theirs through Jesus Christ.

Consider these facts about our victory:

How can we act so defeated when Jesus is the all-time champion over sin, death, and hell, and He lives within us?

Were you ever bullied as a child and your older brother stepped in and took up for you? It's the same way with Christ. Sin, death, and hell are all bullies, but Jesus is the older brother who steps in and defends us.

1 John 5:13 (ESV):

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The KJV Bible (The Holy Bible, King James Version). Public domain.

Blue Letter Bible icon, copyright Blue Letter All rights reserved.

© 2017 Providence Baptist Church