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For a human being to be considered alive, there are certain things which must be present. The two biggies are: A heart beat – circulation. And, there must be respiration – breathing. Most add to those these days, brain activity. If there’s no brain activity, no heartbeat and no respiration – then the undeniable conclusion is – this person is dead.
Not surprisingly, there are some vital signs which must be present when someone is spiritually alive as well. If they aren’t present, something is horribly wrong.
That’s our topic today on Through the Word in 2020. I’m your host, Reid Ferguson. Jeremiah 41-45; Luke 24:50-John 1:18 and 2 Peter 3:14-1 John 1:1-4, fill our reading roster today. And 1 John is a letter all about spiritual vital signs. A book that is deceptively deep. On the surface, its brevity and emphasis on love make it appear simple. Yet it is one which many commentators consider exceedingly complex. In its complexity, the book answers a most important question: How is a Christian distinguished from all others?
In a modern climate where people seem to most often define themselves more by what they are against than what they are for – 1 John argues that a true Christian’s vital signs are located in what he or she loves. Contrary to the 2 or 3 vital signs which indicate biological life, spiritual life has at least 5. 5 loves, which if not present, indicate a dire state indeed.
- The one who has been born again by the Spirit of God – loves God. Not just the idea of God, but comes to have a genuine affinity for God Himself. They possess a newly created desire to know and please Him. And their awareness of His grace and mercy in salvation warms them so as to love Him.
2. He or she loves the brethren, other Christians – no matter how little else they have in common. They may not like them very much at times. They might rightly see their faults, failures and foibles, but they love them. They have an inward need to be around them, and to bless them. They are blessed by them.
3. They love God’s Word. Oh, they may struggle to read and study it. They may not be natural “readers” and find it takes serious effort to bring themselves to it. But they know instinctively it is God speaking, and they want to hear His voice and know all He has to say.
4. They love holiness and strive after it no matter how elusive. They want to be like Christ. They want to please their heavenly Father. They want to be free of the sins that formerly bound them.
5. They love Jesus Christ. They know Him as their substitute. That He died in their place on the Cross. And they long after Him. They want to serve and honor Him. They love Him, having never seen Him.
Each of these is a divine vital sign. If any is missing, life is missing.
So we ask, are you alive in Christ?
Do you have these vital signs?
The question is not how strong each one is – only whether or not they are present.
Among his other reasons – John says he wrote this little letter stating that “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.” (5:13)
So, do you? I pray so.
God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.