From now on, let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body.
Marks, trademarks, we are surrounded by them. Out west I am guessing that some cattle are still branded so the rancher knows his cattle. Marks, trademarks. Everyone knows the Nike swoosh, youngsters know the Underarmor “U”, if you own a Dodge truck, it’s branded with that Ram. The list goes on and on but by the mark something is branded. Each person here today wears a mark… you are branded in one way or another.
There are some positive brands that people may put on you. They may see you as: A good man or a good woman. You may be branded as being: Kind, Sensitive, Angry, Rude, Happy. Some may recognize you as being: A great mother, A devoted friend, A helpful neighbor. You have heard the phrase “he would give you the shirt off his back”. That is a mark in your life. That is what people see when they see you!
I’ve got marks, some of which I know are negative and I hope some see positive marks in me but more important than those marks is the fact that in November of 1999, I was branded, marked by Christ! Throughout eternity I will bear the “Mark of my Master, Jesus!” Whether you know it or not you wear a “Mark” today! You have either surrendered to Jesus or you are lost. And if you have surrendered to Jesus you have been “Marked By Jesus”.
In our scripture today, notice the phrase “I carry the marks”… this literally means I bear the “stigma” of Jesus Christ. “Stigma” refers to “a mark pricked in or branded upon the body” In ancient times a slave would be “branded” with the “mark” of his master. These “brands” or “marks” made it clear who they belonged to. Some accused Paul of not being a disciple of Jesus, an apostle. He was being accused by the Judaizers. Some were accusing him of not being a true preacher, not being a God called man, not being an apostle, In their minds he was not worthy of apostleship. This is Paul’s answer: From now on, let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body.
Paul had literal “marks” on his body, he had been wounded, beaten, bruised, broken, and stoned. People could say what they wanted… PAUL HAD THE SCARS TO PROVE HE WAS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST! PAUL SUFFERED A BUNCH! It’s a long list, check out 2 Corinthians 11:24-26. Yes, Paul was truly “Marked By The Master, Jesus”… What about you? Is there visible evidence that you are a slave that belongs to Jesus Christ in your life? A Christians we are “slaves” of Jesus Christ and our lives are marked by Him! Being called a Christian is a “stigma”, a mark.
Though Christian is a label or a brand that we wear, there is much more involved in what Paul is speaking of in this verse. This is not just a title that we are given or a logo that we can put on and take off. When you are TRULY “Marked By Jesus” It is a life that is permanently branded by the Lord Jesus!
And when Jesus brands you there will be visible evidence!! – 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. So let’s look at this.
I. Is Your Life Marked By Faith
Paul was willing to suffer and endure the pain and agony that caused those scars in his body because he had FAITH in his Lord! Galatians 2:20, “and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
He had faith that Jesus was crucified for him… He had faith that Jesus would sustain him no matter what persecution he encountered, He had faith the Jesus was the one accomplishing the great works in his life.
Up until now Paul had spent his life in the Jewish religion, he was as religious as a man could be and he was trusting in his own righteousness and works for salvation. He had spent his time persecuting the early church and trying to destroy it. He preached against Jesus and was killing Christians. Then Jesus met him on a persecution trip on the road to Damascus. Jesus showed up and called his name! SAUL, SAUL why do you persecute me? At that very moment it changed his life forever. Paul walked away from the rituals and legalism that he had known his whole life, and he put his faith and trust in the Lord Jesus to saved him for all eternity! And Paul was saved and justified BY FAITH!
Galatians 3:11, “Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” What about you? In your actions and deep in your soul do you think that you can work your way into heaven by doing enough deeds? Nothing is farther from the truth! You can never do enough good deeds, SALVATION IS THROUGH FAITH ALONE!! If have truly surrendered to Jesus, if you are truly a Christian, it all begins with faith! If you are a slave of Christ the you will bear the mark of faith! Paul’s faith did not end on Damascus road. His life was marked by faith from that point forward.
If you bear the mark of faith it will continue throughout the remainder of your life. You not only have the faith the Jesus saved you, you can live with faith that Jesus will sustain you no matter what may happen in this life! Not only did Paul bear the Mark of Faith, He also bore the mark of faithfulness! What about you?
II. Is Your Life Marked By Faithfulness
Faithfulness is defined as – steady in allegiance or affection, DEVOTION! This marked Paul’s life, a complete devotion to his Lord. Complete, not now and then, not just one day a week. From the moment he met Jesus, trouble began. He lived in no man’s land. The Jews rejected him and his message, The Christians in the beginning were afraid of him and didn’t really trust him. Then he suffered physical persecution. He was in and out of prison for the rest of his life. no matter what he faced he never walked away. He never said “things were better before I met Jesus”. He never returned to his old life, he NEVER returned to his old life, he never returned to his old life a few days of the week. He remained faithful to the one who loved him and gave himself for him.
There are so many people who have come to Jesus, come to church, and done the opposite. They come to Jesus, surrendered to Jesus, prayed a prayer and began walking in the right direction and things were good, for a while. Then trouble came or even time passed by and they walked away! They said it is not worth it and they went back to what they knew.
Here is how you know you are marked, you are devoted to your master Jesus, NO MATTER WHAT COMES YOUR WAY! These are the ones who like Paul comprehend the sacrifice of Jesus, they know they never could or even make it on their own! They know they were lost and on the road to Hell and Jesus sought them and bought them and changed them forever!
What about you? Is your life marked by Faithfulness to Your Master Jesus? Do you serve Him in the good times and the bad? Do you serve Him every day? Or maybe things got difficult and you just turned and walked away. Possibly worse yet, time has passed and there is no passion, there is no difference between you and the good man or woman of the world. If you are truly His, your life will be MARKED BY FAITHFULNESS! Yes,
III. Is Your Life Marked By Passion
Passion – exhibiting or marked by great intensity of feeling : zealous. Galatians clearly shows Paul’s passion. Here’s an example, Galatians 3:1-5, “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing?—if it really was for nothing. Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?”
That’s passion! Paul had passion for the message of Grace! Paul had a passionate concern for the converts at Galatia! Paul had passion for serving Jesus! Throughout the new testament you can find the great passion that Paul possessed! When Jesus got a hold of Paul and transformed him it changed every aspect of his life. Paul was a man who lived with a burden for lost people! Not only did Paul believe that Jesus was real, Paul believed in Hell and he didn’t want people to go there!
What about you? You claim to be a Christian! You like to fly that banner and wear that brand but is there any REAL evidence that you are truly one of Christ’s. Are you real or just a cheap imitation? If you have truly been Marked by Jesus then you will have a burden for lost souls. You will have passion in your service to Christ
Do you bear the mark of passion? Not only did Paul have faith, faithfulness and passion his life, his life was marked by fruit! So I ask you:
IV. Is Your Life Marked By Fruitfulness
Back in Chapter 5 Paul told us about “the fruits of the spirit”
He stated that the Holy Spirit produces certain fruits in our lives: – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Self-Control…… This is the proof of the Spirit life! These “fruits of the Spirit” are marks that will be seen in the life of a believer. It is also an indicator of salvation! A lost man will never truly posses all of the fruits of the Spirit apart from Christ! I ask you to take a moment and take a test… which list describes you better?
1. Are you living a life that is marked by – sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.
2. Or is your life marked by – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
You say that you have surrendered to Jesus, (or saved), I hope so but the scriptures tell us that there WILL be fruit in the life of a believer! Are you LED by the flesh or are you LED by the Spirit?
The verb “led” indicates voluntary submission YOU make the decision as to WHO will lead you! YOU decide if you are going to listen to your FLESH! YOU decide if you are going to be submissive and obedient to the SPIRIT!
In order to bear this fruit you must be surrendered to Jesus. It was because Paul was SPIRIT LED that he faced the danger, trouble and persecution that he did! If he were in the flesh he would have fled because of fear! If you are Truly Marked By The Master Jesus, you will bear the mark of fruitfulness!
V. Is Your Life Marked By Focus
Notice that Paul said I bear the marks of Jesus. Paul faced what he faced to bring honor and glory to his Savior. Notice what he said in – 6:14, “May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Paul knew that his wants and desires did not matter, but he was willing to go wherever he was told to go, he was willing to do whatever he was told to do, he was focused on pleasing his master!
When we have truly surrendered, when we are marked by our master Jesus, it means that we are more than just His servant. It means we are someone “who is deprived of our personal freedom and so becomes fully an instrument in the hands of his master, Jesus. His marked people are one who can never say ‘No’ to the master”. Many Christians want a casual relationship with Jesus, where He is an advisor, but not the authority of their lives. This is not the case… WE ARE SLAVES OF THE MASTER, JESUS!
When you are a slave: your wants don’t matter, your desires don’t matter, your likes and dislikes don’t matter, your goals and aspirations do not matter, a slave only exists to serve the master. Folks our purpose in this life is to bring honor and glory to our Master! Do you want to know the meaning of life? Do you really want to know why we are all here? IT IS TO BRING HONOR AND GLORY TO JESUS, THE MASTER! Is your focus in this life to bring glory to the Master? If it is not, then there are some changes that need to be made in your life!
I ask you to examine your life? Have you truly been “Marked By Jesus, The Master”?