A Christian Trademark?

Bible Book: John  13 : 34-35
Subject: Love; Christian Love; Christian Living; Love of Christ; Foot Washing

A Christian Trademark?

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com

John 13:34-35:

"34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Do Christians have a trademark? We know that trademarks are especially important in the world of business, finance, and sports. We all recognize the Amazon arrow, the large yellow M made up of two French fries in McDonald’s logo, the red outline of the chicken for the Chick-fil-a company, and many others. We can recognize our favorite sports teams by just seeing their logos. Companies want you to recognize their product or service in a matter of seconds, so they try their best to create an image you can recognize at merely a glance.

Have you ever thought about the trademark for our Christian faith? Is there anything in particular that identifies us to the world?

Some people will immediately assume that the trademark for a Christian is a cross. Though the cross is used as an identification of a Christian church, it is not the trademark of a Christian. You can see a cross tattoo on a drug dealer or a cross necklace around the neck of a prostitute. Though I like cross lapel pins and jewelry, it simply is not the identifying mark of a Christian. Some think the fish symbol is the trademark of the Christian, but that is not true. Fish emblems are on many different types of fishing gear and fishing equipment companies. So, what is the trademark of a Christian?

Before I tell you the trademark of a Christian, let me tell you the story of a hidden trademark. Are you familiar with the code A113? No? Well let me tell you about it. A113 is a hidden trademark – one you have to be looking for to actually ever see it. What is this about? If you have seen any animated films, you have likely seen the A113 trademark somewhere in the film, though you may not remember it.

  • That number was on the license plate of the car Andy’s mom drove in the movie Toy Story.
  • That number was on a door in the movie Monster University.
  • That number also appeared in the movie UP on a courtroom door.
  • That number was on a camera in Finding Nemo.
  • That number also appeared on a rat’s ear tag in the movie Ratatouille.
  • How many of you saw the animated movie Cars? Well, on a train car that passed by during the movie, A113 was on the side of the train car.

Now you’re wondering what this is all about. A member of Buzz Feed, a news service, tells us that there is a room at the California Institute for the Arts that is numbered A113. Whenever a person who studied at that institute, in that room, works on an animated film, he or she will slip A113 into the film as a trademark that a Cal Institute alum worked on that movie. It is a kind of trademark to identify a person who attended that school and worked in that particular room.

Well, Jesus gave His disciples, and all of us who have accepted Him as Lord and Savior, a trademark. Sadly, like the A113 trademark, the trademark Jesus gave to us as Christians is too often hidden. It is not a lapel pin, a bumper sticker, a cross necklace or a fish emblem. Look with me at John 13:34-35. In fact, you could call our trademark "J1335" - taken from John 13:35.

John 13:35:

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Now that's interesting, isn't it? Jesus actually gave us a trademark to share with each other and the world. The trademark of a Christian is a Christlike love for one another. In fact, back up at look at John 13:34 as well:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

There you have it. The trademark of a Christian is to love other Christians exactly the way Jesus loves us. In fact, Jesus called this a Commandment – a Mandate. He didn’t suggest it, He ordered it. This is something Jesus told us we must do in order to reach the lost world.

I am worried about the Church right now. I find churches struggling with the issue of knowing how to love each other, especially in this age of Covid-19. The pandemic has turned many Christians into something far less than Jesus demands. The pandemic has caused pandemonium in some churches in the past two years.

I am asking you to consider just how well you love other Christians in this church. You see, Jesus placed loving each other as a primary part of obedience to Him and made it the way He will introduce us to the world. They will know we belong to Him by the way we love our Lord and by the way we love each other. Maybe that is why so many churches are hurting right now and so many are losing members right and left. Baptisms are down in most churches in this decade, because a Christlike love-life is lacking in so many churches.

So think with me about the kind of love Jesus gives you and what kind of love we are to show other believers – especially those in your own local church.

First, note from our scripture today …

I. The Pattern of Jesus

John 13 begins with Jesus in the Upper Room, and in the first 17 verses we see how our Lord knelt down to wash His disciples feet. This was only hours before Jesus was to be arrested, tortured, and crucified. Yet, He stopped to show us how we are to love each other. Instead of thinking of Himself, He was thinking of His mission and His people. He was thinking about you – you who are Christians in this service today.

Take a moment and measure your love. No, not by what you’ve done compared to other believers, but measure it by what Jesus did for you. Think of the love you have displayed to others compared to the love He has given you through every circumstance you have faced in your lives.

Dwight L. Moody once said, “The measure of a person is not by how many servants he has but by how many people he or she serves.” In other words, Jesus measures us not by how important we think we are but by how faithfully and humbly we serve Him and others.

In John 13 we observe that loving the way Jesus loves means to act with kindness and humility.

I love the story of a former governor of Massachusetts named Christian Herter. Some years ago he was running hard for a second term in office. One day, after a busy morning chasing votes (and no lunch), he arrived at a church barbecue. It was late afternoon and Herter was really hungry. As Herter moved down the serving line, he held out his plate to the woman serving chicken. She put a piece on his plate and turned to the next person in line. “Excuse me," Governor Herter said, “do you mind if I have another piece of chicken?" “Sorry,” the woman told him, "I'm supposed to give one piece of chicken to each person.’ The governor said, “But I'm starved.” The woman said, “Sorry, only one to a customer.” Governor Herter was a modest and unassuming man, but he decided that this time he would throw a little weight around. “Do you know who I am?” he said. “I am the governor of this state.” The woman replied, “Do you know who I am? I'm the lady in charge of the chicken. Move along, mister.”

Sometimes God has to stop us in our arrogance with the cold hard truth regarding the fact that in the kingdom every person is important. In John 13 we recall that Jesus took off His robe to wash His disciple’s feet. Do you see that? Don’t miss the part where Jesus removed his garment and put on a towel, for this is an important part of what Jesus did. The text says that He took off His robe and laid it aside. You see, that is the love of Jesus at work. In His robe Jesus was a rabbi, but wrapped in a towel he was a mere laborer.

In Philippians 2:5 and following Paul wrote,  “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Jesus, … who made Himself of no reputation…” – there it is! The love of Jesus for you is what made Jesus remove His robe, kneel down with a towel and water, and wash the disciple’s feet. He made Himself of no reputation in order to redeem us at the cross.

  • Jesus took off the robes of Glory to come to this earth and be born in a manger - wrapped n swaddling clothes.
  • Jesus took off His robe in order to walk down into the Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist.
  • Jesus removed the robe of a Rabbi to be a slave servant washing His disciple’s feet.
  • Jesus had his garments stripped from Him when He was nailed to the cross for our sins.
  • Jesus took off His robe to reach out to you so that you might be saved.

The pattern for the love we are to have for one another in our church, as believers, is seen in our Lord and Savior. It is a love that leads us to humility, sacrifice and service. That is a challenge to every Christian heart in today's world.

Notice, not only the pattern of Jesus but note …

II. The Persistence of Jesus

John 13:1

“…He loved them to the end.”

As John 13 begins, we are told that Jesus loved His disciles "to the end." The Word “end” in this passage comes from the Greek word “telos” and means to love to the uttermost – through everything and all times. Wow! What love Jesus has for us. That is what He is telling us - we are being told to show the kind of love to each other that Jesus reveals to us.

Telos is a word which means to the ultimate degree. It means to the very end. It means something that can’t be stopped. That is the love Jesus has for me and for you. If He didn’t have that kind of love for me, He would have been deserted me long ago.

We get our word telescope from the Greek word “telos” and the Greek word, “skopein.” Telos means “end” or “far” and skopein means “to view.” So the word telescope means to view all the way to the end. If you had a telescope big enough you could actually see to the very end of our universe. God’s love is bigger than the universe - beyond our view – beyond our understanding! He loves beyond the boundary that we think exists in love. We usually love only so far, and then we draw and line beyond which our love will not reach. Jesus reveals to us and tells us to love in the way He loves us. To do that we have to go beyond our normal feelings and understanding.

A man in a local church had a peculiar habit. If the preacher spoke on tithing, the man would come out of the church and say to the preacher, “Pastor, I aim to start tithing.” If the preacher spoke on witnessing, the man would say, "Pastor, I aim to start witnessing.” After several such incidents, the preacher spoke on prayer, and the man came out of the service and said, “Pastor, I aim to start praying.” The pastor said, “Sir, why don’t you stop aiming and start shooting!” When it comes to love, we need to stop aiming to do better and start doing it – we must begin to actually love each other the way He loves us.

The kind of love Jesus revealed and demands has another side as well. His love mandates that we give up our arrogance in God’s house - our pride among God’s people. Let me tell something important, when God measures a person He doesn’t put the tape measure around the head to see how smart that person is, or around the bank account to see how rich the person is, but rather he measures the heart to see how loving that person is.

John Newton, the author of the song Amazing Grace, gave an example of serving God out of love and devotion. He said that if two angels were given an assignment from God, one to go rule over the world’s largest city and the other to go sweep the streets of the worst slum, neither would take a moment’s thought regarding the position the other had been given, since each would simply count it a great privilege to serve God anywhere.

The great early Baptist leader B. H. Carroll wrote something along those lines, indicating that he desired for God to write His name upon his head, so that he might think God’s thoughts. He desired that God write His name upon his lips, so that he might speak of God. In a longer list he added a prayer for God to write the divine name on His heart that he might love like God. Isn’t that our greatest need? Indeed, it is.

  • In Ephesians 5:2 Paul told us to “walk in love…”
  • In 1 Peter 4:8 he wrote telling us to have fervent love for each other.
  • In 1 John 3:11 John wrote that the message to us from the beginning was to love one another.
  • In Colossians 3:14 Paul wrote that we are to actually “put on love” like  garment.

Isn’t that what Jesus did? He took off His heavenly robe and donned the towel of love in order to wash the feet of His lowly and sinful disciples, even though He knew they would desert Him in the hour of His greatest need. Now that is what God's love looks like!

Notice thirdly …

III. The Promise of Jesus

In John 13:35 Jesus remarked that loving each other is the trademark of the Christian faith. The Lord planned all along to use His love in and among us to ensure that the world would know who we are. In other words, the Lord promised that the world will see us as truly belonging to Him through our love for each other. We are to act, look, minister, live, and love like Jesus.

Our churches used to have old-fashioned revival meetings. Services would be held everyday for about a week. Months of prayer and preparation took place prior to the revival services. I attended those as a child and preached many of them in my more than 50 years in the ministry. What one quality can you tell me came out of those meetings when churches experienced real revival? One word sums it up = LOVE. People fell in love with Jesus all over again. People had an overwhelming love for their fellow members and neighbors. I have seen people walk across the church during an invitation to throw their arms around each other as a way of asking for forgiveness for some division between them. I've watched as some members stood at the end of a service and asked the entire church to forgive them for a bad spirit or wrong attitude. What weeping, what joy - oh, what love fell upon those services. We don't see that anymore. We are too proud these days. Now listen carefully. In those revival meetings long ago many people from the community were saved. Churches would often triple their baptisms for the year in just 5 to 7 days of revival. Why? How did a revival inside the church reach to the community? It did so because that is exactly what Jesus said - "By this all will know that you are my disciples." 

We can never bring people to think of Jesus unless we are showing His love among ourselves. That is what God uses to throw a divine light out upon the world. It starts with truly loving Jesus and continues with our deep, humble, sincere love for each other in the kingdom.

Perhaps you have seen the older coffee urns that had a glass tube running up the front to show how much coffee was in the urn. What if we had a spiritual tube running from our waist to our chins and the liquid level of our love was displayed in that glass tube. Let me ask you, where would the level of love be in your life right now? 

I pastored a church in the Atlanta Metro area that had a reputation for being a place of division and disunity. I arrived after the church had experienced a split and had been without a pastor for over 2 years. They made a promise to God, to each other, and even to me when I came, that they would love their pastor, their staff and each other faithfully. That is exactly what they did. In the months that followed we saw incredible growth. The church grew from the mid to high three-hundreds to more than a thousand in Sunday School in a matter of two years. The growth reached an old-time high for the history of that church and many hundreds of people were saved in the services and through the ministries of that church. It all began when they made an all-out commitment to love each other. In fact, some people who came to the church for the very first time would join that Sunday. They often said, “We just felt love here when we came in the door.” There it is! That is the trademark of a true church of our Lord - it is love - the love of Jesus filling His people.


When Sherry, our daughter, was a little girl she did something that all children do – at least they did back then. She wrote in her childlike handwriting and note containing a single question. She handed it to me and walked away. It read, “Do you love me?” and below it she had added, “Yes or No.” I remember taking that note and circling over and over the word “YES.” That is what God wants us to do with each other. Lay aside the things that might separate you from other Christians and unite in Jesus’ love.

Jesus wrote “Yes” regarding His love for us and He circled it with His own blood. If you have never experienced that love, you can do so today. Repent of your sin and trust Him as your Lord and Savior.

But I’m speaking largely today to Christians. Do you know what people need most? They hunger for love. Let me tell you a final story from an orphanage from many years ago.

A girl was in an orphanage and she was a handful. The workers were always complaining about her attitude and behavior. She disturbed the workers and other girls at the orphanage all the time. One day another girl came and said that the troubled girl was writing something on pieces of paper and tying them to tree limbs outside the window of her room in the orphanage. The woman over the orphanage went to look at them, thinking that maybe this might be the chance they needed to send this girl to a mental institution. But the woman changed her mind when she pulled the notes off the tree limb. She found that the little girl had written on them the following: “If anyone finds this – I love you!” What that girl needed most was what we all need. She needed love.

The entire world needs God’s love. As believer’s we have it and we are mandated to act like it. Will you rededicate your life to Christ today? First, thank Him for loving you. Then, ask Him to help you love fellow Christians as He loves us, whether they deserve it or not. That is a big commitment and we need to make it today – for our world is in trouble, our churches are in trouble, and our homes are in trouble. Only God's love can solve the problems of our generation.