The theme of the book of Acts is
given in 1:8.
The remainder of Acts shows how the
Lord's plan for evangelizing the world was carried out.
We learn from ch.11 that the Gospel
was preached in Antioch,
and a congregation was established there.
(vs.26b) A very important matter
relating to the church in Antioch
is addressed -- for the first time the Lord's followers were called
By carefully studying a few key
passages we can know what God wants us to know about this very special name.
We must use the name
"Christian" as the Bible uses it, and we must avoid using it in any
The first point we need to make is
that . . .
THE NAME THAT
GOD HAS AUTHORIZED
HIS CHILDREN TO
This name had been in God's mind a
long time before He gave it.
About 700 BC, God revealed through
Isaiah that a time would come when His people would be called by a new name.
(Isaiah 65:15) God would "call His servants by another
Under the old covenant, God's people
were called by the name of "Israel"
[children of Israel,
However, a time would come when God
would call His people by a name other than "Israel."
(Isaiah 56:5) God said that He would
give His people:
"a name better than of sons and of daughters"
"an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off."
We learn from Isaiah 62:1-2 when God
would give this new name to His people -- 2 special events would occur.
(vs.1) Righteousness and salvation
would go forth from Jerusalem.
(vs.2) The Gentiles would see God's
Following these special events, God
would call His people by a new name.
Have these prophecies been fulfilled?
(Acts 8:1-4) Righteousness and
salvation were going forth from Jerusalem.
The Gospel was taken to the Gentiles
(Acts 10; 11:18).
When the conditions revealed by
Isaiah were met, God gave the name that He wants His people to be called.
Under the new covenant, God's people
are sometimes referred to as "disciples," "saints," and
"brethren;" however, "Christian"
is the only name that we are authorized to wear.
Now, let us determine . . .
IS ABLE TO
WEAR THIS NAME
(Acts 11:26) A Christian is a disciple [a learner or follower].
A Christian is a learner or follower
A Christian must be a disciple, but
there is much more to being a Christian than being a disciple.
It is quite popular to refer to
anyone who believes in Jesus as a Christian, but the Bible shows that much more
A Christian is one who has been added to the Lord.
(vs.24) The disciples in Antioch who were called
Christians had been added to the Lord.
The Bible teaches us very clearly in
Galatians 3:26-27 how to get into Christ.
A Christian is a member of the Lord's church.
(vs.26) The disciples in Antioch who were called
Christians made up the church there.
(Acts 2:47) The Lord adds those who
are saved to the church (see vs.38).
Who is a Christian? A Christian is a disciple of the Lord who has
obeyed the Gospel, been saved from his sins, and added to the Lord's church.
Let us avoid man's ideas about who is
a Christian and follow the teachings of the Bible.
We learn from Acts 26:28 that a
Christian is a changed person.
Paul was speaking before King
Agrippa understood that Paul was
trying to convince him to become a Christian; however, he was not persuaded
because he was not willing to change his life.
Agrippa was a sinner, and he knew
that he would have to undergo a change to become a Christian. 4.
He was not willing to change, and he
did not become a Christian.
A Christian is a changed or converted person.
We learn from 1 Peter 4:14-16 that a
Christian is committed to doing the Lord's will.
(vs.15) Christians are not to suffer
because of committing sin.
Rather, Christians are to devote
themselves to doing the Lord's will, even if we have to suffer as a result of
Wearing the name
"Christian" is a special privilege -- it honors and glorifies Christ,
the founder of Christianity.
Being a Christian will be especially
meaningful at the judgment (1 Peter 4:17-18).
It will be difficult for Christians to
Those who are not Christians will
have no hope at the judgment.
Have you become a Christian?