Christians Didn’t Name Themselves (by Brent Kimball)

I am in the book of Acts in my Bible reading. It is a book that always seems fresh to me. To take in the account of the first generation of believers and observe how they lived out the gospel is remarkable. To see how the gospel spread from Jerusalem to the world is amazing.

Chapter 11 includes the account of how the message of Jesus extended to the Gentiles in Antioch. Toward the end of the chapter the author includes this statement, “And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.”[1] It is widely believed that this was a label placed on those who followed Jesus by those who didn’t. In other words; Christians didn’t name themselves.

Why did the people in Antioch call the believers “Christians?” When you read through these verses it is pretty clear. First, these believers undertook Christ’s mission. What began in Jerusalem after Jesus’ ascension progressively, over several years, spread to larger and larger circles of influence. It was from Antioch that the good news of Jesus Christ went viral. Second, we can see that God honored his message. When the gospel of Jesus Christ was declared, grace from God was distributed and people’s lives were changed. They were honoring God and God was honoring them. Lastly, they were recognized for who they belonged to. The believers in Antioch told everyone about Jesus; what he was like, what his message was, and what he had done on their behalf.  The people of Antioch listened to the message and they observed the lives of the believers. It was their conclusion that these people were Christians. Did you catch that? They were called Christians by those around them because they acted like Jesus.

As followers of Jesus, let’s live in such a way that others label us Christian.

[1] Acts 11:26

About Pastor Andrew

Follower of Jesus, Husband to Carissa, Daddy to four daughters, Lead Pastor at LifePoint Church in Vancouver, WA.
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