Shelby G. Floyd
The church that Jesus promised to build started in Jerusalem (Matthew 16:18; Luke 24:46-49). The gospel was to be preached first in Jerusalem, then in Judea and Samaria. Finally it was to be taken to the uttermost parts of the earth. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Later we have the record of Cornelius the Gentile being converted. Peter asked, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days (Acts 10:47-48). From there the disciples preached in Phoenicia, the island of Cyprus and Antioch in Syria (Acts 11: 19).
The hand of God was with the disciples in Antioch of Syria. When the church in Jerusalem heard about the wonderful results, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. He did a great work, but realized he needed some help. So he went to Tarsus in Celica and brought Paul back to the church at Antioch.
The Name Christian is of Divine Origin
According to Acts 11:26, Barnabas and Saul assembled themselves with the church for a year. These two men also taught a great many people. “And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” Who called them Christians? The same people who assembled with the church for a year and taught much people, were the ones who called the disciples Christians first in Antioch. The name Christian is of divine origin. God gave this name through the inspired apostle Paul and Barnabas. It is the new name promised by Isaiah the prophet:
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her righteousness shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch.
The nations will see your righteousness,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.
You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
and your land Beulah;
for the LORD will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
The word “Christian” means one who is of or belongs to the Lord. It is a name that we should wear proudly. “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:16 NKJV).
Copyright © 2014 Shelby Floyd All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd