Shelby G. Floyd
The church that Jesus promised to build started in Jerusalem. 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 (Acts 1:8). Later we have the record of Cornelius the Gentile being converted (Acts 10:1-48). From there the disciples preached in Phoenicia, the island of Cyprus and Antioch in Syria (Acts 11:19).
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 hand of God was with the disciples in Antioch in Syria.
FIRST CALLED CHRISTIANS IN ANTIOCH
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 NEW NAME OF ISAIAH
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 vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your vindication, 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. As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you (Isaiah 62:1-4).
CHRISTIAN = OF OR BELONGING TO CHRIST
The word Christian means one who is of or belongs to the Lord. Whenever the suffix “ian” is added to a noun in connotes “of or belonging to.” For example an American is one who is of or belonging to America! Therefore a “Christian” is one who is “of or belonging” to Christ. It is a name that we should wear proudly.
Christian people today are being persecuted and put to death in many parts of the world. This also happened shortly after the first century in the Pagan Roman Empire. In many ways the nations today are becoming paganist and hostile to Christians. But the apostle Peter addressed the suffering people of God in the first century:
“But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Pet. 4:16 NKJV).
Let us all glorify our God as a “Christian!”
Copyright © 2016 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142