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CHURCH 2000 (11 OF 12)
WHAT MAKES A CHURCH CHRISTIAN
I've been in a series of messages I have called
Church 2000. We are trying to see from the Word what
the church is and what the church is intended to do.
There was a church in Antioch and the Bible says
that those believers in that church were called
Christians for the first time there. It came as a
surprise to me a number of years ago to find that the
word Christian occurs only three times in all of the
Bible. It occurs here. It occurs in Acts 26:28 when
Agrippa said to Paul, "almost thou persuadest me to be
a Christian." Then it occurs the third and final time
in I Peter 4:16 where it says, "if any man suffer as a
Christian, let him not be ashamed but let him glorify
God on this behalf."
They were called Christians first in Antioch.
Notice that it was not a title that was given
originally by believers about themselves. Rather
others, looking at them, said that they are
Christians. Believers gave different names for
themselves. They called themselves believers,
disciples, brothers, and those of the way. But in
Antioch, as a pagan world looked at what God was doing
in the lives of these believers, these saints, they
were called Christians. Now it was not intended as a
compliment. It was a word of scorn and ridicule.
They meant to attach a stigma to that name Christian.
But somehow the Lord has a way of taking what is
intended to be a complaint and turn it into a
compliment. This word Christian is word that latched
on to us. So, it has become a word which is a
complimentary word. It is a word which describes a
lovely group of people--those who love the Lord Jesus.
The word "Christian" means a follower of Christ, or
belonging to Christ. So it is a word to describe
those who are seeking to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
Others looked at them and said about them, "these who
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