Worthy of the Name
The last sentence in verse 26 says, "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." Has anybody ever called you a Christian? I know that you call yourself a Christian and I know that those who know of your affiliation with the church call you a Christian, but has anybody on the outside who did not know you, just on the basis of observation and detection ever called you a Christian? It is interesting to note that this term "Christian" that we use so frequently and familiarly to describe ourselves is found only three times in the bible and in effect it is never really used by Christians themselves with one exception It is found here in Acts 11 and found again in Acts 26 where Paul is preaching before Agrippa and Agrippa says "...almost thou persuades me to be a Christian." Then the other time it is found is in I Peter 4 and Peter there is speaking from the viewpoint of the world and he says "if any sufferer as a Christian. he does well."
We use that name all the time. It is a common name to us and yet it is found only three times in the bible. The fact of the mater is that we don't have any record outside of Peter's reference and there I would say he is speaking from the viewpoint of the world, talking about persecution. We don't have any record in the bible of Christians calling one another Christians.
The name Christian did not originate with Christians. It didn't even originate with "God. It originated with the residents of Antioch. It was not necessarily a complimentary term but rather a label to distinguish these strangers from everybody else. They had migrated down from Jerusalem and were different in many ways and you have to label people. We have to be able to identify folks and so we attach labels to them. So they called them Christians. It was not a name that the Christians themselves took upon themselves. They called themselves "believers", "disciples" or "followers of the w ...
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