by Jerry Vines

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Called Christians (15 of 33)
Series: Powerbook
Jerry Vines
Acts 11:19-30

This is the first time the word ''Christian'' is used in the New Testament. I was amazed a few years ago to notice that it only occurs two other times in all of the New Testament. It occurs in this same book of Acts 26:28 where Agrippa said to the apostle Paul, ''almost you persuade me to be a Christian.'' It is used 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.''

It was never a term, that I can tell, that was used in the earlier years by the Christian themselves. They called themselves other things-disciples, believers, saints. It was a word that was used by others who looked at them. It was a title of contempt. It was used in derision and scorn. They looked at these believers and said, ''Why these are Christians.'' It literally means ''belonging to Christ.'' The Lord has a way of taking a word that is used in scorn and turns it into a great compliment.

Christian. It has become a lovely and a beautiful name for those of us who belong to the Lord Jesus and who seek to follow Him in our life. I'm afraid in contemporary culture, the word ''Christian'' has lost a great deal of its meaning. There are some people who believe because they were born in America they are Christians. Or because mom taught a Sunday School class and dad was a deacon, that makes them a Christian. So it has lost a great deal of its meaning.

I saw something a number of years ago that made me think a lot about it. It said, ''If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?''

These believers, these disciples, were first called Christians in a place called Antioch. Notice it is used in the plural here. It is not used of an individual Christian. It is used of a group of Christians. It is used of a church. It is used of a group of believers who came to know Christ ...

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