Christian

Who is a Christian?

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Christian
ACTS 11 COMMENTARY
Acts 11:20-24 Antioch
Acts 11:25 Saul of Tarsus

Acts 11:26 Christian

Acts 11:27-30 Great Famine
ACTS 11:26  26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

What is a Christian?
χριστιανους (Christianos), the original Greek word translated "Christians" (Acts 11:26), means people who follow Christ.

Why weren't the disciples called Christians before Antioch?
Until the gentiles began to believe in Christ in large numbers in Antioch, the disciples were almost exclusively Jews and therefore could be identified as a segment of the Jews - simply as Jews "who were of the Way" (Acts 9:2). When the church began to include significant numbers of gentiles, however, the uniform trait shifted from Jewish heritage to following Christ.

Was calling someone a "Christian" a compliment back then?
It was a derision, as it is once again becoming today.

Why?
In many developing nations, Christians are still respected, even by non-Christians, for being honest and having other virtues that Jesus taught and exemplified. When sick, even witch doctors are known to seek out Christians to receive prayer. In many 'developed' nations, however, the "Christian" label is becoming discredited, largely due to the widening gap between Christ's words and actions and those of many of the people who claim to be Christian.

Who is a "Christian" today?
Many people sincerely believe themselves to be Christian today by virtue of having been born into a family or culture that claims Christian heritage, or by virtue of having completed a religious course on becoming Christian, or by virtue of having said a prayer once, or by virtue of having been declared Christian by someone who wants to lay claim to 10% of their income.

Who is a Christian according to the Bible?
A person who "follows" Christ.

What does that require?
Following Christ requires knowing who He is, what He did and what He said. It is common for people today to believe whatever they want and call their beliefs "Christian." For example, some claim "God helps those who help themselves" is a Bible verse when it is actually a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu from India. Jesus came and died to cleanse us of our sins because we couldn't do it ourselves; God helps those who cannot help themselves.

Where do we find the words and the actions of Christ?
 

Then is knowledge of the Bible what makes a person Christian?
Demons know the Bible better than most pastors. Demons believe and even react emotionally to what the Bible says - "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe - and tremble!" (James 2:19) - yet demons are not Christians. A Christian isn't someone who merely believes that Jesus is God, but someone who believe that Jesus is their God, their Savior and their Lord.

Who is "Lord"?
Someone you obey unconditionally. A Christian isn't someone who merely knows what Jesus said in the Bible; it's someone who unconditionally obeys what Jesus said.

Does being a Christian require perfection?
No, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). But a Christian reacts differently to sin compared to a non-Christian. Whereas a non-Christian isn't bothered by sin and is quite content to continue in it, a Christian agonizes over sin, as prompted by the Holy Spirit living inside them, repents, and sins dramatically less and less over time.

Does obeying Christ make a person Christian?
Christ makes a person Christian, and obedience to Christ is the evidence of it.

"If I want to become Christian, what must I do?"
Learn from the Bible who Jesus is, what He said and did, repent of your sins, and cry out to Jesus to save you until you see concrete evidence that your prayers have been answered. Then cling to Jesus as if the rest of your eternity depends on Him, for it does.

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