Interestingly there are only 3 references to the word ‘Christian’ in the King James Version (KJV) of the entire Bible.
The first time the word is used, it was used as an answer to the question, “What do we call those who are the disciples of Christ?”, and the answer was Christians. For the first time (in Antioch), those who were Christ Ones; those who belonged to Christ were called Christians. (Acts 11:26)
The second time the word is used, it was used in a question itself. A question by a king (King Agrippa) posed to God’s servant (Apostle Paul) as to whether Paul was persuading him to be converted into a Christian. (Acts 26:28)
The third time the word is used, it is used in conjunction with our commission of being a Christian. As witnesses of Jesus Christ, suffering for His Name as a Christian, is part of the protocol, yet we are to be not ashamed. (1 Peter 4:16)
Only three references, but there is a profound truth hidden in these, which is:
Those who belong to Christ must be worthy of being CALLED Christians, and are to live a life that reflects CONVERSION from the old self to a new creation, and a COMMISSION to bear His Name, which comes with suffering and shame.
Point(s) to ponder:
- Are we CALLED Christians because we belong to Christ? Are we CALLED Christians because we are disciples of Christ; with the discipline of subjecting our will under His? If one is to observe our life and asks as to what they can call us, will the answer be Christian?
- Does our life as a Christian reflect a CONVERSION; no longer being subject to sin and selfish desires, but is it a living sacrifice, pure and acceptable to God, so much so that our message is persuasive unto others to become a Christian as well? Are people questioning you and me as to whether we are persuading them to become disciples of Christ?
- Are we being true to the COMMISSION given unto each one of us, the CALLED and CONVERTED Christians? Jesus said to his disciples and those he had CALLED unto him, take up your cross and follow me (Mark 8:34). To bear the Cross is an object of scorn and shame. Picture yourself carrying a Cross and walking on the main streets of your city. People will jeer and ridicule you. They did when Jesus walked the via dolorosa (way of suffering) and so what makes you think that they wont when we do the same. Interesting, isnt it, that the walk to the place where Jesus was crucified is called the way of SUFFERING. It was not an easy pleasure walk. Christian walk is likewise, it is a walk of suffering, but the great news is that we are not walking alone. We are following, meaning, Christ is before us and leading the way, constantly assuring us that His Grace is sufficient for all who are faithful in their walk and His promise of being with the faithful can be counted on. Many times, we suffice being a professing Christian and don’t take the next step of being a practicing Christian because we are worried about the shame we have to face, for His Name, and yet the last reference to the word Christian in the Bible is very clear, that there is nothing to be ashamed about when we suffer (bearing and proclaiming the Name of Christ) as a Christian. If fact, if one is to suffer at all, they (you and me) are to suffer only as a Christian and use it as a means to glorify God.
Acts 11:26 (KJV)
26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
Acts 26:28 (KJV)
28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
1 Peter 4:16 (KJV)
16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
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