What is A Christian? – Acts 11

“It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.”

Acts 11:26b

As we have journeyed through the book of Act we have seen God send out ordinary people to spread the news about Jesus rising from the grave.  They did not necessarily go to college specializing in ministry. Their credentials? A heart for God and a willingness to serve.

In Acts 11 we see Peter sharing about his dream with the Jewish believers in Jerusalem.  They did not think the Gentiles (non-Jewish people) follow Jesus without converting to Judaism.  Peter told them about his dream and how the Lord taught him to love the Gentiles as God loves them.

The Gospel was being taught among the Jews and Gentiles with lives being changed completely.  All were praising God for the blessing being shared to all people who believed.  While in the city Antioch Barnabas joins Saul (aka Paul) to team teach for a year.  While there the believers began to be called Christians.  

So what is a Christian?

A Christian is a person who follows Jesus Christ with his/her whole life.  This individual has surrendered to Jesus, accepting that s/he cannot save one’s self. Complete change begins in his/her heart so that s/he becomes more like Christ has s/he grows in faith.

A Christian has his/her identity solely in Jesus. So far we have learned from the early Christians how to live and share in the Gospel. They changed their lives to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

What does a Christian look like in today’s world?  Do we have to walk away from our careers to move to a foreign country?  Not necessarily. 

Being a Christian in today’s world means the same thing as it did in Acts 11.  We surrender to Jesus, acknowledging that we cannot save ourselves. We grow in trust in God and see ourselves completely change from the inside out. 

Since we are Christians we live The 168 Life.  Our faith guides our decisions, determines our actions. We become examples in the world of how God loves everyone. Rather than arguing and causing divisions with others we listen to learn and gain understanding. Where one is in need physically, emotionally or spiritually we serve willingly without judgment.

As a follower of Jesus you are a Christian.  You represent God in the world.  What is the message you are saying about God with your life?  Think about the one thing you want everyone to know about Jesus? This is the story you have to share.

You are a Christian.  You are a missionary. Seek where God is sending you to share your story.  Is it at work with a fellow co-worker?  Perhaps it is with a neighbor?  Or maybe God is having you volunteer in the community to help others?

So as a Christian live the 168 Life in such a way that others see the difference in you and ask what it is.  Take courage from fellow Christians in the Book of Acts to persevere when opposition arises. Listen to the voice of God to go where you are led and to share the words you are given.

Christian, may others see you and praise God in Heaven for all things God has done for us.

This Week’s Challenge

Write in a paragraph the message you want others to hear about Jesus.  To help think about why you love Jesus.

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