I Am Christian

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

Acts 11:26

I read a funny story this week studying for this Sunday. A dad offered to be the guest teacher in his son’s fourth grade boys Sunday School Class. Wanting to impress the class he began with a question, “Why do people call me a Christian?” He was hoping the kids could share with him the steps one takes to become a Christian and yet no one said a word. He asked the question again and still nothing. He asked a third time and still silence. It got so quiet that finally his own son blurted out, “Maybe they called you that because they didn’t know your name?”

It’s interesting that the name “Christian” as used in the Bible carries a different connotation than what most Christians understand the word to mean. The word Christian comes from the Latin suffix “ianus” spelled in English “ian” and was first used to describe someone who was a slave to Caesar. Slaves were known as “Caesarians” after the emperor Caesar Augustus, which was short for “slaves of Caesar.” When used to describe Jesus followers it was meant to be a derogatory epithet. The name “Christian” originally meant, “Christ’s slave”, and the Latin equivalent of the Greek word Χριστιανός, means “Of or belonging to Christ.” So, it’s a fitting term and a true Christian would cherish the thought of being called a slave to Christ, being identified as a Jesus follower. When we come to Jesus Christ for salvation we give up our rights as we become his possessions and that is why we call Him, “Lord”.

So, what is a Christian? In short from studying the scriptures we discover three things. First, someone who has experienced a transformation. A person Born Again of the Holy Spirit. Second,  someone who has a task to do. God saved each of us with a purpose, and He has given us gifts so that we can do His will. We are not saved by good works but we are saved for good works! And lastly, number three, A Christian has a trial to endure. As Christians committed to doing the will of God we understand trials and tribulations come with the territory when serving Jesus in this life. It’s completely worth it in the end as the saying goes, “Pain is temporary, glory is eternal!” Our reward in heaven will be great as our benefit package you could say is out of this world! Not everyone is called to suffer to the same degree but a true Christian is more than willing to suffer if needed.

Yes, loved one, they were first called “Christian’s” in Antioch because the believers were Born Again, boldly proclaiming faith in Jesus Christ, and some, even to the point of death which only made non believers sit up and take notice all the more. If someone is willing to die for the very person who is seeking them harm it has to make them think, “this person really believed Jesus is the way, so much so they were willing to suffer for Him.” The non believers had to be thinking. “what are the consequences in my life if they are right and the gospel is true?” I truly believe thats how Saul got saved and became the apostle Paul. Stephens death probably haunted Saul every night as he lay down to sleep seeing the peace on Stephens face and hearing the love in Stephen’s prayers to God to forgive Saul and the men who stoned him to death. Stephens’ willingness to suffer demonstrated the value he placed on his faith. His willingness to suffer meant he valued the gospel more than his own health and wealth.

What was true about Stephen and true about the Christians in Antioch, may it be true about me and you…

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!”

Philippians 3:8-11


Michael Osthimer





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