Sermons

Summary: This is the 25th sermon in the Action Series. This series began during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Series: Action [#25]

A CHRISTIAN?

Acts 11:19-30

Introduction:

The Church had stayed in and near Jerusalem until Stephen was killed and persecution broke out. Although these Christians were living in new towns and meeting new people, they continued to be effective in leading people to Jesus Christ as Savior. The key to their effectiveness seems to be summed up in Acts 11:26.

Acts 11:26

The word Christian is found only 3 times in the New Testament. 1st, it is found in our text. Then, in Acts 26:28 and then in 1 Peter 4:16. In each case, it was a pagan world using the word Christian to identify the believers in Christ. This meant that the pagan world saw Jesus Christ reflected in the lives of believers.

The key to our effectiveness is our identity. Everyone has an identity. Identity is what others think when they see you or hear your name spoken. What caused these early Christians to have such a powerful reflection of Jesus Christ and therefore such an effective witness?

Acts 11:19-21

These early believers were identified as Christians because of their…

1. Conversion.

Jesus Christ had dramatically changed their lives; and they reflected that change in every situation. They did what Jesus would have done in a tough time- They shared the Good News. One of the tragedies of today is that some people want to trust Jesus without their lives changing.

Acts 11:22-26

These early believers were identified as Christians because of their…

2. Commitment.

Commitment to God is not measured by what you do for God; but what you allow God to do through you. Paul said that he lived, yet it wasn’t he who lived, but Christ who worked through him. Paul worked, yet it wasn’t him who worked; but Jesus Christ who worked through him.

We’ve accepted some very subtle substitutions for real commitment, which have hindered the work of Jesus Christ from being done in our lives; and have kept us from having an effective witness.

We have substituted…

* Community righteousness for God’s righteousness.

We’ve convinced ourselves that if we can be accepted by the community as good people, we will have an effective witness. So, we work hard at being good neighbors, good friends, good citizens, or good parents until we are recognized as being good; and then we wonder why no one responds to our testimony and witness of Jesus. The reason is that we don’t need God’s power in our lives to be good by human standards. To display God’s righteousness, we must have the power and the presence of God clearly at work in our lives.

We have substituted…

* Church work for the work of the Church.

We’ve allowed ourselves to believe that a commitment to the activities of a Church is equal to a commitment to Jesus Christ. We almost measure the level of a Christian’s growth by his or her loyalty to Church activities. The work of the Church is to share the Gospel with the lost world. What we do when we assemble, equips us to do the work of the Church.

We have substituted…

* Not being bad for being good.

There are many Christians who think that if they are doing nothing bad, they must be good. You can’t be good by just not being bad.

Acts 11:27-30

These early believers were identified as Christians because of their…

3. Concern.

Based on a prediction of a famine, (which did happen); the disciples sent gifts to help the Christians in Judea. They were concerned for the well-being of others.

Conclusion:

Do people identify you as a Christians based on your actions?

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