Summary: The importance of the name "Christian" and its attributes as demonstrated in Antioch.
SERIES: “LESSONS FROM THE EARLY CHURCH”
TEXT: ACTS 11:19-30
TITLE: “A NEW NAME”
INTRODUCTION: A. What is in a name?
1. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet asks that very question:
a. “…that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”
b. The difficulty is that their families are feuding – the Montagues and the
c. Romeo and Juliet are in love, but they can’t share their love publicly because of
the problems between their families
d. So, Juliet, in her famous balcony soliloquy, asks why they cannot forsake their
names and go on with their love for each other:
--“O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father, and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.”
2. Maybe you’ve heard this classic newspaper classified ad:
--LOST DOG - $50 REWARD. Black and tan dog of poodle and German
Shepherd descent. Flea-bitten. Left hind leg missing, bald in patches, blind in
one eye, left ear bitten off in dog fight. Answers to the name of “Lucky”.
3. Some of the worst names I know of belong to preachers
a. Maybe you remember the Baptist preacher/humorist who died in a plane crash
several years ago who was named Grady Nutt.
--He used to say, “I grew up in a Nutt house and now I run one.”
b. The minister at Lebanon Christian Church here in Lebanon, IN is named Harry
c. But worst name of all time belongs to a now-deceased Christian church
1). Last name was O-D-O-R (Odor) like, “Whew!”
2). You’d probably have trouble with that last name even if you first name was
John, Bill, or George.
--People would still probably snicker
3). But this fellow’s first name made it even worse
--I-V-A-N Ivan Odor
4). We sometimes call ministers in our movement, “Brother”.
--It would make it hard to introduce yourself as “Brother Ivan Odor”,
especially if they said, “You sure do!”
B. When we commit our lives to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, we receive a “new
birth” and become “new creations”.
1. We get “new hearts”, sing a “new song, receive “new jobs”, and also get a “new
2. This “new name” is the name Christian
--It’s important to understand this name for several reasons:
a. It was given by God Himself
b. It was prophesied hundreds of years before it was ever used
c. Hear these two scripture verses:
1). Is. 56:5b – “God says, ‘I will give them an everlasting name that will not be
2). Is. 62:2b – “You will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD
3. Our passage tonight shows us that this divinely promised and prophetically
delivered name was first used for those who followed Jesus Christ.
C. The divinely-given name is the name “Christian”
--It comes from the Greek word Christianos
1. The ending “-ian” designates “belonging to”
a. three ways in English language to show possession:
1). add “ ‘s ” – Plato’s philosophy
2). use “off” – Philosophy of Plato
3). add “-ian” – Platonian philosophy
b. Also, to show possession by Christ, we could say:
1). Christ’s people
2). People of Christ
3). Christian people
2. Our text also tells us that Christ’s people were “called Christians”
a. In the Greek, that word denotes relationship to a business or profession
b. Throughout history, many people were named by what business or profession
wherein they worked
--Cooper, Shoemaker, Smith, Baker, Tinker, Carpenter, etc.
3. Therefore, a Christian is one who belongs to Christ and is occupied in the
profession or business of Christ.
4. Tonight, I want us to look at the characteristics of these people who were called
Christians for the first time and make sure that these characteristics apply to our
lives if we claim to be a Christian.
--Luke has been describing what has been happening since the death of Stephen and the persecution that
followed. He tells about what happened to those who were scattered because of the persecution.
A. This dispersion of early Christians traveled as far as:
1. Phoenicia – Lebanon (N & W of Palestine)
2. Cyprus – island off the coast of Asia Minor and home of Barnabas
3. Antioch in Syria
a. Was the Roman capitol of Syria
b. Population of 500,000 people
c. considered 3rd greatest city in Roman Empire after Rome and Alexandria
d. Famous for two things:
1). Chariot racing and the gambling that went with it
2). Temple of Daphne
--Located about 5minutes outside of town in the laurel groves. Priestesses were prostitutes and
their job was to nightly re-enact the Daphne-Apollo myth (Daphne supposedly a mortal
woman whom Apollo fell in love with. For her safety, she was turned into a laurel bush.)