Summary: The believers were not called Christians in Jerusalem, but were called Christians in Antioch.
Text: “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch” (Acts 11:26).
Who is a Christian? How would you define a Christian? I would say that a Christian is a person who believes in and follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. A Christian is one who proclaims, follows, and lives according to the words written in red.
There are some other words in the New Testament used to indicate followers of Jesus. For example, in 1Timothy 4:12 we find these word “believers”. Paul had written this letter to Timothy to encourage him concerning his leadership role in the church at Ephesus.
Paul knew that Timothy would have a difficult time because there was much false teaching going on in Ephesus. Paul considered Timothy “…true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). Timothy was one of Paul’s converts.
Also, Timothy was a young man and being so, Paul said, to him, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in the word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
A “believer in the word” would be one who believes in and follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. In this case, Paul uses the word “believer” to indicate a follower of Jesus, hence a Christian.
In Acts 14:2 the followers of Jesus are called brethren. This Scripture says, “But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren.” Some versions of the Bible use the word “brothers”.
There were unbelieving Jews who were causing trouble for the believing Gentiles by preaching in opposition to the disciples. The jealously of the Jews was the basis for their bitter anti-Christian propaganda they were using to create questions in the minds of the brethren.
The followers of Jesus were called “disciples” as indicated in Acts 6:2. The many followers are referred to as disciples. “Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables’” (v. 2).
“The twelve” referred to here are the 11 original disciples and the newly chosen disciple whose name was Matthias. The function of the twelve disciples was to preach the word of God, but in addition to preaching the Word, there were other things that needed to be done.
Verse 2 uses the words “serve tables”. The disciples chose others to carry on programs such as the distribution of food. This same thing should go on in churches today. The preacher or minister’s job is to preach the “Word of God”. This is the greatest job in the world. This is greater than being President of the United States.
The preacher must not try to run all the functions of the church alone. The people who are responsible for carrying out the various functions of the church must be: filled with the Holy Spirit; full of wisdom; possess the highest degree of honesty, and give themselves constantly to prayer.