Summary: Acts 11:26 says that believers were first called “Christians” at Antioch. What does “Christian” mean? How can we live up to our name of “Christian.” This is the final sermon in his series on “Names for the People of God.”
Series: Names for the People of God
June 5, 2016
NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation of this sermon is available upon request from me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT: Acts 11:26 – “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
JOKE – One time a guy hired a hit man named Arty to assassinate his wife. The guy asked Arty how much he would charge and he said one dollar.
The man said, “Only $1.00?! Arty, is that all you charge?”
Arty said, “Well, I really love my job. I don’t really do it for the money.”
To which the man replied, “You’re hired!”
So Arty followed the man’s wife to a Kroger grocery store parking lot, planning to use his method of choice—choking. When she came out, she had two other women with her, so Arty decided he would choke all three of them, which he promptly did because he loved his job so much.
The police showed up, however, and apprehended Arty and put him in jail.
When the newspaper came out the next day the headline read, “ARTY CHOKES THREE FOR A DOLLAR AT KROGER!”
Well you see, names ARE important aren’t they? That has been our theme in our series on “Names for the People of God.” We looked at the names Believer, Child of God, Disciple, Faithful and Saint.
Our text says that the followers of Jesus, were first called Christians at Antioch. “Christian” has become the most widely used name for the followers of Christ.
But prior to this time in the book of Acts, there was no particular name for those who followed Jesus Christ other than those names believers called themselves (such as “believers” and “children of God”), and derogatory names given by their enemies.
The word in the Greek here is christianos which comes from two Greek words:
• Christos – which was the Greek translation of the Hebrew word for “Messiah,” the long promised one of the Old Testament.
• “–ianos” is a Greek word ending which means “of the band of,” or “one of.”
So christianos means basically, “of the band of Christ,” or literally “one of Christ’s” or simply “Christ’s one.” Isn’t it precious to be so intimately associated with the title of our Savior? If you’re saved today, you’re a “Christ one”—you’re “one of Christ’s.”
Interestingly, the name Christian is only found 3 times in the Bible. However, each time it’s used tells us of a way that we show the world that we’re Christians—that we’re one of “Christ’s ones,”—one of the “band of Christ.”
So let’s look at these 3 passages and learn how the world can tell if we’re one of Christ’s ones.