Summary: If you claim the name of Christian, are there evidences in your life to support that claim?
I. A Christian Shows Evidences of Believing - v. 21
"And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord."
Many today claim the name of Christian or profess Christianity as the basis for their lives. However, a large portion of these same individuals do not show any evidence that they know Christ or even know what a Christian is.
There are some definitions of the word Christian that I would like to begin with. First, the word Christian means to be "Christ-like" or a "little Christ." Secondly, a Christian means to "be of the party of Christ," or in other words, to be associated with Him. It is sad to say though that many who claim the name of Jesus show absolutely no qualities of Christ-like living. Matthew 7:21 is clear, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." It is not just enough to say that we are a Christian, but if we are truly blood-bought, then there will be overwhelming evidences of it.
Here in the book of Acts, the Bible states that the term "Christian" originated first in Antioch. This is ironic considering that the city of Antioch was a major pagan metropolis. Antioch was the third largest city in the Roman Empire behind Rome and Alexandria. Some believers who had been persecuted after the death of Steven sought to get away and these landed in Antioch. However, they didn’t arrive silent. Instead, they came preaching. Verse 19 states that they were "preaching the word," and verse 20 states also that they were "preaching the Lord Jesus." They displayed an evidence that they believed in what was promised. They refused to give up. They would not grow silent when persecution came. They viewed this as an opportunity for missions, so they proclaimed Christ as they traveled.
When God made His covenant with Abraham, Abraham did not doubt even though it seemed impossible. Genesis 15:6 states, "And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness." Many are finding it very difficult to live a righteous, holy life mostly because they live in doubt as to the promises of God. Romans 3:4 states, "let God be true, but every man a liar." Your doubt and unbelief will keep you from a relationship with God.
II. A Christian Shows Evidences of Adhering to God’s Word - v. 23
"...that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord."
The words "would cleave unto" in verse 23 comes from the Greek word "prosmeno" which in a spiritual sense means to adhere to. Again it is sad to say that there are many who profess Christ and yet live in open rebellion to His Word. For example, Hebrews 10:25 states, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is." However, I find it a major problem as a pastor, as do many other pastors that I have spoken with, to be able to keep just my members attending faithfully. They may show up on Sunday morning, but then will skip Sunday evening and Wednesday night services. Before I became a Pastor, I decided that I would not accept a position with any company that would require me to work on Sunday or Wednesday evenings. Some companies refused to hire me, but there were a few who were understanding. It was these that I worked for. What I learned was that God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him, and anything that causes you to compromise on God’s Word and principles is an idol and needs to be removed even if it is your employment. Matthew 6:33 states, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." It starts with believing. Do you believe this verse? If you say "yes," then is there evidence supporting your word?
III. A Christian Shows Evidences of Being Filled With the Holy Spirit - v. 24
"For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost..."
Verse 24 speaks of Barnabas, who as you know, later became Paul’s companion on the mission field. The Bible states that he was full of the Holy Ghost. As a Christian, there should be explicit evidence that we are full of the Holy Ghost. In verse 16, the Apostle Peter recalls the words of Jesus when he stated, "John indeed baptized you with water; be ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost."
How do we know that we are full of the Holy Ghost? The Bible states in Matthew 7:20, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." The fruit is the evidence that one is filled with the Holy Spirit.