Summary: The Greek word used in all three of these passages of scripture is Christianos just like the Spanish word and it literally means a follower of Christ.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A CHRISTIAN?
Part 1 - 2/22/09
Definition: They are those who belong to Jesus Christ. Other designations in scripture are believers, disciples and the children of God. Originally used as a nick name for those who were followers of Christ Jesus it is a term that is only used three times in the scriptures.
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.
Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, you almost persuade me to be a Christian.
1 Pet 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
The Greek word used in all three of these passages of scripture is Christianos just like the Spanish word and it literally means a follower of Christ.
Notice what the only three versus in scripture to use this word are talking about.
Acts 11:26 – The disciples are being recognized as followers of Christ.
Acts 26:28 – Paul is recognize as someone doing the will of God, attempting to bring others to the faith.
And 1 Peter 4:16 – a Christian is recognized as someone who should find no shame in their suffering because of their association with Christ but to consider that very fact a service to God.
A large part of the population of our country claims to be Christians but I wonder how many are true followers of God?
Christianity has become nothing more than a club to be a member of, a thing to do on Sunday morning, and an obligation to deal with once a week one hour at a time.
Many who claim to be Christians live lives that are inseparable from that of a person in the secular world. In fact for the last couple of weeks we have been asking some difficult questions that bring us to our subject today of what does it mean to be a Christian?
We’ve asked what is to be born again, which implies a new beginning a new birth that comes from God. We have asked who is God and why He deserves all of our worship and commitment. We have asked what sin is and attempted to indentify its roots in order to better help us resist its power in our lives. Now comes the biggest questions of them all. What does it mean to be a follower of Christ?
We will begin today on the last leg of this journey of self discovery with a two part teaching that will remind us and instruct us as to what we are and whose we are when we claim the name of Christ in our lives.
In the hopes of course of solidifying our faith and strengthening our position as not merely followers of Jesus but as members of the family of God.
From the handful of followers who first heard His message to the estimated 2.2 billion Christians alive today, the followers of Jesus were to be the salt of the earth, the city on a hill, the force that would heal and transform the world.
Christians now form 33 percent of the world’s population, but beyond the impressive numbers, how successful has our faith been? What are our prospects for the future? And if Jesus were to return to Earth today, would He recognize his teachings? His church?
Any individual who has been lifted from despair to hope, moved from hate to love, or vaulted from doubt to faith is likely to judge the 20 centuries of Christianity as worthwhile.
Anyone who has experienced healing, received solace when the candle burns low or the life of a dear one fades away, or who has been inspired or moved to help others in need while requiring much attention themselves. Truly to be a Christian is a noble and worthy endeavor, but how do those outside of our faith see us?
Starting with the Christian Crusades in the name of Christ, Christians have mistreated the faith and the work of Jesus. In Spain and elsewhere in Europe, Inquisitors in the name of Jesus searched out the suspicious, the troublemakers and the innocents who seemed different — all for the sake of God’s truth and purity, as they defined it.
Then they turned the innocents who were guilty over to the crown for unusual and cruel punishment, with death being the lesser evil than torture. One may justifiably say that “The Crusades” and “The Spanish Inquisition” – with other ‘religious wars’ – carried out in the name of Christianity cannot be said to be fought for the cause of Christ, but rather for the cause of a religious institution.