“Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” -Acts 11:25-26
Those who eventually became known as Christians in Antioch had something interesting in common; they had all been discipled. For an entire year they assembled with other believers and were taught by the Apostle Paul. This commitment to the doctrine of Jesus Christ garnered them more than just an education; but also a reputation.
Those who observed these disciples recognized from their speech, behavior, and beliefs that they were becoming more and more like Jesus:
“A disciples is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.”-Luke 6:40
Daily they were growing into His likeness. The same is still true today, if you will focus on being a disciple; soon you will be identified as being like Jesus. People will recognize your faith by what they see and hear, not by what you try to make them believe about you.
So how does one become a disciple of Jesus Christ? True discipleship always begins with repentance and forgiveness of sins; we must turn from those things that separate us from the presence of God and receive the gift of forgiveness offered to us by Jesus on Calvary’s cross. We must confess that He is now Lord of our life and identify with His death, burial, and resurrection through water baptism.
Disciples then live by the Word of God:
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.”-John 8:31
Disciples look to God’s Word for direction; understanding that His Word is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”-2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Disciples strive to live in unity and love one another:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another”-John 13: 34-35
Finally, disciples lead fruitful lives:
“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples.”-John 15:8
Remaining connected to Christ will produce a lifestyle that glorifies God and causes others to glorify Him:
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”-Matthew 5:16
The word Christian was never intended to be used as a designation, but rather as a description. To those in Antioch a Christian was a proven disciple of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church