The Disciples Were Called Christians Acts 11:26 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Today it seems like everyone who is not a Muslim or a Jew or an atheist refers to himself as a Christian. It is an acceptable or even desirable title. Yet the word Christian is a Bible word, and so we ought to examine it carefully to see whether “Christian” is really the right designation for these folks. According to Acts 11:26, the disciples were called Christians. Why were they called Christians?
Because they were followers of Christ – Jn 21:22 – this designation was not a popular title, it was derogatory. The term “Christian” designated a despised group. They were following Christ, a man, and so they were identified by the man’s name or title. For instance, you are familiar with Branch Davidians, the cult of “David” Koresh. “Christian” doesn’t carry with it the negative connotation that it did back then. Today the term Christian is a popular identification and more often refers to people who aren’t disciples of the Lord, at all. It refers to religious people in all sorts of churches, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormon’s, etc..
Because they were saved by Christ – Acts 26:28 – Agrippa was almost persuaded to be a Christian. Paul wasn’t trying to convert Agrippa to a religion or to even make him a disciple of Christ. He wanted Agrippa to trust Christ and be saved. People who do are Christians. Today, though, many unsaved people call themselves Christians. When doing personal work you cannot even ask, “Are you a Christian?” because they will all answer, “Yes.”
Because they were persecuted – 1 Pet 4:16 – Christians were despised and persecuted. To be called a Christian identified you with Christ, who had been killed and whose followers were “martyred.” In the United States we have no idea, personally, what real persecution is like. The worst we must endure is ridicule. But in countries like North Korea, they understand; Christians are killed there. You would not have nearly the number of professing “Christians” in the USA that you do today if Christians were persecuted here like they are in some other countries and like they were back then. Paul said that all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. That’s not anything like this worldly, fleshly mass of professing Christians today.
Conclusion: So the word Christian is not the right designation for most people who profess to be Christians today. It is a misnomer. Most professing Christians today are lost, hell-bound, self-righteous, religious hypocrites. They are sinners in need of Jesus. If you are one of those, you need to quit calling yourself a Christian until you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and thereby become a child of God. Then, and only then, will you be a Christian in the true sense of the word.