“Christians”!

25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

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 11:25-26

This blog has taken a toll from my many travels on account of the gospel. Much of the time, for various reasons, I am forced to leave my laptop behind.

In the last few weeks, however, Acts 11:26 has been powering its way in my spirit; and I felt I should share it with my readers.

The above scriptures go to show, not just the great work that Paul (then called Saul) and Barnabas accomplished as apostles (which I will address in a later post); but also the fruit that is born in men’s lives when the true gospel of Jesus Christ is preached. The Apostle Paul had received the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ on the way to Damascus, so it goes without saying that he preached no other gospel than this to the believers at Antioch (Gal. 1:11-12; 1 Cor. 2:2). And when the disciples in Antioch became followers of this gospel, the fruit of the Spirit was born in their lives and their lives were transformed. So much so that it became clear to everyone who saw them. And the people of Antioch called them “Christians”, for they followed after Christ.

People love saying “Praise the Lord”, and making long testimonies. None of that is wrong, of course, but what really counts are not the words we speak, but transformed lives. Our Lord Jesus Christ said,

“14 Ye are the light of the world… 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Mat. 5:14-16)

Much of the time, God is not looking for the praise and worship session in church, however much we make of it. Nor is He waiting for our testimonies or sermons, be they long or short.

God, however, is very much concerned with the price we are willing to pay in order that we may live the kind of life that pleases Him. Incidentally, the kind of life that pleases God is also the kind of life that pleases the ordinary man. The Bible says of Jesus:

“51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Lk. 2:51-52)

Christianity is not a label. It is Godliness – Godliness in action. Jesus pleased both God and His parents by “subject unto them”. That means He obeyed His parents. He did not please God or His parents by singing “praise and worship”. You can sing praise and worship without it costing you a dime. It is when we accept to give up our inner “things” to be crucified that we please God, for this brings out the character of Christ in us. And that is all that really matters in our confession of Christianity.

That was what the disciples at Antioch did; and it became evident to all men.

[I found this little boy all alone deep in the bush grazing his father’s calves]

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