Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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What Is A Christian?

Luke records for us, in Acts 11;26, “And when he had 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.”

It is interesting to note the prophecy found in Isaiah 62:2 with regard to Luke’s statement.

“The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, And all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, Which the mouth of the LORD will name.

Some would deny that the “calling” of the disciples as “Christians” was divinely ordained, but there seems to be no other name given to the disciples of our Lord. In fact, in all of the New Testament, the only proper name by which followers of Christ were known was Christian.

The apostle Paul appealed to King Agrippa in his defense before the king and Festus, the procurator of Judea in Acts 26. In response, Agrippa said, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” It is important to note that Paul responded favorably to this statement, cf. vs. 29.

Finally, in Peter’s first epistle, the apostle writes, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:16).

It is understandable that the name Christian would be the divinely ordained name by which Jesus’ followers would be known. We wear His name because we belong to Him.

The name, however, has been adopted by many who are not, in fact, the people of God. It is not enough to simply wear the name, there are other identifying characteristics which identify those who are truly Christians. Our profession must match our actual life, as we submit ourselves to the will of Christ, and seek to obey Him in all things. In view of this, note the following regarding what a Christian truly is…

In faith, a Christian is a believer in Christ. “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1:11-12).

In relationship, a Christian is a child of God. “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17).

In character, a Christian is a saint. [That is, one who has been separated from that which is common, for a holy purpose]. “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

In fellowship, a Christian is a friend of the Lord. “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:14-15).

In conflict, a Christian is a soldier. “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:3-4).

In experience, a Christian is a pilgrim. “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12).

In expectation, a Christian is an heir. “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:17).

In recognition of the above identifying characteristics of a Christian, surely each of us desire to obtain that standing. What is required of any who would be His is simple,… obey the gospel, and live for the Lord. It is within the grasp of all. Have you taken hold of your opportunity to be called a Christian?