January 15th – Christians!



There is a very short, but historic, sentence in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 11, which spells out a gigantic leap forward in mankind’s history. At the end of verse 26 it simply states that “the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch”.
‘Christians’ – a term used, and abused ,a billion times a day; sometimes scornfully meaning hypocrites, ‘Christians’. Sometimes racially and, appallingly, as when we hear that the Muslims and Christians somewhere who are at each other’s throats ….True Christians and true Muslims do not solve their problems with bombs and bullets. So why did they call them Christians for the first time in history at Antioch? There are a number of reasons – here a couple for now. They were a fellowship, a community. The word ‘christians’ is plural: it’s always plural in the Bible, that is the word for God’s people. A community which had been formed and reborn and shaped by their faith in Jesus. It was good news – great news In Jesus, God had provided an amnesty for sinners, a fresh start, a new relationship and they accepted in joyful gratitude: Christians! People who belong to Christ.
They were an open fellowship. Until then Gentiles (non-Jews) were regarded as total outsiders. Outside of God’s family, outside the covenant, outside His care: no-hopers. But at Antioch they preached the Good News of Christ to everyone and to masses of non-Jews (Hellenists or Greeks) who turned to the Lord and were born again. There are more reasons than this, but that’s all we’ve space for today (more tomorrow).
Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. Acts 11: 19-21
A Prayer: Lord Jesus, you came to restore all men to the life for which they were made: deliver us from trusting secretly but never telling others openly about you.
Now read Acts Ch.26

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Thought 4 The Day

Praising God does not mean paying Him compliments. It does mean revelling in His company.

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