BIBLE READING: 1 PETER 4:16; ACTS 26:27-28
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. Acts 11:26 (NKJV).
How we define or describe ourselves shapes our lives. It is a seemingly small thing that actually plays a large part in making us who we are. Every day we live out in our lives who we think we are.
Over 2 billion people on Earth claim to be Christians. They are raised being told that is who they are. We might fall into that group. People as different as Roman Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and Seventh Day Adventist all say they are Christians.
Though the word Christian is first found in Acts 11:26, the word Disciple is found much earlier and more frequently in the book of Acts.
Luke described the first Church, the Jerusalem Church in terms of Disciples and Disciple making.
“Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying…” Acts 6:1(NKJV).
They were Disciples prior to being called Christians. So we can say that the word ” Christians” was built on the foundation of the word “Disciple” not vice versa. Without a prior discipleship, the believers would likely never have been called Christians.
This means that the New Testament knows nothing of a Christianity disconnected from biblical Discipleship. Believers then were committed Disciples before they were declared to be Christians but today’s worldly Christianity offers the name Christian to millions before they ever consider the cost involved in following Jesus as His Disciples. This is not usually done with malice or evil intent but it is being done and millions globally have been affected.
The word “Christian” is used only 3 times in the Bible, whereas, the word “Disciples” was used to describe believers over 250 times in the Gospels and Acts. Our day is certainly different from theirs. Today, all true Disciples of Christ are Christians but not all Christians are true Disciples.
Many Christians are made today without ever embracing a Biblical repentance. No Disciple is made that way, for nothing short of true repentance turns people around and makes them follow the narrow path, the way of true Discipleship.
•Evaluate your Christianity against the Backdrop of Genuine Discipleship: How authentic was your conversion?
•Write down the names of 12 people you will pray for this month and begin the discipleship process with them.