7/3: To Be Called a Christian

 

Acts chapter 11 records the fact that “the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (verse 26, NKJ). Up until this time, those talking about Jesus were just known as those who followed “The Way.” What prompted the name change?

In the previous chapter, Acts 10, we read of Cornelius, a centurion from Caesarea, who was “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household…and prayed to God always” (vs. 2). An angel had appeared to him and told him to call for Peter to hear what Peter had to say. While Cornelius’s men were going to get Peter, God was giving Peter a vision of “all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air” (vs. 12). Peter was instructed by a voice to get up, kill these animals, and eat them. He refused, saying, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean” (vs. 14). The voice told him, “What God has cleansed you must not call common” (vs. 15). This vision happened to Peter three times in a row. As soon as the vision finished, the men from Cornelius’s house were at Peter’s door to summon him. Peter went with them, ended up preaching Christ to Cornelius and his household, and all of them became Christ followers.

When word got back to Judea that the Gentiles had received the Word of God, you would think folks would have been excited. But oh no. Completely missing the fact that those people were now believers, the believing Jews (those of the circumcision) in Jerusalem were upset with Peter because he had gone “in to uncircumcised men and ate with them” (Acts 11:2). However, after Peter related the whole story to them, and included the fact that the Holy Spirit had been poured out on these Gentiles in the same way He had been given to them, the dissenters “became silent; and they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life’” (Acts 11:18).

Following this incident, others began spreading the good news of Jesus to Gentiles. It’s not until the gospel began being preached to the Gentiles that Christ followers began being called Christians.

To whom do we refuse to go? Who are the “uncircumcised” in our eyes? Who do we consider to be “common or unclean”? Is there any one person, or any group of people, we don’t want to talk to about Jesus? Do any of our prejudices restrict our conversation? Those called by the name “Christian” are to be both able and willing to introduce Him to any and everyone.

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©2013 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s book, Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame, available now from New Hope Publishers, and get ready for Sharon’s newest release, Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children, coming this fall from Judson Press.

 

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~ by sanewriter on July 3, 2013.

One Response to “7/3: To Be Called a Christian”

  1. Actions speak louder than words.

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