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It may surprise you to know that the word ‘Christian’ is only used three times in the Bible.  The word literally means ‘a follower of Christ.’  The first time the word is used is in Acts 11:25-26 which says, “Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: 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.”  Notice here that it is not the disciples that call themselves Christians, but they were called Christians by others who noticed their lifestyles.  They were assembling themselves with other believers and were teaching the Word of God.  This is in accordance to the Word of God.  Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”  Then, in Matthew 28:19-20 we have the word of the Lord Jesus to His disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”  We might say that the disciples were recognized as being Christians by their obedience to God’s Word.

The next time the word is used is when the Apostle Paul is witnessing to King Agrippa in Caesarea Philippi about the salvation that is available through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We find Agrippa’s response to Paul in Acts 26:28-29, “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.”  Antioch and Caesarea Philippi are about 200 miles apart, so it seems the word ‘Christian’ had now begun to be used to describe the followers of Christ in every place.  Notice how Paul mourns over Agrippa’s refusal of the Gospel.  How serious and sad it is when someone refuses to bow their knee to the Lord and acknowledge Him as savior and Lord.

We find a word of encouragement to believers from the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 4:16 where he says, “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”  These calming words from the apostle are addressed to Christians, or those who follow Christ.  When we follow the Lord, are faithful to God’s Word and stand for His principals, persecution will be part of our lives.  2 Timothy 3:12 tells us, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

True Christians are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Lord said in John 10:27-28, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”  Those who have put their faith in the Lord are His sheep.  King David wrote in Psalms 79:13, “So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.”  True Christians are the Lord’s people.  True Christians are the sheep of His pasture and give thanks and praise to the Lord.  To those who put their faith in the Lord Jesus, He gives eternal life and they shall never perish.  (94.1)