(It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.) Acts 11:26b
Here at Sagebrush, our mission is to know Christ and to make Christ known. This week, we have talked a lot about knowing Christ. Today, we are going to talk about making Christ known. As followers of Jesus, there is truly nothing better we can do with our lives than make Him known to others who are desperate for hope and peace.
In Acts 11, we find that many followers of Jesus in Israel scattered after a man named Stephen was stoned for his faith in Jesus. They left Israel to go to neighboring countries where they might not be treated like Stephen was treated. When they arrived to these places, they told those whom they met about Jesus, and many came to believe in Him, especially in the city of Antioch. Two missionaries, Paul (who is referred to as Saul in these verses) and Barnabas heard about the number of those coming to believe in Jesus in Antioch and went to help the church in Antioch grow. In verse 26 of this chapter, we find an interesting note. "It was at Antioch that believers were first called Christians." This name was used to refer to those associated with Christ. This is fitting, isn't it? You see, after Jesus went back to Heaven, His followers are the people commissioned to continue to spread His message and make Him known. What's more? Christians are anointed by the Holy Spirit to have the power to be effective witnesses for Him (1 John 2:20). Christians, you and I, are the people given the charge to carry the name of Christ.
When you consider your life, do you live as one given the charge to carry the name of Jesus and make Him known? My friend, as a Christian, you and I have the distinct privilege to make His name known to our family, friends, and neighbors. This is not only with our words but also with our actions. We can share the message of Christ speaking to others about Him, living with integrity, and showing kindness. Will you choose to live as one anointed by the Holy Spirit to make Christ known?
Take out your journal or your notebook. Spend a few minutes thinking of the implications that you carry the name of Jesus every day through your words and actions. This happens when you tell others about Him. It also happens when you live in such a way that your very life points people to Him. After considering the task you have been given to carry the name of Jesus, take a few moments and think of three ways this week that you can make Christ known.
Read Acts 11:19-30 (NLT)
Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews. However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord.
When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.
Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.)
During this time some prophets traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings and predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. (This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.) So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could. This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem.
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