That is exactly what happened in the city of Antioch. While Barnabas and Saul were in that city, the people there started calling them by the name "Christian".
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.)
But that isn't who they were! They were given that name because they were followers of Jesus the Christ. By the way, Christ means the anointed One. Later the ambassador Paul gives some clarity in his writing to the saints of God in the city of Philippi. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same power with which He will bring everything under His control. Ask yourself this question: How do you define yourself? Even more, how do others define you? Do they define you by your occupation or how you conduct yourself? I recall the Lord Jesus asking His disciples that very same question: Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, He asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”
Then He asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”
But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
When you go to your regular supermarket, how do the employees view you there? What reputation have you created? My wife and I know we stand out wherever we go. One reason is because I am "chocolate" and she is "vanilla". We look like opposites, in terms of skin tones. But that is only the first impression. Our behavior overrides that first impression because of the way we conduct ourselves in public. We understand what it is to be an ambassador of the Kingdom. There have been times that the Governor (the Holy Spirit) led us to give to an individual while we were shopping. Kingdom ambassadors are never "on" or "off". We are always on duty, representing our King Jesus.
When you are led of the Holy Spirit, you aren't like others. The Governor does all things to please Father God. By the way, we who are of a Kingdom mindset are a peculiar people. The ambassador Peter made this statement. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light. Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.
By the way, that statement "who were not a people" refers to those of us who aren't of Jewish decent (Gentiles). John, the Lord Jesus' cousin, knew who he was and his purpose for being. In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’”
Remember, John never called himself "John the Baptist". That is what he did. He prepared the introduction for the King. The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets:
“Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.”
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.’”
John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” NKJV
John introduced the King and the Lord God confirmed it. It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” NKJV
John knew who he was and the Lord Jesus definitely knew who He was--the Son of the living God. He didn't need any man or woman to define Him. The same holds true for those of us who live by His laws and principles. We are Kingdom citizens, not a religious group labeled Christian. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. Keep in mind, if those around you see you as a religious person, then you are displaying the wrong image. You were designed and defined by the Lord God, not any man or woman. Know who you are and walk in that knowledge!
And remember, your greatest asset is your faith in the Lord Jesus.
Acts 11:25-26 Philippians 3:20-21 Mark 8:27-30 I Peter 2:9-10
Matthew 3:1-3 Mark 1:1-8, 9-11 Romans 8:12-14
all NLT, except where noted
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