“The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Acts 11:26.
When we hear the word Christian, it gives us warm feelings – but in those early days, “Christian” was hurled at disciples as an insult!
The word “Christian” is only mentioned three times in the Bible.
Agrippa SNEERED: “You almost persuade me to be a Christian.” Or: “Do you think you can persuade me to become a ‘Christ-follower’ so easily?”
Peter also mentions the word: “If anyone suffers as a “Christian,” he should not be ashamed but should glorify God in having that name (Christian).”
TODAY: the world SNEERS at us when it uses the term!
And the main reason they hate us is because we love the Lord Jesus Christ!
The world hates us! I didn’t say that – Jesus did!
John 17:14 “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”
IT SHOULDN’T SURPRISE US! WHAT DO WE EXPECT!
WHY did the world insult those first Christians?
Let me offer some more reasons…
First of all, the world insulted those Christians because they yearned for Heaven
We don’t belong here. As Jesus said: “the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”
The Early Church saw herself as stateless! Really, we have no country down here! We too are wanderers and pilgrims (Heb 11:13).
The patriarchs didn’t build houses even though they had arrived in the Promised Land, they lived in tents. They were looking for another city, a Heavenly city!
Jesus said: “My kingdom is NOT of this world.” And Paul emphasises: “Our citizenship is in HEAVEN! – from WHERE we await the Saviour: the Lord Jesus Christ!” Philippians 3:20
Have we let our roots grow too deep in this world?
When they sneered “Christian” – they meant “You have no state!” NO HOME!
Do we deserve to be insulted by the world because we yearn for Heaven? Oh I hope we do!
Then again, the world insulted those Christians because they ached for the Eternal
The transient holds little for us. Things of this world don’t excite us: politics – sport – shopping – recreation… We enjoy them – but they are secondary!
And you see, the good thing is, when we focus on GOD we take the emphasis OFF ourselves. And our anxiety fades. “Your Heavenly FATHER KNOWS what you need!” That’s why we don’t need to take thought for tomorrow.
I wonder if we deserve the NAME! Do we deserve to be insulted by the world because we ache for eternal things? Oh I hope we do!
What’s more, the world insulted those Christians because they hoped for the Miraculous!
Jesus said: “Greater things shall you do!” And they believed it!
You can actually FEEL UNBELIEF, when it walks in a room – and many times it comes from the people who should know better!
Hebrews 3:12 “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”
Are we worthy of the insult “Christian” because we hope For the Miraculous? Oh I hope we are!
One last thing: the world threw insults at those early Christians because they craved the Spiritual.
We think of the temporal far too much. Paul called the human body a TENT. He was a tent-maker; he knew that tents have a short shelf life.
The spiritual has to do with the spirit. “We walk after the spirit and not after the flesh!”
Do we crave spiritual things so much that we deserve the insults of the world? Oh I hope we do!
Are we worthy of the insult: “Christian” ?
Is our heart yearning for Heaven?
Is our spirit aching for the Eternal?
Is our soul hoping for the Miraculous?
Is our Mind craving the Spiritual?
If we can say YES to these – then we deserve to be insulted by the world – when they taunt us with that word CHRISTIAN!