Yesterday, we found a people in Antioch who had become, through the faithful Gospel witness of a couple anonymous men and the filling of the Holy Spirit, a Gospel people. Advancing the glorious Gospel of Jesus christ had permeated their very being. Their faithful gospel witness influenced a pagan city greatly and sparked missions as we know them.
Read these verses and record what happened for the FIRST time through the Antioch church
Amazing fact– as mentioned yesterday, it was the Church of Antioch that was first called “Christian”. While we see this title as a badge of honor….it was most likely a very derogatory title given to these men and women of the faith by their detractors. They ridiculed these believers as the “Christ Ones” (later shortened to christians) because they talked so often about the Christ.
Let me ask you, Have you ever been around a person worthy of the nickname “Christ One” because of their absolute infatuation with the Lord Jesus? Ever been in the presence of someone who couldnt seem to KEP FROM talking about Jesus?
What was it like to be around that person?
Real talk – Does your behavior, your dialogue…your passion merit the nickname “Christ One:”? Why or why not?
As far as these Antioch believers are concerned, its pretty apparent why this nick name fit so well. They ENJOYED talking about Jesus. They spoke the name of Jesus at the marketplace as they shopped, as they watched athletic events, at work, in school, you name it. Jesus permeated their very being! they were consumed!
Since we’re talking nicknames – if you had one based on the greatest passion of your life, what would it be?
I can tell you, I’ve had a few (some I can’t mention without repentance! Thank God for GRACE!). In my rodeo days, I was given the nickname “Cowboy” by one of my High School football coaches…and it stuck! Why cowboy? Put simply…that was my life, my passion. I ate, drank, slept and bled rodeo. The name fit. It was my identity. Cowboy.
As time passed and I retired my chaps and the rest of my bullriding gear (though I’m GONNA ride one more time!), most people stopped calling me cowboy (and here we are, over 10 years removed from the arena and some still do, this tells you how insanely passionate about rodeo I’d become).
Today, I pray that I would be identified as a “Christ One”.
Whats pretty interesting to me is that these early Antioch believers who were so passionate and effective when it came to advancing the Gospel didn’t seem to have a specific time set aside for doing so. This is certainly not a shot against witnessing trips or evangelistic visitation….but this church just didn’t seem to have that going on. instead, a verbal witness just seemed to be an extension of what they were already doing. My point- they didn’t wait until Sunday evening or a Wednesday night program to advance the Gospel, instead Jesus had so impacted their lives that they had little else to talk about!
Every conversation in Antioch came back to the Gospel.
How about us? How about today? Studies prove that Jesus is spoken of early and often in the company of other believers on Sundays in the Church but Gospel conversation just isn’t finding its way to the ball field, the mall, the workplace, ect. While believers are pretty quick (and rightfully so!) to invoke the name of Christ when sharing blessings with other believers, His name in strangely and dangerously absent in conversations we have everyday with people who desperately need His salvation!
In Antioch, advancing the Gospel wasnt a mere activity but a lifestyle. Not forced but natural. Advancing the Gospel in everyday life was simply an outflow of what had happened within…..salvation!
When we understand the breadth and depth of the message of Jesus, we’ll understand that advancing the Gospel isn’t something we do as much as it is something we are!
Will You Pray?
Join me in asking the Lord to give us an even greater understanding of the Gospels affect on us so that we may be worthy of the nick name, “The Christ Ones” because of our everyday passion for making the Name of Jesus known.
Love you all SO much and Soli Deo Gloria!- Pastor