Today, the name Christian as it relates to the believer is taken/given once one is born again and experienced what have been outlined in our previous post. For some there may not even be such experiences but involvement in Church activities, long time membership, as a matter of being born in the church, etc, they are called Christians or profess to be Christians. At Antioch, when the disciples were firs called Christians it was not so.
· The name came not from the disciples themselves but from those that observed, tried, interacted with and who lived amongst them.
· The people that heard the word of God from the preacher had testimonies of conversion, clear change of lives and progress in it (Act. 11:19-21; 2Cor. 5:17).
· The grace of God was evident on them as the visiting minister confirmed. Their victories over persecution, trials, temptations, labour and love for the Lord must have been clear (Act. 11:23).
· They had evangelism prowess just like those that brought them the gospel (Act. 11:20-21, 24; 2:14, 37-41; Mk. 16:15; Lk. 9:1-2).
· The atmosphere in their fellowship was such that made easy the operation of the Holy Ghost in the man of God (Act. 11:12). There was no room for quarrels, secret sins, immoral and ungodly acts and other properties of Satan that could hinder the move of the Holy Ghost or constitute obstacles to the faith of the minister (cons. Habk. 1:13; 2Cor. 3:17; Isa. 59:1-2; Josh. 7:10-12).
· They were teachable. They had an increasing hunger and thirst for God’s word which made them not to forsake the assemblying together of the brethren (Heb. 10:25; Ps. 42:1-2; 119:125-131, 9-16; Isa. 2:3). Each gathering worked new things in them, imparted the qualities of the Lord and made them more like Jesus (Jn. 15:1-6; 2Cor. 3:18).
· There was unity of purpose, same spirit, oneness, submission, uncompromised lifestyle as they dwelt together (Act. 11:23, 26; Jn. 13:34-35; 1Cor. 1:10; Rom. 12:16; Phil. 3:16).
· There must have been no doubt great manifestations of the presence and power of God on the lives of the needy, sick, troubled, etc, because of the preaching and teaching of the word of God (Lk. 5:17; Mk. 16:15-20; cons. Lk. 4:17-19).
The people of Antioch on comparing what they knew about Jesus (precepts) and the lives of the followers of this Jesus (practice), they saw the people as the exact copy of their Lord. They were His image. After a whole year of observation, it was concluded that no doubt, these ones are CHRISTIANS.