Did you know the word “living church youtube channel” appears only three times in the New Testament? The New Testament’s use of this term indicates that it was a term of derision, a term placed upon Christ’s followers by their critics. Not unlike, for instance, the British reference to America’s colonists, “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” A “dandy” was considered a derogatory term for a person with pretensions above his social status. “Yankee” was also highly derogatory and referred to a coward. British troops used it to mock American Colonial militias who, untrained and undisciplined, often broke and ran before the advancing Redcoats. In time, as the tide of the Revolution turned, the young Americans embraced the term and it stuck.
We find the term “Christians” in Acts 17:28 (NIV) where King Agrippa, an unbeliever, said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” It is also found in 1 Peter 4:16 (NIV): “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” This text indicates that early believers in Christ suffered persecution for being “Christians.” In fact, in 1 Peter being a “Christian” seems almost synonymous with suffering (1:6,7; 2:12,19-23; 3:9-17; 4:1,12-19; 5:9).
This thought leads us directly to the third text that uses the term “Christian.” It appears in Acts 11:27 (NIV), where we read, “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”
This key text tells us two things about those who bore the title of “Christian.”
First, “Christian” was not so much a name that they chose as a name that was APPLIED to them (they were CALLED Christians by others). This is consistent with the observation that it was a term placed upon them by hostile critics.
Next, it was a term that was placed on “the disciples.” This helps us to establish the meaning of the term: A Christian is a disciple, a follower of Christ, one who places their faith in Jesus as God’s Christ.
Finally, a Christian is one who is prepared to suffer for the sake of Christ, if necessary. This suffering, as we have seen, is described in detail by Peter. It entails a life patterned after the life and death of Jesus, a life of service to God and others.