posted Nov 5, 2011, 6:08 PM by Dale Barnes
“The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” (Acts 11:26 NIV)

By my count the word “disciples” is used 26 times in Acts.(NIV Bible)  I remember when I was about 12 years old, I became interested in becoming a Christian so I asked the question. How?  It seemed I just needed to believe certain teachings. I began to consider and say these truths to myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God; that he died for my sins;.that he rose from the dead.  I thought through mental acceptance of these true statements I would be a Christian.  However, I never was satisfied.  Something was missing.

Many years later, I prayed, admitted my need of Christ and his forgiveness, A few days later I told two men that I had turned my life over to Christ; I had a sense of great joy within.  It was so strong, I thought would explode.  Previously I had been in a confrontation with another man, and I now sensed that I needed to apologize to him. So I did it. I was walking a new way; following Jesus!

The first episode was just mental gymnastics. The second episode was my heart (inner being) turning to Christ because of his love and work on my behalf.  I had become a disciple of Christ; I was learning and following him.  It was real!

These early Christians were “disciples.”  They had believed who he was and what he had done for them.  They believed he was alive forever, and their reaction was to follow him.  It is good to stop and examine our “Christianity.”  It is not a matter of learning some rules, or joining some organization. Has the knowledge and challenge of Jesus changed your life?  They were called Christians first at Antioch because they were disciples (learners and followers) of Christ.  “If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed.” (Jn.8:31) “They will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Jn.13:35)  This is genuine Christianity!