This month at South Side leading up to Easter Sunday in April we are doing a series entitled “Christian.” After all, the word Christian is the word used worldwide for people who are followers of Christ. I believe it is so important today to know who Jesus wanted us to be before we celebrate the event that gave us the privilege of being who we are today.
In our current culture the word “Christian” is used in both positive and negative ways. The first century followers of Jesus more than often received the negative. They were often persecuted or killed. So today I want to ask you what comes to your mind when you hear the word “Christian?” What ideas and thoughts come along with that word when you hear it? What does the word “Christian” really mean in the original language of scripture, and how do you know if you really are a Christian?
The first time in History the word “Christian” was used is found in the Book of Acts in chapter 11 verse 26 where it says, “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” Prior to this time in the book of Acts, there was no specific name for those who followed Jesus Christ other than believers, followers, and disciples. So, this was the first time in history in Antioch that followers of Christ were called “Christian.”
The original Greek word for Christian is “Christianos” which comes from the two Greek words “Christ and tian.” The word Christ means “anointed” and tian means “little.” So the word “Christian” literally means “little anointed ones.” During his life Jesus was called the “messiah” which meant “the anointed one” and we are his “little anointed ones” who have been anointed by his Holy Spirit to represent Him in this world. Interestingly, the word Christian is only found three times in the Bible. However, how do you know if you are truly a “Christian?” I can say I’m a car because I’m in a garage but that doesn’t make it true? Or, just because I’m surrounded by a chicken fence that doesn’t mean I’m a chicken. I believe being a Christian is more than just saying a few words but is rather a changed life and a new way of living life according to scripture.
In the New Testament, how we live life is another way of saying how we “walk” in this world. One way we can tell that we are Christians is by the life that we live—how we walk out life in this world. How do you live your life? What is at the center of it? What is most important to you? What do you make time for? If you had one, what would be the theme song that describes your life?
The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” This verse means that as “Christians” we are not who we once were. The problem with many Christians today is that they are expecting new results by living the old way! When Jesus saved you, He created you to be new for righteousness and holiness. One true test of being a “Christian” is that we are “little anointed ones” by the way that we walk and live compared to the way that we did before.
I want to ask you today, how differently do you live now that you are a Christian than you did before? We need to understand especially in our western culture that being a Christian is more than just believing a certain set of beliefs and creeds. Being a Christian is a way of life in which we seek to identify as closely as we can with Jesus. Following Christ is a lifestyle choice: accepting him as Lord and Savior, choosing to believe when it seems impossible, choosing to love those whom you would much rather hate, and choosing to value God over all other attachments.
This Sunday at South Side we will unpack our second week of our series entitled “Christian” where we will take a deeper look at what it means to live as a “Christian.” Our on-site worship begins at 10:15, and our Children’s Ministry offers children’s classes for all ages. We are continuing to practice social distancing at our services. If you are unable to attend our online services will be available at 3 on Facebook and our website. If you would like to give generously just text the word “help” to: 84321 and follow the simple instructions. We would love to have you and your family worship with us! For more information visit us on our website at: www.southsidewch.com or on Facebook.
South Side Church of Christ