The Lower Lights> Feb 2003|
Alan Jones, Editor
"Brightly beams our
From the lighthouse
But to us He gives the
Of the light along the
Published monthly by the church of Christ, 35900 Palmer Road, P.O. Box
86-233, Westland, MI 48166
Several years ago I was starting a Bible study group in a prison. The
Bible study group met at a time when the inmates were counted so it was
called a "count-letter". The prison asked us to name our "count-letter". I
suggested that we call the "count-letter" the "Christian count-letter", as
those of us coming in for the study were simply "Christians" and we were
encouraging the inmates to be the same. But the prison rejected the name
"Christian count-letter" saying the name "Christian" was too "generic".
How unfortunate it is that the name "Christian" has come to mean so many
things that it means nothing.
What does it mean to be a "Christian"? How can I become a "Christian"? How
can I live as a "Christian"? The New Testament still contains the answers
to these important questions. Let us go beyond the confusion caused by
denominationalism and see the simple answers to these questions given to
us in the account of how the gospel of Christ came to the city of Antioch
of Syria (Acts 11:19-26).
PREACHING THE LORD
When the disciples scattered from Jerusalem after Stephen was stoned to
death for his preaching, they took the good news of Jesus with them
wherever they went. Some of those who fled came to Antioch of Syria. When
they arrived in Antioch they preached "the Lord Jesus" (11:20).
They did not use any gimmicks or worldly attractions to get folks to "join
their church". They did not preach a creed handed down from "church
headquarters" that their listeners must learn and accept in order to join
The disciples told the people of Antioch that Jesus died on a cross for
their sins and for the sins of the world and then was raised from the dead
and ascended to Godís right hand where He reigns as "Lord". By His
obedient sacrifice He became the author of eternal salvation to those who
obey Him (Heb 5:8-9).
TURNING TO THE LORD
A large number of those in Antioch who heard the message about Jesus being
Lord believed it. Since they believed that He is Lord they "turned to
the Lord" (11:21). What did this involve? Other N.T. passages explain.
When those in Antioch "turned to the Lord" they determined that
they would not live their lives the way they wanted to any more, but they
would live the rest of their lives according to the will of God (1 Pet
4:2). They were crucified with Christ- it was no longer they who lived,
but Christ lived in them (Gal 2:20).
When those in Antioch "turned to the Lord", they were
buried like Jesus was buried. They buried the old man of sin in baptism. Like
rose from the dead, they also arose from the water of baptism, free of
sin, raised to walk in newness of life- to serve the Lord and
righteousness, rather than self and sin (Rom 6:1-6, 13, 17-18).
REMAINING TRUE TO THE LORD
When those in Antioch "turned to the Lord" by repentance and baptism they
began a relationship with the Lord that was to last more than a lifetime-
it was to last forever. But, if it was to last, these new disciples needed
help. The church at Jerusalem heard of their conversion to the Lord and
they sent Barnabas to help them (Acts 11:22).
Barnabas encouraged the new converts "with resolute heart to remain
true to the Lord." (11:23). Barnabas called for commitment. Their
service to the Lord was not to be "on again, off again", something decided
by the day or even by the moment, but it was to be purposeful. "To
remain true to the Lord" was to be the guiding purpose that was to
affect and to control their every thought, word, and action.
Not only did the new converts at Antioch need encouragement to remain true
to the Lord, they needed teaching so that they knew how to remain true to
Him. Jesus indicated that the process of spreading His gospel included
making disciples, baptizing them, and then teaching them further (Mt
28:18-20). When those at Antioch became Jesusí disciples, they made a
lifetime commitment to learn His will and to strive to obey it. The need
for additional teaching at Antioch was so great that Barnabas temporarily
left to find Saul in Tarsus. After locating Saul, Barnabas brought him
back to Antioch and the two of them "for an entire year met with the
church and taught considerable numbers." (11:25)
THEY WERE CALLED CHRISTIANS
Is it any wonder that those in Antioch who had heard the "Lord Jesus"
preached, who had "turned to the Lord", and who had been exhorted
to "remain true to the Lord" were called "Christians"?
(11:26). They belonged to and were obedient to Christ, the Lord. Only by
doing the same can we rightly call ourselves "Christians."
Our goal at the Palmer Road church of Christ is to be "Christians" in the
true sense of the word. We preach the Lord Jesus. We encourage others to
believe in the Lord Jesus and to turn to Him and then to be true to Him
from that time on. We offer no gimmicks to entice you to be a "church
member". We have no denominational doctrine we want to persuade you to
If we could help you to be a truly a "Christian" as defined by the New
Testament, give us a call at (734) 942-7956 or email us at our website
Let us preach to you "the Lord Jesus" that you may become and remain a
"Christian" to your soulís eternal salvation.
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Road Church of Christ* - All Rights Reserved
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