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The Name of Shame! Acts 11:26


The Name of Shame!





Opening Prayer.

Praise,    Psalm  31:1-5. (Tune: Consolation)

1 In thee, O Lord, I put my trust, shamed let me never be;

According to thy righteousness do thou deliver me.


2 Bow down thine ear to me, with speed send me deliverance:

To save me, my strong rock be thou, and my house of defense.


3 Because thou art my rock, and thee I for my fortress take;

Therefore do thou me lead and guide, ev’n for thine own name’s sake.


4 And since thou art my strength, therefore pull me out of the net,

Which they in subtlety for me so privily have set.


5 Into thine hands I do commit my sp’rit: for thou art he,

O thou, Jehovah, God of truth, that hast redeemèd me.

(Scottish Metrical Psalms) 

Bible Reading: Acts 11:19-30


Acts 11:26

Have you noticed that the name ‘Christian’ has almost become a pejorative term – like a bad word of recent days Maybe not just in recent days too. Some people will actually hate you just for being a Christian – for following Jesus!  No surprise there of course.

  • Historically this has always been the case.  The hatred and persecution of Christians began just as soon as the church began.  Acts 9:1 reminds us that even after the first Christian martyr had given his life for Christ, Saul was still breathing out threats and slaughter against the church.  That was on behalf of the Jews, but the Romans were no better.  They hated the Christians, described them as ‘atheists’ because they wouldn’t bow down to the cult of the emperor, slandered them and persecuted them.
  • Geographically it’s so too. The church extends throughout the whole world.  The hatred and persecution of Christians was not just confined to the old Roman Empire.  All over the world, wherever there are believers that want to walk with Christ and seek to obey him, there will be those who will want to torture them, vilify them and make life as awkward as possible for them.
  • Politically.  The political lobbies that want to lower our moral standards, to destroy the family, to murder unborn babies and so on all recognise that the Bible, and Christianity stands in their way – that’s why there are so many attacks on the church.  Overt attacks in the media for example.  
  • Biblically.  Jesus warned us this would happen in  Matthew 10:21-23  

So in our text we have the very first instance of the followers of Jesus being referred to as ‘Christians.’  And it wasn’t a compliment!

To listen to the POCAST click this link

1 It was because of THE WAY THEY SPOKE.

What was it about these early believers that caused this nickname to be applied to them?  John Scott suggested that it was because they were always speaking and witnessing about Jesus.  The name of Christ was scarcely off their lips.  That’s the thing about real Christians – they really want to talk about Jesus!   

  • Our conversation changes at Conversion.  Galatians 1:13  Ephesians 2:3 There should be a marked change in the way we speak when we have been born again.   1 Timothy 4:12.  
  • Our conversation should be part of our witness for Christ.  People do read our speech, because what we say and how we say it is a reflection of what’s going on inside us.  If we are using bad language, crude language, sexual innuendo, speech that is riddled with blasphemy, how can we then witness for the Lord. Philippians 1:27   James 3:8-11. 
  • Our conversations are ALL recorded in heaven.  Philippians 3:20  Just think that every word we say is written down – in a kind of witness statement, and we’ll give account of every idle word.  So our conversations should be an example to those who are young in the faith.  Hebrews 13:7  
  • Conversation must be holy and honest.  In a world where dishonesty rules, Christians will be noted for being honest and truthful.  1 Peter 2:12  
  • Conversation must redeem the time.  Time is short, – how many more words have we left before Christ comes of calls?  Let us use them wisely.  2 Peter 3:11  

Now, what do I talk about?  Do I ever talk about Jesus?  I know that I talk about doctrine and Christian ethics – quite a lot!  I know that I talk about church, probably far too much – but how often do I talk about the Lord?



2 It was because of THE WAY THEY LIVED.

In Antioch, of course the word Christian was a jest. Or a mockery, or a jibe, or a joke.  Christians thought of themselves as believers in Christ, his followers, his disciples, the saints, the brothers and sisters.   At Antioch they were called ‘Christians.’  The name stuck, and the believers readily took upon themselves the name of Christ and wore it as a badge of honour.  People were later to be arrested, and charged and executed, simply for owning that name, and confessing to being a Christian.   But in a more theological sense the word Christian describes some great truths about the Christian’s spiritual status in Christ.  Christ IN!

  • A Christian BELIEVES in the person and work of Christ.  This must involve the mind, the heart and will, and only in that order! Hearing the truth, for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, repenting of our sins and trusting in Christ who died for sinners.    Romans 6:17.  
  • A Christian possesses the Spirit of Christ.  We are indwell by God the Holy Spirit.  Romans 8:1  
  •  A Christian delights in the COMMANDS of Christ.  The Christian is someone who seeks to obey Christ.  To walk in His ways.  To partake in the sacraments of the church, to learn Christian belief, to pray and read the scriptures. To obey God’s word, even when what we are taught there is the very opposite of what we learn from the professors and ‘influencers’ of this world. Acts 2:46-47 

So why would we want to bear the name of shame – the name of Christ?  Because Jesus tells us that to be ashamed of him is a serious matter.  Mark 8:38  Like those early Christians in Antioch let us take the name of Christ, and wear it as a badge of honour, no matter what scorn the culture may pour upon us.  

From → Acts, Bible Study

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