Acts 11 gives an enjoyable account of the founding of the church at Antioch, a church that later went on to be the headquarters for the missionary movement of the early NT church. There are some things that are stated about this church from the very beginning that are instructive for us to notice.
In verse 26, we find them assembling together (Hebrews 10:25). In verse 26, we see that they are learning the scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15). In verse 23, they are exhorting one another (Hebrews 3:13). In verse 19, they are preaching the word (2 Timothy 4:2). In verse 20, they are preaching the Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:5). And praise the Lord, many repent and believe!
Now there's an interesting and important phrase in verse 26. The Bible says, "And the disciples were called Christians fist in Antioch." The believers in the church at Antioch did not call themselves Christians. They were called Christians. The world noticed that they were followers of Jesus Christ.
They didn't just go out and preach Jesus. They didn't just get together and talk about Jesus. They lived Jesus! Each and every day they lived out their lives in a way that was consistent with the message they proclaimed. When they preached the life-changing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they could point to their lives as proof. Their "conversation" was such that it gave credence to their preaching.
With this example in mind, here's a question you and I ought to consider. If you were put on trial today and charged with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you as guilty?
Now we know that according to the Bible, we are saved by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9) and that we shall not come into condemnation but are passed from death unto life (John 5:24) and that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39). That's not what's in question.
You see, there's a difference between just being saved and being a Christian. One who has had his sins washed in the precious blood of Christ (Colossians 1:14) is saved. One who lives like it is a Christian (Ephesians 2:10). One who has placed his faith and trust in Jesus Christ is saved (Romans 10:9-10). One who follows Jesus Christ is a Christian (Luke 9:23).
If you're saved, you'll go to heaven when you die. If you're a Christian, the world will take note, and you might just take a few more with you when you go.
Are you just saved? Or are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Do you just call yourself a Christian? Or does the evidence really line up with that statement?