And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church…
And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. Three great cities identified with Christian history in a special manner - Jerusalem, Antioch, and Rome. The birth of the religion; its triumph in full manhood over the world; and between these two points its baptism as the religion of the East and West alike. Describe position and influence of the city. The name not given by Jews, as recognizing that Jesus was Messiah. Not by disciples, as other names in use - "believers.... brethren," "saints," "friends." Nor by Divine direction. It was either a name of reproach or a convenient designation of a rapidly enlarging society. Consider -
I. THE NAME GIVEN.
1. Personal, testifying to the pre-eminence of Christ in the first preaching. The facts came before the doctrines, as they always should.
2. A name of distinction. Separation from the world. Baptism in his Name. Worship of Christ. Spirit of Christ. "See how these Christians love one another." Contrast with heathen world.
3. Prophetic. Christ expected to return. Judge of all the earth. Despondency the main feature of heathenism. Christians preached hope. The Resurrection and Ascension. Not as others, children of the night, but children of the light.
II. THE NAME HONOURED. "Called Christians."
1. The life should be evident before it is named. Baptismal regeneration is condemned by such a fact.
2. If the world looks upon the life, it will name it; let us see to it that it names it after Christ. It should be the sign of conversation, and the testimony to a spiritual work.
3. The privilege is to wear the name. Are we ashamed of it? Secret disciples an anomaly. Connect the profession with teaching at Antioch, and the name will be itself a publication of the truth.
4. It is not what we are called that will decide our final state, but what we are. Let all who name his Name depart from iniquity. "Christendom is an empty mockery. Seek the baptism of the Holy Ghost. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
WEB: When he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. It happened, that for a whole year they were gathered together with the assembly, and taught many people. The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.