The titles of believers reminds us of the virtues a believer ought to have. These titles are meant to help us reflect and examine if we are befitting of these titles.

So far in our studies we have examine 2 titles

The most common title is a believer
The most basic title is a disciple.

But the most identifying and accurate title is a Christian. why do I think it is the most accurate?

When one are called a believer, you would need find out about his belief. When a person is called a disciple, there is a need to find his master. But when one is called a Christian, he is known to be a believer and a disciple of Jesus. For there is only one Christ and one Jesus.

The term Christian did not originate from Jerusalem as we read in Acts

And when he had found him, he brought
  him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole
  year they assembled with the church and
  taught a great many people. And the disciples
  were first called Christians in Antioch.”- Luke (Acts 11:26)

There are many who think that Christian was a form of mockery. But personally I find the lack of evidence to support that claims. But those in Antioch must have heard the name of Christ mentioned often. They can see that these people are focused on Christ and they often mentioned him. Perhaps that is why they decide to call them Christian.

Today if one is known as a Christian, it  is no longer a form of mockery. But if a Christian fail to behave or fall short of the teaching of Jesus. Then it would be a mockery to call him Christian.

In the gospel, Jesus defined what it meant to be a Christian, let us study these definition closely. 

PT 1 : Christians Belong to Christ

“If you were of the world, the world
  would love its own. Yet because you
  are not of the world, but I chose you
  out of the world, therefore the world
  hates you.” – Jesus (Jn 15:19)

A Christians belong to Jesus, He had chosen them out from the world. As they were called out from the world to follow him, therefore they belong to him and not the world. So the first question we need to ask ourselves is if we truly belong to Christ?

“Do you look at things according to the
  outward appearance? If anyone is
  convinced in himself that he is
  Christ’s, let him again consider this
  in himself, that just as he is Christ’s,
   even so we are Christ’s” – Paul (2 Cor 1-:7)

Paul wanted Christians to consider if they truly belong to Christ. If we indeed belong to Christ, are we like Christ? Let us not be Christians by name but with behaviour that are unlike Christ. For Paul wrote to the church in Phillipi

“Brethren, join in following my example,
  and note those who so walk, as you have
  us for a pattern.
For many walk, of whom I have told you
  often, and now tell you even weeping,
  that they are the enemies of the cross
  of Christ:  whose end is destruction,
  whose god is their belly, and whose
  glory is in their shame—who set their
  mind on earthly things. 
  For our citizenship is in heaven, from
  which we also eagerly wait for the Savior,
  the Lord Jesus Christ, “- Paul (Php 3:17-20)  

We need to pay attention to disciples who walk in Christ. Paul and the apostles are such examples for we read of how they love Christ, how they forsake everything and was willing to suffer for Christ. They have gave up everything and they never regret or recant their faith in face of persecution, whipping and even death. These are evidence that they belong to Christ.

On the other hand there are those who appeared to have good behaviour but are actually the enemies of the cross.  How are these people enemies of the cross? The teaching of the cross tells us of Jesus being God who came in the form of flesh, it tells us to obey the teaching of Jesus. But these people had their belly as their God, they choose to obey their lust and refuse the teaching of Jesus.

The message of the cross tells us that God wanted to forgive the sins of man and to grant them eternal life. But these people focus only on their lives on earth but not that eternal life. They set their minds on things of earth and forget that the belong to heaven. They will rather pursue the things on earth and not the things about eternal life. They often go against the teaching of the cross.

They accused Christians for being impractical and obsessed about eternal life. They felt that Christians had forgotten about the daily suffering that the people faced. They feel that the sermons spoken by Christians are high and mighty, empty talk that are useless in life. For those who hear it remains poor and hungry and it brought no benefit to the hearers. They ask “What is the point of worshipping God if one is hungry and poor”

The fact is that going to church will not make a person reach. The Church will not be able to provide monetary support or food. In most of my church, you would only receive a free lunch, and the queue is often so long. It is not surprising that many find sermons empty and impractical.

But is the teaching of Jesus that impractical and empty? 

Jesus remind us not to labour for food that perish but food that leads to eternal life. Jesus is not talking about something empty. He is here on earth to give us that eternal bread. He is here to remind us that if we only seek physical bread, our end will be death and destruction. That is why we need to seek that bread which God wants to give to us, one that leads to eternal life.

We need to seek for the things above and hope in his second coming. Sometimes if that means suffering and poverty it is not a big problem, For life on earth is short and life is more than just eating and drinking. 

PT 2 : Christians Emulate Christ

Jesus tell us that a Christian is someone who emulate Christ.

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,
  for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and
  you will find rest for your souls.”- Jesus (Matt 11:29)

Jesus wanted us to learn from him because we belong to Christ. We need to have the life of Christ within us. We need to manifest Christ in our lives. The essence of that life is being gentle and lowly in spirit.

In the world, different type of lives exhibits different kinds of instinct. A butterfly will always be attracted to the fragrance of flowers and you will always find them in the garden. But a housefly is attracted to stench and they will always be found at the rubbish dump.

A Christian should be inclined to love in the way of Christ, for we must follow his example, be humble and gentle. We need to get rid of anger and pride. Those that belong to Christ will live out the character of Christ.  That is why Paul reminded the Philippians

“Only let your conduct be worthy
  of the gospel of Christ, so that     
  whether I come and see you or
   am absent, I may hear of your     
  affairs, that you stand fast in one
  spirit, with one mind striving
  together for the faith of the gospel,”- Paul (Php 1: 27)

A Christian behaviour must be worthy of the gospel of Christ. The gospel teaches that we belong to Jesus and are a new creation. Our old sinful self dies with him in baptism, and a new man emerges from baptism. So are we a new creation or are we our old self?

If a Christian conduct is unworthy of the gospel, it would look like a terrible match. The Chinese had an interesting phrase to describe it. It is  狗尾貂续. It is like a Sable tail  joined to a tail of a dog.

In ancient china the tail of a sable considered a luxurious commodity. It is said the mother of Genghis Khan gave a gift of sable tails to the wife of the Khan as a gift. But to pair a sable tail with a dog tail is an irony. On one end it looks luxurious as beautiful and at the other its so cheap and ugly.  

In the same way, the gospel of Christ is something precious and if the Christian fall short of that standard, it would be an irony and a mockery. For it would be like a new cloth being sew into an old garment. The new cloth will shrink and make the tear worst.

Christians are suppose to remove their old garment and put on the new garment. If we patch a new cloth onto our old garment, it will not match We need to put aside our old garments and put on the new one.

Let us not be called Christian by name, let us be a true Christian, a new creation.

PT 3 : Christians are witness for Christ

Jesus tells us that

“Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary
  for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the
  dead the third day, and that repentance and
  remission of sins should be preached in His
  name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 
  And you are witnesses of these things.” – Jesus (Lk 24:46-48)

Jesus is on earth to preach the gospel of salvation.To fulfil salvation, he had to be nailed on the cross, and be raised from the dead on the 3rd day. These events proves that he is the savior and his gospel is the gospel of salvation. 

That gospel is one that can forgive sin, today we are witness to that gospel, we have enjoyed the grace of God. But we are not to enjoy this grace alone, we need to preach the message to others so they wlll become Christian.  We need to share this message with our family especially.

(Extracted from Acts 26:27-29)

Paul : “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”
Agrippa : “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”
Paul: “I would to God that not only you, but also all
            who hear me today, might become both almost 
            and altogether such as I am, except for these chains”

Paul is a man who preach Christ in season and out of season. He was arrested for the sake of the gospel and he stood trial before King Agrippa. Paul wishes that all those who heard him would become a Christian.

Today whenever we share the gospel, often those who hear us will not listen. But we are to continue in this work, and not be discourage. We need to be like Paul to seize every opportunity to persuade them, for Paul knew that faith will only come through hearing. and hearing will only happen when we speak. If we choose to remain silent how can they hear and believe?

We need to ask ourselves if we had did our best to preach the gospel. We are not to just preach with our mouths, we need to testify through our behaviour We need to show that we are indeed Christians, for actions speak louder than words.

In my church in Taiwan there are many natives. They bore a good testimony for their faith. Even though they are persecuted for their faith, they did not give up.  They listen to the words of God and they changes their behaviour they indeed become a new creation. In the past they used to be drinkers, they get into fights and live their lives immorally . But after they became Christian and they changed and the  government officers can see the change in them.

Let us not forget our status as witness, if we know our responsibly and status, we will understand that Christ had called us out to be his witness. Will our testimony be glorifying God or a mockery before God.? 

PT 4 : Christians are followers of Christ

Jesus tells us that a Christian is a follower of Christ

“The following day Jesus wanted to go to
  Galilee, and He found Philip and said to
  him, “Follow Me.””- John (Jn 1:43)

In those days, there are many who are willing to follow Jesus, but they their method of following Jesus is different. These are something we need to consider. For we all wanted to follow Jesus, but how do we follow?

“After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being
  a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear
  of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might
  take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate
  gave him permission. So he came and
  took the body of Jesus. 
  And Nicodemus, who at first came to
  Jesus by night, also came, bringing a
  mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a
  hundred pounds. 
  Then they took the body of Jesus, and
  bound it in strips of linen with the
  spices, as the custom of the Jews is
  to bury. “- John (Jn 19:38-40)

Here records of 2 followers of Christ, Joseph is a rich man and Nicodemus is a council member, an officer of the Jews. They were disciples of Christ in secret, they followed him secretly. Nicodemus was a man who seek Jesus in the night. They are both aware that Jesus is the Christ, but they did not have the courage to openly profess that they are Christians. So they followed in secret

But after Christ was crucified, they witness the love of Christ on the cross, it touched them deeply, so they made the resolve and repented. They openly profess that they believe in Jesus. They went to collect his body and bind it with spices and buried him. They completed that last beautiful deed for the Lord. But what is most important is that they are no longer Christians in secret.

So how do we follow Christ? are we doing so openly or in secret? Sometimes those around us may not even know that we are Christians . Perhaps we have good reason to hide that identity. But if we recognised the love of Christ on the cross, it will touch us greatly. We will be like Joseph and Nicodemus, to be open and courageous about our faith.

There is also some who follow Jesus from afar.

“But Peter followed Him at a distance,
  right into the courtyard of the high priest.
  And he sat with the servants and warmed
  himself at the fire.”- Mark (Mk 14:54)

Peter followed Jesus but he did so from afar. He was afraid. If we also choose to follow the Lord from afar, we will fall just like Peter. But what we can be assured of , is that Jesus did not give up on Peter even though he fell. When he denied Jesus 3 times, Jesus turned and looked at him. When Peter saw his eyes, he will know that it is not one of rebuke but one with mercy.

For Jesus already told him that he will deny him 3 times and he had already prayed for him. Jesus had given him a chance, reminding him to strength his brethren when he return. When he recalled the words of Jesus, when he saw how he had denied Christ. When he saw how far he was as he was following Christ, his failures and his weakness. He went out to weep. But that weeping changed his life. From then on he no longer followed Christ from afar, he followed Christ closely. He follow even onto death, he no longer give up or change his resolve.


We all have our moments of weakness, perhaps we used to be zealous and now we are cold. Perhaps we used to follow Jesus closely and now we are afar off. If we continue in that state, what will happen to us at the very end?

We need to consider if we are true Christians, for Jesus wanted us to follow him, he want us to follow closely and not afar off. We need to be open about our belief and never change.

Are we a true Christian?