It’s interesting to me that Jesus never used the term Christians, in fact it was first used in Acts 11. The word itself means “little Christ”, and it was a logical description for the early disciples because the disciples of Christ were doing the same things that Jesus had been doing. They looked like He had in their daily walk.
God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Throughout the Bible, followers of Christ were called disciples. A disciple is like an apprentice. In a trade an apprentice sits under a master and learns how to do what he can do. Jesus actually uses this example in Luke. There He describes Himself as the Master, and shows how we, His disciples, will be like Him. So that then is our goal.
In this life, us Christians are meant to be ambassadors for Christ. That means we need to represent Him and act for Him in our daily lives. We should look like Him. But how? Kind of like the early disciples did.
So if we’re meant to look like Him, where in the word can we go to see what a disciple looks like? I’d suggest there is one particular disciple in the word whose life we have an incredible description of.
Luke writes a detailed Gospel account of Jesus and his early disciples. His second book introduces a new character, Saul. The story of Saul is one of a powerful conversion and beginning of a new life. Saul meets Jesus (literally) and has his name changed to Paul. Luke then writes the rest of his letter all about Paul. We call it the Acts of the apostles, but it’s really the life story of a powerful disciple of Jesus.
If we take Paul as a role model of a disciple, we see many things which are quite different from our daily lives today. Obviously we must acknowledge that we want to look like Christ, not Paul, and even Paul says that we should only imitate him as he imitated Jesus.
They say it’s good to start at the beginning. So how did Paul start? Well, he was very religious, trying to live right before God but without power over sin, as he describes in Romans 6. Then he meets Jesus, he is humbled, and he seeks out another disciple, Ananias. Ananias meets Paul in his humility and Paul repents from his dead works and his sin. He believes in Jesus and repents. He is baptized in water and receives the Holy Spirit. And the new man is born.
Paul, full of the Spirit, performs many miracles and heals the sick. The book of Acts speaks about his preaching the gospel with power and great authority. He lives a life of service, going from place to place and sharing the good news with any who are willing to receive it. And wherever he goes he fulfills Christ’s commission, being led by the Holy Spirit. He goes, he heals, he casts out demons, he preaches, he sees converts and baptizes them into Christ, and baptizes them with the Holy Spirit. And they do the same. And many come to Christ. More disciples are made, who make more disciples. And the Kingdom of God expands rapidly among the nations.
Read Luke and the Acts as two letters to the same audience, and see the power that was at work in Paul’s life.
Just like with Paul, we should be walking in the authority Christ established and the power He gave us through the Helper He promised. The Holy Spirit leads, the Holy Spirit heals, the Holy Spirit supplies wisdom, guides us to all Truth, and edifies the Church. The Holy Spirit builds the Kingdom through us disciples. He brings us freedom from sin and a new heart to empower a new life!
Oh that we would seek lives like Paul’s! To be led and to live with the Holy Spirit in our every day life. This is how we live in victory and how we see more disciples made. This is how we overcome and move out of lukewarm ‘Christianity’ into freedom.
There is power in the name of Jesus, to break every chain. We’re seeing that power as we live this life. God bless you.