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MAGNIFYING THE CHRIST LIKENESS

Daniel Webster’s Testimony of Jesus:

Twenty centuries have come and gone and today the risen Lord Jesus Christ is the central figure of the human race. On our calendars His birth divides history into two eras.  One day of every week is set aside in remembrance of Him. And our two most important holidays celebrate His Birth and Resurrection. On church steeples around the world, His cross has become the symbol of victory over sin and death.  This one Man’s life has furnished the theme for more songs, books, poems and paintings than any other person or event in history. Thousands of colleges, hospitals, orphanages and other institutions have been founded in honour of this One who gave His life for us.  All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the governments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned have not changed the course of history as much as this One Solitary Life!

Antioch was called the ‘Queen of the East’.  It was the third largest city in the world after Rome and Alexandria.  It was a great maritime trade centre of the Eastern Mediterranean.  It was a city like the cities we have today.  A lot of trade, alcohol, drugs, prostitution, etc.  It was a beautiful and prosperous city with many Temples and yet it was so corrupt and wicked!

“But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks as well, proclaiming [to them] the good news about the Lord Jesus.  And the hand (the power and presence) of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord [for salvation, accepting and drawing near to Jesus as Messiah and Saviour].”  (Acts 11:20-21)

No matter how corrupt and wicked the city was, God chose to release His power and presence upon the city.  And it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians!  (Acts 11:26).  Why would pagan Greeks in Antioch begin calling the disciples Christians?

At that time ‘Christian’ was not the name of a religion.  The word Christian was made by taking the word “Christ” and adding the suffix “ian” which means ‘little’. So ‘Christian’ literally means ‘Little Christ’.  The Greeks saw it in the behaviour of the Apostles.  We read in the Book of Acts, the Apostles presented Christ to the Gentiles as one who “went about doing good and healing all who are oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38). Barnabas and Paul equipped the saints in Antioch to do the works of Jesus, they began to heal the sick, drive out demons and win the lost.

Beloved, you are a ‘little Christ’ because Christ Jesus lives in you!  This is God’s goal for every Christian – to magnify Christ-likeness, for ‘the Spirit of the Lord God is upon you, because the Lord has anointed and commissioned you to bring good news to the humble and afflicted; He has sent you to bind up [the wounds of] the broken-hearted, to proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives and freedom to prisoners!’

SCRIPTURE OF THE WEEK: ACTS 11:20-21