Acts 11:26 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.
The name Christian brings honor and glory to Christ and shows that one is a follower of Him and His word. Why are followers of Christ called Christians, and from where did this name come? Seven hundred years before the name was given, God promised He would one day call His people by another name (Isaiah 65:15). This new name was to be given by the Lord Himself (Isaiah 62:2). Additionally, Isaiah 62:2 shows that this new name was to be given by the Lord after "the Gentiles shall see your righteousness". By Acts chapter 10 the gospel had been taught to both Jew and Gentile and the church consisted of both. Then we read in Acts 11:26 "And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch." The name "Christian" was the new name the Lord gave after the Gentiles were included in His church as was prophesied. Paul further describes Christians in the first century as belonging to the “churches of Christ” (Rom 16:16). Christian is the only name by which an individual glorifies God and Christ. Even king Agrippa recognized this. Acts 26:28 (KJV) Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. This was not a name, which Christians assumed for themselves, nor was it given as a derogatory name by the enemies of Christ. God gave this name to distinguish his followers which make up the church.
God’s word says, "Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter" (1 Peter 4:16). We glorify God when we wear the name Christian. Why should anyone wear a name that does not glorify God and meet His approval? Why would anyone, who "claims" to be a follower of Christ, want to give glory and honor to Luther, John the Baptist, Rome, Nazareth, Catholic which means universal, and the list goes on and on. Why can’t we give glory and honor to God and Christ where the honor belongs? Many, even by their names do not claim to belong to the Lord, but rather to some man-made religious group. They seem to be ashamed of the name Christian, or at the very least involved in division. Jesus says, Mark 8:38 (KJV) Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. We must never be ashamed of being a Christian. It is an honor to wear the name. According to the New Testament, not everyone who is referred to as a Christian is a Christian. One is not a Christian just because he believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God. As the Bible says, "Even the devils believe and tremble" (James 2:19). The name Christian is used loosely today which brings shame and reproach upon the Lord and His name simply because many want to do things their way and not the Lord’s. By this they, "blaspheme that noble name by which you are called" (James 2:7). The many differing religious groups today do not exist by the authority of the Lord, and their existence is contrary to the doctrine of Christ by wearing these different religious names (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). We should simply be a Christian, a member of the Lord’s one true church as revealed in the New Testament. We must speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent. We must call things by Bible names and do things in Bible ways, if we expect to go to Heaven.