12/16/15 Bible Names

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


ACTS 11:26

Morning Meditation 12/16/2015

"Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: 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 was given to the believers in the early church for the first time in our present text. It was intended to be a term of ridicule and mockery. I do not know how they originally responded to the name but it was not long until they wore the name proudly.

Barnabas is first mentioned in Acts 4:36, "And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus," As his name suggests Barnabas was a peace maker. Later in the book of Acts John Mark as a young man went on one of Paul's and Barnabas' missionary journeys. John Mark quit them while on the journey. There is evidence John Mark quit because he couldn't take the difficulties of the journey. The next time Paul made a missionary journey, which was at least a year, Barnabas insisted on taking John Mark with them. Paul objected and the contention was so great between them that Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus and Paul took Silas and repeated his first missionary journey confirming the churches.

After his first missionary journey, Paul spent a whole year teaching in Antioch. The church at Antioch became a strong missionary Church. If one spent a year under the ministry of Paul, there would be great spiritual growth. Their study of the Word of God, and the change in their doctrine, and life style so changed that the opposition began to call them Christians.

It would be interesting to know how many people call us (me and you) Christians because of our obedience to the Scriptures and submission to the Lordship of Christ. Most of the time we have to tell people that we are Christians. In fact, I have asked people if they were Christians and they were offended by it. They thought if you were born in America and were members of a church, that no one should have to ask that question. The fact is that many who are members of a Church do not live the christian life. The Bible is seldom opened and many do not frequent the church. They come only when they do not have anything else to do. There is every reason to ask them if they are Christians because of their language and life style.

"Excuse my French", is not acceptable to God for swearing and the use of base and vulgar language. Paul teaches in Ephesians 4:29-30, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." The Holy Spirit is grieved when we use "corrupt communication."

The believers were called Christians first at Antioch. We need to wear that name proudly and unashamedly. And our lives should speak loudly that we are the true followers of Christ. Next,


2 Corinthians 5:20, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."

The words "we are ambassadors" translates "presbeuo" and is according to Webster's dictionary, "a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative."

The words, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ" state a conclusion from what has just been said. Verse 19 says, "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. The words "to wit" means, "To know." This verb is used only in the infinitive, to wit, namely, that is to say." Noah Web. 1828 addition.

What does Paul say we know? "That God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." The incarnation comes up in all the Scripture. This is what the virgin birth is all about. Man is a sinner, not because he sins, he sins because he is a sinner. So if man is a sinner by nature, i.e., born that way, it is not possible for man to change that nature. The Bible states it this way. Jeremiah 13:23 says, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." The plan of salvation is of the Lord, He became a man, to do what man was created to do, i.e., reflect the true image of God. He did this in life, and then offered Himself a spotless sacrifice as our substitute to die, and to pay for our sins. In prophesy He stated the plan (Isa. 7:14; Isa. 53), then he incarnated Himself in the virgin womb to become a man who could meet His standards of holiness, then he died to pay for man's sins so man would not have to pay the debt himself, then went back to heaven as our intercessor, and saves everyone who believes.

The words "not imputing their trespasses unto them" means that the believer has no trespass imputed to his account so far as his destiny is concerned. When we believe in Jesus He counts our faith as righteousness. Paul says this in Romans 4:5, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.."

The words, "we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God," is Paul's application of the word ambassador. Let's note some truths that come out of this.

1. An ambassador must be a citizen of the country that he represents. Philippians 3:20-21, "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body," The word conversation literally means citizenship. We are registered as citizens in the Lamb's book of life.

2. An ambassador is sent to a foreign country to represent his sending country. His conduct either commends his country or brings shame on it.

3. He lives in the foreign country on a piece of land on which sets a beautiful home. When you enter the premises you are under the protection of the Ambassador's sending country.

4. An ambassador is under a different set of rules than the laws of the country he is in. If he breaks the law, he is usually exempt from prosecution. If the ambassador does not voluntarily keep the laws of the country he resides in, he is not a good representative of his home country. An ambassador has liberty but not license.

5. An ambassador is appointed to his position by the authority of his home country. We are also appointed to this position. We have the privilege of representing heaven on earth. What a privilege this is.


John 15:5, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."

Jesus spoke these words to His disciples on the night of His betrayal. It is like He had a final message that He wanted them to hear and the time had come. He could hold it back no longer. He may have said come closer. He may have said, "by tomorrow at this time I will be hanging on a cross. I want you to hear this because you will need it" He said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." This is a relationship that is imperative. It is a relationship with a Person. How will this relationship affect us? Jesus tells us in this verse. We will bear much fruit. Jesus says, "without me ye can do nothing." In spite of the fact that He lives in us, the Parable of the Vine is not the same. The Holy Spirit is within every believer until the day of redemption. It has nothing to do with prayer or good works. He is there if you are a backslidden believer. Let's get this clear.

Paul says in Ephesians 1:13-14, "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." The Holy Spirit is there to stay until the Lord comes.

Abiding in the Vine has to do with our fellowship with a Person. It has very little to do with how much you know the Bible and how many verses you have memorized. There is a lot of difference in reading a book and knowing its author. Bruce Wilkinson in his book THE SECRETS OF THE VINE says, "Abiding is all about the most important friendship of your life. Abiding doesn't measure how much you know about your faith or your Bible. In abiding, you seek, long for, thirst for, wait for, see, know, love, hear, and respond to a person. More abiding means more of God in your life, more of Him in your activities, thoughts, and desires." (I recommend this little book highly if you are interested in the life that abides in Him).

What is fruit? It is the natural effortless product of a healthy plant. If this definition is true, more work for Him is not the condition to bearing much fruit. It is abiding in him. I have been to Germany and seen the huge grape vineyards. I have been told that the trunk of the grape vine is sometimes very large and the roots travel long distances until they can tap into a stream. Then they take that water and it travels through the root to the vine and then to the branches and the result is much fruit.

For us to experience the truth of abiding in the vine, we must take time that we devote to seeking His face.. God wants our fellowship. The problem is not with Him it is with us.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

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