Think with me. What are some marks or characteristics of a model Christian, examples that we should all seek to emulate? As we’ve looked at Antioch, we’ve been focused on the church as a whole, but what about the individual disciples? What are the marks of a model Christian?
In Antioch, the people were students of God’s Word. They were like the Bereans who“received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). As we’ve seen, Barnabas brought Saul to Antioch and “for a whole year they met with the church and taught large numbers” (Acts 11:26). Saul and Barnabas weren’t the only teachers. “In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul” (Acts 13:1). Multiple teachers were required to feed the many young disciples who were hungering for God’s Word.
Another characteristic of a model Christian is worship. In Antioch, “they were worshiping the Lord” (Acts 13:2). A model Christian is constantly worshipful. Worship isn’t just singing a few choruses or hymns before the preacher gets into the pulpit on Sunday morning. Worship is a life-style, a state-of-mind and heart. “Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:16–17). Worship is constantly, consistently living in the reality that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, died to redeem us from Evil’s grip, that He rose from the grave defeating death, and that He is returning soon to restore His creation. Worship is a heart that overflows with humble gratitude for the gift lavished on us at the cross.
Here’s another characteristic of a model Christian. The Christians at Antioch were attentive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and leadership. God spoke to those individuals as they were worshipping. “Send away your two strongest leaders, your two best and brightest teachers. Set them apart and send them out” (Acts 13:2). Model Christians are attentive. When God speaks, they are ready to listen. The Christians at Antioch had their spiritual antennas raised and ready to receive the Holy Spirit’s message.
As the shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks at night, God’s messengers appeared saying, “Good news! Great joy! The Savior has come!” The simple shepherds weren’t theologically trained seminarians. They were, however, alert. They were listening. Model Christians are always waiting and ready for the Holy Spirit to speak and lead.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul admonishes each of us to be model Christians. “Be filled by the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ”(Ephesians 5:18–21).
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.