The narrative in the book of Acts is consistent in referring to the followers of Jesus as disciples.  These disciples would eventually be called Christians.  In the present culture, the order is reversed, and the implications are much more than semantic in nature.  A self-proclaimed Christian in today’s society is simply based upon the passive belief in a Western conservative god, or in the repetition of a trite mantra resulting in a “ticket” to heaven.  This results in beliefs and lifestyles that are indistinguishable from those who do not claim this title.  Those who attend church consistently or go on a “mission trip” are referred to as “disciples.”  It was not so casual and comfortable to be a disciple in the first century.  A true disciple was one who was in the constant process of being transformed by the person, the teachings, and the commands of Jesus Christ.  Their commitment was costly as they sacrificed all for a sovereign and satisfying Savior.  They also believed that they had been summoned to an all-consuming mission of making disciples of all nations. 

These disciples shared a few common characteristics.  There was a great fear of being less than genuine before both God and man.  They were aware of a kingdom vision that was broader than their own prejudices, and they were not slack in obedience to that vision.  They encouraged each other to remain true to the faith, and true to the Christ.  The overflow of the transformation of these men and women was the propagation of the eternal gospel to the entire known world.