April 22, 2022
“While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples and asked them...”
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“While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples and asked them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ ‘No,’ they told him, ‘we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ ‘Then with what immersion were you baptized?’ he asked them. ‘With John’s immersion,’ they replied. Paul said, ‘John immersed with a baptism of repentance, telling people that they should believe in the One who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of Messiah Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began to speak with other languages and to prophesy.” Acts 19: 1-6
There was a well-intended preacher named Apollos, who had formerly been a follower of John the Baptist. After Jesus’ crucifixion, and certainly after the Holy Spirit fell at Pentecost, Apollos started putting his facts together and decided that Jesus was indeed Messiah. So, he began preaching.
“A Jew named Apollos, a native Alexandrian, an eloquent man who was powerful in the Scriptures arrived in Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the ways of the Lord, and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught the things about Jesus accurately, although he knew only John’s baptism.” Acts 18:25
The problem with Apollos was that his understanding and preaching consisted solely of fragments of the Gospel. That meant that his belief and his “converts” fell short of the actual Gospel…as evidenced by their lacking the Holy Spirit. All true believers receive the gift of the Holy Spirit upon receiving Messiah Jesus. This meant that, while Apollos and his “converts” knew who Jesus was, they didn’t “know” Him personally in a saving way. I believe Jesus was speaking of such people when He addressed the end times in Matthew’s gospel:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name? Then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’ Matthew 7:21-23
Priscilla and Aquila explained the Gospel in full, which led to Apollos’ salvation. Then, Apollos’ preaching was correctly established. But it was Paul who restored rightness to those who assumed a false sense of salvation from Apollos’ (previously) errant preaching.
Today’s chapter is, perhaps, an appeal for us to examine our spiritual lives. Have we accumulated intellectual knowledge and facts about Jesus without actually surrendering our lives to Him? Or have we truly surrendered our lives to follow Jesus? As we labor to build His kingdom, are we sharing the WHOLE Gospel, or are we withholding essential parts that may lead to decisions but not result in salvation?