Summary: How are we at witnessing for the Lord?
Apollos – 3rd August 2008 am
It is evident from reading this passage and the verse preceding this, that the Lord intended for there to be a major breakthrough for the gospel at Ephesus. First of all Paul had visited the city at the end of his second missionary journey.
Then Aquila and Priscilla decided to stay there, set themselves up in business, and cultivate the ground until Paul returned. Now comes Apollos of Alexandria, gifted, eloquent, scholarly, and convinced that Jesus was Saviour and Lord.
I. An Eloquent Man – Acts 18:24
Apollos was born at Alexandria, which was located on the Nile delta in Egypt. It was the second largest city in the Roman Empire and was famous for its Lighthouse on the narrow island of Pharos, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Alexandria was also famous for its museum and library that had over 700,000 volumes.
In New Testament times, Jews made up about one third of the population of Alexandria and it was here that the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into the Greek Septuagint version.
Apollos was an eloquent man. The word eloquent is logios and can mean either eloquent or learned. He was mighty in the scriptures and the word mighty (dunatos) is the same word used to describe Moses Acts 7:22 And Moses was learned in all wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.
Somewhere along the way Apollos had come into contact with the gospel and had become a believer and his abilities and talents were placed wholeheartedly at the command of the Lord.
His travels brought him to Ephesus, where he found the gospel seed had already been planted by Paul. At once, he began to water the ground 1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
II. A Fervent Man – Acts 18:25
Apollos was well informed about the Scriptures and he was determined to tell his fellow Jews. The word Luke uses to describe his fervour is zeo which literally means to boil – have you seen what happens to water when it boils? It’s hot and it bubble like crazy…….
The only other place this word zeo occurs is in Romans 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.
We are told that he spake and taught diligently – the word diligently means accurately. Apollos was one of those people who was able to combine fact and fervour into a force for God.
Apollos knew the Old Testament Scriptures well and was fervent in his spirit and diligent in his presentation of the message. Verse 26 tells us that he was bold enough to enter the synagogue and preach to the Jews. The only problem was that this enthusiastic man was declaring an incomplete gospel.
He knew only the baptism of John. His message got as far as John the Baptist and then stopped. He knew nothing of Calvary, the resurrection of Christ, or the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He had zeal, but he lacked spiritual knowledge.
Romans 10:1-4 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.  For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
The ministry of John the Baptist was an important part of God’s redemptive plan. God sent John to prepare the nation of Israel for their Messiah (John 1:15-34) John’s baptism was one of repentance; those who were baptised looked forward to the coming Messiah Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
John also announced a future baptism of the Holy Spirit Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Apollos knew about the promises, but he did not know about their fulfilment. So where did he get this message from? Since Alexandria was a famous centre for learning, it is possible that some of John disciples had gone there while Christ was still ministering on earth, and shared with the Jews as much as they knew.
The word instructed (verse 25) is catechized and suggests that Apollos had personal formal training in the Scriptures. However, that training was limited to the facts about the ministry of John the Baptist. The message Apollos preached was not inaccurate or insincere; it was just incomplete.