Summary: Does your Christian faith and practice have some missing parts? Are there important gaps in your knowledge or practice of the Christian life? If so, you are not alone!
1. Instead of a sandbox for our grandson, we bought a wrapping paper storage container. The idea is that it is portable and we can clamp on the lid to keep out cats or rain. Only one problem: one latch was missing.
2. We, too, can have missing parts. But sometimes we don’t even realize those parts are missing.
3. Today we are going to look at a man named Apollos, a man destined to become one of Christendom’s greatest leaders and most eloquent spokesman, a man many believed wrote the book of Hebrews.
4. He had much knowledge and conviction, and was a man of God. Yet he had some important missing parts. Fortunately, he met a couple of believers who would give him those missing parts.
Main Idea: Does your Christian faith and practice have some missing parts? Are there important gaps in your knowledge or practice of the Christian life? If so, you are not alone!
As we look at our introduction to a great man of God, Apollos, he is introduced to us as a fervent disciple of Jesus Christ with some significant pieces missing.
I. The Background: Paul Leaves the SPOTLIGHT for a While (18-23).
• Paul and all the Apostles were Torah observant Jewish believers, contrary to what much of Christendom would have us believe.
• “Though some have suggested that Paul cut off his hair to begin a vow, the evidence as it stands suggests that the hair cutting was to transpire the end of the period of the vow (see Num. 6:1-21…). Strictly speaking, such a vow had to be fulfilled at Jerusalem where the hair would be presented as a burnt offering and a sacrifice would be offered as well. This may explain Paul’s desire to go on to Jerusalem, rather than stay in Ephesus. Jews tended to make vows to thank God for past blessings or as petition for future ones…” (Ben Witherington III, The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary, p. 557).
A. He heads for the home churches: Jerusalem and ANTIOCH, Syria.
1. He stayed in that area for nearly one year, a sabbatical.
2. He likely reported all that God did on his second journey.
3. He perhaps got in some rest and recreation.
4. He enjoyed fellowship at a high level with fellow apostles.
5. He probably renewed friendships.
6. He may have garnered some financial support.
B. As he headed back home, he ministered ALONG the way.
C. Luke passes over that time period and presents Paul back in Ephesus on his THIRD and last missionary journey.
• Ephesus, an important stop on our journey through Acts, & when we do the last leg of our Acts series, will give it plenty of attention. Today’s text is intro.
II. The Gap-fillers, Priscilla and Aquila, Help Fill the GAPS in Apollos Thinking(24-25a).
A. These events occurred DURING Paul’s sabbatical.
B. Paul’s disciples, Priscilla and Aquila, minister to a young preacher named APOLLOS.
1. Much is made of the order of names in verse 26, Priscilla and Aquila.
2. The role of women in the early church and today.
3. Not all men are go-getters, and not all women are reserved.
C. Let’s play DETECTIVE and try to figure out the Apollos mystery!
1. Was he already saved? Yes.
2. Is he indwelt by the Spirit? Yes (unlike those who never heard of HS)
3. Did he know the Scriptures and the facts about Jesus death and resurrection?
4. What does it mean, then, when it says he knew only of the baptism of John?
• Kind of like today’s loner Christian; Some neighbors like this (Les Feldeck)
• Probably refers to understanding church life and practices.
• Importance of fellowship, accountability, Lord’s Supper, Body Life.
• Many, from Luther onward, including myself, believe that Apollos wrote the Book of Hebrews.
• In Hebrews we read believers are not to forsake the assembling together, to respect and obey their leaders, and to be there for one another.
“Alexandria had a huge Jewish population at the time. It was here that the LXX [Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint] had been produced some 200 years before Christ, and here that the great scholar Philo, Jesus’ contemporary, lived and work, struggling by allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament to reconcile Hebrew religion with Greek philosophy.” (John Stott, The Message of Acts, p. 302)
• He also had to be taught to defend the Gospel from Old Testament prophecy. And, of course, the book of Hebrews also falls in line with this.
D. What GAPS might we have in your understanding?
The thing about gaps is that you may not know you have them. It takes humility to realize that you don’t know what you don’t know. Apollos was teachable.