Summary: Knowledge of God’s Word and doctrine is an important part of Christian growth and maturity; it is not enough, but it is foundational. We vary, one from another, in our relationship to it.
(Acts 18:24-28; 19:1-10)
1. A not-so- bright gal calls her boyfriend and says, “Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can’t figure out how to get it started.”
He asks, “What is it supposed to be when it’s finished?”
The girl says, “According to the picture on the box, it’s a tiger.”
Her boyfriend decides to go over and help with the puzzle. She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.
He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says, “First of all, no matter what we do, we’re not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a tiger.”
He takes her hand and says, “Second, I want you to relax, and then…..” he sighed, “we’ll put all these Frosted Flakes back in the box.”
2. Have you ever worked a puzzle to find a piece missing? You usually don’t realize that until later along, but it was missing all the time.
3. Sometimes we are awakened to the fact that we have pieces missing in our relationship and knowledge of God.
Main Idea: Knowledge of God’s Word and doctrine is an important part of Christian growth and maturity; it is not enough, but it is foundational. We vary, one from another, in our relationship to it.
I. A Man Who Had a Heart for God, but Was WEAK in Information (18:24-28).
A. Apollos had been BAPTIZED by John and knew enough to teach accurately but INCOMPLETELY.
1. His Jewish background: fluent in OT, moral
2. Some true teachers of the Word do not have a full range of knowledge, but they are still right about the Gospel.
3. I talked to a minister who I believe was saved, seminary trained liberal one) and had been in the ministry for 10 years. He had never read through the entire Bible.
B. Priscilla and Aquila brought him up to SNUFF.
C. Notice he evidenced the SPIRIT in his life, and never is said to have a “Pentecost” experience.
1. Neither he nor the 12 apostles are ever said to have experienced Christian baptism.
2. A Devout JEWISH believer, like Apollos, tended to be ready for leadership quickly.
3. He became an apologist/evangelist in the synagogues. Corinth capital of Achaia.
II. A Group of People Who Don’t KNOW They Don’t Know (19:1-7)
A. These verses are meant to be COMPARED and CONTRASTED with the above.
1. Both were disciples of John.
2. Both had some lack of information.
3. Only the latter group would need to believe, be baptized, and receive the Spirit.
B. The word “disciple” means a LEARNER, and, in the Bible, is much broader than the term “believer.”
• It includes seekers or anyone willing to study, in this case, about Jesus.
C. These Jewish individuals were on the FRINGES of Christianity.
1. Most people on the fringes of Christianity have no idea of their ignorance. The Dunning-Kruger effect explains it. This effect is a function of human arrogance.
2. “The self-doubt expressed by people with true abilities and the cockiness and arrogance of incompetent people is integral to the Dunning and Kruger effect. Those who doubt their abilities are open to learning and improving, while people who are certain they already know it all are not open to learning anything.” [facty.com]
D. As both Jews and disciples of John, they would have heard of the Holy Spirit, but not that the Holy Spirit was to be RECEIVED.
1. They may have been taught that the Holy Spirit is a Person and is God.
2. They may have been taught that now the Spirit dwells in believers.
E. In Acts, the apostolic laying on of hands transitions between covenants to make the point there is ONE universal and apostolic church.
1. Tongues – visible sign of invisible Spirit, like baptism is the visible sign of invisible conversion of heart. In Acts, tongues defined as real/earthly languages (2:5-11).
2. They are clearly supernatural; many religions/cults engage in ecstatic utterances,
3. There is no consistent pattern in Acts.
Acts 10:44, While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.