Summary: Exposition of Acts 18:24-19:7 regarding the people that were following John’s teaching but needing to be saved
Text: Acts 18:24-19:7, Title: Really Close, Date/Place: NRBC, 1/11/09, AM
A. Opening illustration: tell about riding down 2nd Street and long-necking at the new bookstore and almost hitting that car in front of me as I eased into the turn lane without looking
B. Background to passage: Paul has completed his stay in Corinth, having been their a year and a half. He left for Ephesus with Pricilla and Aquila. Then even though the church in Ephesus wants him to stay, he leaves for Caesarea promising to return of God wills, and leaving Pricilla and Aquila behind. He landed in Caesarea, went up to Jerusalem to greet the church, then headed for his home church at Antioch. This 1500 mile journey is summed up in six verses—makes you wonder what else the Apostle did that we will never hear of. Then with missionary blood running through his veins, he is off again to strengthen the disciples in Asia. But meanwhile back at the ranch, Luke gives us a little interlude where Aquila and Pricilla meet a man named Apollos, and then Luke jumps back to Paul in Ephesus with a group of John’s disciples. These two occurrences are part of the transitional nature of the book of Acts, and in both cases people are really close to the kingdom of God, but not quite there. But there are some really interesting and helpful things to note about these two situations.
C. Main thought: the text will show two situations with people who are really close to the kingdom
A. Really close w/biblical knowledge (v. 24-28)
1. Luke probably includes this scenario because this is the only time that Alexandria, Egypt is found in the book of Acts. And it was such an important site for the early church. Also Apollos would be crucial to the ministry of the Apostle later. Some even think that he is the author Hebrews. But before we deal with Apollos’s eternity (over which there is considerable debate), let’s look at some things that we be helpful to us, even coming from one who is not yet a Christian. Remember that we are dealing with a very unique time of transition from OT to NT eras, so the conclusions that we draw here might not be so equally applicable in our setting. Luke explains that he is a great bible teacher, even teaching things about Jesus. Three qualities make him a good bible teacher: eloquence (skill), mighty in the scriptures (knowledge), and fervent in spirit (passion). Explore those some. He also had an evangelistic and missionary heart in him. Remember that the reason this little cameo of Apollos is here is because of his usefulness to the church.
2. Illustration: "Eternal life in the future tense is eternity in heaven with God. Eternal life in the present tense is knowing God personally now. Eternal life in the present breaks through limitations and experiences the best that life can offer. Many Christians miss that. We do our duty as believers, but no passion drives us; no power enables us. Sometimes our very busyness for God masks the emptiness we still experience. And we feel guilty for being Christian and having those feelings. "But when we encounter God as He is, our lives are irrevocably transformed. As we craft our lives to better know Him, we move from religion to relationship, from duty to passion, from frustration to power." Two longstanding church members were in a boat fishing with a new Christian. Fishing is a great time for conversation and each was proclaiming his fervent faith and devotion to God. As they were discussing their faith, one’s hat blew into the water. So he stood up, calmly stepped onto the water, walked over to his hat, picked it up off the water, and walked backed to the boat.
3. Now, in our day, one cannot be a great bible teacher without clearly teaching a repent and believe in Jesus message. But in those days it was possible. How do we evaluate, improve preaching and teaching? Preaching is not simply about passing judgment upon certain behaviors; not about simply giving out information; not about simply crafting a well-sounding monologue. It is the passionate declaration of truth empowered by the Spirit and the belief in the authority of the word and the worth of the Treasure proclaimed. The church in our day is much in need of preachers and teachers and bible study leaders who fit this description. And many in the church have very little concept of what good preaching really is. In fact I would suggest that the church is in need of many people who are not necessarily teachers to exhibit these qualities. How the church could use those who really use their education and speaking capabilities to engage the lost and edify the church! How the church could use those who are so full of the bible that scripture just seems to pour forth in every conversation! Men and women and youth that see their duty and responsibility to know the bible so as not to be persuaded by arguments, temptations, liberalism, or legalism. How the church could use an influx of passion for Christ! This is something that we should all pray for. That apathy, complacency, laziness, dullness, sleepiness, and unconcern be enviscerated from our midst!