Summary: Luke interrupts his story of the missionary journeys to introduce the reader to a man named Apollos.
A Study of the Book of Acts
Sermon # 32
“When Halfway is not Enough!”
In our last study we saw that, “It is always too soon to Quit!” The apostle Paul found the task before him in Corinth almost overwhelming. The immorality of the city coupled with the fact that he was alone, left him feeling overwhelmed. But God did not leave him helpless, he send him friends to help him, finances to support him and spoke words to encourage him. We leave Paul as he sent out to Jerusalem to fulfill a vow he has made to the Lord. This is in reality the end of the second missionary journey. We have before us tonight a parenthesis, Luke interrupts his story of the missionary journeys to introduce a man by the name of Apollos.
In Verse 24 we are introduced to “a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus.
Apollos was from Alexandria located on the north coast of Eygpt and was the second largest city in the Roman empire. Alexandria was noted as a cultural and educational center, its library was the largest in the world at that time. Scholars tell us that before it was destroyed by fire, this library contained 700,000 scrolls and other documents.
Apollos was an educated man. He had the equivalent of what we would today refer to as a university and graduate school education. His credentials were very impressive.
He was also an eloquent man. A man who knew how to move people by speaking just the right word.
Apollos was “mighty in the Scriptures,” he was well versed in the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures.
Verse 25 further states, “This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.”
Apollos was excited about those things that he did understand about Jesus. He was passionate, he was “fervent in spirit”, literally this means “burning or boiling hot.”
This verse says that he “had been instructed in the way of the Lord; . . .though he knew only the baptism of John.” I don’t know exactly what Apollos knew and did not know, but it is clear that Apollos had a limited knowledge of the Lord Jesus.
Some of you perhaps do not know the story of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement. John was raised in the home of a minister, Samuel Wesley and his godly wife Susanna. He attended Charterhouse and Oxford and became a double professor of Greek and logic at Lincoln College of Oxford. He was subsequently ordained into clergy of the Church of England.
While he was at Oxford he helped to form what was called “the holy club,” a group so nicknamed by the other students because they seriously attempted to cultivate their spiritual lives. Finally he accepted an invitation from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to become a missionary to the American Indians in Georgia, where he failed miserably. Forced to return to England he wrote, “I went to America to convert the Indians; but, oh, who shall convert me?”
Not all was lost, because in his earlier travels he had crossed paths with a group of Moravians whose living faith deeply impressed him. So upon his return to London he sought out one of the leaders and to use Wesley’s words was ‘clearly convinced of unbelief, of the want of that faith whereby alone we are saved.’
On the evening of May 25, 1738 Wesley went to a meeting at which Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans was being read. He said while it was being described the change which God works in a heart through faith in Christ that felt his “heart strangely warmed.” He went on to say “I felt I did trust in Christ and Christ alone, for my salvation……”
Prior to Wesley’s “Aldersgate experience” he knew more theology and was more dedicated than most believers, but he was lost. (R. Kent Hughes. Acts: The Church Afire. Wheaton Ill.: Crossway Books, 1996) p. 245-246]
“Hundreds of thousands of people profess some type of belief in Christ, display reverence for God, go to church on Sundays, contribute to the offering, sit at the Lord’s table and admire the ethical teaching of the Lord – but are as lost as John Wesley before Aldersgate. They have not fire, no passion, no life because they do not have Christ.” (Hughes. p.246)
Verse 26 says, “ So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.