Corinth to Antioch (5)
Pray Psalm 78.1-4.
Give ear, O my people, to my law;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD,
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.
Sing Psalm 78.1-4.
(Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
Give ear, O my people, attend to my word, dark sayings and parables sent from the Lord,
things we have before by our fathers been told, which we would not dare from our children withhold.
Read Acts 18.1-25; meditate on verses 24 and 25.
1. How did Luke describe Apollos?
2. What did Apollos do?
We don’t know anything more about Apollos than what we read here. He was steeped in the Old Testament, eloquent, and a believer in Jesus as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. But that’s all he knew.
Still, he preached this message fervently, believing John’s witness concerning Jesus, but not knowing anything beyond that. Apollos shows us that we must be zealous to proclaim as much of Jesus as we know, even though there’s always room for learning and growth. We don’t have to be theologians or preachers to tell others what we have seen and know to be true about Jesus. We may not be able to answer all their questions, but we can at least show them Jesus.
Jesus had said He would build His Church (Matt. 16.18), and in the book of Acts we’re getting a good look at the ways He carries out this commitment. A strong unity existed among the churches of the Lord during this period, and this made it possible for people like Paul and Apollos to be available as the Lord led to serve in various places, if only for limited periods of time. In each place they served, they left disciples who were strengthened in their love and witness for the Lord.
The Spirit of God supervised and energized this work, and not even the gates of hell could prevail against it, much less the Jews or the Romans. God continues raising up leaders to keep the ongoing work of Christ ongoing. Priscilla, Aquila, Apollos, Timothy, Titus – all became effective leaders in their generation, in no small part because of their association with Paul. Leaders don’t just happen. They must be made.
Pray that God will make you a more faithful leader and witness in His ongoing work.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Apollos was not fully knowledgeable about Christ and the way of salvation; but what he did know, he was diligent to share. And he was fervent. The dictionary defines this as having or displaying a passionate intensity. And a passionate intensity about following the Scriptures is a characteristic to emulate.
He had so many wonderful characteristics: eloquence, mighty in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, instructed in the way of the Lord, fervent in spirit, willing to teach and speak, and boldness in his witness.
God’s timing is always perfect. Apollos was in the right place at the right time, and hearts were blessed.
Being fervent in spirit, along with his humility, made him a great help in the ongoing work of the Church (Acts 18.26, 27).
So many of his characteristics are those that Paul wrote to praise as testaments of righteous living: “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord…” (Rom. 12.9-11).
Peter also encouraged this characteristic. “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart…” (1 Pet. 1.22).
We are all called to be fervent in spirit, with a passionate intensity about our own faith and work. “I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end” (Ps. 119.112).
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51.10).
Apollos was the antithesis of what William Butler Yeats wrote about in his poem, The Second Coming:
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” Yet another truth that needs to be turned upside-down for the Lord!
So let us also be the antithesis of the norm and be the best – the Christ-ones full of passionate intensity for our Savior and His Kingdom and glory. Just like Apollos. Fervent in spirit.
1. Would you describe your work in your Personal Mission Field as “fervent”? Explain.
2. Where does fervor for the Lord come from? How does being fervent for the Lord relate to our time in His Word?
3. How can you encourage your fellow believers to be more fervent in serving the Lord?
The dispensation of the Spirit, whatever the measure of it may be, is given to every man to profit withal. [Apollos] was a lively, affectionate preacher; fervent in spirit. He was full of zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of precious souls. Here was a complete man of God, thoroughly furnished for his work. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 18.24-28
Pray Psalm 78.5-7.
Pray for all the teachers in your church, that they might be faithful in all their teaching and in urging their students to search the Scriptures daily.
Sing Psalm 78.5-7.
(Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
The glorious deeds of our God in His might, and all of the works He has done in our sight,
together with all of the words of His Law, would we on ourselves and our children bestow.
Lord, let all our children arise and declare the truth of the Lord every day, everywhere,
and set all their hopes in God’s wonderful Word, and never forget all the works of the Lord.
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.