The Education Of The Holy Spirit - Acts 18:24-19:7 NIV
For one week we change our focus from Paul to Apollos. He was an educated Jew from Alexandria, Egypt. Played important leadership roles in both Corinth and Ephesus.
"I planted, Apollos watered, God gave the growth." 1 Corinthians 3:6.
Martin Luther believed that Apollos was author of Hebrews. Today we learn important, helpful info about Apollos' education (and ours).
My faith education should include:
#1 - The ______________ : the __________ for living out my faith.
"[Apollos] ... was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures." Acts 18:24 NIV
Apollos received his education at Alexandria. Alexander the Great 331BC founded Alexandria. It became the intellectual and cultural center of ancient world. Early Christian studies! Septuagint was created here - the Greek translation of Old Testament, used by both Paul & Jesus.
We begin with the important foundation of knowing and understanding the Scriptures. Our first statement of faith at CR (what we believe) is that the Scriptures are inspired by God - entirely originating with God and provided through chosen men. So we hold that the Scriptures are infallible and inerrant in the original manuscripts.
Knowing the Scriptures helps us to know the right rules for living - what God intends for us. The boundaries for remaining holy and useful to our Creator. For us today the Scriptures are contained in the Bible, so it is the starting point for living out our faith.
Another reason for the Bible as foundation - nothing Jesus taught and nothing the Holy Spirit would say to us today would ever contradict what God the Father has given us in the Scriptures. If we think God is telling us something different than how the Bible instructs - we're missing the message.
#2 - The ______________ : the ____________ for living out my faith.
"[Apollos] had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor." Acts 18:25a NIV
What does "instructed in the way of the Lord" mean? Wouldn't the Lord be Jesus? And wouldn't His way be His teachings? His sermons, parables and explanations of how to live well and please God the Father? Jesus gave us the reasons for the rules. The why behind the Scriptures.
We discover two things about Apollos' teaching and education. First Apollos was effective. A powerful teacher. Motivating!
"He taught about Jesus accurately... he spoke boldly in the synagogue." Acts 18:25b -26a NIV
He DID know about Jesus. His teachings - sermons, illustrations, parables - had all been passed down correctly and Apollos himself also passed on this knowledge correctly. So Apollos had the knowledge of the Scriptures and the teachings of Jesus all correct.
Yet (2nd), Apollos was missing something! What was he missing?
"Though he knew only the baptism of John... When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately." Acts 18:25b & 26b NIV
Apollos knew only the baptism of John. Hold on - we'll understand what that means in a minute. Fortunately for him, he had Priscilla and Aquila to explain it to him. Luke changes the point of view in chapter 19 to explain it to us.
#3 - The ______________ : the _____________ for living out my faith.
"'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?' They responded, 'No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.'" Acts 19:2 NIV
Let's see if we can understand this better. What if you had all of the Old Testament and all of the Gospels in the New Testament, but none of the rest of the New Testament? So you wouldn't have any of Acts, nor any of the letters of Paul, Peter, and James explaining the formation of the early church. What would you be missing the most? Put another way, what was Jesus final instructions to the disciples? To wait together in Jerusalem. What were they waiting for?
The Holy Spirit! Remember what Jesus said? It is good for me to leave so the Holy Spirit could come? The Spirit of Christ Himself! Described variously as the Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercesser, Breath of God. The story of Acts is not just the story of the early church. It is the story of the Holy Spirit!
"John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told them to believe in the one coming after him, that is in Jesus." Acts 19:4 NIV
Now what does it mean to believe in? To follow the instructions of. To obey the commands. John's primary and final instruction was to repent. To change direction. But he clearly indicated that he was not the Messiah and referred all his followers to follow Jesus.
So what was Jesus' final instruction? To wait for the Holy Spirit, which is also Jesus' Spirit. Jesus himself, as human, could only be in one place at one time. But His Spirit could be with each follower of Jesus all over the world!
To know only the Scriptures and only the teachings of Jesus is to know about God. To also know the Holy Spirit is to know God - to have a relationship with God! It's vital. It's critical. It's not just another step in the Christian life - it is the Christian life. It's why Paul was so astounded when the Ephesians didn't know there was a Holy Spirit. He assumed they would have received the Holy Spirit just as soon as they believed.
"When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied." Acts 19:6 NIV
When you read this verse, what stands out? What do you notice the most? For many people it is the end part of the verse, the speaking in tongues and prophesying. However, that's not the big deal. The big deal is that they received the Holy Spirit. Their journey to Christian following was now complete - the way it should be for every believer right from the beginning of the journey.
So what should we make of the "spoke in tongues and prophesied" part? Some in our present day Christian faith believe that this is the result (and even proof) of the Holy Spirit's baptism - literally a second work of grace. This view is that salvation is the first work of grace, the baptism of repentance and then there is a second work of grace, Sanctification, the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
REMINDER - "In essential beliefs we have UNITY, in nonessential we have LIBERTY, in all our beliefs we SHOW LOVE." This question of speaking in tongues as evidence of the Holy Spirit is a belief in which (I believe) we have liberty.
Two concussing thoughts:
(1) Paul expected all believers to receive Holy Spirit.
(2) the speaking in tongues was repeated throughout Acts as a fulfilling of Acts 1:5 and 8. "When the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth." This outpouring of the Holy Spirit can then be seen in Acts 2:4 Upper Room, 10:46 Cornelius, and here in 19:6. All confirmation of Jesus' instructions.
So what's our primary take-away lesson today?
This speaking in tongues or different languages is one of many gifts of the Holy Spirit, not the only one. The important takeaway of today's Scripture is how vitally important it is for us to know God personally through the experience of the Holy Spirit. Knowing the Scriptures is important. Knowing the teachings is important. But knowing the Author of the Scriptures and the Author of the teachings - day to day, personally - completes the daily education and experience of the Christ-follower.