I am departing from our usual format to publish some more lengthy teaching on a passage that has been a great encouragement to me. I was able to present this lesson at Calvary Baptist Church on April 13, 2014 in our Family Foundations class.
We have been discussing the topic of discipleship for many weeks. On this day we departed slightly from the regular format to observe the Jewish teacher Apollos and his encounter with Aquila and Priscilla. We talked about what it could teach us about being discipled and a discipler.
I apologize, I do not have a transcript for this message, but have attached its outline below.
Acts 18:24-28 “And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.”
When it comes to discipleship, we often focus on two kinds of Christians: the new believer, and the believer with “problems.” The passage selected for today’s class gives us another side of the story.
It instructs us that discipleship is not always just a formal relationship with another Christian specifically to teach them. There are often moments of discipleship, instances in which we see a need for teaching and seize the opportunity to do the work.
This passage shows:
- We all have something to teach. (The Bible commands all of us to teach.)
- We all have something to learn. (We are being sanctified by God.)
- God is perfecting the saints using other saints. (Every member is important.)
- The kind of people that are good at discipleship, also need discipleship.
First, we need to learn about the man that received the discipleship.
- Gifted for ministry. “An eloquent man” means either “a man of words” or “a man of ideas.” Either way, it is clear that God had given him specific gifts for ministry. (Ephesians 4:11-16)
- Prepared for ministry. “Mighty in the scriptures” refers to his powerful use of the scriptures to debate and instruct.
- Educated for ministry. “This man was instructed in the way of the Lord;” (II Timothy 2:15, II Peter 1:5-11)
- Tempered for ministry. Apollos was “fervent in spirit” and “bold” – exactly the kind of person needed in this era (any era) for service to Christ. (II Corinthians 6:1-10, I Timothy 3:1-7)
- Activated for ministry. Apollos “began to speak” – he was doing the word Christ had commanded. (John 6:27-29)
Apollos was also:
- Open to ministry. This is a mighty and bold and fervent person, who is also totally teachable. (I Peter 5:5-7)
We should be:
- Humble enough to do as he did.
- Discerning enough to know others are as he was.
- Intelligent enough to realize others know more.
- Spiritual enough to disciple those who know less.