22 June. Acts 18:24-28

22 June. Apollos preaches and teaches in Ephesus

"[After Paul had left] A Jew named Apollos came to Ephesus. He was born in the city of Alexandria and was a good speaker who knew the [Jewish] Scriptures well. He had been taught about the Way of the Lord [belief in Jesus] and was always very excited when he spoke and taught the truth about Jesus."

"But the only baptism Apollos knew about was the baptism that John taught. Apollos began to speak very boldly in the synagogue, and when [Paul's friends] Priscilla and [her husband] Aquila heard him, they took him to their home and helped him better understand the Way of God."

"Now Apollos wanted to go to the country of Southern Greece [Achaia]. So the believers helped him and wrote a letter to the followers there, asking them to accept him. These followers had believed in Jesus because of God's grace, and when Apollos arrived, he helped them very much."

"He argued very strongly with the Jews before all the people, clearly proving with the [Jewish] Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ [the Jewish Messiah, the 'anointed one']."

          (Acts 18:24-28)



After several months in Antioch, Paul set out with Timothy in 53AD and revisited the believers in Galatia and Phrygia.

Meanwhile Apollos – a Jewish believer from Alexandria in Egypt who “had been taught about the way of the Lord” (Acts 18:25) – had been staying with Aquila and Priscilla in Ephesus.

As he only knew about John’s baptism (baptism in water for cleansing from wrongdoing), they taught him about Jesus’s baptism – baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Apollos was an excellent speaker, and knew the Jewish scriptures really well. He could prove from our 'Old Testament' that Jesus was the expected Messiah, the 'anointed one' of God, who would bring people back to the one true God. He taught about 'salvation' - the forgiveness of sins and the promise, by God's grace, of a home in heaven after death; and he baptised people in water - just like John the Baptist had done - as a sign that God had washed their sins away.

But there was one thing missing in his message - that God not only wants people to be baptised (literally, 'filled to overflowing') in water, but he also wants them to be 'baptised' ('filled to overflowing') with the Holy Spirit. This is how they would not only be cleansed, but would be CHANGED into the people God wants them to be.

A few years back, we were invited to a baptism at an independent evangelical church. There were lots of hymns about being washed clean and about sins being forgiven - but there wasn't a single mention of the Holy Spirit in the whole service! We left feeling sad that this particular church were preaching and teaching only HALF the good news of the gospel of Jesus - that God not only FORGIVES us (of which water baptism is a symbol) but also CHANGES us (by baptising us to overflowing with the power of the Holy Spirit within us). Don't mention being filled with the Holy Spirit (like Apollos when he arrived in Ephesus) and you'll finish up with half-charged 50% Christians.

The photo shows a restored Greek house in the village of Sille in Galatia (in modern-day Turkey), where Paul preached on his way overland back to Ephesus.

You can read more about the start of Paul's 'Third Missionary Journey' @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/paul-starts-his-3rd-miss…/

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