1 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.”
4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.”
5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
Look at how perfect this is playing out! Apollos prepared the way with the John the Baptist message. People looked into the scriptures and believed what he said, but they wanted more. Then Apollos learned the full Gospel message and went to Corinth, where Paul had just spent 18 months teaching.
Apollos had been zealous for the Lord with an 80% complete message. Now he’ll find all kinds of community and friendship in Corinth as he tops off his message of the good news. He’s probably never seen a group of Christians like that, especially now that he knows about the Holy Spirit.
In Ephesus, meanwhile, Paul stands on the shoulders of Apollos and John the Baptist to usher the Holy Spirit into the church of Ephesus. He would stick around for a while (more about that tomorrow) and make the Ephesian church his home.
And it all started with Apollos, an evangelist that was still figuring things out.
Something like 75% of Christians say that they are afraid to share their faith because they feel like they don’t know enough, or that they don’t know how. As important as the Holy Spirit is, doesn’t it seem like Apollos should have known about that before he went out to be an evangelist? I mean, what success could he have without the Holy Spirit?
My kids depend on gravity and friction and centrifugal force and gyroscopic rotation when they ride their bikes. That’s why none of them learned how to ride a bike until they passed computational physics at Ivy Tech.
And before they go play basketball in the backyard, I refused to even buy a basketball until they fully understood the supply chain of black butyl rubber and the licensing nuances of the NBA vs. the WNBA. This stuff is important and I want them to have a strong foundation before they go out and play basketball.
In the backyard.
I hope you find this is completely ridiculous.
Apollos, with his half-baked but passionate theology, poured gasoline all over Ephesus. When Paul showed up, his spark ignited Asia with the Holy Spirit.
Paul says it later himself, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” The spread of the Gospel has always spread better in the hands of amateurs than in the hands of professionals.
Preach the Gospel boldly, even as you figure it out.
Maybe figuring it out as we go with confident faith in Christ is the best apologetic for our time.
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