Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3575

Jump Start # 3575

Acts 18:26 “and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”

  Our passage today is interesting. It leads to lots of questions about application. Apollos was preaching. He is introduced to us as an eloquent and gifted man. He is said to have been mighty in the Scriptures. A powerful speaker who knew the word of God. However, all he knew was the baptism of John. He didn’t know about baptism in Christ. As he was boldly preaching in the synagogue in Ephesus, a couple heard him. He wasn’t quite right about some things. And, what our verse tells us is what this couple did.

  Now, some lessons for us:

  First, it is very impressive to see someone as gifted and talented as Apollos using his abilities for God. He could have been in politics. He could have been a great salesman. But, he didn’t. The world has been filled with very talented men and women who write songs, books, are wonderful speakers but they pour all their talent into secular and worldly pursuits. It’s refreshing to see a man who could kill it in the business world, instead spend his life preaching and teaching the word of God. He won’t have the house, the lifestyle or the comforts had he gone to the business world, but he has chosen to help change the eternity for everyone that obeys the Gospel of Christ.

  Gifted Apollos is preaching. Currently, we are seeing a dry period of fewer and fewer preachers. I’ve been asked more than once, “where are all the preachers?” As my generation begins to round third base and head home, this ought to be a concern for both homes and congregations. The pull to make millions in sports can be so appealing. But what about the good that is accomplished by a life that preaches and teaches Jesus?

 Second, when Priscilla and Aquila heard something missing in Apollos’ sermon, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God. They didn’t do this at the door of the church building as they were walking out. They took him aside. They didn’t contact Paul and have Paul do this. They were the ones who heard and they were the ones who took action.

  Although the text doesn’t detail what they said, knowing them and knowing the rest of the Scriptures, I expect they were gentle, kind and helpful. When one begins with threats, accusations and pressuring someone, the results won’t be good. Most get defensive. Most don’t like to be accused. Usually a war takes place between the people.

  I have been on both sides of that table that they sat at. Most every preacher have. I’ve had people walk out of my sermons mad. They didn’t stick around to hear all the sermon, nor did they give me an opportunity to talk to them. Sometimes what one thinks he hears is not what one actually said. I’ve sat down with someone and relistened to a sermon that he thought I had said something wrong. Having listened to it together, he realized I didn’t say what he thought I did. He apologized and we parted as friends. I have also talked to others about something they said in a sermon.

  The text leads us to believe that it was just Apollos and Priscilla and Aquila in that discussion. What about the others who heard Apollos? Maybe they didn’t catch what Priscilla and Aquila did. Maybe they had no problem with what Apollos said. Maybe they thought it wasn’t their place to say anything or maybe they didn’t want to get involved. Some may have been intimidated by Apollos. The guy can preach. He knows the Bible. Who am I to correct him?

  But Priscilla and Aquila did. But also, notice the reaction of Apollos. First, he agreed to meet with Priscilla and Aquila. He could have thought, who are you to correct me? He was open and willing. Also notice he didn’t turn to the social media of his day to cry out that he had been accused. Had this verse not been left for us, we would have never known about this. They met in private. They talked. They listened. And, Apollos learned and changed.

  Third, outside this passage, nothing seems to be said about this again. Apollos is so effective at Corinth, that some were saying, “I am of Apollos.” He becomes a significant preacher after the apostles. No one seems to put an asterisk by his name, “remember, he once was wrong about baptism.” All was good. The glory of God is what was sought and the glory of God is what was found.

  It seems this “taking him aside” aspect is missing these days. There sure seems to be so much blasted on social media that really doesn’t belong there. Satan will use things like that to drive wedges, cause people to take sides and disrupt the good that is being done.

  Now, the obvious question arises, what to do when someone says things that are not accurate with the Bible? First, consider who is saying these things. Is it a guy giving a Wednesday night invitation, and his sweaty forehead tells you that he is so nervous. Give the guy some space. Be patient with him. Don’t chew him out. I’m not sure if we ought to chew anyone out, except the Devil.

  But, what if the guy who says something is a seasoned preacher? What if red flags go up? What if he is speaking error? We must not be so blind as to think that wolves in sheep clothing cannot happen these days.

  What did Priscila and Aquila do? Apollos wasn’t a mechanic who was giving his first Wednesday night invitation. Apollos was experienced. He knew the Scriptures. He was wrong. Does that change what one should do? They took him aside and explained the way of God to him. But, someone will say, what if Apollos didn’t get it? What if Apollos kept preaching John’s baptism? What if Apollos disagreed with Priscilla and Aquila?

  This is where the independence and autonomy of congregations come in. Do Priscilla and Aquila draw lines of fellowship against Apollos? Does Apollos complain that he was misunderstood? Is Apollos marked as a false teacher? Are Priscilla and Aquila accused of being trouble-makers? Who would be right and who would be wrong?

  Just a few final thoughts:

  First, thankfully none of those things happened in Acts 18. Maybe a spirit is missing today or pride is running too thick among us for that to happen. The conclusion of the Acts 18 meeting is that the disciples encouraged Apollos and wrote letters to welcome him. That’s refreshing isn’t it?

  Second, there has always been a spirit of error.  In nearly every N.T. book, other than Philemon, the situation of error or false teaching is addressed. Error like a cancer, grows and can kill. The best thing to do is to continue to preach and teach the Gospel of Christ. I don’t have to know how crooked a stick is. All I have to do is lay a straight stick beside it and then I will know. Spend time teaching accurately the things of God. Truth has nothing to fear and nothing to hide. Error will twist and turn and redefine words, switch topics and do anything and everything but be honest and change. Error and truth do not dwell together nicely in a home, a congregation or our hearts. They will not tolerate each other. One will drive the other out. When our allegiance is with friends and family, we are more likely to tolerate error. When our commitment is to Christ, friend or not, family or not, we will draw the line in the sand and stand with truth.

  Third, each person and each congregation will have to decide for themselves what to do. We do not have a system that dictates for all congregations who is in and who is out with the Lord. There will be congregations that use preachers that may make me shake my head and wonder about them. My choice is that I do not have to be a part of those things. When my own congregation does something that I do not believe is true to the Scriptures, I will voice my concerns in kindness and gentleness to the shepherds of that flock. If it gets to a point that I feel that I am being forced to go against my convictions, then I must cut ties and find another place to worship.

  I may not see what you see. You may not see what I see. You may be able to do things that I cannot and I might do things that you cannot. We each must work out our salvation before the Lord knowing that we will each be judged as individuals. I can only answer for myself, and not for you. You can only answer for yourself and not for me. I am only responsible for what I do and the extent of my fellowship within the congregation that I belong to. What happens out there in the brotherhood may alarm me, frighten me, and even disappoint me, but it is not necessarily the battle that I must go and fight. My fight is where I am a part of. Paul had the concern for all the churches, I don’t. What happens in all the churches is not my business. I am not an apostle.

  The only thing the N.T. tells us to do with the brotherhood is to love it. It’s not my place to protect it, save it, or keep it on the rails. What takes place in the congregation I’m a part of is much different. That’s where my fellowship belongs and where accountability takes place. I will fight, defend, protect, and guard my congregation with all that I have. I will fight error from coming in. I will do all I can to keep the devil out. What others do in other places is between them and the Lord and to the Lord they will have to give an account. I may not agree with them. They may not agree with me.

  There seems to be too much government involvement in our lives these days and there can be too much church politics in our lives as well. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord—sure sounds sweet to me. There will be wolves, troublemakers, false brethren, pushers of error around the kingdom. There has always been. Jesus talked about false Christs. Paul was hurt by false brethren. Some preached to cause Paul more pain. In a perfect world, we’d cleanse the kingdom of all that dirt and grim. But the world isn’t perfect and it’s not really our job to do that.

  I don’t like error. Neither do I like someone from another place telling me what to do. My battleground is here in Southern Indiana. This is where I will die on a hill fighting for the Lord. This is where I am intimately aware of what’s going on. This is where I belong.

  They took him aside…something to think about.