ACTS 18:24-26: “Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak 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.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: Is it possible to be “fervent” in spirit, but not “overflowing” in the power of the Holy Spirit? The answer is – Yes! This was the case with Apollos and it represents the condition of many believers. Apollos was zealous within his spirit, but had not discovered the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
This is not to say that Apollos did not have the Holy Spirit living within him. Romans 8:9 proclaims – “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” (ESV) Everyone who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord is born again by the Spirit of God, and the Holy Spirit lives within them. This was true for the Apollos, and it is true for us today. Yet, like the Apollos and the disciples that gathered in the Upper Room, we all need to be “baptized” in the Holy Spirit.
The distinction is made concerning Apollos that he knew only the baptism of John. This was the baptism in water for repentance. John himself said – “I baptize with water, but the one coming after me will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Jesus instructed all His disciples, before He ascended into heaven, to wait in Jerusalem until they received the “Promise of the Father”, which is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. All the disciples had been baptized in water, Jesus had breathed on them and said – “Receive the Holy Spirit”, yet there was something more. They were to receive power when the Holy Spirit had come upon them, when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit.
One of my favorite stories regarding this truth is that of D.L. Moody. Some elderly women would come to hear him preach each night. One night they approached D.L. Moody and said – “We are praying for you!” Moody replied – “Don’t pray for me, pray for the lost.” Yet, the women again said – “We are praying for you!” Moody asked why? Their reply was – “To be baptized in the Holy Spirit.” D.L. Moody was one of the most prominent preachers and evangelists of his time, and these women said he needed “something more”? Moody went into his prayer room troubled over this and cried out to the Lord. His account is that when he did he felt a holy unction fall upon him. It was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit! His own account is that prior to this hundreds were saved when he preached, and after he received this holy unction – thousands were saved! These dear women had explained to the learned D.L. Moody the way of God more accurately.
We all need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is not just for apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. It is for husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, sons and daughters. It is for as many as our Lord God will call. It is for all who ask! Jesus proclaimed – “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:38-39 ESV)
Father, thank you for this wonderful provision of power for living! Jesus, thank you for being the mighty baptizer in the Holy Spirit! Holy Spirit, thank you for empowering my life and leading me into the truth of Jesus Christ! Jesus – fill me anew this morning with the overflowing power and presence of the Holy Spirit. May I overflow with Your Grace, Mercy, and Love to all! In Jesus Name!