ACTS 18:24-26: “Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.” NLT
OBSERVATION: I need the Holy Spirit! The Church needs the Holy Spirit! Is it possible to be fervent for the Lord, to know the Scriptures, to be engaged in His work, and leave the Holy Spirit out of the picture? As we study the Book of Acts the answer is a resounding Yes!
There is a difference between being born again by the Holy Spirit and living in the power of the Holy Spirit. Every true believer is brought to faith in Jesus Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to indwell the hearts of all believers. Yet, we also need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. We need the fullness of the Holy Spirit in everything that we do!
Apollos was an exemplary man. He was well versed in the Scriptures. He had followed the baptism of John and had embraced Jesus Christ as his Savior. He wasn’t sitting on the sidelines. Apollos was actively sharing what he knew about Jesus. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him they realized that something was lacking. It was not his commitment. It was not his enthusiasm. It was his understanding of God’s full provision.
As a disciple of John, Apollos fully understood the importance of repentance from sin and a willingness to walk according to God’s Word. Yet, even John the Baptist understood there was something more coming.
- “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Matthew 3:11 NLT
John died before he could witness the fulfillment of this promise. Apollos had lived outside of the unfolding of this promise that was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. His love for the Lord, his desire to serve him, needed to be empowered by receiving the fullness, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Apollos was not lacking in commitment – just understanding. This was not uncommon then and it is not uncommon today.
I grew up in a church that proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, my understanding of the Holy Spirit was limited to Him being just the third member of the Trinity. I was trained in the teaching of Jesus, yet I did not have the power to walk in these teachings. When I committed my life to Jesus Christ as Lord, I too was enthusiastic about my new walk with Jesus. Yet, I still did not understand anything about the Holy Spirit. I thank God that, like Apollos, I had those who took me aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.
I had been saved, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I had been called into the ministry. I had enthusiastically witnessed to others with my newfound faith. Yet, I was really empowered more by enthusiasm than the Holy Spirit. As I read the Book of Acts, as I witnessed the ministry of the apostles unfold, I knew that there was something more. I was like the Ephesian believers who had not even heard (or been taught) about the Holy Spirit!
- “While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them. “No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” “Then what baptism did you experience?” he asked. And they replied, “The baptism of John.” Paul said, “John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the one who would come later, meaning Jesus.” As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied.” Acts of the Apostles 19:1-6 NLT
There was a great difference in the life of Apollos once he knew the way of God more accurately. There was a great difference in the life of Paul and Peter once they were filled with power from on high. It is not our mastery of the Scriptures, our eloquence, or our presentation that leads others to Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit! We are called to be filled, to walk, and to live in the power of the Holy Spirit! It is the anointing that truly breaks the yoke.
There is a difference when we minister in the power of the Holy Spirit. God gets all the glory. Lives are changed. And, the church is edified in the love and life of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit always leads us to Jesus Christ. He alone convicts the human heart of sin, righteousness, and judgment. We are fully dependent upon His ministry in and through us to be effective ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit? I am not asking you if you have the Holy Spirit. Every true believer in Jesus Christ has been born again by the Spirit who now lives in their heart. What I am asking is if you are experiencing rivers of living water flowing through you each day? Are you experiencing the gifts of the Holy Spirit in your life? Are you seeing His life working through you to touch the deep inner needs of those you minister to?
This promise of overflowing power is not given to the elite. It is a promise to all who believe! Yet, like the Ephesians, our experience or background may limit us in our understanding and keep us from this wonderful provision. What do you need to do? All you need to do is ask the Father in Jesus’ Name! It is that simple.
- “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Luke 11:13 NLT
- “On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)”. John 7:37-39 NLT
Heavenly Father, I thank you for Your Son, Jesus Christ – my Savior, Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, Healer, and Soon Coming King! I ask You to fill me anew this morning with Your precious Holy Spirit. May I walk in His power and presence today and may my life give glory to Jesus Christ in all that I do!
In Jesus Name!