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Sunday, February 23, 2014 pm

Would You Talk to Apollos?
Acts 18:24-28

 As has always been the case, we live in times where the souls of men are in danger of being lost.  As Christians this ought to be of great concern to us.  As Paul said in 2 Cor. 5:10-11, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.   But what is unique about the times we now live in is our oversensitivity.   People are often afraid to say what needs to be said out of fear of offending someone else.  While we certain need to guard our words there are times we need to speak up, especially where souls are concerned.

In Acts 18:24-28 we read of Apollos.  Recall the account. But I wonder how many today, if they heard Apollos teaching the error he taught would take the time to correct him.  Based on current attitudes, some would have excused the confrontation. 

Some of the excuses they might have said include:

 I.                    He is too eloquent.

a.        Vs. 24 describes him as eloquent and mighty in scripture. 

b.       There are some who look at the intelligence of a man, especially in scripture and assume he must be right.   Sometimes, people are afraid to question and/or correct the preacher or an elder because of their Biblical knowledge. 

c.        Just because one is eloquent does NOT mean they are right.  There are many who are very convincing in espousing error.  Their arguments may be well organized and seem logical.  Often times they appeal to portions of scripture that are hard to understand and with confidence profess to have THE answer.

d.       We are warned about the wisdom of man – 1 Cor. 2:1-5.
Timothy was told to simply preach the word – 2 Tim. 4:2 

 II.                  He is only wrong on this one point

a.        Vs. 25 tells us he taught accurately the way of the Lord, “though he knew only the baptism of John.”

b.       How many today when they consider what one is teaching will dismiss that one thing? They reason that he is right on virtually everything else.

c.        While we certainly realize that there are things about which we can differ (matters of liberty) we must also realize that it only takes ONE thing to be totally wrong.
Gal. 1:6-7 – Paul called what the brethren of Galatia were considering “a different gospel.”   When one is teaching error, it needs to be addressed.  To ignore error is dangerous – 1 Cor. 5:6 – a little leaven

d.       Jesus told the rich, you ruler, “You still lack one thing.” (Luke 18:22)
James warned us, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)  

 III.                I don’t want to kill his zeal

a.        In vs. 25 Apollos was described as being “fervent in spirit”.  There is no doubt he was zealous in his teaching.  And zeal is a quality we all need (and most of us need a little more of it).  Rom. 12:11 tells us to be ““not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

b.       BUT zeal does not always mean one is right.  Rom. 10:1-3 – the zeal of the Jews was not according to righteousness. 
Paul zealously persecuted Christians! (Acts 26:11, Phil. 3:6)
It simply demonstrates how passionate one is for a cause. 

c.        Yet some out of fear of extinguishing one’s zeal are willing to ignore the error being taught.
We cannot do that!  If one is in error, our responsibility is to seek to turn him back.

d.       Consider this: imagine what can be accomplished if that zeal is directed toward the truth.
Acts 18:27-28 tells us that after Apollos was corrected he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly.   Paul was able to speak of how Apollos helped him in teaching the Corinthians (1 Cor. 3:6) after this.
Prov. 9:8 says, ““Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. 

 IV.                His teaching won’t hurt anyone

a.        To think this way is a big mistake.  You do not know what damage one who is teaching something false (even though everything else is the truth) will do.
Consider Acts 19:1-5 where we find Paul coming to Ephesus.  Apollos has left for Corinth (having been corrected and now teaching the truth).  But we find disciples who had been baptized with John’s baptism?  Where were they taught that error?  Could it have been Apollos before he was converted?  While we are not told that is a possibility.  Regardless it was error that needed to be corrected.

b.       There are far too many today who want to sweep error under the carpet, especially that which they consider to be miniscule. 
Both the church at Pergamos – that tolerated those teaching the error of Balaam and others (Rev. 2:14-15) and the church at Thyatira – that permitted “that woman Jezebel” to teach (Rev. 2:20-23) to teach and seduce His servants. 
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

c.        Error often creeps into a church.  By that I mean it makes its way in gradually.  It is rare that apostasy happens overnight.  We have to take steps to not let it happen.   That is why we must continually study, be alert and confront error before it has a chance to take root (cf. Titus 1:9-11).
Eph. 5:6-7 tells us not to be partakers with those who live and teach error.  In fact in vs. 11 we read, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Eph.  5:11)

 V.                  But he is so sincere

a.        The sincerity of Apollos is something that is never in question.  And such is true with so many who believe they are doing the right thing.  BUT just like zeal, sincerity is not enough.

b.       Sincerity is important (Phil. 1:9-10, 1 Pet. 1:22).

c.        BUT we cannot use it as an excuse to dismiss false teaching. Paul, along with being zealous was very sincere.  Acts 23:1 – he had lived in all good conscience; Acts 26:9, “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

d.       Yet is that not what many are doing today?  Some even use sincerity as the litmus test for fellowship.  We find in the example of Apollos that such is not enough. 

 VI.                I don’t want to lose him as a friend

a.        How many today would choose to not say anything to Apollos because they are not sure how he would respond?  They value their friendship with such a good and sincere person.  After all, he is right on virtually everything else.   And they don’t want to jeopardize that friendship so they just let the error go.

b.       The problem is that no matter how good one is, if they are living in and teaching error they will be lost unless they change.    Heb. 10:31 tells us it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  Paul in 2 Cor. 5:11 noted that because of “the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”

c.        The Bible is pretty clear that if you cherish someone, you will be concerned about their soul.  Consider Aquila and Priscilla who took Apollos aside and corrected him in his error (vs. 26). 
Proverbs 27:5–6, “Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

d.       We are given specific instructions about dealing with brethren in error (Jas.5:19-20, Gal. 6:1-2).  Jesus taught that the first step in dealing with a brother who sins against you is to go to him.  Note the results! “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15)

e.        You are not doing your brother any favors by ignoring his sin because of a friendship.  Just as a parent is not doing a child a favor by ignoring their bad behavior (Prov. 13:24, “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”).

 

The point of this lesson is to remind us of our need to care about others, especially the lost.  We need to take advantage of opportunities to teach, and if need be, to correct.  We are dealing with souls that will one day give an accounting for the way they have lived.  Do we want to stand before God letting excuses keep us from trying to reach them?

Aquila and Priscilla didn’t use excuses.  They loved Apollos enough to help him see the truth.  Will we do the same?  Think about it.