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Friday, December 30 2011
In last week's study, we looked at Paul's ministration in Corinth. We saw Paul's consistence in preaching the Word; we also learnt that God has all knowledge and all understanding of whatever we might be going through and when He promises, He sees it through. We also saw the entrance of Priscilla and Aquila into the scene. This week we shall be considering 11 loaded verses. The first thing that came to my mind was; "what are we going to get from 11 verses?" I shouldn't have bothered. Reading through and by the help of the Holy Spirit we shall reveal vital nuggets in our walk and work.
1. GOD - THE MASTER PLANNER
18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila.
It is possible for Priscilla and Aquila to feel discouraged; last week we discovered that they were tent makers but they were expelled from Rome verse 2. They would have left a thriving business behind in Rome but God had a plan; He wanted to use them for ministry; Paul must have seen something in them for the period he fellowshipped with them to take them from Corinth to Syria. So let's be encouraged; God can use any situation (even disappointments) to set us up for our destiny.
2. OF KEEPING VOWS
Verse 18b: "Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken."
A number of people have debated what sort of vow he took, why he took it and so on. After considering their arguments I realized it wasn't worth it - if you make a vow, pay it! Psalm 116:18, Job 22:27 & Ps.15:4b
3. OLD HABITS DIE HARD - KEEP GOOD ONES
19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. [NIV]
22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch. [MSG]
Week in week out we talk about Paul and the other apostles consistence; the reason is not far from developing healthy habits. It had become a part of them so regardless of what had happened a few verses back, Paul will still make a stop at the synagogue to reason with the Jews.
4. A TIME FOR EVERYTHING
" 20 When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. 21 But as he left, he promised, "I will come back if it is God's will." Then he set sail from Ephesus." [NIV]
Notice he did not refuse, he declined; ?Refuse' has a strong sense of saying 'no'. While to Decline is to refuse politely.
It was not the time to hang around for 3 Sabbaths debating; so he politely refused and promised (if God wills) he'll be back. There's a time to say "Yes" and a time to say "No" but sometimes we say "yes" when we should say "no" because we are afraid of offending someone and in the process offend God.
5. FOLLOW UP - ESSENTIAL FOR GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT
23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. [NIV]
23After spending a considerable time with the Antioch Christians, Paul set off again for Galatia and Phrygia, retracing his old tracks, one town after another, putting fresh heart into the disciples. [MSG]
Paul went through the towns and cities he'd preached before to encourage and strengthen all the disciples. This is vital because everyone needs encouragement; everyone needs to have the flame fanned. The Bible says of Jesus;
"A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory" Matt.12:20
6. KNOW YOUR STUFF - STEMS FROM DILIGENCE
24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. [NIV]
"A man named Apollos came to Ephesus. He was a Jew, born in Alexandria, Egypt, and a terrific speaker, eloquent and powerful in his preaching of the Scriptures. He was well-educated in the way of the Master and fiery in his enthusiasm. Apollos was accurate in everything he taught about Jesus up to a point, but he only went as far as the baptism of John. He preached with power in the meeting place." [MSG]
What we can learn from Apollos:
a) He had thorough knowledge of the scripture - Complete with regard to every detail; not superficial or partial. The message says he was a terrific speaker, eloquent and powerful in his preaching of the Scriptures
b) He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; this tells us that he had humbled himself to learn
c) He spoke with great fervor - burning with enthusiasm. Confident of what he had and bold to declare it!
7. DIVINE HELPERS - WE ALL CAN BE
"When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately." [NIV ]
"When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and told him the rest of the story." [MSG]
This couple strikes me as people who have their heads screwed on right.
They did not see Apollos as a threat, they did not castigate him or compete with him or even condemn him for not knowing it all. Imagine what we would have done . . . talk behind his back and say "instead of him to humble himself and learn, he's out there preaching only part of it"
We will try to make what he knows of no effect because of what he does not know.
But they took him aside and "told him the rest of the story"
Also tells me something about Apollos
He was not full of himself; he could have as well been carried away by his eloquence and zeal and fervor and missed the whole picture. Shame how that happens these days; "Who are you to tell me I have missed something?"
8. ENCOURAGEMENT - WE NEED EACH OTHER
27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah. [NIV]
27-28When Apollos decided to go on to Achaia province, his Ephesian friends gave their blessing and wrote a letter of recommendation for him, urging the disciples there to welcome him with open arms. The welcome paid off: Apollos turned out to be a great help to those who had become believers through God's immense generosity. He was particularly effective in public debate with the Jews as he brought out proof after convincing proof from the Scriptures that Jesus was in fact God's Messiah. [MSG]
We see that when Apollos wanted to travel to Achaia, the brethren rallied round him and wrote a letter of recommendation so that he would be accepted and the Message said "The welcome paid off" because he turned out to be great help to believers in Achaia. Imagine if Aquila and Priscilla did not take him in and teach him or they just wrote him off and ran him down or the brethren with the influence of Aquila and Priscilla did not encourage him and recommend him; but thank God they did what they did and the results was fruitful and effective.
There's so much we have learnt from these few verses of scripture. We have learnt that God can use any situation to set us up for our destiny; we have also learnt of Paul, of Priscilla and Aquila and of Apollos. All of them exhibiting character worth emulating; nothing more to say; we should simply be hearers and doers.