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July 6, 2021 12:00 am
He allows near the iron of his soul to be refashioned Melvin down twisted and turned so that when they finish with him over a series of discipleship and owners.
He has a totally different perspective. A totally different method effective.
You want to have a chapter 19 verse one to discover the policies picking up the ministry that Paul left off and carted the truth is without Priscilla and Tukwila policy would have eventually ship wreck on the rock of unorthodox urban intimidated to speak with someone because you thought they were more intelligent than you more eloquent than you. Maybe you felt inferior to someone in next 18 we have an account where a couple of blue-collar saints tutor and eloquent and well educated first century scholar. This current series in acts is from our vintage wisdom archives Stephen baby first delivered this series back in 1998 were airing it again now to examine the important events of the early church. Today's message is called in the hands of tentmakers.
I had read something I wanted to do a little further research and I was looking for a piece of iron. If I went to Lowe's in the order started look around and a fog and and eventually a fella came up to may work there and he said what you looking for I call them a sermon illustration that elected mayor in the baby that look like what I get all the weird ones I'd like them when I was gonna doing what I was looking for and so finally took me to place right found this 1 pound rod of iron.
Cost me $0.49 and it can be used steak down timber for landscaping in any number of things just the general use of a simple rod of iron. However, if you took this same 1 pound rod of iron and put it in the hands of someone different. They could turn this into a horseshoe that would sell for about $10. Or you could place it into the hands of the manufacturer who could take this amount of iron in make from it. Strong needles, it would be worth $1000.
Or you could put this into the hands I have read of of Swiss watch manufacturers and they could with this amount of iron make finally crafted quiz.
It balanced watch spring and the value would be $500,000 raw material, its value dependent upon his hand crafted as I was studying in our tour through acts. It struck me that the life of the policy is a story of raw material and we encounter in chapter 19 where we left off.
Especially the last paragraph a moment in his life when he is nice into the hands of seasoned saints, and the value of this young man's life goes through the roof. I wanted I wanted a return with you to this study and and take a look at what happens in his life.
Would you look with me and ask chapter 19 verse 24. Now a certain Jew named Apollo's and Alexandrian by birth and eloquent man came to Ephesus and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man is been instructed in the way of the Lord and being fervent in here. It he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus. In terms of raw material. Apollo's have a lot going for. Let's briefly catalogue what he had to give you several things. The first point is this Apollo's had an enviable heritage. The text tells us that he was in Alexandrian by birth.
Whenever the writer in Scripture as a fact like that to somebody's biographical sketch it isn't because he has a little ink left over, and he needs to use it up significant heat setting the stage for us to get to know him as the a little bit better. Apollo's were told and by Luke was born in the proud city named after its founder, Alexander the great was the second largest city in the Roman Empire. What made Alexandrian especially significant was that it was the University center of the Empire.
It had a library in at University that busted some 700,000 volumes, the city of Alexandria was world renowned for its intellect is learning graduate studies. Evidently, Apollo's personally benefited from this kind of environment.
Because the second thing that strikes us from the text is that he had an eloquent tongue that is he was a man literally of words like it could refer to eloquence or it could refer to the word that is transliterated from log Diaz logic that he was a man of reasoning.
I think the paragraph that follows indicates that he was a man of both eloquence and reasoning power. The third thing that I notice in verse 24 is that it says he was mighty in the Scriptures, that is, he had an educated mind.
Verse 25. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he was text tells us mighty in Delano's university towns like ours, the educated are not necessarily mighty in the Scriptures, they are mighty against the Scriptures will how did Apollo's received training in the Old Testament Scriptures. The Fraser tells us that he has been instructed in the way of the Lord will part of the answer lies in the fact I believe of what historians inform us of the and that is that in Alexandria there was a large population of of Jewish people. In fact there were so many scholars estimate about 1 million. It was so large in this region I should save Alexandria that they had to build a large synagogue so large.
I read that there had to be a HUD design or synagogue leader perched on a platform halfway back who would waive with the flag to signal those behind him when it was time to join in the amen. Can you imagine the enormity of that synagogue. It was in Alexandria that the Jewish leaders translated the Hebrew text of the Old Testament into the Greek, which they all spoke that Greek translation is still with us today we call it the Septuagint. We also know that the Alexandrian family of Greek manuscripts are are all wonderful set of manuscripts. In fact, they form the basis for a translation that you may even hold in your lap the new international version and also the new American Standard for the more diligent among we also know that Philo, the Jewish scholar lived in Alexandria during the time of the palaces childhood is that there are some that I read and believe that because of his eloquence because of a policy is learning because of his instruction in the Scriptures that he himself had been a student of wise Philo. So in this university town that is even to us. In a brief phrase we we have the context the background that that Apollo's head. He had been infected as it were, with an insatiable desire for the word and the worship of the God of this word. He was mighty in the Scriptures. If there is anything ladies and gentlemen that we need in the church today. It is men and women who could be considered mighty in the Scripture fact the commission of the church which is now called the great omission is the furthering of each disciple's life by means of the teaching of Jesus Christ told him to accomplish of all that he commanded them so that they can observe the teaching that he chapter 28 verse 20 the apostle Paul instructed Timothy the young pastor to give to faithful men that which he had learned so that they could teach faithful men also second Timothy two Chapter 2 verse two it is the ministry of the church. It is the passion of the church to develop in the lives of all of us a a knowledge of the Scripture that flows into the lives of the believers so that we could be called mighty in Scripture. I was talking my father was visiting his best week and he said, reminding me that saying that you know Steve is interesting that it seems that the church is the only business that stays in business, even efforts gone out of business. This is our business.
Finally, the text informs us that Apollo's had an enthusiastic spirit. The next description of Apollo occurs in verse 25 he was fervent as the oh he was literally boiling over in spirit. He was not only learning but he was enthusiastic about that truth and intent and attempting to live it out in Alexandria and wherever you travel. It says here that he was boiling over in spirit and he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus.
This, ladies and gentlemen is what Apollo had this is the raw material in this young man's life that could be used by God in an incredible way is only one thing is one thing. Problem I want you to notice what Apollo's Miss the last phrase in verse 25 being acquainted only with what the baptism of John, and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue.
But when Priscilla Tukwila heard him.
I took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately, the phrase the baptism of John, I believe, is a kind of categorical expression that represented all of the teaching of the Old Testament and this Old Testament prophet that we know as John the Baptist. John the baptized.
In other words a policy had been taught correctly about Jesus Christ and accurately only he knew only of Jesus from the Old Testament of the prophet John Apollo would have known from this Old Testament prophet in the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah, he would have known that the Jesus was the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world as he was introduced by this prophet. Apollo's I would've known that Jesus Christ being the Messiah had come to fulfill the prophecy of Genesis 3 to crush the head of the serpent, he would have none prophesied by David in Psalm 22 that he would be crucified, and as well in another song that he would not undergo decay that heat. That is, he would be resurrected into a lot of things about this Jesus that he was teaching accurately. The only thing was, he did know some significant things he didn't know about the significance of Pentecost you know that the significance of the creation and birth of the New Testament church he know about the transition from old covenant to the new covenant didn't know that the invitation of the gospel things spread abroad now, not only to the Jews, but to the nations of the Gentile peoples as well. He didn't know about the primacy of grace in the gospel one weirs the road. It wasn't that Apollo was inaccurate or insincere. His message was simply incomplete. Apollo's was an Old Testament believer not yet a New Testament Christian and you want to understand you are in a transitional book that is moving from the old covenant to the new covenant and people are caught in the middle and you see and you hear you studies of interesting things happening, you don't understand that axis transitional you're in deep trouble, but he was a believer in God's fear or who is yet to be told of the wonderful work of grace that God was performing in this new thing called the church that the key phrase here in this passage the hinge phrase which changes forever.
The future and the life of this young man so filled with raw material for God is the last part of verse 26, but there again, but when Priscilla and Tukwila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately, that breeze phrase spells the difference in the life of Apollo's. What a wonderful illustration in the ministry of discipleship. They took him aside and they didn't embarrass him in public didn't stand up and interrupt him. They waited until after the synagogue in his lecture was completed, but could you see them during his sermon, and nudging each other all my goodness, you know he's misted. They probably had some great conversation and then after the last benediction. Evidently they went up to him and they took him to themselves. Probably means they invited them home for dinner. At this moment the raw iron of the policies life was placed into the hands of two tentmakers. Frankly, at this moment. Ladies and gentlemen of policies ministry to the church is worth about $0.49 fact, less because he doesn't know that the plan of God developing a light and when they finished the discipleship process were not told how long they took. You will find Apollo's fashioned into rare acquisitive form of servant hood for God. Now it's up to Apollo's, how will he respond will elicit and don't read ahead just hang with me here. Think about it for a moment what the likelihood if you could imagine who God would use to disciple this brilliant educated eloquent young man you would have never chosen to tentmakers. They were so different they were Jews. He was a Gentile. They were married.
He was single. They were uneducated. He was an educated intellectual. They were poor they they work with their hands.
They eke out their existence and he was wealthy enough to travel Europe. If discipleship works.don't you put people together who are a lot alike of the church is to work though don't you fill a room with people who are a lot alike know you just just go with people who have a common love for Jesus Christ and that is the commonality you need alone to fight here. So the question is will feel it will he listen to them evidently did a policy and listening to them will demonstrate for us were ways spiritual growth can occur when you give this to you is an example to us spiritual growth occurs when you're not so knowledgeable that you can learn more spiritual growth occurs when you're not so proud that you can admit you're wrong.
Can you imagine sitting at that little table went when it dawned on a policy that everything he had preached was simply an introduction to what God was doing.
Can you imagine the humility of that moment when he had to say. I've been in the dark. I can't believe I didn't know that spiritual growth occurs when you're not so important that you can listen to others. Spiritual growth happens in your life and mine, when you're not so cultured that you cannot Benjamin Disraeli said talk to a man about himself and he will listen to you for a few hours and I would add to that and I think it agreed to talk to a man about changing himself, and he will listen to you for a few's not Apollo's.
He allows hear the iron of his soul to be recession melted down, twisted and turned so that when they finish with him over a series of discipleship encounters he has a totally different perspective. A totally different message. In fact if you look ahead to chapter 19 verse one, you discover that a policy is picking up administrative that Paul left off in Corinth.
The passing of the CL of Apollo's has now added to it the necessary knowledge of God's work of grace, so he becomes an effective minister in the life of the New Testament church as we wrap up this paragraph I want to make to further observations and then sometimes your number one. Oftentimes the most powerful development in an individual's life is accomplished by ordinary people. You would think that if Apollo's was to learn anything that God would've designed for the apostle Paul to personally disciple him or maybe Timothy or Silas not an uneducated couple of maintenance for a living. And yet in the plan of God as as it so often is ordinary people are used to make an unusual impact. Can you remember some of those have impacted your life. I can remember a fifth-grade teacher took an interest in.
I remember a piano teacher who live for Christ even though her husband didn't care about Christ. I remember a college professor who never tired of me knocking on his door to ask him just one more question about what the ministry was like ordinary people unusual impact second observation. Oftentimes the most powerful contribution to the cause of Christ is accomplished behind the scene where nobody can see no one applauds their name is never mentioned here is a woman who referred and causes of grandmother Howell got impressed. She says to her to write to prisoners after arguing with the Lord about her lack of education and her age.
She wrote her first letter. Dear inmate I am a grandmother who loves and cares for you even though I don't know you but I am willing to be a friend to you and correspondence if you'd like to hear from me, write me I will answer every letter you write a Christian friend grandmother Howell the article that I had told said when the letter was sent to the Atlanta penitentiary. The prison chaplain sent Myrtle Howell the names of eight prison inmates. That was the beginning of an unbelievable ministry of encouragement over the next months. This elderly woman carried on an extensive written ministry with hundreds of men and women and all of it was done from her little room in a high-rise home for the aged in Columbus, Georgia, and ordinary person unusual impact. Where would the church be without two people who cared enough to confront a disciple and I know the spotlight of the churches will see you in just a moment will will focus on this brilliant young man, so much so that he will rival Paul. He probably read the phrase, but not a grasp the significance outside of this study that that Paul will have to sort of exhort the Corinthian church because they divided into three factions.
There are so many people.
And yet there following freemen. Paul said some of you say you are up all some of you say you're of Cephas or Peter and some of you say you are though Apollo's pretty heady company but the truth is without Priscilla and Tukwila Apollo's would have eventually shipwrecked on the rocks of un-orthodoxy. Yet in a humble cottage waving the spotlight behind the scenes. God did a great work in the life of this man who was big enough to listen who was wise enough to know he needed to learn more. I will ask you three question if you'd like to be like a policy question number one.
Are you teachable or stubborn you go back to the last time somebody challenge your thinking. What was your response boxing gloves.
The hood today think they are but I thought they were my friends. Second question, are you cliquish or openhearted.
If a policy it only hung around those who had an education he would've missed the best education third question. Are you willing to change when confronted or do you just simply quit I'll just get a new friend.
I'll get a new church.
The only way that you can take this inexpensive rod of iron and turn it into something exquisite finally crested would be to melted down and start over. But isn't that what's happening in our lives. If any man be in Christ he is a new creation. Old things are passing away behold all things are becoming new that change the biblical word for it is transformation.
Paul tells the Christian to be transformed in their mind by means of the Scripture Romans chapter 12 verse two were also told by Paul in second Corinthians that we with an unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are transformed into the same image. The only way that's going to happen is for us to be twisted and turns and melted down and re-say maybe you been feeling the heat lately. God is in the process of transforming you from independent to dependent from self-sufficient to terribly needy.
Upon his grace and wisdom well. Apollo's was transformed from ineffective to effective from in the dark you in the light site notice verse 27 when he wanted to go across the K of the brother and encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him.
By the way, this is the first interchurch letter of commendation basis for our custom today of transferring membership between churches of like faith and practice by means of a letter comes from this when he arrived he helped greatly.
Those who had believed through grace, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ, the two what did he. Oh, this effective ministry.
Ladies and gentlemen, bigger yet, to whom did the church owe a debt of gratitude for this dynamic servant of Jesus Christ to tenant a Sabbath afternoon simple lunch series of caring ongoing conversation churches, Jesus took one more step in the right direction. Thanks for joining us today here on wisdom for the hearts Stephen Devi is our Bible teacher and were currently working through this series from acts out of our vintage wisdom archives.
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