The Equipping of Apollos

As I returned home, from my most recent foreign ministry opportunity in India, I was reminded of the testimony from the ministry of instruction, which Apollos received in Acts 18. The scripture declares, ‘Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.’ Apollos was a passionate, persuasive and powerful proclaimer of the truths that he had come to know. The problem was that there were many holes in his evangelistic message. For even though he had trusted in ‘the message of repentance’ that John the Baptist had previously preached, and he had placed his confidence in the truth that Messiah was coming, but he had not yet come to know the full spectrum of the saving truths concerning ‘the Person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ’! Consequently, he could not yet declare the breadth of the glorious provision of God the Son in His sinless life, His substitutionary death and His triumphant resurrection and ascension. There was much that was missing in his sincere and passionate evangelistic proclamation. He was well instructed in the ‘message’, as far as John’s ministry could carry him; but no further. His message was both powerful and accurate, concerning the truth of “preparing the way of the Lord”; but he was lacking the full spectrum of the New Testament truths concerning ‘the magnificent message of the Lord Jesus Christ’!

When Aquila and Priscilla heard him preaching so powerfully and eloquently in the synagogue, they were immediately struck with the reality that, as Spurgeon states, “Apollos had not yet reached the full chord in the blessed music of the Gospel”. Certainly, he must have already heard of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. However, he had not entered into the majestic meanings of those soul-saving truths. Aquila and Priscilla knew that his message was defective, in relation to the full-orbed knowledge of ‘who Jesus Christ is and what He had accomplished’. Of course, both Aquila and Priscilla were personally aware that it was only because of the illuminating grace of God and the instruction of Paul, that they had come to entered into the magnificent realities of the Gospel. So they both knew that they were personally responsible to give themselves to further instruct this man of God. So when they heard the ‘missing gaps’ in Apollos message, “they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately”. You can be absolutely certain that they communicated a clear, careful and concise presentation of both the Person and the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They graciously expounded and explained the whole counsel of the message of salvation; the means of salvation, as well as, the vital doctrines concerning God the Son.

Furthermore, as we closely observe this message, we must also recognize the sweet humility and sincere teachability in the heart and life of Apollos. You must remember that Apollos had already been heralded as a man who was mighty in the scriptures and eloquent in his knowledge of the Old Testament. Then along comes this tentmaker and his wife, who began to testify to him that he had some serious defects and deficiencies in his preaching! But, instead of welling up in arrogance and pride, this godly man demonstrated a receptive mind, a humble heart and a pliable will. He was opened to doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction! And what was the manifest fruit of this divine appointment? Verses 27b-28 declare that, ‘Apollos greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that JESUS IS THE CHRIST’.

Dear brothers and sisters, I am personally reminded that the Lord Jesus has not only given pastors, as a gift to the church; He has also given evangelists for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry! My Lord has called me, to preach the Gospel to lost sinners. However, He has also called and prepared me to ‘teach foreign pastors, church planters and spiritual leaders’ in 20 various nations, all over this planet! I can testify with Apollos, that our Lord has graciously equipped me, through the godly men that He has placed in my life through the years. Consequently, I know that just like Aqulia and Priscilla, I am especially responsible to give myself to equip other spiritual leaders to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, dear friends, each one of you have been co-laborers with us on this journey, holding us up through your intercessory prayers and your faithful support of this ministry.

PREACHING AGAIN! PREPARING FOR INDIA!

As I conclude this July newsletter, I am 12 days away from another foreign mission trip to Goa, India. I will once again have the privilege to teach the “Christ-centered Evangelism” study to a new group of “Indian pastors”. This is part of a Bible Institute, which is directed by our first pastor, Dr. Ron Herrod. Please pray for this blessed opportunity to plant these vital truths into the lives of those spiritual leaders; who will multiply them into the lives of many others. Also, please pray for my physical health, during this tremendous challenge. Obviously, my body is not in the best of condition. I will need our Lord’s all sufficient grace, in both the spiritual and the physical realm. There are other new opportunities of ministry, which are opening in the nation of India. I have recently received the news that the ‘Christcentered Evangelism’ study has been translated into Orissa, (which would be the third language in India and the 10th language overall). However, with those open doors there are also many adversaries. The ruling party of Prime Minister Modi does not hide its agenda to drive out Christianity by the year 2025! There are 5 Indian states, which have already banned conversion to Christianity. Many acts of persecution are being perpetrated against believers! Please pray for the believers in India!

I had planned on completing the work on the Christ-centered Evangelism book during July. However, my illness has delayed that task a little longer, as well as having to reschedule a few meetings. Although, during my recuperation time, I was able to complete the workbook study for Kenya, entitled ‘The Life That Glorifies God’, (which is an exposition of John 15:1-8). It will soon be translated into Swahili, in preparation for the Kenya conference later this year. Dear friends, your intercessory prayers and your financial support are both an intricate part of the ministry that our Lord has graced to us. Our Good Shepherd not only blesses us with His ongoing presence; but He also promises to supply everything that we need to magnify Him, in the accomplishment of the Great Commission. However, our Lord supplies for these needs through His faithful followers, who continually express both “open hearts and open hands” to this ministry! Dianne and I want to say to you, from the depths of our hearts, “Thank You”. We know that so many of you have been praying for us and standing with us through these valleys of adversities. We are extremely grateful that He has placed you into our lives, as co-laborers with Christ. May each of us faithfully serve the One who graciously calls us to ‘abide in Him and He in us’. It is our joy to serve with you.