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Friday, May 11 2012

Paul Or Apollos?

Apollos was a Jew from Alexandria, a city in Egypt that had been named after the warlord/king Alexander ("Alexander the Great") when Egypt was taken into the Greek Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids). He was "a man well versed in the Scriptures" and had the heart to do something good about it. Apollos became a fellow servant with the apostle Paul, primarily in the region of Ephesus and Corinth.

Paul's ministry had been caused to grow and expand by the persecution that always followed it (see Why Does The LORD Permit Persecution?). So too, others, such as Aquila and Priscilla, who were forced out of Rome and into Greece, became servants of the Messiah.

Ancient Ephesus

"18:18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. 18:19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 18:20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; 18:21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. 18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

18:23 And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples." (Acts 18:18-23 KJV)

It was Aquila and Priscilla who helped Apollos understand "the way of God more perfectly" - not meaning that anyone is perfect, but rather in how to grow to perfection i.e. "to perfect" something or someone means to grow and improve until perfect ("7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" 2 Corinthians 7:1 KJV).

"18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 18:25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. 18:26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly." (Acts 18:24-26 KJV)

When he was ready, and readied, Apollos began to preach.

"18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: 18:28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ." (Acts 18:27-28 KJV)

"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase"

Just as had been the case with Apollos, there were many who had a grasp of the Gospel, but not yet a firm grip of it. Some had been disciples of the prophet John ("John the Baptist"), without realizing that John's congregation was a preparation for the Messiah (see John's Congregation).

Paul's Second Missionary Journey

"19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?

And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

19:3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized?

And they said, Unto John's baptism.

19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

19:7 And all the men were about twelve." (Acts 19:1-7 KJV)

Just as Apollos was then also doing (as we will get to), Paul's preaching had a profound effect upon those who heard it, whether Jews or Greeks (see The Word Of God In The Tongues Of Man).

"19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 19:9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 19:12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them." (Acts 19:8-12 KJV)

It was in Paul's epistle (which simply means a letter) to the church at Corinth that Apollos is again mentioned. First, the greeting:

Temple of Ancient Corinth

"1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:1-9 KJV)

Apollos had become a powerful servant of the Messiah, just as Paul, and Peter, had become, as stated by Paul's "I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ" - an admonition not to make any man the "leader" of Christ's church. There is nothing to suggest that Apollos had been deliberately playing the "Diotrephes" power struggle game (see Diotrephes And The Other Antichrists), but it happened to Apollos, just as it happened to Paul. People became too impressed with a mere teacher, when they should have been in awe only of Christ, not any man, ever. The result, otherwise, is strife, contention and division.

"1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 1:15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. 1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect." (1 Corinthians 1:10-17 KJV)

Paul then further explained, in exactly the same way that he defended himself against the Roman military government that arrested him, that the Kingdom of God is not about a human struggle of one human to control others (see The Cross Of Christ, Or The Cross Of Men?), "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."

Paul In Chains Before Agrippa

"1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:18-31 KJV)

Paul then reiterated (Paul didn't often repeat himself in his writings, but with this he did) his "I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos" admonition. It reveals how powerful Apollos had grown in influence as a "leader" - to which Paul called them childish in their looking to a man, rather than directly to their Messiah. Paul recorded nothing about Apollos as being the cause of the problem; if he had been, Paul would have addressed the problem to him, not to the others.

"3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 3:8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 3:13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 3:14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 3:15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God [see The Holy Place In History And Prophecy], and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 3:20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 3:22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 3:23 And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." (1 Corinthians 3:1-22 KJV)

Paul wasn't somehow putting Apollos down, to raise himself up: "these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another."

Paul

"4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4:4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another." (1 Corinthians 4:1-6 KJV)

If the problem had been with Apollos, Paul would not have said "As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren."

"16:5 Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia. 16:6 And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. 16:7 For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit. 16:8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. 16:9 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

16:10 Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. 16:11 Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.

16:12 As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time.

16:13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

16:14 Let all your things be done with charity. 16:15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) 16:16 That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth. 16:17 I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. 16:18 For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.

16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 16:20 All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.

16:21 The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.

16:22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

16:23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

16:24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen." (1 Corinthians 16:5-24 KJV)

Fact Finder: As a matter of Christ's Church, what is a "leader"?
See What Do Leaders Do?; also the series The Church Today


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This Day In History, May 11

330: Constantinople became the new capital of the Roman Empire. Named after the Emperor Constantine, it was built over the ancient city of Byzantium. Constantine was the creator of the antichrist Church of Rome (and hence of its subsequent "protestant daughters" who rejected the Pope's leadership, but not his doctrines; see Antichristians) as the official state religion of his empire (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad). Constantine is also the creator of "Sun Day" (see Why Observe The True Sabbath?).

1310: In France, fifty-four members of the Knights Templar were burned at the stake as heretics.

1502: Christopher Columbus set out on his fourth and final voyage to the West Indies. The "America" that Columbus discovered for Spain was in the Caribbean Sea, where all four of his voyages took place; what became Canada and the U.S.A. were created by the Netherlands, England and France, far north of where Columbus ever explored.

1573: Henry of Anjou became the first elected king of Poland.

1647: Dutch colonial administrator Peter Stuyvesant arrived in New Amsterdam (today known as New York City) to become governor of New Netherlands (which later became New England).

1690: In the first major engagement of King William's War, British troops from Massachusetts in "New England" seized Port Royal in Acadia (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) from the French, with the objective of taking "New France" (i.e. most of what later became eastern Canada).

1745: The Battle of Fontenoy in Belgium. The French under Maurice de Saxe fought the British and allies under the duke of Cumberland during The War of The Spanish Succession.

1792: The Columbia River was "discovered" (the Indians already knew it for centuries) by Captain Robert Gray.

1812: British Prime Inter Spencer Perceval was shot by a bankrupt banker in the lobby of the House of Commons.

1820: HMS Beagle was launched. It became the ship that took Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage.

1866: Confederate President Jefferson Davis was released after spending two years in prison for his role in the U.S. Civil War.

1871: In the Swan Hotel at Frankfurt-am-Main, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck signed the agreement transferring all of Alsace and much of Lorraine from France to Germany.

1885: The final and bloodiest battle of the Riel Rebellion in Canada. General Frederick Middleton defeated the Metis rebels at the Battle of Batoche in Saskatchewan.

1916: Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity was published.

1949: Israel was admitted to the United Nations as the 59th member (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate, A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism and A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).

1960: Israeli agents captured Nazi fugitive Adolf Eichmann (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) in Buenos Aires and returned him to Israel for trial. He was found guilty and executed.

1998: France became the first EU country to produce the new European currency when its mint struck the first Euro coins (see Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Euro!).


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