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  • Jan 27 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Whose Disciple are you? (Acts 19:1-7)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Whose Disciple are you? (Acts 19:1-7)

Whose Disciple are You? (Acts 19:1-7)

Paul at Ephesus

1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.

4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.

Paul’s 3rd missionary journey took 4 years. We saw what happened before that last week. Apollos came to Ephesus and ministered there before Paul arrived. And when Paul arrived, he had already gone on to Corinth to continue the ministry.

1 Cor “I planted; Apollos watered; God made it grow.”


Apollos was bold, sincere, but his message was incomplete because he knew only the baptism of John. Aquila and Priscilla heard his message and realized that it was incomplete. So, they invited him to their home and shared with him the complete message. Through this sharing, he became a “complete” Christian, and was able to move on in ministry.

Paul later met some people who had the same problem that Apollos had.

1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.

Acts 19:1-3

These men were disciples, but the question was: whose disciples? Their answer to this question was vague and unclear, and so was their discipleship. They had not heard of the Holy Spirit, so they would have been unable to be Jesus’ disciples because the MAIN ministry of the HS is to testify about Jesus.

If they were disciples of John, they should have heard of the HS, because he also spoke of the HS in his preaching.

“I baptize you with water, but one is coming who is more powerful than I. He will baptize you with fire.”

We also must be very clear about whose disciples we are.

At that time, some people were confused about who Jesus and John the Baptist were – and what the difference was. Many called Jesus “John the Baptist” and many challenged John and said, “Who are you?” He said of himself, “I’m the voice of one calling in the desert, make straight the way for the Lord.”

Are you clear about whose disciple you are?

4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 19:4-5

What is the difference between John’s baptism and the baptism into the name of Christ?

  • John’s: repentance
  • Jesus’: forgiveness of sin

The message of John was a threat and a warning. “You brood of vipers! Who warned you of the coming wrath? Do not think Abraham is your father, because God can create children from these roots. Any tree that is not good will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Jesus’ message was a consolation. “Peace I give to you. Do not be afraid. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in me.” (This means: I will be responsible for you, your life, your future. I will care for you and keep you.) Jesus is our KEEPER.

  • John’s: looked forward to the appearance of the Messiah. This was good until the Messiah appeared. He has come! And finished all jobs that are needed for our victory through his death and resurrection. Thus, he proclaimed:
    • “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He must increase; I must decrease.”

The preaching of John was a stage on the road to Jesus. He knew this clearly.

  • Jesus: looks back to Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

This means, yes, even today in the church building, there may be somebody who needs salvation. Here, there were 12 men in all who needed this.

Through verse 5, they became truly born-again Christians. There is no record of the “between” verses 4 and 5, but it is sure that Paul preached the good news of the gospel of Christ, the news of his death and resurrection, and they called on the name of the Lord and were saved and baptized into his name.

Today: if we call all people in the church “Christians” there may be 4 kinds.

4 kinds of Christians inside the church

  1. Nominal Christians: (not really Christians) – they don’t believe in their hearts in Jesus Christ. To them, Christianity is just “a” religion out of many and they say, “it is my religion.”
  2. Incomplete Christians: (at one time, Apollos also was one) – They have abundant knowledge about the Scriptures, smart, gentlemen. They believe Jesus died, they believe his death and resurrection is necessary for our salvation. BUT, in their heart of hearts they still believe, “But it’s not enough. I must do something I more to achieve my salvation.” How about you? Do you believe his death and resurrection ARE enough?
  3. Uncertain / ignorant Christians: They believe that Jesus is their Savior, but they are unsure about their salvation – unclear about what they believe. Sometimes they are doubtful about their salvation, often depending on their situation.
    1. When they feel “good” about their spiritual lives, they feel, “Yes, I am saved!”
    2. But when they feel “bad”, they feel, “I’m not sure of my salvation…”
  4. Assured Christians: (this must come from the Holy Spirit) – They believe in Christ as Lord and Savior. They believe his death and resurrection are not only necessary but also enough for our salvation and forgiveness of sins. They have absolute overjoyed assurance of salvation – based on WHAT Christ has done, not what we have done.

I’m a pastor, but I cannot give you the Assurance of Salvation. Only the Holy Spirit can do so: “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the power of the Holy Spirit.”


John Wesley – the founder of the Methodist church

At one time, he was like Apollos. He was a born Christian (“born into a Christian family”). He studied at Oxford and he was a leader of a “holy club” – called so because they attempted to cultivate their spiritual lives.

He became a pastor and missionary to Native Americans in Georgia. He was more accurate and knowledgeable in the Scriptures than most Christians at that time. But he had no joy. He had no assurance of salvation. One day he wrote in his diary:

I went to America to convert the Indians, but who shall convert me?

May 24, 1738

His problem was solved – at ONE time – by putting his faith in Christ wholly.

In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a society … where one was reading Luther’s writing on Romans. About 8:45, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ; Christ alone. An assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from death.

The fruit of his absolute assurance of salvation was the great Wesleyan Revival that swept the nation of England very powerfully.

  • If you are Christian, are you saved?
  • What kind of Christian are you?

I hope we all can have the Assurance of Salvation.

Assurance of Salvation verses:

  • John 1:12 “To all those who believed in him and called on his name, he gave the right to be called ‘children of God.'”
    • How long does a child-parent relationship last? Our whole lives.
    • How long does salvation last? Eternity
    • soteria = “deliverance” (Greek) – moving from one place to another – a ONE WAY deliverance from death to life
  • John 5:24 “Whoever believes in me … has crossed over from death to life.”
    • Salvation is an absolute promise and guarantee of Christ. If we believe in him, we can trust in his promise.
  • John 10:28-29 “I give you eternal life. You shall never perish and no one can snatch you out of my hand.”
    • Our salvation does not depend on us holding his hand, but his holding our hand
    • His personality and character is so great to keep his promise. He guarantees us eternal life.
    • Salvation can also be like the HIGHEST Judicial verdict. God is the highest judge – higher than any human judge in history.
  • Romans 8:1~ “There is now no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
    • This is the highest declaration. Who shall bring any charge against those whom God has declared righteous? Who or what shall separate us from the love of God? (Romans 8:28-39)

God bless all of us to be clear in our Assurance of Salvation.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 20 / 2019
  • Comments Off on The Point is: Jesus is the Christ! (Acts 18:22-28)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Point is: Jesus is the Christ! (Acts 18:22-28)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The point is: Jesus is the Christ!

Acts 18:22-28 (Pastor Heo)

22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the [Jerusalem] church and then went down to Antioch [his mother church].

— Second missionary journey END —

— This missionary journey START (18:23 – 21:16)—

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. [tour of Galatia and Phrygia]

24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. [move to Ephesus, Thessalonia, Macedonia, Troas, etc and back to Jerusalem] 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. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

The point is: Jesus is the Christ. This is the conclusion.

Paul’s Third Missionary Journey (18:23 – 21:16) ends at Jerusalem. He has no chance to go back to his home church (Antioch) because he will be arrested in Jerusalem and sent to Rome.

In the second part of his Second journey, he went to Ephesus and reasoned with the people. So, they asked him to stay with them a little more, but he hurried on to Jerusalem – to complete his Nazarite vow with his shaved hair in the Jerusalem temple. “But I will return if the Lord wills.” (Aquila and Priscilla remained there.)

In his Third Journey, he returned. It was a 4-year journey, and he spent 3 years in Ephesus. This is his main target of the third journey. “Be on your guard. Don’t forget that for three years I warned you with tears.”

Now, what happened in Ephesus BEFORE Paul arrived there?

v. 24

“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.”

Still today, Alexandria exists in Egypt. This is the second largest city along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. At that time, it was the second largest in the Roman world – after Rome – and it boasted a huge university and library (with 700,000 books). At that time, this was the LARGEST library.

Also, at that time Athens and Alexandria were rivals – fighting each other for reputation of philosophy and education.

This city was named for Alexander the Great. From this city, Apollos came to Ephesus.

Who is Apollos?

A great scholar, learned man, thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, fervor, passion, zeal in the Spirit, a man of courage and boldness. He vigorously defended the Scriptures (energy, vitality, etc).

1 Cor 3 “Who is Apollos? Who am I? Only servants of Christ. I planted the seed. Apollos watered it. But only God made it grow.”

He had one weakness though.

v. 25

“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.”

At that time, Christianity was “The Way.”

This is one of the commonest titles for Christianity in the book of Acts. At that time, there was no name “Christianity.”

But this word shows us not only believing in certain things but also putting them into practice. Christianity is “The act of putting Christ’s words into practice.”

v. 28 “Jesus was the Christ” – the Anointed Messiah

Jesus says, “I am THE Way… therefore everyone who hears this word of mine and puts it into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock…”

Apollos was a good man, a scholar, full of spiritual knowledge and passion, courage, stamina, energy. He was elegant, a talented speaker. But his one problem was:

  • He knew ONLY the baptism of John.
  • He did NOT know of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

He knew of Christ, very clearly and accurately. He knew the human and historic Christ. He knew of the task Jesus gave men to do. But he did NOT know of the Helping power Jesus gave them to do it. He did not know of the salvation of Jesus and the coming of the HS in power.

What is the MAIN ministry of the HS?

To witness / testify about Jesus Christ.

“Nobody can call Jesus ‘Lord’ without the ministry of the Holy Spirit.”

Thus, if you can say this, then you have already received the baptism of the HS.

The fact that he didn’t know this means that he didn’t yet know of Jesus’ Kingship, Lordship, Divinity fully, and the coming of the HS in power. He needed to know this one point.

v. 26

“26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God [Christianity = the doctrine of Christ] more adequately.”

We saw the story of this beautiful couple last Sunday.

Who were they?

A couple and business-couple (tentmakers).

Why were they here in Ephesus?

Paul first met them in Corinth. They were expelled from Rome at that time. Immediately they became partners (tentmakers + missionaries) – so they traveled together from Corinth to Ephesus.

Paul left Ephesus for Jerusalem – leaving them behind at Ephesus to carry on the ministry and prepare for his return.

This couple were steeped in the truth and the Word of God. They worked with Paul so long and so much, they heard his message so deeply, they knew his message well. And their eyes were focused on eternity – something more significant – PEOPLE over things, investing in the kingdom of God, their home was always open to others.

When they heard Apollos preaching, they found one deficiency: He did not know about the baptism of the HS and Jesus becoming the Messiah and eternal life.

But this couple did not correct him at once in a public place, but they invited him to their home (with delicious food) and explained to him about “The Way” more adequately.

Apollos’ message was accurate and sincere, but incomplete. But with the help of this couple, the message became complete – focusing on Christ – his Messiahship, Kingship, Lordship.

  • From this couple we can learn wisdom and hospitality.
  • From Apollos we can learn humility.

P&A were simple laymen workers. But Apollos was a professional scholar. P&A’s hospitality and Apollos’ humility worked together to open the door for more people’s salvation.

We should be humble. Humility is not a weakness; but power, courage, possibility for growth, a channel through which we receive God’s grace.

“God gives grace to the humble.”

If I’m humble, I can learn more from anyone, then I can grow, then I can be used by God more, then I can be more of a blessing, through this is gives greater glory to God.

Also, the Christian home is one of the BEST tools for spreading the gospel. Do others see and find Jesus through your home? God bless our home as a mission home.

v. 27

“27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed.”

Achaia was a part of southern Greece – the capital city of this province was Corinth. Thus, Apollos went to Corinth. Believers at Ephesus encouraged and helped him by writing a letter to the believers there asking them to welcome him.

There, he was used as a greater tool for the salvation of many people. How is this possible? Because his message, his conclusion, finally focuses on JESUS as the Christ. (This is the point.)

Remember, the point of the message: Jesus is the Christ – can save and change others. Our own message and words cannot change others, but THIS message can.

v. 28

“28 For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures [Old Testament] that Jesus was the Christ. “

With his strong argument, he defeated the Jews in public debate – proving that Jesus was the anointed Messiah.

Yes, even today, we need to be “on fire” for God. Do you have “holy fire” for God?

How can we capture and maintain enthusiasm for God?

“The key is conviction.”

I have beliefs, we all have faith. But the problem is, when beliefs move from our heads down into our hearts. Also, when we are overpowered by truth and become a thing is TRUE and MATTERS, it gives us passion.

Yes, we must do the things that increase our passion for God:

  • Worship,
  • witness,
  • prayer,
  • testimony,
  • service,
  • ministry.

From a gospel perspective, there are only two kinds of human beings:

  1. The Lost – in need of being saved
  2. Christians – in need of encouragement, edification, and being equipped for more mission

I like this word: “enthusiasm.”

This English word came from Greek:

“en-thus-iasumos “

  • en = “in”
  • thus = “Theos” = “God”
  1. Enthusiasm = “inspired”
  2. Root of this word = “in God”

An enthusiastic person = inspiring because he is IN God.

Jesus asked one day, “Who do people say I am?” John the B, Elijah, one of the prophets?

Peter: “You are the Christ!”

Jesus was surprised and happy, satisfied. “You are blessed. This was revealed to you by heavenly revelation. On this rock [this faith], I will build my church and the gates of hell will never overcome it.”

Yes, knowledge of the Scriptures is necessary.

Passion / Enthusiasm in the Spirit…

  • Fluency in speech is necessary
  • Boldness
  • Accuracy
  • Logic

But remember, none of them, and all of them together cannot give us salvation.

Christ alone can.

  • “Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
  • “If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved…”

The point is: Jesus is the Christ.

2,000 years ago, and today, and 2,000 years later, and until Jesus’ Second Coming, this truth is the same. This is a timeless truth.

Jesus is THE WAY, the Truth, the Life, and no one comes to the Father except by him.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 21 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Paul and Apollos (Acts 18:18-19:7)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Paul and Apollos (Acts 18:18-19:7)


Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

In the last study, Paul was granted permission to stay in Corinth. The Jews had accused him of teaching against their own law, but the Pro Consul was not influenced by the Jews. Galieo didn’t care about their law, said, “You take care of it yourself.” So, this gave a kind of precedent for Christianity to be accepted and at least tolerated.

v. 18 – He stayed for some time, then left with Priscilla, Aquila – until 52A.D. spring, when it was safe to sail.

Athens had been a pretty big disappointment, only a few converts.
Corinth, initially discouraged, Paul had a vision where God said, “Carry on” and many were saved there (in Sin City). God was patient, long-suffering, used Paul to correct the Corinthians.

Also in Corinth, most converts were from the lower classes. 1 Cor. 1:26 – “Not many of you were wise, influential, of noble birth” But God blessed the city with many converts.

Now, he was off – ultimately to Jerusalem, then Antioch. But on his way, he stopped over in Ephesus – Asia Minor.

Church in Cenchrea had grown.
2 Cor. Paul writes to Achaea? southern Greece.

Romans 16:1 – Paul mentions Phoebe as being a member of the Cenchrean church – helpful to him (she was a deaconess).
In Cenchrea, he made a vow and cut his hair.

Paul continued to be faithful to his Jewish traditions – taking a vow would underscore this. Who knows what kind of vow?
He was still clearly a Jew, unashamed and unopposed to keeping Jewish traditions, though a Christian, and he didn’t impose Jewish tradition upon Gentiles.

In Ephesus, he preached the gospel.
Here, they seemed interested in his teaching, wanted him to stay longer, but Paul declined. Seems a bit strange, he usually took advantage of every opportunity to share the gospel. His journey must have been important, and he gave a promise to return, which he did – and ministered there later for 2 years.

Priscilla and Aquila later returned to Rome after the death of Claudius the Emperor.
However, when Paul left, they stayed in Ephesus.

From here, Luke’s account is very compressed. Summarizes many events – sea voyage, journey south, etc in a few sentences.

Paul’s destination was Antioch, and from there he went on a journey to the other churches.

Luke mentions the stop to Jerusalem (out of his way 300 miles north), to imply that Paul was still loyal to the apostolic church and his Jewish heritage. This is important because later, people would accuse him of leaving his Jewish faith and encouraging others to do so.

Paul likely remained in Antioch for quite some time, then v. 23 he traveled place to place on a pastoral journey, strengthening the disciples. He likely revisited the towns from earlier Acts where he preached the gospel. He’d been there one proclaiming the gospel, a second time appointing elders, and now a third time.

Now, Apollos – a Jew, born in Egypt, came to Ephesus. He knew the Scriptures thoroughly, and destroyed the Jews in debate.
He became one of Paul’s trusted brothers in the faith, a great apologist (defender of the faith).
Later, some Christians would claim “I’m of Apollos” and “I’m of Paul” but Paul would say, “neither is anything, but God gives the increase” and “Paul and Apollos are one – in mind, unity, and each will receive his own reward in his work.”
1 Cor 6:12 – “Now concerning Apollos, I strongly urged him to come, but he was unwilling, but he will come when he has a convenient time.”

Paul has no authority over him, respects him.

Titus 3:13 “Send Zemas and Apollos with haste that they lack nothing.”

Luke has a good reason for including this story of Apollos. Some Corinthians were adopting a partisan spirit (I’m Apollos, I’m Paul), but that was wrong.

Apollos knew well of Jesus and the prophecies in the Scriptures of him, but didn’t know of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, only John’s.

The Jewish leaders had been responsible for the death of their Messiah that had been promised for thousands of years. Peter, with the Holy Spirit, (Acts 2?) preached, and the men were convicted – Peter said “He is risen!” “What shall we do?” they asked, “Repent! and be baptized in the name of Christ and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit!” And thousands (2,000?) were added to their number that day.

So, it’s a bit strange that Apollos hadn’t heard of this. It may be that he had the Holy Spirit already since he taught of Jesus quite accurately. Sometimes, with the laying on of hands, or through preaching, some received the HS. There is a method, but also exceptions.

Apollos was humble enough to receive further instruction from Aquila and Priscilla. We thank God that he was humble enough to receive that.

Neil (commentator) “Luke’s vague and brief account doesn’t teach us much of Apollos. Perhaps he was a member of a John the Baptist sect (chapter 19))”

Apollos wanted to go on to Achaea. He met with unconverted Jews and proving that Jesus was the Christ. He went back to some places that Paul had been and was highly regarded by the churches there – great public speaker.

Apollos had become another important member of the team.

Also, Paul had not abandoned his missionary work for the Jews.

While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul came to Ephesus – rich in history. Paul had received a favorable response earlier, and promised to return – he has. Acts 18:19-21 (favorable acceptance) – but at that time, he carried on along his journey.

Now, the events of Ephesus. Curious story – Paul met some of John’s disciples, slightly defective in their knowledge of the Way of Life (Christianity). Eph 1:13 “In Him (Christ), you also trusted after you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel, and you trusted and believed and were sealed with the Holy Spirit.”

These disciples had not heard of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps “disciples” means “of John”. They were certainly Jews, and hadn’t heard of the Holy Spirit – it was a little puzzling.

Matt 3:11 – John, “I baptize with water, unto repentance, but he who comes after me will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Paul “Which have you received?” They “John’s”
Paul “You should receive the HS baptism.”

These may have been hardcore followers of John the Baptist.
Josephus – historian, writes that JB was highly praised and loved and influential to the Jewish people.

John was arrested in Matthew because he preached against Herod’s second marriage. He wanted to kill him, but was afraid of the crowds who loved him.

Influence of John – in the gospel of John – John always makes sure to keep the ministry of JB inferior to Jesus’ ministry – to be sure that those who read it would be clear – he is NOT the Messiah, NOT Elijah, NOT the Prophet (Moses). John says “NO, to all.” “Who are you then, what about you?” “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.”

John _:21-31 JB “Behold the Lamb of God, who was before me, yet after me. I did not know him, but that he would be revealed to Israel, so, I’ve baptized with water.” HS comes down in a dove.
“Now, I’ve seen and testify that THIS is the son of God.”

Luke was careful to define JB’s ministry.

This is the fifth time in Acts that JB’s role has been clarified.
Chp 1:5 “Wait for the promise of the Father, John baptized with water, you with the HS.”
Chp 11:16 Peter “As I spoke (to Cornelius), the HS fell upon them as upon us, who am I to deny them baptism?” Chp 13:25 Paul “As John finished, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? Not HE, but the one who comes after me, I’m not fit to untie his sandals.’”
Chp 18:25 Apollos “This man had been instructed in the ways of the Lord, though he knew ONLY the baptism of John.”
Chp 19:4 “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one who came after him.”

JB’s ministry may have grown opposite the Christian one – even in opposition to it perhaps. It was a sect.
Luke includes this to show that the Church believes in Jesus and follows Him, not John.

JB was a faithful servant who POINTED to the true King, Jesus.

Again here, the HS is given as Jesus is proclaimed Lord and they believe in Him.

The main things are explained.
1. Receiving the HS (born from above) – the MOST important thing we need to know.

Whitefield (great preacher) accused of saying “You must be born again.” WHY? Because “You must be born again!”

Let’s pray.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen