Paul Returns to Antioch
After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow. And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined. But on taking leave of them he said, “I will return to you if God wills,” and he set sail from Ephesus.
When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
Apollos Speaks Boldly in Ephesus
Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus. (ESV)
- Evangelism and discipleship
There were two primary elements to Paul’s ministry. The first was evangelism, in which Paul proclaimed the Gospel to people who did not yet know Jesus; the goal of evangelism is conversion. The second was discipleship, which is the ongoing biblical teaching and instruction of Christians. The goal of discipleship is maturity and growth in obedience. Both of these are important tasks and neither can be ignored.
- We never stop learning
In this text, Luke introduces us to Apollos, a gifted and passionate teacher. However, his gifting and passion did not negate his need for ongoing growth, instruction, and theological development. Through Aquila and Priscilla, God provided the instruction that Apollos needed to continue growing and maturing as an effective Bible teacher so that others could be encouraged and blessed by his ministry.
- New gifted leaders are not a threat
Paul has occupied much of Luke’s attention in the recent chapters of Acts. He has been the leading evangelist and teacher, traveling from city to city, preaching the Gospel and establishing new churches. But in this text, Luke mentions Apollos, another gifted and powerful teacher, who, like Paul, effectively proved that Jesus was the Christ. Rather than seeing Apollos as a threat, Luke commends him as a gift to the Church.
- The Church needs both discipleship and evangelism. Which do you feel more equipped for and why? How are you using your gift to benefit others?
- Disciples never stop learning. How have you experienced personal growth over the past year? In what areas of your life would you like to grow over the next year?
- How do you feel when another individual who is gifted in similar ways shows up at your work, your community group, or in any other sphere of your life? What would need to happen in order for you to see them as a gift to be encouraged?
Call to Worship
You Are My Refuge
A Maskil of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer.
With my voice I cry out to the LORD;
with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD.
I pour out my complaint before him;
I tell my trouble before him.
When my spirit faints within me,
you know my way!
In the path where I walk
they have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see:
there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
no one cares for my soul.
I cry to you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
Attend to my cry,
for I am brought very low!
Deliver me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me!
Bring me out of prison,
that I may give thanks to your name!
The righteous will surround me,
for you will deal bountifully with me. (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, Father of mercies, continue to work in us what is pleasing to you. Grant to us the grace to see our sins as you see them, so to grieve over them: then turn our sin into repentance, and let our repentance lead to forgiveness; and teach us diligently to guard all our actions that we may never willingly transgress your laws or disobey your Word, but make it our life's work to obey you, the joy of our souls to please you, and the purest of all our desires to live with you in your kingdom of grace and glory. Amen.
Heavenly Father, All we want in life is such circumstances that we may best serve you in the world. To this we leave our concerns and burdens in your hand, but let us not be discouraged, rather let us be strengthened by your Spirit.
Help us Lord as we are slow to learn, so prone to forget, We are pained by our graceless heart, our prayerless days, our poverty of love, our sloth in the heavenly race, our unspent opportunities.
Make it our chiefest joy to study you, meditate on your word, gaze upon your glory, sit like Mary at your feet, appeal like Peter to your love, and count like Paul all things loss at the knowledge of you, oh Lord.
Give us increase and progress in grace. Fit us for usefulness in your kingdom, Fit us to quit all hopes of the world’s friendship, and give us a deeper sense of our sinfulness, Fit us to accept any trial that may come over us, Fit us to be resigned to the denial of worldly pleasures, and to be content to spend our time with you Lord.
May our lips be well-tuned cymbals sounding your praise. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources are tools for families to use to help connect Sunday’s sermon to the rest of your week, fostering conversations and habits of worship.