Acts 18:24-28 says, “And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spoke and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. 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. 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: For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.”
There are several traits we see in Apollos that we are going to look into. Some of these characteristics could be considered gifts; but in reality, all them could be acquired through study, prayer, and practice. That being said, I pray there is not a person reading this who has already disqualified themselves in their own minds from communicating their faith. All of us can learn from The Scriptures.
Notice, first of all, that Apollos was an eloquent man. Webster’s 1828 Dict. defines eloquence as “Having the power of oratory; speaking with fluency, propriety, elegance and animation; as an eloquent orator or preacher. Composed with elegance and spirit; …adapted to please, affect and persuade; as an eloquent address; an eloquent petition…” Eloquence can be practiced. If your like me, you certainly were not born eloquent - but you don’t have to stay that way. Practice, practice, practice! I bet I preached a hundred or more sermons driving back and forth to work in Austin before I went to Bible College. This was before “Blue Tooth“, so I’m sure people just thought I was beside myself. Practice speaking; practice pronouncing words; practice grouping certain words and phrases together that will communicate your point. Remember most of all, we do it to the glory of God - not so we can be puffed up. I’m certainly not as eloquent as I would like to be, but I’m getting better as time goes by.
Next, we notice he was mighty in The Scriptures and instructed in the way of the Lord. This is where study comes in. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” - 2Ti 2:15. You can’t effectively communicate the Scriptures, if you don’t know the Scriptures! Part of what made Apollos a great speaker, was that he knew his subject. Now, it’s true, you could become a great speechmaker without really knowing your subject, especially if your reading flash cards or teleprompters. However, I believe there is a noticeable difference, when someone speaks from the depth of their heart. When they truly know and understand what they are speaking on - and are passionate about it. This leads us to our next point.
Apollos was fervent in spirit. Fervent means “boiling over, hot, zealous”. God’s Word should not put people to sleep! We need to speak with some fire! Some passion! Some conviction! Like Jeremiah 20:9! I’m not saying we have to do cart wheels, or put on some kind of show. However, I do believe there needs to be some life when we’re preaching the living Word of God. No doubt, the burning passion in Apollos helped make him to be a great speaker.
This will also help you to speak boldly. When you know your subject, and you are passionate about it - you will speak it with boldness and assurance. If you don’t really believe in what you’re saying, a discerning person will pick up on it. Paul prayed in Ephesians six, “Help me to speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” We ought to speak boldly. If we believe the Word of God is truth - then we should act like it. Notice Paul prayed to God for boldness. Sometimes, even if you’re a good communicator; and know your subject; and have passion about it - it can be hard to stand for what is right. Jesus said the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. The flesh doesn’t like to be disliked. The flesh cares more about it’s own comfort, than standing for what is right. So get strength from God, for when you are weak - He is strong. Courage is not the absence of fear. It’s pressing beyond your fear of man, and pressing into your fear of God. Paul said in Galatians 1:10, “If I seek to please man, I should not be the servant of Christ”.
You can do it! You can work on these things! You can work on eloquence! You can study God’s Word! You can stir up your spirit! Get passionate! You can press through your fear, and with God’s help speak boldly! Lord willing, we will finish up this series with part 4 next week. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord! (Phip 4:4)