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Unfinished Work

Acts 18:24-28

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“A Jew named Apollos, a native Alexandrian, an eloquent man who was powerful in the Scriptures, arrived in Ephesus. [25] This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught the things about Jesus accurately, although he knew only John’s baptism. [26] He began to speak boldly in the • synagogue. After Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him home and explained the way of God to him more accurately. [27] When he wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers wrote to the disciples urging them to welcome him. After he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace. [28] For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating through the Scriptures that Jesus is the • Messiah.” (HCSB)

Acts 19:1-7 “While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples [2] and asked them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ ‘No,’ they told him, ‘we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ [3] ‘Then with what [baptism] were you baptized?’ he asked them. ‘With John’s baptism,’ they replied. [4] Paul said, ‘John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.’ [5] On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. [6] And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began to speak with [other] languages and to prophesy. [7] Now there were about 12 men in all.” (HCSB)

 There are some passages of scripture that are lightening rod passages that people from different denominations gather around to argue over.  The second of these two passages I’ve just read is one of them.  I would suspect you would hear a radically different sermon on this text if you were in a Pentecostal church or even some other evangelical churches.  Some would focus on verse 5 and say the reason for the delayed blessing was because the people weren’t baptized in the “name of Jesus.”  Whenever I baptize, I always use the formula Jesus gave us in the Great Commission, “in the name of the father, the son and the Holy Spirit.”  I believe that formula is baptizing in the name of Jesus.  But some would disagree with me saying, that you must actually say “Jesus” not “the son” during the baptism. 

 Others would focus on verse six and say what was lacking in their conversion experience was the gift of speaking in tongues.  Some Pentecostal strains even go so far to teach that if you do not have the ability to speak in tongues, you are not really saved.  Of course, we’d reject this teaching for several reasons.  One, we believe salvation is by the grace of God resulting from a belief that Jesus rose from the grave and confession that He is our Lord. (Romans 10:9-10)  If speaking in tongues was a prerequisite for salvation, this scripture, and others that talk about the bases of salvation would have clearly stated that it was a requirement.  Second, when Pentecostals refer to the gift of tongues, I fear they mean something different than what is occurring in the book of Acts.  In the book of Acts, “the gift of tongues” involved people speaking actual, understandable languages and it is always accompanied by the proclamation of the 
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