Marks of faithful Christians – Part 1
Believers need a fuller revelation of truth in Christ and a deeper experience of the Holy Ghost for a positive and fruitful impact on their world. The presence, influence, power, authority and penetration of the Spirit-empowered church in any community go beyond its preacher and members. Lacking fuller revelation and deeper experience of the Spirit, the influence of the church in Ephesus was minimal, as majority of Ephesians remained fanatical worshippers of their idols and gods. Though believers in that church began Christian life in a wonderful way, they lacked continuity, growth and progress because of their limited knowledge of the truth in Christ and experience with the Holy Ghost.
Our spiritual growth depends much on the teaching we receive and the revelation we have. Apollos, a minister in the Ephesian church, was enthusiastic about preaching the gospel, but did not know about the ministry of the Holy Ghost. He was a converted, courageous and convincing minister, who only knew about the message and ministry of John the Baptist, until he met one Christian couple, Aquila and Priscilla. Recognising Apollos’ spiritual ignorance and deficiencies, Aquila and Priscilla “took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”
Members of Ephesian church too were genuine and faithful believers, but they were limited to John’s ministry of repentance and salvation. Many present-day ministers and their church members, who are like Apollos and members of Ephesian church, need a fuller revelation of the truth in Christ and deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Aquila and Priscilla recognised the very glaring limitations Apollos had. Although he was “an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures,” he lacked knowledge of Christ’s resurrection, ascension and other benefits that Calvary offers. Apollos was fervent about the little he knew; he was not sluggish, cold or lethargic. He was a logical, systematic, determined, decisive and diligent minister. Yet, he knew “only the baptism of John.”
He lacked the grace from Calvary, the fullness, power, endowment, gifts, revelation, baptism, infilling, infusion, guidance, comfort, overflowing outpouring of the Spirit and the mystery of the New Testament ministry John foresaw. He did not understand “things to come,” such as the rapture, the great tribulation, the imminence of Christ’s coming and the glories of heaven. Apart from his ignorance about Jesus Christ residing in a believer, he did not know the doctrine of the new creature in Christ, the freedom or liberty that we have in Christ.
Apollos was limited in the “things that pertain unto life and godliness.” He did not understand that Calvary has paid the full price for our redemption and that Jesus Christ’s resurrection is pivotal in the mystery of the Kingdom. He did not understand Christ’s ascension to heaven and His ministry of intercession for fulfilment of His promise to the Church. He lacked the knowledge that we can now “be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
After being helped and taught, he received more revelation, insight, power, confidence and courage with which “he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ,” when he came to the church in Achaia. With the new instrument, power, outpouring, divine energy, thrust, enthusiasm, fervency and conviction, he preached the gospel. We should go forth like him and manifest more power, authority and understanding of the Word and the mystery of the Kingdom of God.
Further Reading (King James Version): Acts 18:24; 19:1,28,34; 18:24-26; Acts 18:24; Isaiah 3:3; Acts 7:22; Matthew 13:52; Romans 12:11; Acts 18:25; John 16:12,13; 1 Peter 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 2:7-10; Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:3-5; 2 Peter 1:3,4; Acts 18:26,27.
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