Correcting Untruth In A World That Needs Truth
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all. — Acts 19:1-7
What happens here is common to many believers. They fall for the most corrupt belief in all of Christianity — that mortal man can get spiritual results by efforts of their own doing, which is easy to do if you are listening to the wrong teacher. And even though Apollos was a great teacher with a great heart for God, he did not have the whole truth and therefore taught the wrong truth. And as J.I. Packer once said:
“A half-truth masquerading as a whole truth becomes a complete untruth” — J.I. Packer.
And we discovered in yesterday's reading that Priscilla and Aquilla respectfully corrected Apollos. But unfortunately, while the teacher was corrected, some of his listeners still needed to be addressed as well — innocent listeners who eagerly learned an incomplete truth. Here we find twelve such men. And unfortunately, this happens a lot. But every teacher, at some point, will teach something that isn't true, and this is the weight that a teacher bears. Even I feel the weight of this daily as I share devotionals with you. But it is also the weight a listener bears — the burden of always testing and searching for the truth.
But correction is needed. And so what Paul does is clarify that water baptism was something done by man and proclaimed by John, but Spirit baptism is something done by God and proclaimed by Jesus. And thus, these twelve men believe in Jesus and are marked by their first encounter with the Holy Spirit, and this is evidenced.
Throughout our lives, we need to be testing the gospel messages we hear. For sometimes, genuine teachers will mistakenly teach an untruth. Other times teachers may maliciously teach an untruth. Still, other times, teachers become so indoctrinated by their cultural, philosophical, spiritual, or political biases that they may think what they teach is a truth when it is a complete untruth. In our journey through Acts, we have discovered all three now. And these three are more than prevalent in our day. And it's our responsibility, as men of God, to be saturated in God's truth and speak the truth so the world will know Jesus and not systems of belief constructed by man.
So get out there today and speak the truth. Speak it often. And do it well. Eternity is at stake, and you might be the voice of truth.
ASK THIS: To whom do you need to speak the truth today?
DO THIS: Don't wait. Say it today. You might not get another chance.
PRAY THIS: God, show me the truth, so I might speak it to those who have believed an untruth. Make me a voice of your truth.
PLAY THIS: The Voice of Truth — Casting Crowns.
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