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Second Pastor at First Church

Second Pastor at First Church
Words of Faith 6-27-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Acts 18
[24] Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. [25] He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. [26] He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
[27] When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. [28] For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Apollos often gets a bad reputation because he is named in 1 Corinthians by one of the divisive cliques that formed there. Actually, Apollos is one of the fine pastor-teachers of the New Testament.
Who was Apollos? He was a native of Alexandria (Egypt), well-educated, with a thorough knowledge of Hebrew Scriptures. He was a Christian believer probably as a result of Egyptian Jews who had been present at Pentecost and returned home (Acts 2).
Apollos spoke with fervor. We might say, "he was an anointed preacher". He was particularly adept at proving to Jews from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. Some scholars, starting with Luther, suggest that Apollos may have written the book of Hebrews.
To his credit, Apollos was also willing to receive correction from Priscilla and Aquila regarding some deficiencies they heard in his understanding of the Gospel. A pastor who can receive correction is a thing to be cherished! He ended up going to be the "second pastor" at Corinth with the recommendation of Priscilla, Aquila, and a small fellowship that had formed in Ephesus.
Being the "second pastor" at "first church Corinth" could not have been easy! Being the second pastor anywhere is not easy. The second pastor always follows in the shadow of the first pastor.
First pastors often take on a saintly aura soon after their departure. No one can remember them ever making a mistake. As a general rule, first pastors are known for walking on water quite well. Following the Apostle Paul must have been a particularly difficult task!
It is not surprising that newcomers who really liked the insightful teaching and zippy presentation of Apollos found themselves at odds with some of the loyal "old-timers" who really could not get "their pastor" Paul out of their minds. Paul wrote to them, "One of you says, 'I follow Paul'; another, 'I follow Apollos'". (1 Cor. 1:12).
Paul had an interesting response to the squabbling over pastoral favorites. He wrote to the Corinthians: "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow (1 Cor. 3:6-7)."
In essence, Paul called the Corinthians to get over the pastoral loyalty thing because all pastors are "nothing", only God is God. We have no reason to believe that Apollos saw things any differently. The truth is that a genuine pastor recognizes how little he has to do with "success" or "failure". He is a tool of God. Nothing really. God makes people and churches grow. And division in the name of a pastor is heartbreaking to a genuine pastor because it is not of God.
Do you have a "founding" or planting pastor? A "second pastor"? Or maybe a fourteenth pastor? The truth is that none of them walk on water and all of them are used of God. All of them make mistakes and all of them need encouragement. God is responsible for all of the victories and also everything we see as a defeat. (This is because God is God.)
God may be using your pastor for planting, watering, harvesting or replanting. He is very likely different from other pastors you have known because, well, God made him that way. The most important thing you can do for your pastor, Apollos or Paul, first or fourteenth, is pray for him.

Lord, I lift my pastor to You. Protect his time with You. Give him ears to hear You clearly and courage to speak the truth in love. Give him time for preparation and solitude with You. Give him rich times with his family. In Jesus' name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2001, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.