The Treasure of a Teachable Spirit
Intro: Apollos had a lot of wonderful qualities. He had character traits that any pastor would love to see sitting the pews.
A. Eloquent as a Speaker – “And a certain Jew named Apollos…an eloquent man…”
B. Exceptional in the Scriptures – “…and mighty in the scriptures…”
C. Educated about Spiritual Things – “This man was instructed in the way of the Lord…”
D. Energetic in his Spirit – vs. 25 “…and being fervent in the spirit…” (Not the Holy Spirit; but his…)
E. Exhorting in the Synagogue – vs. 26 “…And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue…”
But – he had limited knowledge.
The Bible says, “…knowing only the baptism of John.”
By the way, we are talking about John the Baptist here.
The one Jesus asked to baptize him.
The one God handpicked to be the forerunner for the Messiah.
The one Jesus described as the greatest man born of woman.
Apollos could have gotten indignant and defensive.
He could have bristled with anger at being told he was wrong.
But no – Apollos had a teachable spirit.
This one trait was worth more than all the other valuable qualities combined.
God sent him some teachers.
God sent him Aquilla and Priscilla – a husband and wife team with a heart for God.
They were a dynamic couple with a heart for God and a passion for the church.
- 1 Corinthians 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
1. Their Impression of Apollos – vs. 26 “…whom when Aquilla and Priscilla had heard…”
We don’t know what they heard, but they knew his knowledge was limited.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time speculating as to what he knew and didn’t know.
But it was evident in his preaching that he wasn’t up to speed on the New Testament Church era.
2. Their Investment in Apollos – vs. 26 “…they took him unto them…”
I am glad that Aquilla and Priscilla had enough love and compassion to pull him aside and invest in his training.
3. Their Instruction to Apollos – vs. 26 “…and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”
More perfectly means more complete; the whole story; the updated and current happenings of the early church.
So why would we say that a person with a teachable spirit is a treasure?
It is a treasure because of:
I. The Humility it Portrays
Insecurity compounds ignorance.
QUOTE: “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” – Socrates
Pride causes people to miss valuable truths and concepts.
Do you realize how much humility it would take for someone like Apollos to be told he was wrong?
Preconceived ideas are the enemy of knowledge.
QUOTE: “People learn something every day, and a lot of times it’s that what they learned the day before was wrong.” – Bill Vaughan
An unwillingness to change when confronted with truth is pride.
QUOTE: “I never learned from a man who agreed with me.” – Robert A. Heinlein
The Pharisees mocked anyone that said something they didn’t believe or agree with.
Example: Luke 16
- 14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
- 15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
- 16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
- 17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
II. The Hunger it Proves
When a person is hungrier for truth than for recognition, they can learn.
QUOTE: “The education of a man is never completed until he dies.” – Robert E. Lee
We should all desire to know God better.
We should all have a hunger to know His Word better.
That should supersede our desire to look smart or be perceived as knowledgeable.
The Bible is clear – a sign of wisdom is having the right attitude toward learning and knowledge.
Proverbs 1 starts out with:
- 1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
- 2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
- 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
- 4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
- 5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
- 6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
QUOTE: “Many people fear the truth because it jeopardizes what they know.” – Stacey Shiflett
III. The Honor it Produced
Because of his willingness to learn and grow, the church was able to recommend him.
He received a letter of recommendation from the brethren because he had the character to learn.
Many people want to be used in ministry, but they aren’t teachable.
Many people want God to open doors, but they won’t have an open mind.
IV. The Help it Perpetuates
Because Apollos had a teachable spirit, notice what happened as a result.
Many others got help because Apollos got help.
God opened the door for him to go to another group of Christians in Achaia.
When he got there, God allowed him to be a help to a group of believers.
Because he allowed his beliefs to be reinforced, he was used by God to reinforce the faith of others.
There’s no room in the ministry for know-it-alls.
Be teachable! And let God help you find other teachable people.
Conclusion: Having a teachable spirit is a priceless treasure. Never stop learning.