15 Jun The Pervasive Presence of a Team of Strong Men in the Early Church
Brothers, we need other Warriors in our lives. We can’t win the war if we try to fight it all alone.
We think of Paul as a strong, courageous warrior for God – and he certainly was. But was Paul a loner? Absolutely not! Paul the Warrior was not Paul the Loner! Certainly, there were times when Paul had to stand all alone for God – and so there will be for all of us (2 Tim. 4:16-18). But was it Paul’s custom to do what he did for God all by himself, in isolation from other men?
Let’s look at some verses that show us what Paul’s life as a Warrior for God was really like.
As you read through the following verses, ask yourself these questions:
- What do the names of the people around Paul tell you about him?
- What do the number of names of people around Paul tell you about him?
- What does Paul referring to these men as his fellow soldiers, fellow workers, fellow prisoners, and partners tell you about how Paul looked at the men around him?
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus.
Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys.
Timothy, my fellow worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my relatives.
1 Cor. 3:9
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
2 Cor. 6:1
As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.
2 Cor. 8:23
As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ.
…because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.
Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf,
Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.
My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.
1 Thess. 3:2
We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith,
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home:
So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.
Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
Questions for thought:
- What do the passages above tell you about how Paul and the early church leaders functioned?
- What does they tell you about the relationships YOU need as a man and a warrior?
- What kinds of practices do you need to be engaging in with other men to build this kind of a Band of Brothers around you?
Thinking about your own life:
- How often during the week do you call or contact other men to communicate with them or encourage them? (Heb. 3:12-15, Eph. 6:21, Col. 4:7)
- How often do you seek advice from other men?
- Do you spend time with other men in meaningful fellowship at church on Sunday, at midweek services, and other church gatherings?
- How often do you call or get together with other men to pray with them and to help each other grow and get closer?
- Brother Warrior, what do you plan to do to make these kinds of relationships happen in your life?
- What is your first step?
- When will you take it?