1 Corinthians 16:10-16 - “No Lone Rangers 1”

Translation and Sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ the Redeemer Church, Manhattan, KS 07 Feb 2010


10. Now, if Timothy happens to come,

            continue to see that he be fearless toward y’all,

                        for he is working in the work of the Lord, just as I also am.

            11. There is not anyone therefore who should make him out to be a nobody,

            but send him forward in peace in order that he might come to me,

                        for I am waiting with the brothers for him.

12. Now, concerning the brother Apollos:

            I encouraged him many [times] in order that he might go to y’all with the brothers,

            yet he was not at all [of] a will that he should go now,

            but he will go whenever it is a good time.

                        13. Stay alert;

                        keep standing fast in the faith;

                        keep being manly;

                        continue to be strengthened;

                        14. let everything about you continue to happen in love.

15. Now, you know the household of Stephanas,

            that it is a first-fruit of Achaia,

            and they organized themselves for service to the saints –

            I encourage you, brothers,

                        16. that you also be organized under these guys and any who is a co-worker and laborer.


Quotes from When People are Big chapter 12

·         Call is broader than Jesus and me.

·         Promises of God are for you and your children and … (Acts 2:39)

·         Our call to Christ, the head of the church.

·         Self reliance = mental instability in Asia!

·         How often do we consult, pray with others?

·         Don’t generalize hurt from one party to whole church!

·         Isolation leads to fear of people; Participation with church is freedom!

·         We can’t “go into all the world”, “pray without ceasing”, help all the widows, and teach all the men, women, and children alone. We can only engage the calling of the church as a community!

·         O.T. Day of Atonement was forgiveness for whole community (Deut 6).

·         Promises were to whole community for obedience (Deut. 26-27).

·         Sin of one person brought curse on whole community (Achan, Josh. 7:11)

·         No one in church should wonder what their spiritual gifts are – tell them!

·         During the Lord’s Supper, discern the body, think corporately!

·         Warning: Community is for God’s glory, not for self-fulfillment.





















As we look at Paul and his ministry in 1 Cor 16, we see that he is not working alone, he is very much connected to a whole community of people. I want to highlight three of these people mentioned in vs. 10-16 today, then next week pick up on four more mentioned in the final verses of the chapter. The three for this week are Timothy, Apollos, and Stephanas. Who were these guys, and what can we learn from Paul’s interaction with them?

1. Timothy - Disciple & partner in ministry

Who was Timothy?

·         Timothy was the son of a faithful Jewish mother and a Gentile father who may not have been involved in Timothy’s life.

·         Home was in Lystra, and Paul converted him during his first missionary journey. Paul may not have had any children of his own, and Paul became like a father to Timothy.

·         On his second missionary journey, Paul picked Timothy up in Lystra (Acts 16:1) and took him on the rest of his journey, so

·         Timothy was there with Paul when the church was planted in Corinth (Acts 18:5, 19:22).

·         On the third missionary journey, Paul took Timothy with him again, so Timothy had been with him in Ephesus, but Paul sent Timothy ahead to Macedonia along with Erastus. Timothy may have visited Corinth on that trip, but I’m not sure. It appears he did wait for Paul in Macedonia and Paul met up with him and they travelled together through the rest of the third missionary journey.

·         On the fourth journey, he was in Rome with Paul for at least a time, since his name is on some of the letters Paul wrote from Rome – Philippians and Colossians.

·         Timothy probably delivered the letter to the Philippians for Paul. In Phil 2:19-22, Paul said, “I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly to you… for I have no man likeminded, who will care truly for your state, for they all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ. But you know the proof of him, that, as a child serves a father, so he served with me in furtherance of the gospel.”

·         Later on, Timothy settled in Ephesus to be a pastor there, and Paul wrote pastoral letters to coach him then (2 Tim 1:4).


Role: Disciple

·         Timothy was a young man who was a disciple of Paul’s.

·         Here we have an important example: Disciples are an important part of Christian community.

·         Do you have any disciples? If you have children, they count!

·         If you don’t have any disciples, begin by making one of someone around you – ask God to help you see who it should be. We are all called to fulfill Matthew 28:18ff – “…Make disciples…”

·         Look for someone who is real FAT: Faithful, Available, and Teachable.


The issue: Graciousness with an inexperienced leader

The problem with disciples is that they are inexperienced, so they feel awkward as they begin to join you in ministry to others.


In Timothy’s case there was apparently some reason to be afraid:

·         In 1 Cor 4:17, Paul said he was going to put Timothy in a challenging role of leadership: “…I have sent Timothy to you, who is my child, beloved and faithful in Christ, who will remind y’all of my ways…”

·         Can you imagine this young Christian walking up to this dysfunctional church and saying, “Now, you’d better shape up because Paul does things like this and you’re doing it like that!” I’d be intimidated if I were Timothy!

·         In 1 Tim 4:12, Paul exhorts Timothy not to be intimidated as a leader by the fact that he’s young.

·         There may have also been some social reasons to feel inferior as a low-class Lystrian among snobbish Corinthians (Chrysostom, JFB)



To counteract this awkwardness of an inexperienced leader, Paul issues three commands:

  1. See to it that he be fearless toward you – make him feel safe around you, not threatened by enemies, poverty, or complaints from the church people.
  2. Don’t despise him
  3. Send him forth


Paul writes to the Corinthians in such a way as to hold Timothy up in honor:



2. Apollos

Who was Apollos?


Role: Peer


Issue: Wise, independent action



  1. “Watch/be alert,”
  2. “Stand fast in the faith”
  3.  “Be manly,” which includes being courageous (NIV), brave (NKJV), and mature (Arnold)
  4. “Be strong”
  5. Be charitable – (v.14) “let everything you do be done in love”



3. Stephanas

Who was Stephanas?


Role: Elder?


Issue: Submission to church leadership

How easy it is to avoid submitting to authority. We don’t want to get tied down or obligated to commitments. Our flesh fears giving up the freedom to be careless and sinful and so it naturally avoids accountability. That’s why my little girls hide when they steal a cookie – they want to eat it away from the gaze of parental authority.

And yet, in God’s providence, it doesn’t work when there are “too many chiefs and not enough Indians.” That’s why Paul singles out an exemplary man with a good track record of faithfulness and issues this command:



  1. “submit to such men as these”



Show Photo of their 2009 Reunion. Here’s what their children & grandchildren are up to:

1.      One is married and doing mission work in China. One of her children is working with Teach for America in Spokane WA

2.      Another is married and is a mission leader at Food For The Hungry in Arizona and has children serving as missionaries in China and Honduras.

3.      Another is married and living in Manhattan, NY, where he leads the Global Church Planting Program of Redeemer Presbyterian Church. His son works in the U.S. headquarters of Mission to the World, and he has two daughters, one of which married a C-130 Navigator in the TN Air National Guard, and the other is helpmate to a pastor at Key Biscayne Presbyterian Church.

4.      John and Lois’ fourth is a daughter who is married and serves with Jungle Aviation and Radio Service in NC and has a daughter who manages and apartment complex there.

That could be you, or you could even surpass that in a couple of decades!


1.      Christianity is not for Lone Rangers.

2.      Ask God to give you those Disciples like Timothy, those Peers like Apollos was to Paul, and those authorities in your life like Stephanas was to the church in Corinth.

3.      I encourage you to enter into the network of relationships that is the church.