1 Cor. 16:15-18 - “No Lone Rangers 2”
(Stephanas, Fortunatus, & Achaicus)

Translation and Sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ the Redeemer Church, Manhattan, KS 14 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.

17. I am delighted over the visitation of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus,

            because these men filled up the lack of y’all,

            18. for they rested up my spirit – and that of yours,

                        so get to know such men!

Introduction – Review Timothy and Apollos

1. Timothy:

Role: Disciple

The issue: Graciousness with young, inexperienced leader


n      See to it that he be fearless toward you

n      Don’t despise him

n      Send him forth in peace


n      Our church is always going to be a training ground

n      Do you have any disciples? Look for someone who is real “FAT.”

n      Protect & Respect – don’t threaten

n      Support & Be good senders


2. Apollos

Role: Peer – Paul urged him to minister in Corinth and he said No.

Issue: Wise, independent action - not following the crowd


    1. “Watch/be alert,”
    2. “Stand fast in the faith”
    3. “Be manly” – includes being courageous, brave, and mature.
    4. “Be strong” = passive: “Be strengthened/strengthen yourselves” from God
    5. Be charitable – “let everything you do be done in love”


n      Associate with peers, work with them, learn from them, but…

n      Stay alert to God and don’t budge from what the Bible says; be willing to be different.

n      Let love guide your every move.

3. Stephanas

Who was Stephanas?


Role: Elder?


Issue: Submission to church leadership


Imperative: “submit to/organize under such men as these”



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

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

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

3.      Another son 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 & Radio Service in NC. She has a daughter who manages an apartment complex there.

There is a household that has devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints!

Listen, that could be you! In fact, you could even surpass the Kyle family in a couple of decades!

Fortunatus & Achaicus

Who were they?

1.       They made a “visit” to Paul in Ephesus along with Stephanas.
Here are men who have given up profitable work at home to make a ministry visit.

2.      They “supplied what was lacking on the part of” the Corinthians
(or, if you’re following the ESV, they “made up for the absence” of the Corinthians – which is just as good a translation as any)

3.      And, as a result, Paul is rejoicing with gladness because they “refreshed my spirit and the [spirits] of [the Corinthians]”

·         What does it mean that they “supplied” or “filled up” a “lack”?

1.      Throughout the Greek Old Testament and Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, this word for “lack” is only ever used to indicate a lack of material things like food and clothing.
It may be that these three guys from Corinth brought Paul some food or financial support.

2.      However, the meaning of comforting Paul through companionship also makes sense:

o       This is spoken in the context of an official “visit” of representatives of the church.

o       Their “coming/arrival” at the beginning of v. 17 could be the corresponding answer to the “lack” mentioned at the end of the verse.

o       The idea might be that Paul feels a hole in his heart after leaving the Corinthian church, and when these guys visited, it filled that hole up. (cf. 1Thess 3:10)

·         Likewise, what does it mean that they “refreshed [people’s] spirits”?

1.      The word translated “refresh” is literally “rest up” (ana+pausaw)

o       Reminds me of the old Coke ads: “The pause that refreshes.”

o       2 Cor. 2:13 “I had no relief for my spirit, because I couldn’t find Titus my brother…”
A visit from an old friend can make you stop and enjoy company for a while before you go back to the daily grind

o       2 Cor. 7:13b “Titus is overjoyed because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.” – Maybe Fortunatus and Achaicus had gone back to Corinth and were able to refresh Titus as they had refreshed Paul!

o       When the Jamie Soles family spent the night at my house, we had to put everything on pause and focus on hosting this family of 10 that we’d never seen before. They kept us up ‘till about midnight, and it was a zoo, but it was refreshing at the same time because they shared with us the same heart for God’s word, for the church, for music, and family. They encouraged us in the Lord, and their kids eagerly traded stories with my kids about the differences between Canada and the USA… They even gave us cool Canadian breakfast cereals with French on one side of the box and English on the other. When they left, we were happier and refreshed and filled with love. That’s the way it ought to be!

2.      This delegation confirmed, by the way, that the church still acknowledged Paul’s authority… and furthermore, their news wasn’t all bad about how the church in Corinth was doing! (Geoff)

3.      Perhaps they also refreshed the Corinthians by carrying Paul’s letter back to them (JFB), but if they had a gift for encouragement, then no doubt they had already been going about encouraging the congregation in Corinth. Perhaps this is what Paul meant by “they have refreshed my spirit and yours.”


Role: Encouragers


Issue: Behind-the-scenes people with servant’s hearts are easily overlooked.


Imperative (v.18): “Acknowledge/Recognize/Get to Know such men”




I hope these character studies help you see the importance of the community of believers around you. Being a Christian means being in relationship with the body of Christ.

May your joy be full as you walk before God in the fullness of the community of His church!