People Need People

Bible Book: Selected Passages 
Subject: Partnership; Co-Workers; Relationships, Christian; Fellowship


(John 15:12-15; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

Edwin Markham wrote:

There is a destiny that makes us brothers.
None goes his way alone.
All that we send into the lives of others
Comes back into our own.

Yes, all of us need people. Let's consider 5 types of relationships in the life of Paul.

I. Paul had Stephen.

Stephen was a witness and a great influence on Paul when he was still Saul the unbeliever. As far as we know these two only had one encounter, but the impression was powerful and long lasting. The Scriptures say, "Stephen, (was) a man full of God's grace and power . . . Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue . . . These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke. Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, 'We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God.' So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin" (Acts. 6:8-12).

When Stephen spoke, the people were furious. The Scriptures say, "Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up . . . (and) said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.' At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Then he fell on his knees and cried out, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.' When he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:55-60).

Later Paul referred to this incident. He said, "And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him" (Acts 22:20).

Stephen was probably unaware that his testimony led to Paul's conversion, but it did. Now, what if Stephen had not been faithful? Everyone needs a dedicated Christian example.

II. Paul Had Ananias

Ananias was the first person to accept Paul after his conversion. When Paul had that strange experience on the way to Damascus, he was confused and broken. The Scriptures say, "Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, 'Ananias . . . Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.' 'Lord,' Ananias answered, 'I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.' But the Lord said to Ananias, 'Go! This man is my chosen instrument. Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit'" (Acts 9:8-11,13-15,17).

Now, it took faith and courage for Ananias to even meet a man with such a reputation for cruelty. But, he did more. He called him brother and verbalized his call to service. Paul gave him credit for his generous spirit. He said, "A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there" (Acts 22:16).

Ananias saw Paul's potential and was willing to give him a chance. Everyone needs a mentor who believes in them.

III. Paul Had Barnabas

Barnabas was a good friend. He, too, stood up for Paul. He helped and encouraged Paul; but even more importantly, he was willing to confront and oppose Paul when he believed he was wrong.

Many people were suspicious of Paul when he started preaching. In fact, they tried to kill him. That's when Barnabas came to his aid. The Scriptures say, "(Barnabas) was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith . . . (He) went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and
taught great numbers of people . . ." (Acts 11:24-26).

Barnabas and Paul worked together for a long while. Invariably, however, a disagreement arose. Paul was a strong willed, opinionated leader and not many people would dare cross him; but Barnabas did. The Scriptures say, "Sometime later Paul said to Barnabas, 'Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.' Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus . . ." (Acts 15:36-40).

This is one of the few times that Paul was dead wrong. Mark deserved a second chance and Paul later admitted it. Everyone needs a friend who will support them when they're right and confront them with they're wrong.

IV. Paul Had Silas

Silas was Paul's associate for many years. He shared in his good times and bad times. The Scriptures say, "Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches" (Acts 15:40-41).

Luke described one of their interesting experiences. They had healed a fortune teller. The Scriptures say, "When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, 'These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.' The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten . . . They were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening
to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, 'Don't harm yourself! We are all here!' The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-- you and your household.' Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized . . ." (Acts 16:19-34).

Paul and Silas seem to have made a great team. They accomplished a lot in their mission endeavors. Everyone needs a dependable associate.

V. Paul Had Timothy

Timothy was Paul's protege. He was the son Paul never had. Fortunately, Timothy justified Paul's faith in him. Paul first met Timothy when he was very young. The Scriptures say, "He came to . . . Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek . . . Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek" (Acts. 16:1,3).

Paul used Timothy as his messenger on many occasions. The Scripture says, "He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer" (Acts 19:22).

Paul often referred to this young man as his fellow worker. "Timothy, my fellow worker, sends his greetings to you . . ." (Rom. 16:21).

He complimented him. "For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church" (1 Cor. 4:17).

He recommended him to others. "If Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am" (1 Cor. 16:10).

He relied on him. "I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon . . . I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel" (Phil. 2:19-22).

Paul depended on Timothy more and more as time went by. The Scripture says, "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. . ." (1 Thess. 3:2).

Paul gave Timothy fatherly advice. "To Timothy my true son in the faith . . . I give you (these) instructions . . . so that by following them you may fight the good fight . . . guard what has been entrusted to your care . . ." (1 Tim. 1:2,18; 6:12,20).


Paul was passing the torch on to the next generation. Everyone needs a protege who can carry on after them. Each of these individuals had a significant influence on Paul's life. What individuals have been significant in your life? Who has been a witness, a mentor, a friend, an associate or a
protege? More importantly, are you a significant person in someone else's life? Have you been a witness, a mentor, a friend, an associate, or a protege?

Scientist have discussed why geese fly in a "V" formation. As each bird flies, its wings create an uplift for the bird following. If one falls out of formation, it feels the drag of trying to do it all alone and quickly gets back into formation. It's the same with us. People need people!