Beth Moore - Traveling Companions
So, I'm gonna ask you a series of questions and I'm gonna be asking you for the names of females that you would be able to answer that question with. And you can use their first initial, as long as you can remember it later, or you can use both of their initials. If you get time, you can write down their name. But here's what I want you to do, I want you to answer with the first names that come to you 'cause it's not like later you go, "Now I'm stuck with them". No, you can rethink it later, but we can't take 30 minutes with each answer because if you're like me, I'm gonna have to think on it, and think on it, and think on it. No, first answers that come to your mind, if nothing comes to your mind, you leave it blank, because that has a place in the lesson if you can't answer it, does anybody know what I'm talking about?
So, there's no reason to be inauthentic in the pop quiz because that will be part of the process of what you and I are trying to figure out in the Scriptures and in our walk of faith together. So, what three women would you most likely reach out to the quickest in a personal crisis? Next, what fellow women would you consider to be your prayer warriors? Who do you know that actively prays for you? Anybody already intrigued in it for the evening? These questions are important, aren't they? Let them sit. Let even the fact that you may not be able to come up with answers, let that find a place in what we're doing here in this lesson.
Which women can you count on to celebrate with you without a hint of jealousy? If something really great happened to you, what women could you count on to celebrate with you that you would never have to worry they would have no rivalry, they would covet none of it, no jealousy? Who would those women be? I love the question, of course, I made it up. Which women in your life would it be hard to run off? I mean, who just can you just not run off? I mean, they're just like, they're with you in the thing? Who would be hardest to run off in your life? Which women can you laugh with the most? Who are your laughers? Which women can you cry with?
Okay, I've gotta ask you something, of those two questions, which women can you laugh with the most? Which women can you cry with the most? Do you find with me that it's not always the ones you can cry with that you can laugh with? Some people are really comfortable with you crying with them because they've got that really deep mercy, that real deep empathy. They just have gifts of mercy giving. Others may be the kind that will laugh their heads off with you, but now they're not gonna cry with you. When you start crying, they're gonna start thinking that they got to go pick up the kids. Anybody know what I'm talking about? They got to get back to work. That's what they gotta do.
So, last couple, are you in the faith and if so, are any of the ones you mentioned? So, this here I want you to just either shake your head yes. So, let me make clear what I'm asking. If you are in the faith, I want you to look at all of those initials or names that you've written down so far, are any of those also in the faith. And by that I mean believers in Christ. So, would you either nod your head at me or would you shake your head at me? Okay, because that becomes important in the course of our lesson.
All right, here's a very, very important one, the last two. Which women do you most like to talk Jesus and Scripture with? With which women, who are your go-to's when you really want to boast in the things of the faith, you want to talk Jesus, you want to talk Scripture, who are your people? Are you related to all or most of them? Are you blood related? Like, are you either married into that family, or are they your brothers and sisters? Of course, they're your sisters in this case, we're talking about women. I'm making the point, are they sort of obligated by a familial relationship to love you and walk with you? Because that is a beautiful thing.
We want that huge place in our lives. But what I'm pressing for is that we also want some people in our lives that are there by pure choice. They're not obligated to us in any way. They chose us and we chose them. Would you turn with me to Acts chapter 19? We are about to have a good time. Anybody in the house know anybody on the other side of the screen know that you can have a good time in the house of the Lord, that you can, you can be free with your laughter, free with your joy because that is gonna be medicine to us?
And I want you to see this, Acts chapter 19. I'm gonna start reading at verse 21 and read all the way to verse 32. But let me tell you what we're doing because we're catching up with the Apostle Paul, all right, in the middle of his third missionary journey. And so, we are going right in the middle of a chapter with him where we're going to see him passing through Macedonia and Acadia. And so, he has just been in Ephesus and he is going to depart there soon, but we're gonna pick up with him before he does.
Now, big things have happened in Ephesus. You would see it in the verse just prior in verse 20 it says that, "In this way, the Word of the Lord flourished and prevailed". He had seen all manner of revival in Ephesus and there have been difficult times. They were people that had lots of magic arts, and there were all sorts of principalities and powers he was dealing with. There's a reason why when Paul was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to write to the Ephesians, that he wrote about war in the heavenlies with invisible powers and principalities, with cosmic powers in the heavenly places because he so encountered it in Ephesus when he was there.
So, this is where we catch up with him and he's about to be on the move again. But I want you to notice with me in verse 21, "After these events, Paul resolved by the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem. 'After I've been there,' he said, 'It is necessary for me to see Rome as well'. After sending to Macedonia two of those who assisted him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while. About that time there was a major disturbance about the Way".
Now, at this point, the followers of Jesus, that movement was called the way. It is still a beautiful, beautiful name for it, but that's what they're talking about here. "For a person named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, provided a great deal of business for the craftsmen. When he had assembled them, as well as the workers engaged in this type of business, he said: 'Men, you know that our prosperity is derived from this business. You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this man Paul has persuaded and misled a considerable number of people by saying that gods made by hand are not gods. Not only do we run a risk that our business may be discredited, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be despised and her magnificence come to the verge of ruin, the very one all of Asia and the world worship.'"
Verse 28, "When they had heard this, they were filled with rage and began to cry out, 'Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!' So the city was filled with confusion, and they rushed all together into the amphitheater, dragging along", this is where I really want you to look, "dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's traveling companions". It says, "Although Paul wanted to go in before the people, the disciples did not let him. Even some of the provincial officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent word to him, pleading with him not to venture into the amphitheater. Some were shouting one thing and some another, because the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together".
Have you ever been part of a crowd that you thought, "I don't even know why we're crowded here"? Have you ever been drawn to whatever everybody was looking at and you had no idea what the center of attraction was? That's what happened there. This huge mob of people that had originally been caused to be riotous over the fact that their livelihood, which was based so much in the idolatry of that city, that it was at risk because Paul was coming in saying, "Anything you can make with your hands is no God at all. We have one God and he is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and his Son is Jesus Christ". It causes this huge uproar.
So, I'm gonna read verse 29 again, Acts 19, verse 29 it says this, "So the city was filled with confusion, and they rushed all together into the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's traveling companions". Look at that wording, "traveling companions". I love that out of the CSB translation. You'd also see something very similar to it in the NAS, in the N.I.V. The ESV, if you're reading out of it, says, "Paul's companions in travel". It all means exactly the same things, but there's something wonderful about the wording "traveling companion".
The Greek word that it comes from, you would see that it is a compound word. The S-U on the beginning of many Greek words means to put together, or to come together, or with. The rest of the word, if you look in it, you see an E-K. Anybody see an E-K? And then demos, you'll see that on the end of the word. The E-K means what we would see at any of our doors that go out from this place. When we see an exit sign, that's related to that word in the Greek. It means out, and this would mean this group of people, so it's out from a people that are your own people out into some other part of the world. I think it will become clearer as we go through it.
I want you to notice in the definition it says that it comes from a word that means together or with, and it comes from a word that means a fellow traveler in foreign countries. It's such a gorgeous thing. And if you have a place to jot this down in the margin or you want to jot it down at home somewhere, look it up quickly. It's Philippians 3:20. I want you to write down that address and it says this, Paul tells us that our citizenship is in heaven and from there, we wait for the Savior, eagerly wait for the Savior who is going to come and he is going to transform what he calls, in verse 21, these lowly bodies.
Anybody's body been feeling lowly lately? These lowly bodies, he's gonna transform our bodies into these heavenly bodies that are gonna last forever and ever with him. Paul tells us that our citizenship is in heaven and from there, we wait for the Savior, eagerly wait for the Savior who is going to come, and he is going to transform what he calls in verse 21 these lowly bodies. Anybody's body been feeling lowly lately? These lowly bodies, he's gonna transform our bodies into these heavenly bodies that are gonna last for forever and ever with him.
So, it's this gorgeous picture that you and I, we're drawing this parallel conceptually with what we're seeing here. We are called to have traveling companions. You and I are in a foreign world. If you've not felt that lately, it may be that you are still in secret agency of some kind in your faith, that you're trying to hide it enough to where you can just get along in your workplace, in your social life, wherever it may be, because that just feels a lot safer. And I'm not condemning that, I'm just saying that what we're called to is that we are strangers in a foreign land, and we're here as ambassadors.
I've gotta tell you something, we have a couple of women here, Beth and Kalani. I've got them right here on the very front row. I'm not gonna make them stand up and wave, but they can at least hold up their hand. Hold up your hands right. You need to know something. I told him today, they came to the ministry today because every single Tuesday, we just open the doors from 12 to 1. Anyone who needs prayer, any girl, any woman, we just welcome them and pray during that lunch hour.
And so, they came today to see us and had driven all the way from Iowa. And I mean I sit in there I say, you know, I hope you're coming tonight because, you know, not only is the lesson for you, you are for the lesson. I mean, you talk about traveling companions. When there's something you're after in the Spirit and, man, you are willing to come together, get in the car, and drive hours and hours and hours because you think God has something for you, I call that a traveling companion.
Now, I want you to see a couple of exhortations that we're gonna make based on the way our journeys parallel. So, we see that in this particular picture, he is with Aristarchus. He's with Gaius. These are Macedonians who were Paul's traveling companions. He had sent off Timothy and Arasus, as we already saw them earlier in the passages. He sent them off elsewhere, but these are his other traveling companions, and they're all caught up with him in this crowd. A couple of exhortations in the first one is this, recognize that all of us in Christ are travelers and ambassadors in a foreign world on our way home.
I have to tell myself continually, this is not my home. This is not my home. When I feel uncomfortable here and when I feel like I do not belong, and when I get up and I think I have awakened on Mars. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? This is not my home and this is, if you are in Christ, this is not your home. There is a reason why you feel like you don't fit here because you do not. You are traveling through. You are an ambassador while you're here, but this ground, is not supposed to feel homey to you? We were told from the very beginning in Genesis chapter 3 with the fall in the garden that the earth would produce thorns and thistles for us.
And I think about those things. If it's not thorns, it's thistles. If it's not thistles, it's thorns. There's always something poking us. Is that fair to say? Always something uncomfortable because this world was not meant to be homey to us. We got a different place that we're headed, and we belong in a home that we have never seen. You've a room waiting on you that is already furnished for you that you have never laid your eyes on, and it will be the first time and it will be my first time that we ever take a deep breath and exhale and say, "I am finally home". He says we have a better country.
I'm so thankful for the country that I get to live in, but at the very end of Hebrews chapter 11 it says, they knew that what they were looking for was not gonna be here, and they were longing for a better place that they could call home that would be their forever home. Recognize that all of us in Christ are travelers and ambassadors in a foreign world on our way home. Number two, be willing to stand alone, but don't walk alone. I want you to look at one another and say that very thing. "Be willing to stand alone, but don't you walk alone". Say it, don't you walk alone.
Listen, it's the most beautiful thing when Paul says, toward the end of his very last letter, his very last letter and we're gonna talk about it a couple of times. They make reference to it in today's lesson in 2 Corinthians, 2 Timothy rather, 2 Timothy 4, his final lesson in his final words, and he talks about being on trial. And he said, "In my first defense, no one stood with me, but all deserted me. May not be held accountable for it". But he says, "But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me so that the message would be fully proclaimed for all the Gentiles to hear and so, I was delivered from the lion's mouth".
And it's such a beautiful statement because he's saying, man, we have got to be willing, when we must, to stand alone in our convictions. Even if we look to our right and we look to our left and in that stand, we don't find another soul with us, we have to be willing to stand alone, but we are not called to walk alone. And there's a very big difference between the two things. Did you notice with me in the scene that they are just caught up in it moving with him? I want you to see it again in 29, "So the city was filled with confusion, they rushed all together into the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's traveling companions".
I mean, they're just like being dragged along going like, you know, I don't know how we got ourselves into this. The thing about traveling companions is they can drag you into some stuff, and we can drag them into some stuff. And we walk together. Even if we might not always take the same stand, we still walk together. And here's the thing, and this is so important to know. When so many of us will say, "Well, I don't agree with him on everything".
I asked you to tell me today, who do you know that you agree with on everything? I mean, honestly I'm asking you, because if you have found that person, my guess is they want very much to win your approval so they just act like they agree with everything you say because I just don't know, I do not know that you're gonna find a person everything you say, every preference you have, they're right there with you. Every way you interpret that, they're right there with you. The way you express yourself, right there with you. I just don't know where to find that.
And I think it's very important for us to know that we're not gonna all be willing to die on the same hills, but we want to be close to one or another going die well. Anybody know what I'm talking about? Die well. Die right here, die well, die well. Listen, if your team member strikes out or hits a foul ball, you don't have to call it a triple, what a triple, when you know it was an out. Anybody know what I'm talking about? Being traveling companions doesn't mean we lie to one another when we think, "You know what? Actually that was an out or it was a really foul ball, but way to hit that triple".
I don't need that for my traveling companions, and neither do you. I need authenticity. I need to know that who's close by, even if I blow it. They're just like, they know my heart, I know theirs and we know we have this common bond that we are chasing hard after Jesus on our way home. I've got to know that, you've got to know that. Okay, I want to take you to a place that first prompted the concept for this lesson because this is part of my memory work. So, I say it often enough where I think about it over and over again.
Turn with me to 1 Thessalonians 2:17. You'll notice with me, if you look at the very beginning, the opening, the greeting of 1 Thessalonians, you're gonna notice that Paul is writing it from Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians. So Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy. So, he's gonna say, "we, we, we, we", over and over again. One of the things that you want to keep in mind here is that we're told that there is an inference to several that could change with who is involved in the picture.
So, what has happened here in Thessalonica is that they had to leave sooner than they planned. Something happened where then they were sort of rushed out of town, talking about Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, and they had to leave them prematurely. So, he's making reference to that as he writes back to them. So, I want to pick up at 2:17. "But as for us, brothers and sisters, after we were forced to leave you for a short time (in person, not in heart), we greatly desired and made every effort to return and see you face to face. So we wanted to come to you, even I, Paul, time and again, but Satan hindered us. For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Indeed you are our glory and joy"!
I want you to notice how he says, "But Satan hindered us from getting back to you". Satan has a whole lot that he invests in keeping people apart that could do powerful things in the name of Jesus together. It is his business to make sure that he is hindering, as often as he can, people that would have gifting that would go really well together that they would make powerful teams, keep them apart. Are there people that bring a lot of joy to one another? Keep them apart.
So, I want you to notice that, it's right there for us in the black and white of Scripture. So, go with me here because this is where this gets very, very intriguing to me. 3:1, "Therefore, when we could stand it no longer, we thought it was better to be left alone in Athens. And we sent Timothy, our brother and God's coworker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you concerning your faith, so that no one will be shaken by these afflictions. For you yourselves know we were appointed to this".
Okay, listen carefully. If you mark in your Bible, you might mark this because this is most intriguing. It says in verse 1, "When we could no longer stand it, we thought it was better to be left alone", you see those words "left alone"? "In Athens. And we sent Timothy, our brother and God's coworker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you". I want you to notice something. When he references being alone, he means alone as the fewest possible of them. This is such a word because Paul's concept of walking out the faith over and over is to do it with a group of traveling companions.
Now, we have companions, fellow sojourners in the faith. And what I'm going to offer to you today in this lesson is that it is the number one deficit that we have in the body of Christ right now, the number one deficit in community. And it's showing all over us because we thought that Facebook was going to cut it for us. So, we have cut out a lot of the real fellow sojourners. And I'm not saying that we can't have online people that are fellow sojourners in the faith. That can happen, but it's not going to happen when we just think, you know, "I'm just going to call people friends I don't even know. And I don't have to change for them. I don't have to adapt for them. I don't have to grow in my faith for them. I can lie to them, I can be pretentious to them. They will never know the difference".
There's no growing, there's no knocking off one another's sharp edges because there's nothing real going. And we trade it off, and I am convinced that in the body of Christ, we have never been lonelier. I hear it over and over again, one of the most common things I am told by women is, "I am so lonely. I am so lonely. I am so lonely". We have never had more friends, never had more activity on social media, and we have never been lonelier in our lives. Something is wrong, and it's showing all over us in the body of Christ.
So, let me say the concept again, he said, "We were left alone. We were willing to be left alone". It was still a we. He was still considering, so, say for instance it was perhaps two of them. He was considering they were alone because for Paul, I mean, like all alone is like all alone, that that ought to be exceptional to us. Yes, we're willing to stand all alone, we have to have our own thing going with Jesus. I got nobody up with me early in the morning when he and I are meeting over the Scriptures and I'm in prayer with him. I got to have my own intimate relationship with him. But in my traveling as a stranger in this world and as an ambassador of Christ to this world, that I mean, alone ought to be, "Man, there's just a few of us. There's just a few of us".
You know, are you traveling all alone? Because that's not the way this was supposed to be. We're going to try to get to the bottom of this. This is something we are seeking for. When I was thinking about how we can get dragged into things with our traveling companions, y'all, Luke, God blessed Luke. I do not think enough is written on Luke's companionship with Paul. Because he got in one mess after another with Paul.
When I think about the shipwreck in Acts chapter 27, 14 solid days of a storm tossed ship in what we would be called a perfect storm coming from every conceivable direction, they thought they were lose their lives on that ship. I mean, they had to throw everything overboard, it ultimately crashes. They have to swim on pieces of the ship on just, on anything they can grab hold of and get to ashore. All sorts of calamity. But they also saw all sorts of wonders together because it was right there where they were shipwrecked, they saw miracles. And this happens to us in the faith. That yes, we are with one another through all sots of disasters. But if we are willing, we together will see wonders.
And there's something so beautiful about it because we can say to one another, "Remember when? Do y'all remember"? 'Cause sometimes if it was only you, and I love it when it's, I love for God to do things just for me to see, just for me to see. But sometimes later, I wonder if I made it up. Am I speaking truth to anybody in the house? Don't we do that sometimes? Like, well, what if, I mean, that seemed so real at the time. What if I made, but if you got some fellow sojourners with you and they're like, "Oh no, oh no, I saw that. I saw God do that", suddenly it's a whole different thing.
Now, I want to make sure you know something. In fact, I want to turn you there, we're not far from it. 'Cause you're, okay, you're in 1 Thessalonians. Go to 2 Timothy, you're right by it. So, go to 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and go to 4. I want to show you the most beautiful moment. Well, it may not look beautiful, but I think that it is really, really beautiful. At the end of Paul's letter, remember 2 Timothy is the last thing. His pen, when he writes the benediction, his pen goes dry, I can barely say this without wanting to cry because I am so, so taken with him. I just love, I love the Apostle Paul so much, and I want to show you something that he says that I think is so, so powerful. 2 Timothy 4, verse 9, Paul is writing to Timothy, "Make every effort to come to me soon".
Now, he is in a cell, in a prison cell, and he is like this far from losing his head. I mean, he's going to and he knows it. He knows it. He is telling Timothy, "I want you to know the time for me to depart is near. I've competed well, I've finished the race, I have kept the faith. And man, I'm about to receive the crown of righteousness, which the righteous judge will award to me on that day and to all who loved his appearing". So, he knows his neck is about to be given to the sword. So, he's telling him goodbye, but he's saying, "Get to me as soon as possible if you can". And he says to him, "Make every effort to come to me soon because Demas has deserted me, since he loved this present world, and he has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia". Look at 11, "Only Luke is with me". Only Luke is with me.
Now, we don't know this for sure, but in all likelihood, Luke is the one that is taking down the letter. Paul is chained in a stinking, rotting cell. He says earlier in the same letter that he's been chained like an animal. So, he is what perhaps many of the Bible writers that were inspired by that Holy Spirit were doing, many of them probably did dictate them to a secretary that took them down as they were saying them. Others might have taken their own pen to it, all inspired, but in all likelihood Luke is the one taking down these words. So, he's taking down how his best friend is almost done with his race. And I just think it is the most powerful moment when Paul would've said, "Only Luke is with me". I mean, do you think they both paused? What do you think happened after that? Do you think they looked at one another? Do you think their eyes filled with tears? Can you imagine?
So listen, there's something beautiful about a best friend, do not get me wrong. But when it comes to traveling companions, man, we need at least a small group of traveling companions. Well, you notice, did you notice in 1 Thessalonians that it had to have been talking about, when he was talking about that they were alone, we've already figured, "Okay, he's got to be talking about at least two", that that would be considered in that context alone.
Reason why I'm bringing this up is because there is nothing more beautiful than a small group of traveling companions that can cheer one another on. If it is just two, it can get a little wonky. Anybody know what I'm talking about? I mean, three-plus is a beautiful thing. The reason why I bring up three is because sometimes there needs to be an extra hearer that's going, "I think somebody's lost their mind here". Sometimes with just two, there's keeping a secret that is a very toxic secret to keep, but you're bound to the end and you got nobody to tell it to. Does anybody understand what I'm saying? There's just some health in those numbers. Again, do not get me wrong, best friend is a beautiful thing. But I'm saying when it comes to some traveling companions in the faith, several or more is a really, really gorgeous kind of thing.
Okay, here's what I want to do for our remaining minutes. Let's talk about if we're thinking like, okay, if I could have the ultimate traveling companions, what would that look like? Because you can know that one place we're headed is that I am asking you that if you realize this is a deficit to you, to start praying for this. Because I can confidently tell you that it is the will of God for your life and it is the will of God for my life for us to have traveling companions here in this strange world, where most of the time we feel like we are on some kind of planet out there in the solar system that where we can't even find any oxygen to breathe, strangers in a very bizarre land. And we need our traveling partners.
And so, what would that look like? What am I after? So, when I'm going to start praying for that, what is it I'm praying for? We're going to look up some different Scriptures to try to get our mind wrapped around it. So, look with me now, we're going to Colossians, Colossians 1:7, and then I'm going to read 4:7. 1:7 says this, "You learned this", it's talking about the grace of God in verse 6, "You learned this from Epaphras, our dearly loved fellow servant. He is a faithful minster of Christ on your behalf, and he has told us about your love in the Spirit". Our dearly loved fellow servant. 4:7 says this, "To Tychicus, our dearly loved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord".
So, one of the things you're looking for, if you're going to be serious about your walk in Christ and you're like going, "I don't even know that much about it", you don't have to know that much about it to already get serious about it. When you go, "I want to be intentional about the fact that I am headed home, that this is where forever will be. And man, I want to invest in that future". And so, one of the things you want out of your traveling companion and one of the things that I want is we want fellow servants.
Sundoulos is how you would say it in the Greek. That "sun" I told you earlier, that S-U, sometimes it's an S-U-M, sometimes it's an S-U-G in the transliteration of the Greek, sometimes an S-U-N. It means together or with. Doulos is slave, slave. A fellow slave who is found in the same conditions as another, the definition in the Greek dictionary says. I love this part, a servant of the same Lord. You're going to see that it says used of angels, and we're going to get to that in just a moment.
Now, just so we don't get too unnerved about why Paul would use the word "slave", the way Paul is seeing it, of course slavery was so common in the day that he lived in in Rome, and of course, Rome was the empire over the ancient world at this time, there were just like so many slaves that the ratio was nearly one to one in the city. I mean, it was just like huge, enormous. And so, it's such a fact of life there. And the way he saw it is he said, "When I am chained to Christ, I am set free, that in him, the only way I am free", and I can tell you that has been true for me, "is that the closer I am bound to Christ, the freer that I am". And that's why he calls it that. So, it's people that sort of feel that same way.
Now, I don't want you to think to yourself, well, that means you need to be in full-time ministry and your traveling companions need to be in full-time ministry. That is not what it means. Always keep in mind that God is going to call the greater number of lights out into the darkness. The fewer number, I like to laugh and go, you know what? The people that he trust the least he puts in the church, and the rest of them he sends out in the world. That's not true, that's not true, but I do think it's funny. I mean, it's just like because there's a world out there, and he's going, "Go ye therefore out into the world".
And so, man, if we're not out in the workplaces, if we're not out in those vocations, how in the world are we taking that witness, that light into our public schools, into government, into law offices, into financial aid, into all sorts of charities that may have nothing whatsoever to do with anything that we would consider to be spiritual? He wants us to literally invade all parts of life with the light of the gospel. So, all we're talking about in a fellow servant is that you've got some people that also are really, really serious about serving Jesus Christ on their way home. I mean, that's all it takes, so we're looking for that.
Now, I want to show you something important, let me see if we're coming back this direction. You know what? We're coming to Philippians and it's right next to it, do you see it right there? We're coming back to it. So, hold something there 'cause we're coming back that direction. Let me say something to you before we turn to Revelation, though. Do you remember that he says, "Dearly loved servant"? Don't think that you need to dearly love them before they can be your traveling companion. Because we think we need to have dearly loved them first and then we're going to be traveling companions in the faith.
That sometimes can work against you because what you've got to understand is that one reason we have such a deficit of traveling companions in the faith is that we think they are supposed to be according to our natural preferences and our prejudices. And nothing could be further from the truth. If you want someone that is your natural preference and has all your natural prejudices, take your full length mirror on your journey of faith. And just when you need to, stop, set it up, and admire yourself in it. Because what you're looking for is someone who looks exactly like you. You do not need a traveling companion, you have got yourself.
So, if that's what you're looking for, then look no further than your mirror. That's not what we're after. I mean, we want people that sharpen us, we want people that we get to sharpen. We want people that bring a whole different way of looking at things to the mix. We want traveling companions that God has thrown together as often as possible. If we're using Paul as an example, and one reason why we are using him, is because this is the way he lived. Do you know in the letters of Paul, in his letters that he penned under the unction of the Holy Spirit, he names almost 100 names? I don't mean that he just goes, "Men and women, brothers and sisters".
I mean, he's calling out like Aristarchus, Gaius, Timothy, Erastus, Crescens, all of these, one name after another because this is the way he did life. It never would've occurred to him to go off on his own all by himself into a world that was hostile to the gospel and he would be eaten alive by wolves. It just was not his way. And so, by his example, if we're going to look at his example, then we want as much as is possible to have a multigenerational group of fellow sojourners. As much as is possible. And it's not just because the young need the old, it is because the old need the young. It is because the young bring that energy, even the humor to it because you look back and, I mean, you see yourself over and over again.
And you think, "You know what? I don't know whether to tell them or not". You know what I'm saying? I mean, it's just like, and it's just it's so fun, and it's so refreshing, and it's so exciting, and it's so stimulating, I just wouldn't have it any other way. My favorite thing on earth is to watch what God is doing in the next generations. I love it, love it. I love seeing him raise up women to do what he has called them to do. And so, that multigenerational mix, the younger bring renewal to the older, the older bring experience to the younger. The younger need nurturing and the older need to nurture.
And the reason why I bring this up is because one of the things I've noticed, you may be going, "Well, you know, I'm not a great mentor". I'm going to tell you what I see as much as anything. Yes, yes, we need to mentor. We need to know the Word so that we can bring somebody along in the Scriptures. But say, for instance, you go, "Well, I don't even know a lot of the Word". Well, then begin, begin, get on that track, start really getting into the Scriptures. Get in a small group of people that are in a Bible study of some kind. But I'm going to tell you something, do you know what I see in young women as one of the greatest needs they have? They want someone to mother them in the faith.
Can you mother somebody in the faith? Because if you want to see something that is missing, because they may have a natural mom, but they're looking, that they love, that they wouldn't trade for anything. I did, but I also needed a mother in the faith. She taught me not only how to be in ministry, she taught me how to be a woman in ministry. I was not trained to act like a man in women's ministry. I was very much trained up to be a woman in women's ministry. I needed that. Mother some people. Mother some people. Sometimes, all they need from you is just can you hug them? Can you hug them? That's sometimes all they're asking, is man, I could really, really use an unconditional hug.
Go with me to Revelation 22 and I wanna show you something. This is under our category of fellow servants. Revelation 22. Something really crazy happens here. So John is receiving this word from this angel who is speaking to him and it says, I'm gonna pick up Revelation 22. You can obviously see that this is the very last chapter of Scripture so it's so interesting, especially that it's here. And verse 6 is where I want you to pick up, 22:6. I'm gonna read through 9.
It says this: "Then he said to me, 'These words are faithful and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place'". And then he quotes Jesus: "Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book". And he says in verse 8, "I, John", and this is John the beloved disciple. "I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown them to me. But he said to me, 'Don't do that! I am a fellow servant with you, your brothers the prophets, and those who keep the words of this book. Worship God'"!
Don't do that. Listen, this was an angel, a mighty angel, going, "Do not worship me". Let me tell you why this is so important. Because what can happen with fellow sojourners is that the leader can become, there can become some entitlement in that leader and there can become some obedience of the group of sojourners to the leader. That is not what we're talking about. Fellow sojourners are shoulder to shoulder, pursuing obedience to Christ. Not just loyalty to a leader. I don't want blind loyalty from my staff. I do not want it. I think it's one of the most dangerous things in the world when we would stand with any leader, no matter what, and protect them and guard them, no matter what they have done behind the scenes. That's not healthy. That's not fellow sojourners. Fellow sojourners don't have one person that is always the focus.
One of the things I see in a lot of the small group dynamics so they'll be lots of small group Bible studies and they'll meet maybe every week and maybe there's eight of them, for one thing, I start getting worried when they said the same group of eight of us had been together for ten years. Well, then, I'm all like, "Somebody needs to get a new group", because something's happened there where now nobody's changing and so what is this? Tic, tok, the game's locked. Nobody else can play. Is that what we're doing here? Because I don't know, that doesn't feel healthy to me.
A community of believers is a living organism. That edge, that circle, changes. It's moving continually. I'm all about a group getting together and that same group sees that study through, but when we've been through eight years of study together and it's still the same eight of us, I don't know, something's up. Anybody agree with that? Maybe I'm weird. But I just, I'm a little bit, that kind of worries me a little bit. But I can also tell you another dynamic that happens. One person can suck up every bit of the attention in the group and they just keep getting it for years on end because it's their dynamic. Their small group is there for them. And so, and they never get out of a crisis.
Well, of course, they don't because the crisis is working for them. Because the crisis is now attracting all the attention of the group and so they go to get their group therapy every, not what we're talking about. If we're going to get group therapy, go to group therapy. I believe in therapy. Anybody else believe in therapy? I believe in therapy. These are fellow traveling companions in the faith. And healthy traveling companions know whose turn it is to get a whole lot of extra attention because they are in dire need.
For us at Living Proof, it changes continually. I mean, there will always be several of us that are in the biggest crisis among us and it's the others' turn to kind of step back a little bit and these are the ones we are all really in it over. Anybody know what I'm talking about? This is how we want that group thing to go. Nobody gets worshiped. We are fellow servants. If there were an angel among us, still that angel would be able to say to us, "Don't you dare worship me. You worship God only".
All right, now look at Philippians 2:25. So we've got the best kind of traveling companions in the walk of faith. What was the first set? Tell me again. Fellow servants, all right. Now look at Philippians 2:25. This is another one. Philippians 2:25: "But I considered it", this is Paul talking. "But I considered it necessary to send you Epaphroditus, my brother, coworker, and fellow soldier, as your messenger and minister to my need". If we want fellow sojourners, if we are looking for traveling companions, what is it we want them to look like? Well, we want some fellow servants. We also want some fellow soldiers. Fellow soldiers.
Now, let's talk about what a fellow soldier means. It's a wonderful, wonderful word. You, once again, see that "S-U" on the front of that Greek word that when it is in a compound word, it's going to mean together or with. It is a word, the word you would say, "sustratiotes". It is a word that means fellow soldier, figuratively of Christian teachers, Paul's companions in the labors and dangers of Christian warfare. The labors and dangers of Christian warfare.
Listen, this one is so important because here's what I'm gonna tell you. Now, there's no condemnation, zero, zero, zero condemnation so do not take it from what I'm about to say. But I do wanna speak seriously to you about this because if you are really doing the thing, I can tell you this. You are having a hard time doing it by yourself because this thing is a fury. I mean, we live in such a hostile world and we have real live powers and principalities that keep the darkness closing in on this globe and I'm just saying if we're serious about the things of the faith, we're always dealing with some element of spiritual warfare that is real and one of the things we need in our fellow sojourners is we need somebody that will fight with us and fight for us. And by "with us" I mean alongside.
Sometimes, we may have to fight with one another to fight for one another. If that's necessary, then we work through that conflict. But fellow soldiers, fellow soldiers. Who do you have, your fellow fighters. Who in your life, I asked you earlier at the very beginning of our series, I asked you who in your life do you know would pray over you? Who in your life would speak things over you like, listen, in Jesus's name I pray that no weapon forged against you will prosper. In Jesus's name, you can know that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities, nor things future nor things past nor things present, nothing in this world can separate you from the love of Christ. In Jesus's name I can tell you, God is for you and if God is for you who can be against you?
I've got to know those things, I gotta. Who's gonna do that for you because you need people in the faith that can say to you, "I gotta tell you in Jesus's name perfect love casts out fear". Who's gonna do that? Who fights for you? We got this little motion we do at Living Proof. We've just done it for years and years and years. When we know that the enemy is coming after one of our cohorts, one of our fellow sojourners, there's just one, I mean, all we have to do is one little motion and it's like this: Whoo. I mean, just pull out your sword because we are about to fight. I cannot begin to tell you the battles we have fought together.
I say this with reverence, I say this with fear before the Lord. I am not trying to tempt the enemy but I'm just gonna simply say some of us have been together for 25 years and he has not killed us yet. Oh, I need more from you than that 'cause I need you to know that he has tried to. I need you to know that he has tried to take us down over and over and over and divide us and split us up, divide and conquer, over and over again. And I'm not trying to tempt the darkness here. I am simply saying, "In Jesus's name he has not been successful. He has not been successful". Who fights for you? You've got to have it. I've got to have fellow soldiers who are gonna fight for me. Listen, I love this. Another definition so in another Greek dictionary, another way to translate into English the Greek word systratiotes is fellow struggler.
Listen, if you're thinking, "Well, I'm just really struggling", then, you know what? You're already saying that you're working hard because if you were just being defeated you would not be struggling. Oh, oh, I need somebody to get that word with me. Are you struggling right now in your faith? Well, then, listen, you're fighting because otherwise you'd just like, lay down, like shipwrecked. You're struggling? Well, good. That's a good sign. That's a sign of life. That's, you know, I'm hanging on for dear life. I feel like I'm hanging on by a thread. Let me tell you something, if you're hanging on to Jesus, you are never hanging on by a thread, not ever. You are hanging on to the rope that is attached to an anchor behind the veil and he will never let go of you. Not ever let go of you. Who will remind you that Jesus will never let you go? You better have somebody. You better have some people in the faith. I need somebody to say, "Amen".
I want you to look with me lastly at Luke chapter 15. Luke chapter 15. There is no more beautiful sound in this entire world than the sound of Bible pages turning. I love it so much, I gotta tell you. And I love that sound in here because I love electronic Bibles, I really, really do, but, I mean, it is hard when you are in a crisis to hold your iPad to your chest and really feel, hmm. You know what I'm talking about? It's so awkward. It won't fold in, you know? It's just something like, I don't know, I just don't feel the same about it. I love it. I use one every day but I don't know, it just does not bring out the same affection in me.
All right, this wonderful, wonderful moment in 8 through 10. So Luke 15:8 through 10. This one, I'm gonna have to make a noun out of a verb for it to go with what we've done so far. We're looking, this is the last of the three, when we're looking for what do we want in our traveling companions? Well, what's the first one? Fellow servants. And then what was the second one? We want some fellow soldiers. Now, we're wanting these to be the same people. This is how we'll know these are our traveling companions. We're gonna pray these up but let me tell you something. We're not only gonna pray them up, we have to become these. Can somebody go there with me?
We have to become these so that we are these for other people. But so the last one we're gonna see in a verb form but we're gonna make a noun out of it. It says in verse 8: "Or what woman who has ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, 'Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost!' I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God's angels over one sinner who repents".
That is gorgeous, gorgeous. When it says she calls her friends, in Greek it is the word "philas", P-H-I-L-A-S. It's the feminine form of P-H-I-L-O-S which is the masculine for friends. In other words, she is talking about her girlfriends. It's such a glorious thing. But what we're seeing here, I thought I was making up this word but I'm gonna prove to you I'm not making it up. In this third little category of what we want in our fellow traveling companions, it is fellow rejoicers. Fellow rejoicers.
Now you might know is "rejoicer" even a word? Yes, and you know how I know? Because I looked to the only reliable source. I looked to Scrabble and I said, "Is 'rejoicer' a Scrabble word"? And it says and I have it on the screen before you, "Yes". The word "rejoicer" is a Scrabble U.S. word. The word "rejoicer" is worth 17 points in Scrabble. Is "rejoicer" a word? Yes, it is a 17-point word. You better believe it is legit. "Rejoice with me" is what it means. You see that Greek word, the "S-U" again meaning together with. Chairo meaning to rejoice, to share one another's joys.
I just love the fact that the antonym of it means to sorrow or to be grieved with someone. To sorrow or to be grieved with someone. To have the capacity, remember when I asked you in the very, very first of the series, "Who do you laugh with? Who do you cry with"? Do those overlap at all? Because what a beautiful thing. It doesn't mean every one of your traveling companions have to be people you can always laugh and cry with but, man, it sure is nice. Man, it sure is nice. We'd better be comfortable with doing it. We'd better be comfortable that we could have some tears with them. It's just the most gorgeous place.
I wanna give you this picture at the end of this lesson. There's this place at the very end of Acts 5. It almost makes me cry to read it. John and Peter have had the snot beaten out of them for proclaiming the name of Jesus, that Jesus is Messiah, and he's come fulfilling all of those Old Testament prophecies. Well, they're called into the Sanhedrin. They are threatened and threatened: "Do not use it again". Well, they go out and immediately do it again. And they just go through all sorts of imprisonments, all sorts of punishments and beatings, persecutions. But it says this gorgeous thing about them in 38 through 42.
It says: "So in this present case", this is the word of counsel given to the Sanhedrin, "I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone. For if this plan or this work is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may be found fighting against God. So they were persuaded by them. So after they called in the apostles and had them flogged", this would not be fun to be flogged. Just because it is in Scripture does not mean that somehow when they got beaten with rods, it did not hurt. It bloodied them and bruised them.
"And they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them". 41: "They went out from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be treated shamefully on behalf of the Name. And then every day in the temple, and in various homes, they continued teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah". What in the world... what do you do with that? I want to say something to you. This is our heritage of faith. This is our bloodline. We come from courageous people that go, "I've got a chance to be misused because I proclaim the name of Jesus".
You know one thing that gave them the courage? Having one another. And it multiplied their joys. They were, like, "High five. Look what happened to us". Gotta tell you a story as we close. Couple of days ago, I was on a plane coming back from Dallas and I was on a fairly, one of the smaller planes but it still had a little first class area and please just forgive me if this is offensive to anyone but you've got to understand something. I have flown 10 jillion miles and I'm old. And at this point, I got a lot of upgrades. Anybody know what I'm talking about? A lot of upgrades.
So I was in seat 2B coming back from Dallas and there was a young man, I'm going to guess that he was about 13, that was in 1A so he was in the bulkhead, he was in the very front seat of it, and he was closest to the window and I'm just gonna tell you something. There is no way that kid had ever flown before because I have never seen anyone that excited about flying in all of my life. And he wasn't with anyone that he wasn't sitting beside anyone that he knew and there was no one on the plane that I think he had any connection to. And he was so thrilled about the whole thing. He was thrilled from the time that we had to put on our seatbelts.
When we started rolling down the tarmac, he was, like, looking round, going like... When we took off on the plane he was like...and he just kept looking around for someone to get excited with him. And he looked over there, and he looked at the guy next to him, stone-faced, straight ahead. So, you know, he looks back behind him. Well, you know what I've gotta do. I'm like, "Yes, yes. This is the best. I just love it". Later on in the plane ride he gets up and he goes, and he looks at me because I'm the only one that will make eye contact with him. And he said, "Can I go to the bathroom"? And I said, "Yes. See that little green sign up there? That means that you can go to the bathroom and that green sign means no one's in it". And so he says, "Where is it"? And I said, "It's right there, right in front. You go right there in front of you".
I mean, like, who tells you where you can go to the bathroom? You've got to have somebody. And let me tell you something. He made my whole trip because it was just like, it was so thrilling to him that it was thrilling to me. It was, like, "Man we have been on a ride together, buddy". Don't even know his name but we were traveling companions. You don't wanna miss that for the world.
So I want you to stand to your feet. Let's press in and pray for this. You'll get a little bit of insight from the pop quiz I gave you at the very beginning of the series 'cause I asked you a series of questions. Who is it that you call? Who is it that you know is gonna stay with you? Who is it that would fight for you? Start praying for that and start being willing to get outside your own age group and your type, your color and your background. You may even find that somebody of a different denomination is saved. It's not even gonna believe it. These people are saved?
Well, we have one another and they were just like in it together and we're on this little text group and can say, "Man, I have a test. I have a test today and I need you to stand with me in it". We prayed for a young woman. It was her college exams. Some of my friends, I played with, about their kids when they were in the 1st grade. Praying for one another. I'm having a mammogram tomorrow and I'm nervous about it. Who can we trust with information like, "I don't know what's happening in my marriage"? Who listens without telling everything? Well, we've got to have the friends.