By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012
PHOTO: A healthy holistic perspective of the Christian life is not limited to the spirit and its needs, but the life of the spirit is also lived out in a physical body and expressed through the mind and relationships with people. Paul was human like all of us, with various needs to be met legitimately by the grace of God, and which enabled him to live a life pleasing to God. When he knew that his end was near, and he greatly missed some of his closest friends.
While we may not yet be in similar situation, unknowingly we could have the various social needs too. We need lasting friendships. We need friends who don't fall away and don't betray us. We need people to be with us in the hour of need. At times we need encouragement from others.
We are not perfect and sometime we may become too stress to be patient. We become unable to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. We tend to lose our cool and could be nasty to others. We therefore need reconciliation, especially with those whom we had been too harsh or wrongly accused. The result of God's work of grace in us will turn us into more mature person who wanted to make up for regrets in our heart for not showing our sincere and deep love to others.
Church should meet our social needs - it should meet them in a deep and profound way.  This could be possible by considering the four major areas that cover the doctrine of fellowship. They are relationship, partnership, companionship and stewardship in Christian fellowship. The key ingredient in companionship is communication. Good stewardship stems from recognizing our relationship to Jesus Christ, but it also means recognizing our partnership in Christ’s enterprise on earth. 
Picture posted by Professional Management Editorial Department on 19 August 2015
What are our social needs? How can these be met in legitimate and godly ways? What does the theology of the church say about social needs? How can the church ensure that true fellowship is experience in church? What could be some negative factors to that end?
What are our social needs?
Social and Emotional Needs 
We need lasting friendships
In his extensive travels, Paul struck up many lasting friendships along the way. We need only to look at Romans 16, where Paul ended a "heavy" theological epistle with wonderful list of friends, relatives, and associates to whom he referred with endearment. Now the apostle, with a big network of friends and colleagues, is very much alone in a Roman prison. He knew that his end was near, and he greatly missed some of his closest friends. In 2 Timothy, Paul named 26 individuals whom he personally knew.
PHOTO: We need lasting friendships
Paul has many lasting friendships from his extensive travels. Although with a big network of friends and colleagues, he is very much alone while in the Roman prison. He knew that his end was near, and he greatly missed some of his closest friends.
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The 26 Individuals Mentioned in 2 Timothy
In order of appearance in the epistle:
1. Timothy (1:2)
2. Lois, Timothy's grandmother (1:5)
3. Eunice, Timothy's mother (1:5)
4. Phygelus (1:15)
5. Hermogenes (1:15)
6. Onesiphorus (1:16, 4:19)
7. Hymenaeus (2:17)
8. Philetus (2:17)
9. Jannes (3:8,9)
10. Jambres (3:8,9)
11. Demas (4:10)
12. Cresens (4:10)
13. Titus (4:10)
14. Luke (4:11)
15. Mark (4:11)
16. Tychicus (4:12)
17. Carpus (4:13)
18. Alexander (4:14)
19. Prisca (4:19)
20. Aquila (4:19)
21. Erastus (4:20)
22. Trophimus (4:20)
23. Eubulus (4:21)
24. Pudens (4:21)
25. Linus (4:21)
26. Claudia (4:21)
We need friends who don't fall away
There was a measure of sadness in Paul because some of his friends had fallen away. Demas, a co-worker, blackslided and deserted Paul because he "loved this world" (2 Timothy 4:10). Demas was no ordinary Christian worker; he was a valued member of Paul's team. During his first imprisonment in Rome, Paul wrote a personal letter to his friend Philemon, referring to Demas, Aristarchus, and the well-known Luke and Mark, as "my fellow worker" (Philemon 24). Likewise, Demas was prominently mentioned together with Luke in Colossians 4:14.
PHOTO: We need friends who don't fall away
Paul was sad because some of his friends had fallen away. Demas, a co-worker, blackslided and deserted Paul because he "loved this world" (2 Timothy 4:10). Demas could have lost his courage rather than his faith.
It is pertinent to note that Paul has once claimed that Mark was not “worthy” to go with him and became the subject of an argument that separated him from Barnabas. Here Paul an old man sent for this man whom he thought was not worthy, John Mark. Mark recovered from his failures. It is not surprising to find Demas going through the same spiritual journey and trial. 
Picture posted by Simon Yap on 11 July 2012
Some have suggested that Demas lost his courage rather than his faith. He was a coward more than an apostate. John Calvin, for example, explains: "But we are not to suppose that he completely denied Christ and gave himself over again to ungodliness or the allurements of the world, but only that he cared more for his own convenience and safety than for the life of Paul. He could not stay with Paul without involving himself in any troubles and vexations and a real risk to his life; he was exposed to many reproaches, he was laid open to many insults, he was forced to give up caring for his own concerns, and in the circumstances he was overcome by his dislike for the cross and decided to look to his own interest." 
According to Calvin, Demas could not stomach the risks and consequences of staying with Paul who was accused as an enemy of the state. He abandoned his leader in order to save his own skin, and fled to Thessalonica where presumably it was safer. He started well but ended terribly. Perhaps Demas would have acted differently if he had remembered what Jesus said: "The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be" (John 12:25-26). Demas was not where Jesus wanted him to be. What a disappointment he was to Paul and others who loved the Lord. Perhaps you know Christians who are in a similar situation? Or you may be personally disappointed by the fall of someone who had been close to you and in whom you had placed much hope. If so, you can identify with Paul's feelings.
PHOTO: John Calvin - French Theologian born on July 10, 1509, died on May 27, 1564
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism, aspects of which include the doctrine of predestination and the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation of the human soul from death and eternal damnation. In these areas Calvin was influenced by the Augustinian tradition. Various Congregational, Reformed and Presbyterian churches, which look to Calvin as the chief expositor of their beliefs, have spread throughout the world. . . . . (wikipedia), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Calvin
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We need friends who don't betray us
It turned out that Alexander, the metalworker, was not really a friend, for he did "a great deal of harm" to Paul (2 Timothy 4:14). Earlier, in 1 Timothy 1:19-20, Paul had mentioned Alexander as someone whose faith had suffered shipwreck. Probably he was like a spy, and fed false charges against Paul to the authorities. He was so bad (like another Judas Iscariot) that Paul had to warn Timothy about him (2 Timothy 4:15). How sad when our friends betray us. Bible teacher Ajith Fernando observes realistically that "those who believe and hope in people are sure to get hurt" and that "People you have trusted will disappointed you". 
PHOTO: We need friends who don't betray us
Alexander, the metalworker, did "a great deal of harm" to Paul (2 Timothy 4:14). He was so bad (like another Judas Iscariot) that Paul had to warn Timothy about him (2 Timothy 4:15). Bible teacher Ajith Fernando observes realistically that "those who believe and hope in people are sure to get hurt" and that "People you have trusted will disappointed you". 
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We need people to be with us in the hour of need
Thankfully, Paul had many good associates and friends who would warm his heart and bring cheer to him. But they were not with him in this hour of need. Some of Paul's associates had to leave because of circumstances - Crescens had to go to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia (2 Timothy 4:10), probably on some kingdom work. Some, like Tychichus who went to Ephesus, were sent by Paul on various missionary assignments (2 Timothy 4:12). Paul missed them greatly.
PHOTO: We need people to be with us in the hour of need
Paul had many good associates and friends who would warm his heart and bring cheer to him. But they were not with him in this hour of need. Paul missed them greatly.
Picture posted by Christian Satorius on 12 September 2015
However Paul was not entirely alone. He had good old Doctor Luke with him. Luke was a long time associate of Paul who was with him on his second missionary journey onward. They would have recounted many experiences together. They may have remember another close associate of theirs, Silas. How could they forget Paul's imprisonment in Philippi where he and Silas shared their suffering, and about which Luke wrote in the book of Acts? Paul and Silas were stripped and "severely flogged", and thrown into the inner cell, deep in the dungeon, and left there with their feet in the "stocks". And looking at each other in their sorry state, they must have smiled and begun to pray and sing songs - loud enough for the other prisoners to hear (Acts 16:22-25).
PHOTO: Luke - Paul's Beloved Friend and Companion
During those long days while Paul was in prison, Luke no doubt took every opportunity to record many earlier stories and personal accounts, setting them down for all time in the book of Acts. Luke stayed beside Paul, day in and day out, for at least two years. Every day he walked past the Roman guards, who must have grown in their respect for him.
Picture posted by Jerold Aust on 20 January 2001
What a worship service service conducted by two badly beaten and immobilised prisoners thrown into the darkest part pf the dungeon! And God did a wonderful thing there, releasing them and all the other prisoners miraculously. Better yet, God freed the jailor and his family from their spiritual prison when they heard Paul's message, repented, and believed in Jesus. God's ways are indeed marvellous.
PHOTO: Paul's imprisonment in Philippi where he and Silas shared their suffering. They were stripped and "severely flogged", and thrown into the inner cell, deep in the dungeon, and left there with their feet in the "stocks". God release them and all the other prisoners miraculously. God also freed the jailor and his family from their spiritual prison when they heard Paul's message, repented, and believed in Jesus.
Picture posted by Clark Dunlap on Friday, 26 August 2011 at 2:25 PM
We need encouragement from others
Luke's presence must have brought great encouragement and cheer to Paul for the good doctor could also attend to Paul's physical ailments and be Paul's secretary to record what Paul dictated. He proved himself as a "tough friend for tough times."  Now Paul longed for the company of other close associates as time slipped by and he knew the end was near. He wanted to see the younger associates, if only to be encouraged by their commitment to the gospel and to be assured that the mission of God will continue on after his death.
PHOTO: We need encouragement from others
As time slipped by and Paul knew the end was near. He wanted to see the younger associates, to be encouraged by their commitment to the gospel and to be assured that the mission of God will continue on after his death.
"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).
Picture posted by darrellcreswell on 29 July 2012
We need reconciliation, especially with those whom we had been too harsh
Therefore Paul wanted Timothy to visit him in Rome. "Do your best to come to me quickly," he urged Timothy (2 Timothy 4:9). Timothy was one of his key protégés, as we have already understood. Paul was not satisfied with sending a personal and poignant (sorrowful) letter to Timothy, he also wanted to see him face to face if possible.
Paul was also eager to see John Mark. "Get Mark and bring him with you" (2 Timothy 4:11). Paul had argued vehemently (forcefully and with emotion) and sharply with Barnabas over including Mark in the team on the second missionary journey, because Mark had abandoned them in the first journey. Barnabas saw potential in Mark, being ever the encourager he was, and he wanted Mark to be given a second chance. Paul, on the other hand, was a man driven by his mission; he had no space for quitters in his team. Paul and Barnabas were so divided in their opinions about Mark that they went separate ways (Acts 15:36-41). Paul took Silas while Barnabas took Mark.
PHOTO: When John Mark was older he joined Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey. But because he turned back, Paul called him a “deserter” and refused when Barnabas wanted Mark to join them on the follow-up journey. Paul and Silas went one way, Barnabas and Mark went the other, which proved an excellent opportunity for the two to develop their protégés.
Texts posted by Make a Mark Ministries
Picture posted by Bible Hub - Paul and Barnabas Disagree
Subsequently a more mature Paul made up with a more mature Mark. Here, he described Mark as "helpful to me in my ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11). What a change in opinion! This was surely the result of God's work of grace in both men. Mark "has rocketed from uselessness to usefulness!"  He had become a key associate of Paul (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24) and Paul wanted very much to see him. Possibly, he not only wanted to be encouraged by this young man, he also wanted to ensure that he was totally reconciled with Mark before his death.
PHOTO: We need reconciliation, especially with those whom we had been too harsh
Paul’s final word on Mark was an affirming one: “Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). Mark went on to help the apostle Peter record his memories and teachings in Mark’s Gospel.
Posted by Make a Mark Ministries
He was perhaps too harsh with Mark, but God had been good. Now he wanted to make up for that regret in his heart by seeing Mark for the last time and showing his sincere and deep love to him, who had become a spiritual son to the apostle Peter (1 Peter 5:13).
How can these (our social needs) be met in legitimate and godly ways?
Some of our social needs
We need lasting friendships
We need friends who don't fall away
We need friends who don't betray us
We need people to be with us in the hour of need
We need encouragement from others We need reconciliation, especially with those whom we had been too harsh
PHOTO: Paul developed lasting friendships, and whose presence he dearly missed as he ran the last lap of his race. He was ready to be sacrificed, and the time of his departure was near. His had various needs to be met legitimately by the grace of God, and which enabled him to live a life pleasing to God. Like his Lord, he loved his friends to the end.
Picture posted by Juliana Navarrete on Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 07:52 - Paul in Prison, 64-67 D.C.
Paul was a man who loved God wholeheartedly. As a result, he also loved God's people and the people of this broken world. In his many relationships, Paul developed a warm and hospitable attitude towards others. He had a wide network of friends, colleagues, and brothers and sisters in Christ. In this final epistle, he continued to mention names of people who were dear to him (2 Timothy 4:19-21). These were real people, with whom Paul developed lasting friendships, and whose presence he dearly missed as he ran the last lap of his race. Like his Lord, he loved his friends to the end. John's gospel records: "When Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end" (John 13:1 ESV).
PHOTO: St. Paul was a man of humility. He knew that despite his pivotal role in the spread of the Gospel, his strength was only found in acknowledging his weakness and allowing himself to be completely absorbed by Christ until he could say, “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). It was precisely the explosive combination of Paul’s humility and his brash zeal that made him such an effective Christian, truly another Christ.
He teaches us what it looks like to preach the Gospel without fear while also living a deep humility that causes us to only seek only Christ.
Paul was a man who loved God wholeheartedly. He also loved God's people and the people of this broken world. In his many relationships, Paul developed a warm and hospitable attitude towards others. His social needs were met in legitimate and godly ways from his a wide network of friends, colleagues, and brothers and sisters in Christ.
Posted by Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble on 28 June 2016
In sharing various needs as he faced death, Paul revealed a healthy holistic perspective of the Christian life. It is not limited to the spirit and its needs, but the life of the spirit is also lived out in a physical body and expressed through the mind and relationships with people. In all these areas, Paul was human like all of us, with various needs to be met legitimately by the grace of God, and which enabled him to live a life pleasing to God. At the heart of such a life, of course, is the spiritual realm, which is the focus of the next chapter (13).
What does the theology of the church say about social needs?
 The word we translate church originally meant “assembly”. Church is a gathering of people around Christ, as proclaimed in the gospel. The gospel creates community. Church is a community.
PHOTO: Church originally meant “assembly” and is a gathering of people around Christ, as proclaimed in the gospel. The gospel creates community. Church is a community.
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What is the nature of this gathering, this community? Do we come together to focus on the pulpit for half an hour, then go our separate ways having “done church” for the week? No! The church we see in the New Testament is a relational gathering, with all the members joined to one another. Paul even likens the church to a “body” - illustrating the diverse yet interconnected nature of our fellowships. "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it" (1 Corinthians 12:27).
PHOTO: Paul likens the church to a “body” - illustrating the diverse yet interconnected nature of our fellowships. "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it" (1 Corinthians 12:27).
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This comment - “You go to church to hear the gospel - not to have your social needs met.” Is church about hearing the gospel, and not much else? Are our social needs simply not relevant?
The gospel is central to church, clearly, but it is wrong to put the gospel at odds with the social, communal aspect of church. The gospel is not opposed to community - rather, the gospel creates community.
So, is church “about” getting our social needs met? Church should meet our social needs - it should meet them in a deep and profound way. If Christian brothers and sisters in our midst are feeling lonely and isolated and disconnected, it’s a tragic failure that hurts us all. 
PHOTO: Church should meet our social needs but in a deep and profound (very great or intense) way. "A powerful awareness of our longing for Christ’s presence, accompanied by a trustful surrender to him of our personal needs. . . . Spiritual growth will turn out to be simply our earthly journey to God." 
Picture posted by Vimeo, Inc., Church at Home - Restoring Original Christianity
How can the church ensure that true fellowship is experience in church?
There are four major areas that cover the doctrine of fellowship.
A. Relationship - The Foundation for Fellowship 
Fellowship is first the sharing together in a common life with other believers through relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Fellowship is first and foremost a relationship, rather than an activity. The principle is that any activity that follows, should come out of the relationship.
PHOTO: Relationship - The Foundation for Fellowship
Fellowship is first the sharing together in a common life with other believers through relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Picture posted by ibrian on 7 August 2016
In Acts 2:42 the early church was not merely devoting itself to activities, but to a relationship. It was this relationship that produced an active sharing in other ways. It is so important that we grasp this. Fellowship means we belong to each other in a relationship because we share together the common life and enabling grace of Jesus Christ.
We must first have a real living relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ before we can have experiential fellowship with God.
B. Partnership - The Means of Fellowship 
Share together in the sense of a partnership. As sharers together of the person and life of Christ, we are automatically copartners in His enterprise here on earth. The concept of a spiritual partnership implies that it is created with the objective of glorifying God. Just as all believers are united together in a community relationship, so we are all united together in a partnership formed to glorify God …
PHOTO: Partnership - The Means of Fellowship
As sharers together of the person and life of Christ, we are automatically copartners in His enterprise here on earth. Just as all believers are united together in a community relationship, so we are all united together in a partnership formed to glorify God.
Picture posted by Danielsuryana’s Blog on 6 October 2015 at 12:42 pm
C. Companionship - The Method of Fellowship 
Companionship is the interchange or communication (communion) that exists among companions, those associated together through a relationship they hold in common. The key ingredient in companionship is communication. Key words that describe companionship are “interchange, communion, sharing.”
Communication is the sharing of concepts, feelings, ideas, information, needs, etc. through words or other symbols like body language and actions so that all members of the relationship hold these things in common.
PHOTO: Companionship - The Method of Fellowship
Companionship is the interchange or communication (communion) that exists among companions, those associated together through a relationship they hold in common. Communication is the sharing of concepts, feelings, ideas, information, needs, etc. through words or other symbols like body language and actions so that all members of the relationship hold these things in common.
Picture posted by Wallpaper on 7 December 2014 - Jesus And People 182988.
In the Christian community, companionship includes communicating on a spiritual level through a mutual sharing of the things of Christ: the Word, the filling of the Holy Spirit, and the ministries and gifts of the various members of the body of Christ.
D. Stewardship - The Overflow of Fellowship 
A steward is one who manages the property of another. A steward is not an owner; he is a manager. As stewards we must recognize that all we have belongs to the Lord and has been given to us as trusts from God to invest for His purposes. Believers need to be willing to share their material possessions for the promotion of the gospel and to help those in need. Good stewardship stems from recognizing our relationship to Jesus Christ, but it also means recognizing our partnership in Christ’s enterprise on earth.
PHOTO: Stewardship - The Overflow of Fellowship
As stewards we must recognize that all we have belongs to the Lord and has been given to us as trusts from God to invest for His purposes. Believers need to be willing to share their material possessions for the promotion of the gospel and to help those in need.
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These four major areas cover the doctrine of fellowship as it pertains primarily to our relationship with one another, but the basis of our relationship to one another is our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Fellowship is much richer and deeper than mere social activity. True fellowship involves getting together for spiritual purposes: for sharing needs, for prayer, for discussing and sharing the Word to encourage, comfort, and edify one another. This certainly is an aspect of Christian fellowship, and one much more important than the first idea. It is an area of fellowship that is often lacking in the church today and one that needs to be remedied.
PHOTO: The doctrine of fellowship is primarily our relationship with one another, but the basis of our relationship to one another is through our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Picture posted by Goodsalt
What could be some negative factors to that end (true fellowship)?
 There is a negative aspect. Because of our relationship with Christ, there can be no legitimate fellowship with the world, demonism, idolatry, or anything that is contrary to Christ and our relationship with Him (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).
PHOTO: With our relationship with Christ, there can be no legitimate fellowship with the world, demonism, idolatry, or anything that is contrary to Christ and our relationship with Him (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (Ephesians 6:12-13 KJV).
Picture posted by Jeff Wingo on 7 October 2015
PHOTO: "Dear Lord, we pray that our social needs be met legitimately by the grace of God, and which enabled us to live a life pleasing to God. Please grant us the various social needs. We need lasting friendships. We need friends who don't fall away and don't betray us. We need people to be with us in the hour of need. At times we need encouragement from others. We pray for reconciliation, especially with those whom we had been too harsh or wrongly accused. We pray also for the result of God's work of grace in us will turn us into more mature person who wanted to make up for regrets in our heart for not showing our sincere and deep love to others. Through Lord Jesus we pray. Amen!"
Painting by Sandra Kuck
Picture posted by Matrioshka on Friday, 7 February 2014 at 11:15
Reflection - Social needs
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012
 Craig Schwarze, Should church meet my social needs?, http://sydneyanglicans.net/blogs/daytoday/should_church_meet_my_social_needs/
 Bible.org, Christian Fellowship, https://bible.org/article/christian-fellowship
 John Collins, Father Benedict Groeschel’s current editor, posted on 1 September 2010, What every Catholic needs to know about ... spiritual growth, https://www.osv.com/MyFaith/ModelsoftheFaith/Article/TabId/684/ArtMID/13728/ArticleID/4408/What-every-Catholic-needs-to-know-about--spiritual-growth.aspx
 Calvin, The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians and the Epistles to Timothy, Titus and Philemom, 340.
 Ajith Fernando, Reclaiming Love: Radical Relationships in a Comples World (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 173.
 Hughes and Chappell, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, 260.
 Ibid., 261 - (Ibid.) means in the same source (used to save space in textual references to a quoted work which has been mentioned in a previous reference).
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1 Timothy 1:19-20 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Timothy+1%3A19-20&version=NIV
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Cor.+6%3A14-16&version=NIV
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Acts 15:36-41 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+15%3A36-41&version=NIV
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