Call for Steadfastness and Harmony
We are now in the last Chapter of this wonderful Epistle which is called the Epistle of Joy. Few more weeks and our study here is over. Perhaps in the near future as the Holy Spirit leads guides and teach me more about His Word, I would still be mentioning about this book. Learning God’s Word never stops. The more you read it, the more you learn, the more you understand, and the more you will be closer to the Saviour, the more joyful you will be.
I. Standing fast (Phil. 4:1)
A. Paul once more tells his brothers and sister how he loves them and how he missed them. He was in prison but his heart is with them. Physically absent in Philippi but mentally present.
B. The brethren in Philippi were his joy and crown. When he thinks about them and prays for them it makes him rejoice. Remember that the Church in Philippi was one of the best NT church. Their love and faithfulness to the Lord, their hard work, sincerity, and their effort to send him some blessings uplifts his spirit even he is suffering in prison.
C. They were his crown. The Bible speaks of crown of rejoicing in 1 Thess. 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? I would say that the crown of rejoicing here were the same as the crowns for soul winners. Paul won them for Christ. They are the fruits of his labour, the source of his pride and honor now. Certainly, in the future, they ensure him of a crown when the Lord comes. Probably the believer’s names will the written in the jewels in the crown. How many jewels will your crown be? Aside from the crown of rejoicing which I have just mentioned, the Bible mentions Incorruptible Crown (1 Cor. 9:24-25), Crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8), Crown of life (James 1:12), Crown of glory (1 Pet. 5:4). It is possible they are all the same crown viewed in different aspect. Win souls and you have reasons for rejoicing!
D. To stand fast is to persevere. Because we are citizen of heaven we are exhorted to continue and to remain faithful in Christ. To suffer without resistance and go on under hardship. We must not only stand fast for our faith but also for our prayers and to the wiles of the devil.
Job lost his children and all his possessions and is suffering from sickness yet he stood firm in his faith (Job 1:21-22). The three friends of Daniel would rather die than worship the image King Nebuchadnezzar made (Dan. 3:16-18).
One day George Mueller began praying for five of his friends. After many months, one of them came to the Lord. Ten years later, two others were converted. It took 25 years before the fourth man was
saved. Mueller persevered in prayer until his death for the fifth friend, and throughout those 52 years he never gave up hoping that he would accept Christ! His faith was rewarded, for soon after Mueller’s funeral the last one was saved.
II. Be in harmony (Phil. 4:2)
A. Personal rift between Euodias, and Syntyche, are causing division in the church. Paul was making an urgent appeal on the two to have one mind. Be united or be in harmony.
B. Women have rendered the Lord and the Church a very valuable service. Just think about teaching children, guiding them, praying for them, and praying for their husbands as they go out and labour for the gospel. The value of the women in the mission field cannot be underestimated. However, women in the church does not always have the same frequencies and that is where the problem begins. Satan takes advantage of misunderstandings in the church. So we better watch out.
C. It is noteworthy that the disagreement between these two ladies was the only internal problem which Paul addresses. Poverty, persecution, and false teachers are just regular problem of any existing church during his time, even now. Indeed the Church in Philippi was a model NT Church.
Mark Twain used to say he put a dog and a cat in a cage together as an experiment, to see if they could get along. They did, so he put in a bird, pig and goat. They, too, got along fine after a few adjustments. Then he put in a Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic; soon there was not a living thing left.
To remain divided is sinful! Did not our Lord pray that they may be one, even as we are one”? (John 17:22). A chorus of ecumenical voices keep harping the unity tune. What they are saying is, “Christians of all doctrinal shades and beliefs must come together in one visible organization, regardless… Unite, unite!”
Such teaching is false, reckless and dangerous. Truth alone must determine our alignments. Truth comes before unity. Unity without truth is hazardous. Our Lord’s Prayer in John 17 must be read in its full context. Look at verse 17: “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” Only those sanctified through the Word can be one in Christ. To teach otherwise is to betray the Gospel. (Charles H. Spurgeon, The Essence of Separation).
III. The unknown Labourer
A. We have an unknown hero here whom Paul is asking his assistance to help these two women agree in the Lord. Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called children of God (Mt. 5:9).
B. He was called yoke fellow, a colleague or a co-worker. Praise the Lord for peace makers inside the church.
C. You don’t have to be popular in the church to be a peace maker. Peace makers avoids conflicts, misunderstandings and promotes cooperation, unity, and team work within the church.
D. Some wants popularity, attention and recognition, but as servants of the Lord, we should not aim for this but just serve faithfully.
E. All people who are saved are all in the Book of life. (Lk. 10:20).
Let us be steadfast in our faith, in our prayers and in our struggle against the devil. Live in unity and in harmony especially within the church. Be a peacemaker and be blessed by Christ.