Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
In chapter 4 the apostle Paul was directed to draw this letter to a close. The first word here helps us to see that his final words are building upon the words God gave him in the first three chapters.
Paul reminded the saints of the close relationship they had in Christ. Paul loved these people because they were adopted into the same family he was in. They had the same God: the same Father, the same Saviour and the same Holy Spirit. They had been instructed in the Word of God. The love of God was in their hearts as It was in his heart.
The apostle Paul would have loved to be able to go to Philippi himself. Instead he needed to rely on others to relay his words. We see again the importance of physical fellowship. Distant communication is good when we cannot be together in person. Live-streaming works for those who cannot be present however, it cannot replace true fellowship with other saints. There is no way to function as a true body of Christ through live-streaming.
The saints in Philippi were a special group of saints. They were not carnal like the saints in Corinth. The apostle Paul was thrilled to be identified with this group of believers. He longed to see others grow closer to the Lord as well. We know that it is a pleasure to work with people who have the same heart.
Paul was directed to remind the saints to stand fast in the Lord. This is such an important challenge we need today as well. The Bible warns of a falling away in the last days. Those that stand strong will not fall away. However, those who are not genuine will fall away. There is also a cooling off that is taking place among saints who at one time testified to a walk of holiness and righteousness. It seems that weariness in the battle is a common problem. People who once held a purer view of spiritual matters have caved because the next generation is not keen on purity. God expects the older generation to stand strong and to remind the younger generation to stand on God’s Word and not to allow the world to infiltrate. Paul warned the elders in Ephesus of this danger.
In verse 2 Paul named the names of two people who seemed to lack unity. They did not have the mind of Christ. There was some type of division there. This division was evident to Paul and he knew it needed to be addressed Biblically. True Christians should never “agree to disagree”. True Christians have one God: one Saviour, one Holy Spirit. True Christians have one Bible and thus we can and must humbly submit to God’s authority and then we will come to agreement. This must start at the local church level.
The lost do not need to see disunity among brethren. Some years ago we had a man who said he wanted to help us in a church plant we were involved in. It was not long after he joined us, that he would stand at the door and greet the people as they came in. I did not mind that. It is good to be hospitable. A while later we had an evangelist come and assist us for a few days. It was not long after this evangelist left, that the man who said he wanted to help us get the work going, chose to leave us and he took some of the people with him. I called the evangelist to ask for prayer at that time. He told me he could see that this other man was not on the same team. He had ulterior motives. This split certainly did not help the church plant. We continued on until the Lord showed us very clearly that we needed to move on. This man that split our church never accomplished anything with those he took from us. Some of those he took from us moved away and joined good churches in those areas. Some of them have contacted us and admitted they should not have followed that man. Others have just drifted off. There is still a church in the place we were at but I have not heard how they are doing at this time.
God is not pleased when there is a church split over unbiblical issues. The man that caused that particular split had no Biblical justification for what he did. He hurt himself and he hurt the Lord’s work in what he did. God’s people need to be of the same mind in the Lord. This is not a matter of finding a way to compromise. This is a matter of humbling ourselves and follow God’s way.
In verse 3 Paul addressed a true yokefellow. We are not given this person’s name. It is obvious we do not need to know the name. It was someone that was of the same mind as the apostle Paul. Paul encouraged this man to help the women that had laboured with Paul in the Gospel.
There is work that women can do in the Lord’s work. They are not called to preach. There are other avenues for witnessing. There are also other needs that a local church has that can be met by women. We need to keep in mind that God created the woman to be a help, not a leader. That applies whether it be in marriage or in others areas. A godly woman is content to serve the Lord in the capacity He has designed for her.
There are women who claim to be preachers. Some have even stated that their husbands agreed with their position. All that proves is that their husbands are not walking with the Lord. God’s Word is clear. He forbids a woman to teach men. It is sad that there are so few men who are willing to submit to the Lord’s calling and prepare for the ministry. Not every man is called to preach. Some desire to preach even though they are not called. God is not interested in “mavericks”. He calls those whom He chooses for the ministry. Those who are called of God will also be endorsed by other God-fearing men.
Paul also mentioned Clement. We have no further information as to who Clement was. We know he was a help in the work. There were also other fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. That is what matters. We do not need recognition here on earth. We need to be sure our names are in the book of life. Only God can place a person’s name in the book of life. No one else has access to that book. There will be no forged names there.
Godly unity is one of the important teachings of the book of Philippians. Godly unity is still needed today. True Christians do not need to compete with others. They need to be faithful to God’s calling on their life and commit themselves to life-long learning of the things of God. That is the way of blessing.