1 So then, my dearly loved and longed for brothers and sisters, my joy and crown, in this manner stand firm in the Lord, dear friends. 2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I also ask you, true partner, to help these women who have contended for the gospel at my side, along with Clement and the rest of my coworkers whose names are in the book of life.
It was obviously important for Paul to know that the believers in Philippi were standing firm in their unified trust in Jesus. He had mentioned it at the beginning of his letter. (Philippians 1:27-28)
Paul must have often preached to his own soul through his letters to the gathered believers in the churches he had planted. In Philippians 4:6, Paul tells the Philippians not to be anxious, but I sense his own anxious heart toward his friends. With tears, Paul prayed and pleaded for the believers not to be swayed by enemies of the gospel, those who would disrupt their fellowship or turn them from the truth about Jesus. (Philippians 3:18)
“… my dearly loved and longed for brothers and sisters, my joy and crown, in this manner stand firm in the Lord, dear friends.” (Philippians 4:1)
Can you sense his concern for them, my Sister? They were his dearly loved and longed for family …. his joy and crown! He desired to express in his letter how deeply he felt toward them because he so desperately hoped they would understand how important it was to heed his words.
Sometimes we don’t know how to practically put into practice what we read in Scripture, but Paul provides robust application for us as he pleads with his (and our!) fellow believers. Paul encouraged them to specifically approach two women and urge them to reconcile for the sake of unity in the Body of Christ and to best reflect the God of unity to those outside the Body.
It was about the gospel. In light of the gospel message, and for the sake of the gospel message, we should strive to live at peace with one another. For this reason, as well as because the Triune God IS a God of unity, Paul stressed the importance of unity in his letter to the believers in Rome. (Romans 12:10-19)
One way believers contend for the gospel and stand firm in our faith is by demonstrating love for one another in a world where there is hatred and division. “Reconciliation” is a gospel term and action. It’s a picture of the good news in which we testify. Jesus “has committed the message of reconciliation to us”, and we ought to use the currency of our everyday lives committed to building reconciliation and being conduits of God’s righteous justice! (2 Corinthians 5:17-19, James 1:26-27)
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