Elder Vernon Johnson


Philippians 4:1, 2

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.

The word, therefore, is a connecting word, connection the rationale of the previous thought or thoughts to the admonition in the current sentence.  Paul has carefully written, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the first three chapters of the book of Philippians so that it builds to climaxing thought and admonition of the passage in Phil. 4:1. 

Once again, Paul refers to the disciples of Christ at Philippi in several ways that typify their character as Christ's disciples:                  

    1.  He refers to them as my brethren.  Brethren is a term used to denote relationship and in an endearing way, fellowship.  Paul certainly believed the disciples at Philippi were his brothers and sisters in Christ.  This certainly indicates that they had experienced a spiritual birth by the Holy Spirit.  Certainly, Paul and all the disciples at Philippi were all a part of the family of Christ.  They were all chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and quickened into spiritual life by the Holy Spirit at God's appointed time.

    2.  He refers to them as dearly beloved.  This phrase comes from the Greek word, "agapetos."  This word indicates a love that comes from God.  It is the same love whereby God loves his children and which he has given us as a fruit of the spirit whereby we love God and the children of God.  It is an endearing love.  It indicates a love brought about by both relationship and fellowship.

    3.  He refers to them as longed for.  There are times in our lives when we are absent from our loved ones that we began to greatly long for their presence and fellowship.  I have found this to be true both with my natural family and I have found it to be true with my spiritual family.  Having brethren nearly half way around the world and not being able to see them very often, I get to greatly longing for their fellowship and companionship.  I remember the sweet fellowship that we have had in the past and greatly long to see them and once again have that sweet fellowship. 

    4.  Paul also referred to them as my joy.  No doubt, Paul rejoiced in the evidence of their spiritual birth that was manifest in their ready receipt of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He also, no doubt, rejoiced when they publicly professed Christ and entered into His church kingdom on earth through water baptism.  Further, he no doubt rejoiced in their faithful discipleship of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In addition, I am sure that he rejoiced in the sweet fellowship he had with them. 

    5.  Moreover, Paul referred to the Philippian brethren as his crown.  The word, crown, comes from the Greek word, stephanos, meaning a wreath or chaplet which was used as a prize in the public games or a badge of honor.  Paul referred to the Philippian brethren as being his "crown."  The "crown" of the gospel ministry is for those to whom they preach the gospel to join the Lord's church through water baptism and to become the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and to continue in that discipleship.  This is the prize of our labors. 

Now comes the admonition of this verse: so stand fast in the Lord.  Standing fast simply means that you do not move from your current position.  As the disciples of the Lord we need to understand that we are to continue in that discipleship until the day we die.  There is no room for retreat or for going beyond the Lord's bounds in our discipleship.  We are to stand fast.   

I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

By implication, Euodias and Syntyche were not of the same mind.  Our attention is called back to chapter two in which Paul had admonished the brethren to be of one same mind and of one accord.  Further, Paul had taught that we are to have the mind of Christ.  In order for us to be of the same mind, then we have to have something in common in our mind.  Amos 3:3 asks: "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"  The implied answer is that two cannot walk together except they be agreed.  Likewise, we cannot be of the same mind unless we are agreed.  The ground of our common agreement is the word of God.  When we are prone to disagree, we need to take the issue to the word of God and let it be our guide.  When we properly divide the word of truth we will be agreed and subsequently of one mind.