Philippians Day Seventeen
October 21, 2020, 4:54 AM

These Women, Who Have Labored Side by Side…
Philippians 4:1-7

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown,
stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.
Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women,
who have labored side by side with me in the gospel
together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers,
whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

It is highly likely that the church in Philippi began down by the Zygakti River at the interrupted prayer meeting with Lydia and her friends (Acts 16:13-15). Perhaps Euodia and Syntyche were there that day? Some think either Euodia or Syntyche was our Acts 16 Lydia. If that was the case, “Lydia” would have been the name of her native land (Asia Minor) rather than her proper name. Who knows? We don’t (can’t) know for sure. For that matter, we don’t have any idea of the identity of the “true companion” (4:3) Paul speaks of here, either.

But what we do know with some degree of certitude is that these two women were inhabiting some type of leadership within the tiny church. These two have labored side by side, faithfully, in Gospel “agriculture.” Planting and sowing and reaping, along with Paul and the rest. A man named Clement is also mentioned here regarding Gospel sweat investment. A third to fourth century tradition identifies this man as Clement of Rome, one of the first successors to Peter’s Chair as Pope in Rome. Again, it’s traditional speculation. May be true, maybe not. But nevertheless interesting!

In context, there is friction between Euodia and Syntyche. Again, we can only guess at the root cause of the spat. What we do know is that Paul deems the disagreement dis-advantageous to the spiritual health of the church. “Help these women… whose names are in the book of life. [Help them to] rejoice in the Lord always [the heart default for heavenly citizens]; again I will say [it], rejoice[!] [And, most of all,] let your reasonableness be known to everyone. [Why?] The Lord is at hand[!]” (4:3-5). “The Lord is at hand” is shorthand for the Second Coming. The Day of the Lord. It is always out there as a possibility. The present day could be the last day. How will the Lord find us? In what state will the Lord find our loving one another efforts? So many parables of Jesus touch this theme. “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.” (Mk. 13:33). The Apostle Paul is just driving this bus for all it’s worth. “So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.” (1 Thess. 5:6).

There is too much at stake to be divided. We are not guaranteed another day, not even the next breath. A watching world is watching. The Body of Christ must put on the mind of Christ. The way there is humility. That was writ large in the self-emptying Jesus of 2:5-8. So, we read here presently, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” Imagine that, being reasonable. That’s some good advice here in the twenty-first century.

Perhaps this is why Paul launches into the appeal in 4:8. If you are meditating on the Lord in his excellent virtues— truth, glory, justice, holiness, loveliness and commend-ability – you then have to know of his provision to you; his love for you, his expectations of you. You must realize the ongoing flow of spiritual ergons disseminating from the ventricles of your own heart – the Holy Spirit working – painting the Lord Jesus on the canvas of your soul. (Have fun parsing that last line.)

May we all know the peace of God that surpasses all understanding that guards our hearts and minds in Christ. But, more importantly, may we live this out together as the Body of Christ!

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