Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #66
Posted: November 17, 2005

IN CHRIST
A Study of Positional Truths

Our IN CHRIST study is taken from a passage that contains three precious IN CHRIST phrases. The text is in Philippians 4:1-4 which says, Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.  I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.  And I entreat 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. Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say Rejoice.”

The text opens with the word ‘therefore’.  It has the idea of having these things in mind.  The things to keep in mind were from Chapter 3.   Paul spoke there of our citizenship in heaven and soon coming Savior.  Paul calls his readers, ‘dearly beloved’.  It is in the plural along with the word ‘longed for’.  The phrase carries the thought of divinely loved ones and longed for loved ones.  Paul describes these believers as his ‘joy and crown’.  The word ‘joy’ means to delight in.  The word ‘crown’ is a victor’s garland wreath from an athletic game woven from various plants, leaves, and flowers.  The church at Philippi was a woven group of people that brought Paul great delight.

Paul exhorts them in verse 1 to ‘stand fast in the Lord’.  The phrase means to abide, to be stationary, to persevere or to hold your ground.  I had a dear Pastor tell me the other day that his church was holding its own.  What a blessing to just hold one’s position.  We may not be going forward but to God be the glory, we are not going backwards.

In verse 2 Paul begins his masterful way of sandwiching a difficult word between two sweet truths.  Paul confronts two of the members from his Roman cell in his Godly, holy way.  The word ‘beseech’ means to exhort with a pleading emphasis.  It literally means, I exhort, I beg you, please!  We can tell by their names that they are two women of prominence and leadership in the church.  Euodias’ name means prosperous journey.  The name has the idea of ‘one who has arrived’.  This lady has reached a high standing in life.  The other lady, Syntche, means pleasant or happy acquaintance.  The word literally means ‘good mind’.  This lady is very out going and meets everyone well.  These two have clashed for some reason.  It may be they have a personality conflict.  Paul exhorts them to be reconciled by having the same mind in the Lord.  Paul has laid the groundwork by speaking in Chapter 2 of being lowly in mind.  The lowly mind is the mind that esteems others highly and has a low regard for self.  He speaks also in this Chapter of having the mind of Christ.  This is the mind of humility, a servant to others, and dying to what we might want.

In verse 3 Paul begins with the word ‘and’ which indicates the prior request is being met.  In light of this Paul makes a second request.  The word ‘entreat’ indicates this request has the authority of his apostleship behind it.  This request is made to the true ‘yokefellows’.  Many of the early church when baptized took on a name that described their work for the Lord.  The Jewish spelling for ‘yokefellow’ is Syntche.  The word implies one who yokes up and pulls the load.

Paul tells Syntche that these two ladies have been faithful to labor with him in the gospel.  The word ‘labor’ means to be on the same team and aimed at a common goal.  He is asking Syntche to lend them a hand of help to finalize their work of reconciliation.  These ladies have been such an asset in the ministry that Paul doesn’t want to see them divide.  Let us who are Spirit led help others to be reconciled in their differences.

Paul mentions Clement, maybe one of the lesser prominent in the church and other of the fellow laborers.  He could not name them all because of a lack of space.  He reminded them that God had all their names recorded in the ‘Book of Life’.  He didn’t call their names but they were on his heart.

His final admonition was to ‘rejoice in the Lord’.  It is a phrase of salutation for when one is meeting or he is departing.  I wonder if that is why Paul used the word twice?  Whether you are coming or going, let us rejoice.  The word means to be cheerful, chin up, and with calm happy delight.  O let us enter and depart the house of God with this manner of rejoicing and say with the songwriter,

Nothing between like pride or station: self or friends shall not intervene; tho it may cost me much tribulation, I am resolved there’s nothing between.  Nothing between my soul and the Savior, so that his blessed face may be seen; nothing preventing the least of his favor; keep the way clear: Let nothing between.”

 

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