I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.” (vs2-3)
We can know who is in the Book of Life, not absolutely, but we can judge the tree by its fruit. If a person loves Christ and manifests it in their behavior, believing the truth, then they are SAVED. God predestined them from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). We can be fooled by people, like Judas or Demas, but we can judge people by what they do and rejoice that they are godly.
I’m not to have many goals in life: only one. I’m to be faithful unto the end, so I make my way sure now, even as Clement, the godly women, and the other workers in Philippians 4. They were not spectators in the gospel assembly, but they put forth effort, laid aside personal ambitions, and they strove for others to know the grace of Christ.
This gospel life is for all of us. The women were not preachers, but they work for the church and God’s glory. Clement is likely the famous preacher of early church history, but many of the brethren are unknown, except for the fact that they loved God. Paul calls them, “fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of life”, and they’re examples to us. This Book of Life is the only thing that matters, and being included is something that God reveals to us, as we believe the gospel, and as we bring forth fruit. Others can see if you’re saved by how you live, so make your actions encouraging. Paul needed to see brethren encouraged in the gospel, and we must be diligent examples for other’s benefit. Grace is fruit bearing, producing people who serve others in the mind of Christ. Esteem these brethren highly and be comforted by their labors. They encourage you that your work isn’t in vain, and they assist in carrying the gospel.
Secondly, if we pray instead of complaining and worrying, then we’ll experience God’s peace, so long as we pray with THANKSGIVING (Phil 4:4-7). We read, “Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus”. A lot hurts us, but there are more on our side than against us (2 Kings 6:16). God’s taken away our sin, reconciled us completely, and He will assuredly bring us to heaven’s bliss. Now, in the light of ETERNAL hope, deal with this world’s problems by bringing them to God in prayer. His will is good, and if He’s given us Christ as a ransom, then surely He will not withhold anything needful from us (Rom 8:28-32). We may trust His care completely.
If you were lost in a storm, and someone pulled you from drowning at a great cost, would you resist their offer of a blanket from distrust? Or, would you look at what they’ve already done as a testimony to what they are doing? It is the same with God. He may not let me have what I want, but if He’s the 100% reason why I’m saved, then why be fearful? How can love so great, so wise, and so powerful fail to do what is best? It isn’t possible!
We’re encouraged by God and not the circumstances. We rejoice in His mercies, and we are not moved by temporary struggles. We’re saved, so we always have more reasons to rejoice than to complain. You’ll be in heaven when others are in hell, so as our perspective changes, we have peace. We don’t need more stuff, but being THANKFUL for what we have – what’s promised in the gospel – we have peace in prayer. Prayer is how we get what God is willing to give, and it is how we get the peace that’s promised!
Finally, if we do what God says, then He’ll be with us, just like Paul (Phil 4:8-9). He says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – mediate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you”. It is not true that only a few people can have God, because He bids all to His love. But, you can’t have Him on your terms! We must believe and practice the gospel, and then we’ll have Him, just like the others who’ve gone before us.
Follow Paul’s lead, and you’ll have his reward. You can have God, if you obey His commands. Think upon things that please Him, receiving the forgiveness of sins and promises of help in obedience, and He’ll be with you. Do not despair. You’ll have the same reward as anyone else!