The Expository Files



Stand Firm In The Lord

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.


Here is a good relationship between a gospel preacher and a supporting local church. It is not a cold, business relationship involving money sent, acknowledgements sent back and the routine continues with expected gratitude.

Paul loves these people. They became his “joy and crown.” It was a warm relationship based on mutual love for the Lord.

For this healthy relationship to continue, it would be necessary for the Christians in Philippi to “stand firm” in the Lord.

That doesn’t mean, “just stay where you are spiritually.” It isn’t about “not doing better.” In the New Testament, “standing” is never passive (see for example, Eph. 6:14). Standing firm in the Lord always means continuing the obedience that you chose when you were baptized. And it always means, doing better, growing in spirit and practice, and letting self-examination lead naturally to self-correction. It is a dynamic every Christian ought to be living in right now: “Stand firm” in the Lord!

Two members of the church in Philippi were not standing firm. They were apparently standing against each other. “I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.” This implies an issue of disagreement that could be resolved “in the Lord.” When two people humble themselves under the authority of the Lord, issues of disagreement either disappear altogether. Or, they are subservient to their common faith and do not disrupt anyone (Romans 14).

Paul had a “true companion” in Philippi, and that person or persons is being asked to “help these women.” The women in dispute had “labored side by side with” Paul “in the gospel together with Clement and the rest.” These faithful helpers had their names written “in the book of life.”

That becomes the motivation to help these two women reconcile.

Sometimes a problem is beyond the capacity or will of two people to solve. Other Christians must apply their grace and skill to bring resolution. Why is this important? Because there is a book of life. We want to rejoice that our names are written in that book.

“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” This doesn’t mean, wear a badge that tells everybody you are reasonable. (That wouldn’t be reasonable!).

This means, your demeanor and speech, your countenance and responses to people and events should demonstrate clear thinking, godly discipline and soundness of mind. And this is important because? “The Lord is at hand.” I don’t think that means he will be here soon. It means – in a real sense – He is always here; with us … watching … helping … listening to us pray.

The Lord is at hand.

The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. (Psa. 34:18, NKJV).


You are near, O LORD, And all Your commandments are truth. (Psa. 119:151, NKJV).


The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. (Psa. 145:18, NKJV).


So, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

Result? “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”





The thing that astonishes me most about the peace that God gives is that it is not dependent on peaceful outward circumstances. When Paul wrote of the peace of God to the Philippians, he was in prison for preaching Jesus Christ (1:13) and they were suffering for their faith (1:27–30). The situation was not conducive to peace, but the peace that He gives is greater than our circumstances.[1]



The Philippians’ path to the surpassing peace of God and away from anxiety led through prayer, supplication and thanksgiving (4:6–8). Time spent opening our hearts in prayer and meditation is our lifeline today as well.[2]




The series of exhortations is closely connected. The person who rejoices in the Lord is not some miserable pauper who always has to keep up his guard lest he not get what is due him. His joy does not depend on “getting everything that is coming to him.” Christ is his treasure, and his wealth in Christ sets him free from the “look-out-for-yourself-nobody-else-will” mentality.

“The Lord is at hand [or near]” need not be understood temporally, as nearly all commentators assume. Passages which speak of the spatial nearness of God to those who call upon Him in prayer (Deuteronomy 4:7; Psalm 34:18 & 119:151 in context; Psalm 145:18f) are the real parallels to this passage (verse 6).[3]


[1] Peeler, T. (1990). The Peace That Passes Understanding (Philippians 4:4–7). In P. Earnhart (Ed.), Christianity Magazine: November 1990, Volume 7, Number 11 (P. Earnhart, Ed.) (20). Jacksonville, FL: Christianity Magazine.

[2] Clark, S. (1997). Defeating Depression. In P. Earnhart (Ed.), Christianity Magazine: May 1997, Volume 14, Number 5 (P. Earnhart, Ed.) (24). Jacksonville, FL: Christianity Magazine.

[3] Mott, L. A., Jr. (1988). Mott’s Notes: The Christian Temperament. In Christianity Magazine: March 1988, Volume 5, Number 3 (28). Jacksonville, FL: Christianity Magazine.



  By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 23.4; April 2016