Therefore, my brothers dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.…
I. THE DUTY.
1. It is important. Christian faithfulness does not consist in a few occasional heroic acts done in the excitement of temporary enthusiasm. It is a constant faithful living; it is holding the citadel throughout life against the assaults of temptation. Though great deeds have been done and a considerable time well spent, all is vain if we give up at the last and make shipwreck at the end of the voyage.
2. It is difficult. It is easier to be the faithful martyr of a day than the faithful servant of a lifetime. To stand fast when we are weary, to hold on through a long cheerless night of adversity, to have patience with the fretting of small trials, and to endure to the end, are the hard tasks.
II. THE CONDITION. We are to "stand fast in the Lord." Steadfastness in our own condition, opinion, and habit, is stagnation. We may be in a state when anything but steadfastness is necessary, when to be upset is to be saved. There are men who need to be made to doubt. Christ was a most unsettling preacher, and true Christian teaching must aim at disturbing those who are holding on in a wrong way. Let us not confound a right steadfastness with obstinate self-will. The first essential is that we are "in the Lord," and the one steadfastness commended is abiding in him.
III. THE METHOD. "Wherefore... so stand fast," etc. These words carry us back to the preceding thoughts. There we have a description of the Christian's heavenly citizenship, and his hope of the second advent of Christ. A persistent hope is a security for steadfastness, an anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19). Just in proportion as we live in heaven, with thoughts, affections, motives, and efforts centred in Christ and his kingdom, shall we be able to hold out on earth firmly against the storms of trouble and temptation.
IV. THE MOTIVE. The motive which inspires St. Paul to urge the duty of steadfastness upon the Philippians is his personal affection for them. The expression of this must have been felt by them as a strong incentive to a true response. The apostle seems to have regarded his Macedonian converts at Philippi and Thessalonica as the choicest of his friends. They were his brethren, beloved, longed for in absence, still a source of joy to the imprisoned apostle as he thought of them, and regarded as a crown of victory and proof of the glorious success of his labors for the day of the Lord. We can wish nothing better for those we love than their Christian fidelity. Ministers have a strong hold upon their people when they can urge personal affection and joyous recognition of good done as a motive for further progress. The love and honor of those who have labored and suffered for the Church are great motives to inspire faithful steadfastness in all Christians. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.