Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent…
I. THE OBJECT FOR WHOSE PERPETUITY YOU ARE TO COOPERATE. The whole gospel, not its promises, or precepts, or doctrines alone, still less any particular views relating to them, such as Calvinism or Arminianism. We have to contend for the faith, not a fragment of it. Why are Christians to strive together for this?
1. Because they alone understand and prize it. By the grace of the Spirit they see its value. To them Christ is all. His gospel is the book of their hearts. They cannot but love what is precious. To others it may be dull.
2. Because to them its honourable privileges are granted. Their religious privileges become duties in consequence of their obligations to Him who had saved them. Their duties become privileges in consequence of their low: to Him who first loved them.
3. Because the enemies of the Master are watchful and active.
II. THE POSITION YOU ARE TO MAINTAIN. It was net required of them to assume the position of an united phalanx. God had assigned that as He has to us. We are simply to "stand fast in one spirit" in it. You have the gospel verities — unitedly maintain them. Divide and conquer is the policy of the adversary; close your ranks and win is ours. "Every kingdom divided against itself shall not stand."
III. THE UNITY OF PURPOSE YOU ARE TO CHERISH.
1. Be of one mind on the subject of unity itself.
2. On the subject of social prayer: "If two of you shall agree, etc."
3. With respect to the mutual ministry: Support your pastors and love them.
4. In doing good to all men.
(W. Leask, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
WEB: Only let your way of life be worthy of the Good News of Christ, that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your state, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the Good News;