And I entreat you also, true yoke fellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also…
1. Sympathy was a strong characteristic of St. Paul, an instance of which is his fondness for the word "fellowship;" Fellow heirs, citizens, prisoners, servants, soldiers, workers, labourers.
2. Fellowship was the first necessity of our creation. "It is not good for man to be alone." It is a high part of our religion, a preparation for the society, unity, and choruses of heaven.
3. Fellowship of labour stands in immediate connection with "the book of life." Are we then enrolled together as labourers? Will none be there who have not laboured? Is "the communion of saints" a communion of workers for God? Will it be so forever in heaven? What an argument for the united labours in the Church?
I. THE WHOLE GENIUS OF CHRISTIANITY IS WORK. "Go work." "Work while it is day." "Let men see your good works." The end of all work is the extension of the Kingdom of God. Christianity, unlike other religions, is essentially propagating. It is, therefore, compared to that which emits and cannot but emit; leaven, light. The test of all at the last day will be what we have done.
II. THIS IS A DIFFERENT CONCEPTION OF RELIGION TO THAT WHICH IS HELD BY MANY RELIGIOUS PEOPLE. There is a spiritual as well as a natural selfishness. It is not selfish to pray the prayers which are all for ourselves, to take an interest only in our own souls, to know the greatest of all happiness, and not impart it to others?
III. IN THIS WORK MINISTERS AND PEOPLE MUST COOPERATE. All the commands to extend the kingdom of Christ are binding on clergy and laity alike.
IV. THE SAFETY OF ANYONE WHO IS NOT A LABOURER IN THE VINEYARD IS VERY DOUBTFUL. The condition of going into the vineyard was a wish to work. None are to simply go into the grounds, to pick flowers, to eat the fruit, but all to work. And the reckoning at the end was of the work done.
V. IT IS A WONDERFUL ARRANGEMENT THAT GOD HAS COMMITTED THIS WORK TO SINNERS, not to the heavenly hosts. But our weakness is our strength; our sinfulness is our argument. For who can sympathize with sinners but a sinner?
VI. NO ONE CAN UNDERTAKE THIS WORK WHO HAS NOT A LOVE FOR CHRIST AND SINNERS.
(J. Vaughan, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And I intreat 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.