All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.
I. REMIND US OF THE ADAPTATION OF THE GOSPEL TO MEN EVERYWHERE.
1. It is no part of God's purpose in redemption to limit its blessings to a nation or class. Hence the provisions of the gospel are suited to the circumstances of man as man. It knows nothing of the distinctions of rich and poor, noble and ignoble, learned and ignorant, bond and free. It knows them only as sinners, and offers salvation to all on equal terms. Hence in the early Churches we find slaves like Onesimus, fishermen like Peter, physicians like Luke, lawyers like Zenas, soldiers like Cornelius, and saints in Caesar's household.
2. The gospel is still of universal adaptation. Christ is still the Saviour of sinners, and has disciples in every country and amidst all circumstances and conditions.
II. TEACHES US THE POSSIBILITY OF SERVING GOD IN POSITIONS OF TEMPTATION AND DIFFICULTY.
1. Caesar's household was the last place where one would have expected to find saints. Under any circumstances it could not be favourable to conversions and Christian growth; and it was now at about its worst. It illustrates the sovereignty of Divine grace that out of these circumstances there should arise witnesses for the gospel. It must have required great courage; but the grace that called them sustained them.
2. So it is always. There are some positions in which a man cannot serve God because they are wrong. There are others lawful enough, yet encompassed by temptation, e.g., the position of the sailor shut up for months with ungodly shipmates, that of the pious soldier in barracks with ungodly comrades, that of a godly citizen among scoffing fellow workmen. In all such cases God is able to make all grace abound to His servants. Faint not. God by placing you in a post of trial has assigned to you a post of honour. Never try to effect a compromise between right and wrong.
III. TELLS HOW THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST ANIMATES ALL HIS FOLLOWERS. That spirit is love and sympathy. See how it breathes through these brotherly salutations. The age wants more of this spirit. What Christ requires is not so much uniformity of belief and worship as union of heart.
IV. ILLUSTRATES THE WAY IN WHICH CHRISTIANS MAY COMFORT AND HELP ONE ANOTHER.
1. The Philippians needed comfort. They had adversaries and were in danger of being terrified by this. The letter itself would afford deep consolation, this postscript especially so. The salutation was not much, but it showed that they were not forgotten at the throne of grace.
2. In many ways comfort and help may be afforded if there be only a little thoughtfulness. A truly sympathetic heart can give help with a look and a grasp of the hand. A too common sin is thoughtlessness. "Evil is wrought by want of thought, as well as want of heart." The youth in the midst of scoffing companions, the young girl in an ungodly house, the poor man battling with poverty, the discouraged Christian worker — what might not be done by a timely and kind word.
V. A SUGGESTION OF THE WAY IN WHICH OUR CONDUCT BECOMES EXAMPLE AND INFLUENCE TO OTHERS. Little did the Roman saints think that their salutations would be preserved and handed down through the centuries for the use of the Church. Kind words can never die. Neither can kind actions. Our names may perish but we shall live. Who these saints were we cannot tell. Nevertheless their power is felt today.
Parallel VersesKJV: All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.