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Improbable Joy – Philippians 4:1-3

Apr 22, 2024

Paul goes on in his letter to address the division in the church that is being caused by two ladies, Eodia and Synteche. But before he address this issue, he begins by letting the church in Philippi know how much he loves them. He is reminding them that they are loved by God, and then by him. Love is the hallmark of the church, even before Truth, holiness, and integrity. He calls them his “joy and crown”. He is saying that they are his reward and he finds joy in them.

Paul tells the church to “stand firm”. This is a military term for a soldier standing in a battle and not retreating. Pastor Alex said this morning, “When life gets sideways, don’t scoot over or out…scoot in”.

As a reminder, when Paul first goes to Philippi, there is no Jewish synagogue. The law required at least 10 men to form one, but there weren’t any. Paul went to a riverside and found women praying there. It is likely that Eodia and Synteche were among the women. This is the only time their names are mentioned, and for the last 2000 years, people know them for their disagreement in the church! Paul is moved to action because their disagreement has brought division into the church. Our unity in Christ proves the Truth of the gospel and disunity kills our witness.

When Paul uses these words he has his mind fixed on the day of Christ and our gathering together to Him. It is part of Paul’s love for his Christian friends that he longs for them to. e ready and acceptable to Christ on the day of his return. He sees them in the light of Calvary, where they were purchased, and of the return of Christ by which they will be gathered into glory.

A. We fight for our unity – the command is for the loyal companion to make the first move. We must see where division is happening and help reconcile.

B. We have a common goal – To agree on the gospel is the most fundamental form of unity; it involves a unity of mind and heart as to the doctrine and personal experience of salvation. It is against the nature of the church to confess unity in heaven and practice disunity on earth.

Personal conflict must be addressed, or else the entire church will suffer.

Questions to consider:

  1. How have you seen disagreement hurt the witness of the church? How does unaddressed conflict in the home impact the relationships of your family?
  2. Is there someone you need to go to because there is a conflict? Why does matter that you address the situation?
  3. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you need to reconcile with someone. Ask for the humility to go to that person so that unity can be restored.