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Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  38:59
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At first glance there doesn’t seem to be much to the passage we are going to look at tonight
Three short verses about a conflict within the church
There’s really not even much detail
But this is an emminently practical passage about how to handle correction within the church
Division is poisonous to the church
300 Quotations for Preachers One Lamb Worrying Another

Discord and division become no Christian. For wolves to worry the lambs, is no wonder; but for one lamb to worry another, this is unnatural and monstrous.

Genuine Love

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In most cases this transition requires the reader to asκ what has come before
In this case it points not ony to what has come before, but to what is to come
Paul expresses his genuine love for the Philippians in five distinct statements
my beloved brethren
Throughout the letter he has addressed the Philippian believers in this manner
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Here he is emphasizing his love for them and their kindred spirit as fellow children of God
whom I long to see
Even in his condition in prison Paul longs to see his friends
This phrase carries with it that deep, gutural need for a friend or loved one that you have left
In the Navy we used to call this channel fever - as our deployment comes to an end, our thoughts turn to the family we have left behind and our desire to see them
my joy
Here the Philippians are the cause of Paul’s joy
This is a contrast to what he wrote to them in
Philippians 2:2 NASB
make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
Here he is literally calling them the source of his joy
Paul took great joy in the growth and development of the churches he had planted
my crown
this is a reference to the wreath that would be bestowed upon a successful athlete at the Olympic games or to an accomplished visitor at a banquet
Paul is pointing to the Philippians as evidence of his successful venture among them on behalf of the Gospel
my beloved
He reiterates his love for them as he is about to issue a stern rebuke to them personally
There are only two times in the epistle that he sternly rebukes the Philippian believers - here and
This is true love - the willingness to tell the truth or to confront.
Proverbs 27:6 NASB
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.
proverbs 27
Not like the world loves - the world says you can be whatever you want to be and calls it love.
The most loving thing one can do is to warn or confront someone when they are doing the wrong thing
But first he admonishes them to stand firm
This is both to stand firm in light of what he has just told them
Not to rely on their own strengths
To seek Christ
To stand on the strength of the Gospel
and to stand firm in the task he is about to lay out before them
Stability is a core issue for Paul as he writes the churches
1 Corinthians 15:58 NASB
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 16:13 NASB
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
To the troubled church in Galatia he would write
Galatians 5:1 NASB
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Three times he commands the Ephesians to stand firm
Colossians 2:5 NASB
For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.
And earlier in Philippians he wrote the core verse of the entire book
Philippians 1:27 NASB
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
It is necessary to be willing to stand firm not only against incursions from outside of the church but also against needless divisions from within.
There is always the need to stand firm for the Gospel
2 Timothy 4:2 NASB
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
But there is also the need to stamp out divisions that do not impact the overall truths of Scripture
300 Quotations for Preachers Many Doctrinal Differences Must Be Tolerated

He that is not a son of peace, is not a son of God. All other sins destroy the church consequentially, but division and separation demolish it directly. Building the church is but an orderly joining of the materials; and what then is disjoining, but pulling down? Many doctrinal differences must be tolerated in a church. And why, but for unity and peace? Therefore, disunion and separation is utterly intolerable.


Spiritual Maturity

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On the part of Euodia and Syntyche
It demonstrates a great amount of spiritual maturity on the part of these two women that they could be called out publicly like this and accept it.
These women were not simply two busybodies who would get themselves in a huff over being addressed in this manner
In the church today this probably wouldn’t happen
There is a significant resistance to the practice of church discipline or even telling someone they’re wrong
In 2015 a church by the name of Watermark Church reached out to one of its then members with the following letter:
They were blasted on social media after the letter was posted
“I just wanted you to know that the actions against you … do not represent all Christians and offend many,” writes a woman.
“Reading this while reflecting on the person Jason is,” notes another, “I can’t help but to feel hurt and angry. At the same time, I also feel fortunate to work for a church that lives by the words ‘Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors’.”
Yet here we have two ostensibly prominent women of the church being called out publicly with strong language to settle their differences
These women were potentially among those who began the church
Paul will later refer to them as those “who have shared my struggle in the cause of the Gospel”
This is reminiscent of how he characterized the whole church in
Philippians 1:7 NASB
For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.
Unfortunately history doesn’t divulge for us what the outcome was
On the part of Paul
Being confident that the women would recieve this rebuke well
He appeals to them to settle their disagreement because they belong to the Lord.
Philippians 4:2 NLT
Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement.
This is the fruit of the prayer he has prayed over the Philippians
Philippians 1:9 NASB
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,
Discretion in broadcasting whatever the issue is
We are never told what the issue is
Some issues don’t need to come to light - except for those who need to be involved in resolving the issue
Proverbs 15:2 NASB
The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly.
300 Quotations for Preachers from the Early Church Advice for Living in Christian Community

Do not strive after division, but bring peace to the ones who fight. Judge justly, do not show favoritism when bringing sins to light.


James 3:5–6 NASB
So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.
It is important that when issues like this come up that they be handled in as discreet a manor as possible
Matthew 18:15–17 NASB
“And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.“But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.“And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer.
matthew 18:
There are times that discipline is necessary
And there are times that an issue is so public that it takes a public response to repair it
The ultimate goal is to restore harmony in the Lord
300 Quotations for Preachers Arguing about Food, and Not Eating It

Two learned doctors are angrily discussing the nature of food, and allowing their meal to lie untasted, while a simple countryman is eating as heartily as he can of that which is set before him. The religious world is full of quibblers, critics, and sceptics, who, like the doctors, fight over Christianity without profit either to themselves or others; those are far happier who imitate the farmer and feed upon the Word of God, which is the true food of the soul. Luther’s prayer was, “From nice questions the Lord deliver us.”


It Takes A Village

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Paul now turns his attention to the rest of the body in Philippi
There has been much speculation as to who the “true comrade” is
As well as Clement
and the rest of the Paul’s fellow workers
The important point is that our Christian life is meant to be lived in community and shared with one another.
47 times in the New Testament there are “One Another” commands for the church
60% of these are written by the Apostle Paul
1/3 of them involve unity in the church - seems like this was anticipated to be an issue
Paul asks that the Philippi community “help these women”
There is a lot of Scriptural precedence for this approach
Moses appointing leaders of the Israelites -
The Apostles and the Hellenist widows -
The Council of Jerusalem determining how to approach the Gentile’s conversion -
Sometimes there are public issues which need to be addressed by the body of the church
These don’t affect the eternal condition of a person - each of these people’s names was still found in the Lamb’s Book of Life.


Love one another, stand fast in unity, and suffer no dissensions among yourselves. For it is the unity that comes of a true faith which will preserve you safe unto God. May God in His turn mercifully grant unto you a successful issue that you may overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil!


Unity in a body full of those who have been redeemed but are still battling the flesh is generally tenuous at best - but when we submit to the Gospel we are ushered not only into a new citizenship but also a new body of believers, brothers and sisters in the Lord, and are commanded to support, grow and sometimes admonish one another.
Proverbs 27:17 NASB
Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.
Iron being rubbed across another piece of iron to sharpen it is a violent, grating act - and it hurts. However we can rest assured that our Heavenly Father is seeking to work through these times to mold us and to help us in walking worthy of the calling that we have received - the calling of the Gospel.
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