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Philippians 4:1-3

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How is camaraderie built?

The charge to not give up and stay together falls on deaf ears when those admonished do not see a cause or have not faced much together. As we continue to the end of the letter to the Philippians and the culminating call to unity, it is important to consider the bond between Paul and the Philippian church.
Video Illustration of Browning Brothers
Observe the relationship beginnings and 10 year journey Paul had with this Philippian church
Nostalgic Beginnings
Acts 16:13–15 NKJV
And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.
When Paul and Silas entered the city, they did not go the usual synagogue. 10 men were required in order to have a synagogue.
These are the first converts in Macedonia
God opened Lydia’s heart in such a way that she insisted on Paul and Silas finding lodging at her place
Acts 16:20 NKJV
And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city;
They faced the rejection together of those in the city.
Acts 16:32–33 NKJV
Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.
They experienced the warm embrace of another household who came to Christ.
Acts 16:40 NKJV
So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.
1 Thessalonians 2:2 NKJV
But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.
2 Corinthians 8:2–4 NKJV
that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
2 Corinthians 11:8–9 NKJV
I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.
Philippians 1:5–7 NKJV
for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.
Paul reflects back on this church as a young couple would look back on that first one-bedroom apartment with no laundry facility and a small budget or as many of us can look back on camp days with swarms of mosquitos, mud, no water, and no electricity. They are memories we don’t necessarily want to repeat but we wouldn’t exchange. It is something shared and overcome together.

What Sustains Comrades in Difficulty?

Our citizenship is in heaven. We are getting close to home.
We have a Savior who will transform these lowly bodies.
It looks impossible, but the same power that raised Christ from the dead will accomplish this
When a group shares this history and hope together, they develop a lingo of names and nicknames for each other. Listen to the lingo of Paul for these dear people.

How Do Comrades Communicate?

Philippians 4:1 NKJV
Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.
Brother- there is a closeness and a natural tie because of our relationship with God.
Loved- God not only changes our position with one another. He changes our affection for one another. (Contrast with false leaders who glory in themselves and their appetites.
Long for- We have seen previously how Paul and Epaphroditus yearned to be with the people in Philippi. I see a pattern throughout Philippians. In Philippians 1:23, Paul has a strong desire to depart and be with Christ. That does not negate the strong desire to be with God’s people. The longing for the resurrection does not negate his striving to press on now.
Joy- eyes can only be off of self for people to be a joy; otherwise they will only stand in the way of what you desire. Laboring for another’s joy is the only way to be joyful oneself. This is an interesting dynamic of life in Christ. One is being spent while laboring with Christ, but he is also being replenished.
Crown- There is no boasting in heaven over one’s work. There is a boasting in people. If i understand Scripture right, one would not be boasting of what he accomplished in people. There seems to be something verifying about those in whom you invest going on in obedience.

What does Camaraderie look like in action?

Stay at it together
Difficulty seems to make effort pointless.
It is easy to assume someone’s motive. You know why he/she did it.
It is easy to focus on your rights or agenda being forsaken
It is easy to go into preservation mode which blinds you to your own need.
It is something you must do together. One doesn’t do this alone
This requires humility
It resists the temptation to complain.
It obeys in what it knows to do.
Philippians 4:2 NKJV
I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.
Keep the same goals
Forward advance is the growth of the gospel cause among believers and unbelievers alike
My brother/sisters interests are more important than mine
Now is not the time for exaltation.
Getting my way is not the means of exaltation.
The meek ones are the ones who inherit the earth
Philippians 4:3 NKJV
And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.
Help each other in conflict
This is the mark of maturity in Christ.
Paul is able to bring this matter up to comrades who have been committed to the fight
This is a mark of humility- seeing others as Christ sees them
True companion- share the same values and experience, comrade
Laborers- these ladies had fought alongside Paul in the cause of the gospel. The looked out for each other. They faced the enemies together (Samed word used in 1:27 of striving together)
Fellow workers- not seeing oneself as the only worker
Names written in the book of life- God has set his seal upon them and claimed them as his own.
Clement- may have been a spiritual leader in the church. This may tie to the admonition in chapter 2 to honor such men.
This requires discernment
Helping each other is not the work of busybodies (people who have nothing better to do than to meddle in other people’s business) - 1 Timothy 5. Proverbs 26:17 warns that he whoever meddles with conflict that is not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears.
If one is intent on caring for his own household and needs and still comes upon conflict, out of love for the body of Christ what should he do?
Helping each other in conflict is the responsibility of the body, but pastoral shepherding is very much needed.
The very fact that Paul had to tell someone to help these women out could very much be a good sign that one was not eager to jump in a fix things by himself.
Remember that concern is humble and committed to a cause greater than oneself. It is good to be slow to conclusions.
If God in His sovereignty has allowed you to see certain conflicts, it would be wise to go to the pastor and offer your observations and ask for his suggestions.
Prayer for the body of Christ is always something that one can do.
When you want to think that you can handle problems by yourself, remember strength is not measured in how much you can do without others.
When you see a brother make foolish choices, ask God for help with the attitude that feels superior for not making the foolish choice.
Continue to seek God’s help when you face the OT Elijah syndrome: I am doing this all alone.
Remember that your brother will be perfect one day
Remember winning is not gauged by who crosses first, but who you cross the finish line with.
“Frodo: I can't do this, Sam. Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness, and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it'll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something. Frodo: What are we holding on to, Sam? Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo...and it's worth fighting for.” ― J R R Tolkien
Another part in the arduous journery
“Come, Mr. Frodo!' he cried. 'I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you.”
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