Sunday, January 29, 2017

Paul's Epistles – Philippians - Part 10: Appeal for Unity

Paul's Epistles – Philippians - Part 10:
Appeal for Unity
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


Paul’s epistle (letter) to the Philippians is very important to the Gentiles. It was written to the first church founded in Europe (Acts 16:9-40).

Though not generally considered one of the most remarkable or deepest books of the bible, it is considered one of the sweetest of Paul’s writings.

It is more in the nature of a love letter to the Philippians, who had excelled all others in devoted attachment to Paul. Throughout this letter we get a glimpse into the apostle’s heart.

The Philippian church was noted for its generosity. It had repeatedly ministered to Paul (6:15 & 16).

Hearing Paul was imprisoned in Rome they sent help again by the hands of Epaphroditus (6:10 & 18), who, however, was struck down on his arrival by an almost fatal illness. Somehow news of this illness had reached Philippi, to their dismay, and on his recovery, Epaphroditus was anxious to reassure them in person (11:25-28), so Paul write this letter for him to take.

So this letter was written by Paul while in prison in Rome, and given to Epaphroditus to be taken back to the church in Philippi.

Paul focuses his letter on Church unity
He thanks God for all of them as one body
He tells them not to worry about his being in prison for it advances the gospel
Paul tells the believer to live a life “worthy” of the gospel
Paul says we must live imitating Christ and His humility

Paul appeals for steadfastness, unity, and gives final exhortations

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything,but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Paul opened his letter with a salutation to all, reminding the church they were not 2 factions, there was no “real” division, only a perceived one, created through sin.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
Christian unity to be maintained at all costs”.

a. Paul names the two women arguing in the congregation
                                            i. Yoodeeah and Soontookay

b. Therefore my Brothers and Sisters
                                            i. Speaking directly to the saved congregation in Philippi

                                         ii. You whom I love (all of them – unity)
1. Paul did not pick sides in the fight between the two people in the church

2. This proclaims his love for THEM

3. Calling them his joy and crown stated he took great pride in this church and their accomplishments for the Lord

                                      iii. Stand firm in the Lord in this way

c. I plead (beseech, desire, pray) that Yoodeeah and Soontookay be of the same mind in the Lord
                                            i. Paul addresses them both because their rupture had affected the entire church

                                         ii. Does not mean they were to blindly agree with everything the other says and does

                                      iii. However it DOES mean that they were to have unity and peace BECAUSE they were congregation members, followers of Christ, and were commanded to love one another as I Corinthians 13 states, putting the other before themselves.

                                       iv. If two are fighting, two are wrong, this is why Paul would not take a side.

d. Yes, I ask my true companion (who is not identified in the scripture)
                                            i. Help these women since they have contended at my side in the case of the Gospel

                                         ii. Along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers

                                      iii. Whose names are in the Book of Life (Heavens roster, the only membership in the church that matters)
1. Paul calls on friends and co-workers to help the ladies resolve the issue

2. The resolution was simple
a. As Paul explained in earlier verses, stop being selfish and self-centered

b. Be Spiritually Mature

c. And love others with a I Corinthian love

d. Putting their needs before your own

a. Let your gentleness (moderation) be evident to all

                                            i. The Lord is near (referring to the Rapture)

                                         ii. Not meaning to rejoice for all things that happen, rather rejoice no matter what is happening

1. Paul is preaching Emotional Well-Being
a. Being of stable mind regardless of events around you

2. This emotional well-being begins with Rejoicing in the Lord!

                                      iii. GENTLENESS should have been translated “moderation”

1. Meaning being satisfied with less than what you are due
a. Or, being humble

b. Not “requiring” from others what you believe is due to you

c. This is self-centered behavior

d. Our humility should be made known to all

b. Do not be anxious (LIT. careful: worry) about anything
                                            i. But in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving (what God HAS done for us, and shall continue in the future)

                                         ii. Present your requests (Material, Physical and Spiritual) to God
1. CURE FOR WORRY: believe in prayer

c. And you will have the peace of God
                                            i. The peace of God

                                         ii. Which transcends (goes beyond or exceeds) ALL understanding

                                      iii. This guards your HEARTS and MINDS in Christ Jesus

a. Finally Brothers and Sisters
                                            i. Whatever is TRUE
                                         ii. Whatever is NOBLE
                                      iii. Whatever is RIGHT
                                       iv. Whatever is PURE
                                          v. Whatever is LOVELY
                                       vi. Whatever is ADMIRABLE
                                    vii. Anything that is EXCELLENT
                                 viii. Anything that is PRAISEWORTHY

b. Think about such things
                                            i. This CAN be done! Providing we allow the Holy Spirit to work within us and we do NOT quench His work!

                                         ii. To change their “thinking”

                                      iii. So they too could have a “Mind like Christ”

                                       iv. To rid their thoughts of;
1. Lies
2. Unsocial
3. Wrong
4. Impure
5. Ugly
6. Very bad
7. Blameworthy

                                          v. This NEGATIVE thinking is what causes bickering, fighting, this wrong way of thinking only leads to discord and division in the church

                                       vi. Paul wants to remind us to have a mind like Christ, to change our thinking

c. Whatever you have learned, received, heard from me or seen in me
                                            i. Put into practice (DO)
1. James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

                                         ii. And the Peace of God WILL be with you!

CONCLUSION – the peace of god

The Peace of God can be explained in Philippians 4 as this;
·        We come to God (meaning we already belong to Him, obtained Salvation)

·        We come to Him in every situation
o   By Prayer and Petition
o   With Thanksgiving in our hearts

·        We present our REQUESTS

BECAUSE we do this;
·     We obtain the Peace of God

o           Which removes ALL anxiety, worry, fear, stress about an issue

·                             This Peace of God WILL go BEYOND and EXCEED ALL understanding

·                             And it guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus

o           The Heart symbolizing the center of hidden emotional/intellectual/moral activity

o           The Minds symbolizing expression/action/choices

In other words, when we are stressed, worried or anxious about any situation, we turn to God with prayer, petition, thanksgiving and request (in that order), and we WILL receive the Peace of God, and it will protect our hearts and minds and give us peace beyond comprehension.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

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