Read Philippians 4:2-9
Paul introduces us to two women, Euodia and Syntyche, and we don’t really know who these two women were and what the actual issue was.
Paul entreats (literally begs) them to “agree”—this is really the word “to have the same mind” we saw in 2:2 and 2:5
It has gotten so bad that Paul asks for a mediator— a loyal “yokefellow”—again we don’t know who it is but some scholars suggest his name is Syzygus.
This probably wasn’t an issue of heresy or immorality. If that were the case it would require total church discipline. It was probably a petty thing that got out of control.
We need to always be on guard against gossip, slander, backbiting, and divisions. How would you like your name to show up in the Bible and all that was known about you was that you were a troublemaker who was causing problems in the church?
You may not always agree with me as Pastor, or some of the decisions of elders, or some of the things that we do here at Emmanuel, and that is totally fine. We are called to unified, not always unanimous. We will always have differences of opinions on secondary issues and matters of preference.
As we move forward as a church, it is imperative that we grow in Christian maturity to handle conflict Biblically. Too many times I have seen believers gossip, and spread rumors and wreak havoc instead of going directly to the other person and gently confronting them in Christ.
If someone comes to you and begins to gossip about another person, I challenge you to silence them and tell them that you will have no part in the conversation.
Read Ephesians 4:25-32
Do you know what grieves the Holy Spirit of God? When Christians gossip, lie, spread rumors, do not forgive, backbite, and devour one another instead of showing kindness, compassion, patience, and humility.
Don’t be a Euodia or Syntyche!
Read Philippians 4:4-9
These verses naturally divide into two sections. 4-7 and 8-9 and they unite around the theme of peace.
Paul repeats the command to “rejoice” twice.
In verse 5 the ESV translates it “reasonableness”—it’s a very hard word in the Greek. It means gentleness or graciousness.
In light of the Second Coming, why is being gracious and gentle a good testimony to a watching world? Go back to 2:14-15
Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything.
Read Matthew 6:25-34 and count how many times Jesus tells us not to be anxious.
This is the beauty of prayer. We can go to our heavenly Father and make our requests known to Him. We can approach His throne of grace with help in time of need.
Read Matthew 6:7-13
In this model prayer, Jesus tells us first and foremost to being our prayers addressing and worshipping a holy God who is in heaven. We come to the Father pleading for His will and kingdom to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Our prayers start with worship and adoration and humility.
But they also move to requests. We can ask God for daily bread. We can ask God to forgive us. We can ask God to give us help in our times of temptation. We can ask God for anything that would be within His will and bring Him glory.
So in our anxiety, we must plead and ask and beg and go to God as a needy child who is loved by a generous Father.
One thing we don’t see in this passage is HOW and WHEN God answers prayer. All it says is that we will experience peace. God may not answer our prayers in the way that we think He should have. He may not answer our prayers in the timing that we think He should have. Our Father knows best.
But yet regardless of our circumstances, He does promise to grant us this unusual peace, which will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
The word “guard” is a military term implying that peace stands on duty to keep out anything that brings care or anxiety.
What are you anxious about today? What is lying heavy on your heart? What burden consumes your thoughts?
Read 1 Peter 5:6-7
Go to your heavenly Father through the merits of Christ alone in the power of the Spirit and ask Him to calm your anxiety. Cast all your cares upon Him. Throw all of your burdens at God—He can handle it! He cares for You and deeply loves you!
Dear Good and Gracious Father,
I come to You today and cast all my cares upon You, because You deeply care about me. I come to You through the merits of Christ alone! I deeply desire Your peace that passes understanding. Thank you for listening to me and for being my great Heavenly Father. I may have many things today that are making me anxious, but I focus on You and Your provision. Please calm my heart and give me the assurance of both Your power and Your presence.
In Jesus’ Name,