Summary: This message looks at the trouble to the church and the solution for the church when we bring outside arguments in.
A TROUBLING ISSUE TAKES ROOT IN THE CHURCH
Philippians 4:2-5 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. 3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
PROPOSITION: FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST CANNOT ALLOW THEIR DISPUTES TO INJURE THE CHURCH.
INTRODUCTION: IT IS EASY TO SEE HOW EXTERNALS CAN EASILY INFLUENCE THE CHURCH. WE SEE SOMETHING, OR WE HEAR SOMETHING, OR WE READ SOMETHING AND THEN ALLOW IT TO COME INTO THE CHURCH. IT IS INCORPORATED IN OUR DISCUSSIONS, IT NAGS AT US DURING WORSHIP, AND SAPS OUR PASSION THAT SHOULD BE DIRECTED TOWARDS CHRIST. WHAT WE DO NOT REALIZE AS EASILY IS THAT WE ARE NOT ONLY THE CARRIERS OF THIS PLAGUE OF CARNAL INFLUENCE, WE CAN ALSO, IF WE ARE NOT CAREFUL BE THE SOURCE OF THIS SPIRITUALLY NEGATIVE INFLUENCE. SAD AS IT IS TO SAY, WHEN THIS HAPPENS, WE NOW HAVE A FAR GREATER DANGER, AND INTERNAL INFLUENCE; A SITUATION THAT HAS GOTTEN IN THROUGH OUR GATES. AND WE ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE LET IT IN.
TRANSITION: SO, IN OUR TIME TOGETHER TODAY, LET US LOOK TO IDENTIFY THE STRUGGLE AND EMBRACE THE SOLUTION.
OPENING ILLUSTRATION: THE GERMAN PHILOSOPHER, SCHOPENHAUER, COMPARED THE HUMAN RACE TO A BUNCH OF PORCUPINES HUDDLING TOGETHER ON A COLD WINTER'S NIGHT. HE SAID, "THE COLDER IT GETS OUTSIDE, THE MORE WE HUDDLE TOGETHER FOR WARMTH; BUT THE CLOSER WE GET TO ONE ANOTHER, THE MORE WE HURT ONE ANOTHER WITH OUR SHARP QUILLS."
I. THE STRUGGLE IN THE CHURCH
a. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ISSUE
b. PAUL USES THE WORD “URGE”
i. USES IT TWICE IN THE SAME VERSE
ii. ONCE FOR EACH OF THE PARTICIPANTS
1. EUODIA, WHOSE NAME MEANS PROSPEROUS JOURNEY
2. SYNTYCHE, WHOSE NAME MEANS PLEASANT ACQUAINTANCE
3. NEITHER OF WHICH AT THIS POINT ARE LIVING UP TO THEIR NAME!
c. PAUL SEES AN INTERNAL ISSUE IN THE CHURCH THAT IS A THREAT TO THE CHURCH
i. THE ISSUE IS NOT DOCTRINAL, OR PAUL WOULD HAVE SIDED WITH ONE AND DEALT WITH THE OTHER
d. TO BE CLEAR, THERE ARE ISSUES OVER WHICH CONFLICT IS ACCEPTABLE
i. ISSUES OF TRUTH AND DOCTRINE ARE ISSUES WE SHOULD STAND OUR GROUND ON
ii. WE DO NOT COMPROMISE DOCTRINE
iii. WE DO NOT COMPROMISE WITH THE WORLD
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Philippians 2:15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,
e. THE ISSUE IS AN ISSUE WITH HARMONY THAT HAS COME INSIDE THE CHURCH FROM OUTSIDE THE CHURCH. IT THREATENS THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH
i. DISAGREEMENTS IN THE CHURCH, WHEN ALLOWED TO GROW WILL AFFECT AND HINDER THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH
ii. WE ARE ENCOURAGED TO HAVE UNITY IN THE CHURCH
iii. IT IS A CONCERN PAUL HAS EXPRESSED SEVERAL TIMES
Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,
Philippians 1:27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Philippians 2:2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
Philippians 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.
f. NOTICE THE CHARACTER OF THOSE INVOLVED
i. THEY WERE BELIEVERS
ii. THEY HAVE SHARED IN THE STRUGGLE FOR THE CHURCH WITH PAUL HIMSELF
1. MATURE BELIEVERS
2. FAITHFUL BELIEVERS
3. COMMITTED BELIEVERS
iii. THEY WERE AT ODDS WITH EACH OTHER OVER AN ISSUE UNIMPORTANT TO THE CHURCH, YET NOWS SEEKS TO DIVIDE THE CHURCH.
1. DID NOT UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS ROOM FOR MORE THAN ONE OPINION IN THE CHURCH
2. DID NOT UNDERSTAND THAT DIVERSITY IS NOT DIVISION
3. DID NOT COMPREHEND THAT DISAGREEMENT DOES NOT NECESSITATE DEPARTURE
TWO THINGS TO NOTE:
THIS CONFLICT HURTS THE CHURCH
THIS CONFLICT CENTERED AROUND TWO MATURE, COMMITTED, AND FAITHFUL BELIEVERS
II. THE SOLUTION FOR THE CHURCH