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Summary: Part of a series in Philippians, this passage deals with dealing with conflict and promoting unity.

Break It Up

Phil. 4:1-3

Illus. (SC.com) Abe Lemmons was head basketball coach at the University of Texas for years. Asked if he was bitter at Texas Athletic Director Deloss Dodds who fired him…, he replied, "Not at all, but I plan to buy a glass-bottomed car so I can watch the look on his face when I run over him."

Today, we get to look at a subject that’s near and dear to all our hearts – conflict.

Please turn with me to Phil. 4:1-3 (Review).

Paul has spent 3 chapters encouraging the Philippians/us, but before he closes, he needs to take care of some business in the Church. Apparently, all is not well.

This passage really deals with how to practically handle conflict.

•So, while we take a close look at what this passage says, we’re going to take a longer look at how to apply it.

Prayer

I. PAUL’S PRAISE

1THEREFORE, MY BROTHERS, YOU WHOM I LOVE AND LONG FOR, MY JOY AND CROWN,

It’s probably better to connect this verse with Ch. 3 rather than Ch. 4.

Paul says, “Therefore, as you pursue Christ and wait for His return, this is how you should stand firm”.

That having been said, this verse is also a great bridge between his two topics of longing for heaven and living today.

Before Paul addresses the problem, he once again begins with praise.

•Before he tears them down, he builds them up – in 5 key ways.

A. He is related to them. MY BROTHERS,

This is the 5th time he calls them brothers. They’re his family in many respects.

He’s not exerting his power/authority. He’s one of them. He struggles like they do.

B. He loves them.

Lit. “my beloved brethren, whom I long to see.”

This is the same word as “dear friends” at the end of this verse.

We’ve seen this theme throughout his Letter. Paul deeply cares for these people.

C. He longs for them.

This word means “greatly desired.” He’s mentioned this before, too.

Phil. 1:8 GOD CAN TESTIFY HOW I LONG FOR ALL OF YOU WITH THE AFFECTION OF CHRIST JESUS.

D. They are his joy.

Paul rejoices over them - again.

Phil. 1:4 IN ALL MY PRAYERS FOR ALL OF YOU, I ALWAYS PRAY WITH JOY.

Phil. 2:2 MAKE MY JOY COMPLETE BY BEING LIKE-MINDED, HAVING THE SAME LOVE, BEING ONE IN SPIRIT AND PURPOSE.

E. They are his crown/reward.

(Phil. 3:12-14) Paul’s pursuit/goal was seeing Christ, but his crown was the Philippians.

•His reward was seeing them in glory with him.

1 Thes. 2:19-20 FOR WHAT IS OUR HOPE, OUR JOY, OR THE CROWN IN WHICH WE WILL GLORY IN THE PRESENCE OF OUR LORD JESUS WHEN HE COMES? IS IT NOT YOU? 20INDEED, YOU ARE OUR GLORY AND JOY.

Now that Paul has reiterated his love and praise for the Philippians, he makes his point.

II. PAUL’S POINT

THAT IS HOW YOU SHOULD STAND FIRM IN THE LORD, DEAR FRIENDS!

This is how you should stand firm against false teachers/persecution/fear/division.

Phil. 1:27-28 WHATEVER HAPPENS, CONDUCT YOURSELVES IN A MANNER WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. THEN, WHETHER I COME AND SEE YOU OR ONLY HEAR ABOUT YOU IN MY ABSENCE, I WILL KNOW THAT YOU STAND FIRM IN ONE SPIRIT, CONTENDING AS ONE MAN FOR THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL 28WITHOUT BEING FRIGHTENED IN ANY WAY BY THOSE WHO OPPOSE YOU.

This is how you should conduct yourselves.

•And speaking of conducting yourselves, there’s a problem that needs to be resolved.

•Again, Paul returns to the theme of unity – this time, it’s personal and practical.

III. PAUL’S PLEA

2I PLEAD WITH (urge, beseech, beg) EUODIA AND I PLEAD WITH SYNTYCHE TO AGREE WITH EACH OTHER IN THE LORD.

We don’t know anything about these women or the cause for their feud.

•It’s possible that they were prominent women in the church.

•To Paul, who they are and what they’re feuding over doesn’t matter.

Instead, he urgently pleads with each woman individually to break it up and reconcile.

What’s even more powerful is that Paul points specifically to 2 women in a letter that’s to be read to the whole church. Ouch!

•Apparently, their contention and division had become a serious matter.

Paul doesn’t tell us what the problem is, because what’s important is the solution.

A. Practical Unity

AGREE WITH EACH OTHER IN THE LORD. “Be of the same mind, live in harmony.” (11x in Phil.)

Put into practice what I told you in Phil. 2:1-4. (Humble yourselves, put others first)

The Philippians aren’t the only ones struggling with practical unity.

1 Cor. 1:10 I APPEAL TO YOU, BROTHERS, IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THAT ALL OF YOU AGREE WITH ONE ANOTHER SO THAT THERE MAY BE NO DIVISIONS AMONG YOU AND THAT YOU MAY BE PERFECTLY UNITED IN MIND AND THOUGHT.

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