6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: Paul has some encouragement and advice for two prominent women in the church at Philippi, “Euodias, and Syntyche” (“Fragrance” and “Felicity). His advice is that they “be of the same mind in the Lord,” thus making a pointed personal application of his previous application to the church.

Date: 5/18/19

Lesson #29

Title: A Plea For Them To Be Of One Mind (Phil. 4:2-3)

• “Special Notes” and “Scripture” are shown as endnotes.

• NIV Bible is used throughout unless noted otherwise.

Scripture: (Philippians 4:2-3, NIV)

(2) I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. (3)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.

Introduction

Having carefully prepared the ground by stressing the need for unity and humility throughout the letter (1:27; 2:1-5, 14), Paul is ready at last to deal with a sharp personality clash between two prominent women whose quarrel evidentially threatened the peace and harmony of the whole church (v. 3). This is the kind of unsavory notoriety we would do well to shun.

Commentary

(4:2) I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.

Paul has some encouragement and advice for two prominent women in the church at Philippi, “Euodias, and Syntyche” (“Fragrance” and “Felicity). We know nothing about them beyond the fact that they had quarreled. His exhortation is that they “be of the same mind in the Lord,” thus making a pointed personal application of his previous application to the church (2:2). It is probable that the hints of church disharmony to which Paul had frequently alluded earlier in the epistle (1:9, 27; 2:1-4, 5, 14) had some connection to these two individuals. The scriptures do not tell us what the difficulty was; but although women did not have a place of leadership in the church {3], their influence was nevertheless sufficient to introduce an element of disharmony. While there does not seem to have been a real clash or serious church falling-out leading to a church split, however, their differences apparently did affect the close spirit of fellowship and harmony that should characterize the people of God.

Paul is careful not to take sides, he doesn’t question their motives or their Christianity, and his exhortation points out that if they both had the mind of the Lord the disharmony will disappear. Not only does he not take sides, but he also doesn’t make a list of things that may have caused the quarrel. He doesn’t question or scold any of the people involved, and he doesn’t suggest any disciplinary action the church should use against those creating the disturbance. He does, however, name in a forthright manner the people involved. Then Paul calls on them to find a place of agreement in the Lord. In other words, even though there may be points of disagreement between them, they are to find common ground? those places of agreement in Christ? and build their fellowship around those. There is a very profound meaning in this idea. As Christians, our relationships with one another are not to be viewed as independent of our faith. Rather, they are all to be viewed in relationship to Christ and our faith.

In every work of God, human personalities can sometimes introduce elements of disharmony. Common faith in Christ and a common desire to serve Him do not necessarily adjust personal differences and do not always unite everyone in a course of action. The road to smoothing out these differences is found when Christians achieve “the same mind in the Lord.” When this is realized, differences in minor details of doctrine and in practical matters can be adjusted. But too often human pride, the stubbornness of the flesh, and personal ambition for prominence get in the way. Paul’s exhortation emphasizes that Christians who are really yielded to the Lord should be able to resolve their differences. Even though they may not all be of precisely the same opinion they should all be able to find a meeting place in the mind of the Lord.

The exhortation to Euodias and Syntyche is followed by an appeal to one entitled

“my true companion” (The KJV has “true yokefellow”), who is most likely to be someone in the Philippian church. Other suggestions have been made that the descriptive title may refer to Timothy, Silas, Paul’s wife, or the husbands of Euodias and Syntyche but the best solution is that it is addressed to Epaphroditus who would carry this letter to the Philippian church.

(4:3) 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.

Euodias and Syntyche were not authorized to serve in the office of public evangelist or to assume a place commonly held by men in the church, it is most significant that he does refer to them as those who “have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel.” Apparently, some of the men had also been Paul’s “co-workers.” While they had not usurped the place of a man, they had supplemented Paul’s ministry, no doubt especially in reaching women and children and had labored with [1}Clement and others. Such labors were to be recognized.

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