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Summary: Paul’s three-fold call to patch up broken relationships, pray for all things with thanksgiving and practice positive values, so that we will know the peace of God and the God of Peace.

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Philippians 4:2-9 ¡V ¡§Patching, Praying and Practicing¡¨

By James Galbraith

First Baptist Church, Port Alberni

November 12, 2006

Text

2I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, 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 Cle-ment and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable¡X if anything is excellent or praiseworthy¡Xthink about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me¡Xput it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Background

Paul is speaking to people suffering from isolation, persecution, and strife in the ranks of the church

- despite strife, a very caring and loving church that supports Paul in his work

- speaking from prison himself, having been locked up for sharing faith

- this passage wraps up the bulk of the letter, which has focused on restoring unity to church

In these thoughts he describes how three different things,

patching, prayer and practice,

will help us all to better experience both

the God of peace and the peace of God that we all seek.

Patching

Vss. 2-3 - I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, 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.

Allow me to share a story that relates to the two women mentioned here.

A sea captain and his chief engineer were arguing over who was most

important to the ship. To prove their point to each other, they decided to

swap places. The chief engineer ascended to the bridge, and the captain went to the engine room.

Several hours later, the captain suddenly appeared on deck covered with oil and dirt. "Chief!" he yelled, waving aloft a monkey wrench. "You have to get down there: I can’t make her go!"

"Of course you can’t," replied the chief. "She’s run aground!"

On a team we don’t excel each other; we depend on each other.

These verses address two of the combatants that are at the heart of fighting in the church of Philippi.

Notice how Paul names them, Euodia and Syntyche,

but not the battle that they are fighting!

Imagine trying that in church today!

When we disagree, we tend to talk about issues

and pretend not to refer to the people in the battle.

Paul takes the exact opposite approach,

probably because he feels that this was a personality based argument,

and not a issue based one. He¡¦s honest enough to direct his words to the people, knowing that they can find a way to work together.

He brings others in the church into the conflict,

so that they can help these two see eye to eye.

So often, when we fight, we just need to have someone else help us understand the other¡¦s point of view.

And Paul also mentions both the gospel and the Book of Life to remind them all that they have much more important issues to work on together.

The gospel is the core of what has brought them together, and the Book Of Life represents the eternal reward that they all look forward too.

Prayer

Vss. 4-7 ¡V 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Essentially, this passage is a promise of peace rooted in prayer

as we bring our lives closer to God¡¦s ideal for us,

through prayer and active living,

we will know more of God¡¦s peace in our lives,

and we will be more aware of God¡¦s presence in our lives

- as you hear and meditate upon these words,

remember that they are principles for us to learn to live by, and not measuring sticks meant to clobber us when we don¡¦t live up to them perfectly

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