Summary: In all situations the Peace of God is avaliable to all who will bring their concerns to Him.
I’d like to say that as someone who’s been living as a Christian for two thirds of my life that I’ve got it completely sussed, that when it comes to tools of the faith I never forget to use the right one and that I know just how to use it. BUT!
Mate you’d worry sheep, they shoot dogs that worry, you’d be a worry, “your middle names not ‘Worry’ is it”, don’t be such a worry wart, Don’t worry you’ve got plenty of time, money, help, advice! These are all comments that at some stage or other have been aimed at me. Now this was probably because I’ve over the years had a few worries, caused a few worries and I’ve worried, and been anxious quite a lot.
Worry is an interesting thing the English word ‘worry’ comes from an Anglo-Saxon word that means “to strangle”, not a nice thought really.
Did you know that if we get anxious, which is according to Wikipedia worry with an emotional content. Physically three things happen: we start to sweat, our heart rates increase and there’s a rise in blood pressure. Straight up it’s not good for us to worry!
Well even the saints of old were not immune to these things. Paul writes to the Philippians about not being anxious, which when we look at the Greek word means ‘worry or concern’ because like all real people they had real issues going on in their lives.
We read in this part of Paul’s letter that two of the ladies who were members of the church at Philippi had had a bit of a falling out, here is Paul ‘pleading’ with them to agree with each other in the Lord. We don’t know what the problem was; maybe Euodia had borrowed a few talents off Syntyche and was slow in paying them back. Maybe both of them fancied that handsome bloke; Quintus Markus who sat in the back row and drove the latest model chariot and they had had a falling out over him. Maybe it was about ones comments about the way the other managed their business or household. We have no idea what the issue was but there was a problem, so much so that the news had reached Paul, who at this time around 61 A.D is thought to be under a type of house arrest in Rome.
So what was Paul’s advice? Let’s read from verse two down to verse nine.
There’s a bit in here; a request from Paul to his loyal yokefellow, or a well respected fellow worker in the Church to actually help these women. This is something that we should all do if we find conflict between two people in the church is to help them resolve the conflict. Some will say that there should never be any disagreements in the church, but guess what it happens! The sooner it is resolved the better, disagreements do not have to cause ongoing pain and upset.
Paul lays out a series of steps to resolve such in-house hissy fits, it’s not along the lines of "build a bridge and get over it" which seems to be a modern approach to many problems. His advice is actually really good.
1) Step 1 the first Tool of the Faith mentioned in this sermon. Rejoice! Not just rejoice but REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS! And as if to drive home his point Paul says it again, “And I will say it again rejoice!” (Phil 4:4b)
We don’t know the circumstance that had occurred in Philippi, but even in our lives it is not always possible to be happy. You fail the exam you needed to get into University, you fall out with someone, a friend dies, you crash the car, you get made redundant or your leave is cancelled. At some point in your life in some circumstance you will find it near on impossible, if not impossible to be happy for a time.
But you can rejoice in the Lord, we rejoice not just in good times but because of our salvation, the freedom and abundant life that we have gained through Jesus.
Even though life may be full of pain and suffering we can still rejoice in the sure and certain hope that we have in Christ Jesus.
Happiness is controlled by external circumstance but joy is something that does not have to be controlled by external factors, joy is something we have because of our understanding of God’s love for us and our relationship with him, his deep abiding love.
In the next verse Paul says to his readers “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” What does he mean by this?
2) As we know gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, Paul writes about this in Galatians 5.