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Philippians 4:2-3

 

4:2 I urge Euodia (You-o-dia) and I urge Syntyche (Soon-2-chay) to have the same mind in the Lord.

 

3 Indeed, I ask you also, genuine co-worker,

please assist these women,

who labored side by side with me in the Gospel,

with Clement also

and with the rest of my fellow laborers,

whose names are written in the Book of Life

 

 

Introduction

Our text this morning continues the fifth major section of Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

 

Notice then the story thus far: in this firth section Paul has turned his attention from the external concerns of living in a hostile and fallen world to address internal matters within the church.

 

Thus, as Paul draws his letter to a close, this last portion of section 5 stands as an intimate and affectionate conversation among the family members of the body of Christ. Paul’s purpose here is to show us those things that we as believers are to embrace. That is, Paul turns to show us those things that promote and maintain a healthy and growing faith.

 

Now already in verse 1 Paul encouraged us to stand firm in the Lord. That is, we are not to neglect or compromise our faith. Instead, we are to nurture our walk and strive to live for Christ in every aspect of our daily life.

 

For the remainder of this 5th section Paul is going to unfold what standing firm looks like in everyday life.

 

 

Verse 2

Notice at once Paul turns to address Euodia and Syntyche, who are two active and important women in the life of the Philippian congregation. Not only that notice the reason for Paul’s address: there appears to be some sort of friction between them. However, notice the surprise: Paul does not pull them aside to talk with them one on one nor does he send a private correspondence. Instead, Paul addresses these two women in front of the entire congregation. Why? It seems (especially given the content of verse 3), that the friction between these two ladies has spilled over and has begun to adversely affect the life of the entire congregation. In other words, instead of promoting the health of the congregation their conduct has begun to set an unhealthy and counterproductive example. Not only that, their prominence within the congregation means that their correction/healing will not only benefit the church but will also provide a very visible demonstration of the healthy path that Paul intends for all God’s people. Simply put, Paul’s words to these ladies are given publically because it is something that all believers (both then and now) need to hear.

 

Next, notice what Paul says to these ladies: Paul says I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche. Importance: notice that Paul repeats his instruction to both ladies individually. Why? Paul’s repetition conveys the heartfeltness of Paul’s instruction as well as it its importance/seriousness. In other words, the picture verse 2 provides is that of a parent who calls their two children into the room and then turns to each one, looking them individually in the eye and repeating the same instruction thereby insuring they understand that what is said is meant for both equally. The result is that while the repetition is not necessary for the meaning of what Paul says, it is essential to expressing the emotion and thus the weight of Paul’s meaning.

 

Next, notice what Paul urges these two ladies to do: Paul says I urge them to have the same mind. Importance: we have seen this notion of having the same mind before at key places in this Epistle (2:2; 2:5, 3:15). In other words, Paul is drawing our eyes back to the theology he has already discussed throughout the Epistle and is now applying it to the fellowship and growth of the believer. Not only that, notice the phrase “in the Lord” provides the specific content/definition of what Paul means by having “the same mind”. In other words, what Paul is urging here is not simply that these two ladies agree with one another and get along. Instead, what Paul wants is a mutual agreement with Christ and His desires. Notice then with their eyes on Christ, Paul reminds these two ladies that God’s love, assessment, and objectives are to determine their own. In turn, having their eyes fixed on Christ is to remember that every ministry/work is to serve God’s purpose and God’s Kingdom. Therefore, instead of competing against each other and becoming territorial, they are to cooperate. That is, they are to recognize the value of each other’s ministry and are to assist each other in that work. Simply Put for Paul, standing firm means standing together in the Lord FN#2.

 

 

Verse 3

Notice at once verse 3 confirms our reading thus far. How? Paul turns to address the Philippian congregation as a whole. In other words, having the same mind and standing together is something God intends for His entire people. However, notice the surprise: instead of using the expected plural “you all” to address the congregation, Paul uses the singular “you”. In other word, we once again see the intimacy of this part of the Epistle. Notice then, just as Paul looked both Euodia and Syntyche, in the eyes as he spoke, so too Paul now turns to us and looks each of us in the eyes in order that we may understand that this is a word that directly concerns each of us. Simply put verse 2 begins “Indeed, I ask each one of you also”.

 

Next, notice how Paul describes the Philippian believers: Paul calls them genuine/true co-workers. In other words, God has given each believer a share in the Gospel ministry both inside and outside the church. As such, what matters to God is to matter to us. Therefore, Paul asks the Philippians to assist Euodia and Syntyche in their work. Not only that, notice the pedigree Paul provides for these two ladies: Paul reminds the Philippians that these two ladies labored side by side assisting Paul, Clement, and Paul’s other fellow workers in their Gospel work. In addition, Paul points out that the workers these ladies assisted have their names written in the Book of Life. In other words, these ladies have been a part of God’s genuine Gospel ministry. Notice then the reason Paul gives this pedigree? It seems the friction between these two ladies has obscured the true nature of their work. As such, the Philippian believers (not wanting to take sides or get caught up in the drama) have backed off from being involved in either ministry. Therefore, Paul reminds the Philippians of the great value of both ladies’ service and the importance of helping them in it.

Notice the point: verse 3 reminds me that as I help others in their service to God, I promote and become a part of the nurture and healing that God is bring about through that ministry. In turn, my own ministry and walk are nurtured and furthered as others turn to help me. Simply put, God intend His house to be a home where the mutual love and care of its members attend to the health and work of one another.

 

Bottom line: verse 3 reminds me that standing firm in the Lord means standing with and standing for each other.

 

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