This broadcaster has 396 podcast archives available on-demand.
Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.
August 14, 2022 7:00 pm
Was hard not to feel sorry for you already. I can syndicate two prominent ladies in the church at Philippi active, hard-working, well-known, respected, but called out by name in this epistle of Paul to the church at Philippi. An unusual procedure by Paul who doesn't call people out by name very often, but apparently will evidently without question necessary because they were engaged in a long-standing dispute and neither was willing to resolve the issue or to just let it go so Paul was forced to deal with it publicly, because so much was at stake.
Thus we enter into chapter 4 of the epistle of Paul to the Philippians today. The final chapter of this book, which contains more of the personal communications and practical exhortations that we commonly find at the close of Paul's epistles. Then we come to three exhortations in the first three verses that are of particular importance to the health of any spiritually alive and active local church three necessities to maintain a healthy church we see them as number one. A general exhortation in verse one directed to the entire church to remain true to your original convictions. Number two, a pointed exhortation in verse two directed the two individual church members to address unresolved divisions between them and the congregation.
The number three a practical exhortation in verse three directed to a prominent unnamed leader to assist those who are struggling so we begin with a general exhortation in verse one.
Therefore, my beloved and longed for brethren, my joy and crown stalls. So stand fast in the Lord, my beloved, where you see it. Therefore, you always know to look and see what it's therefore it always points backwards into the context and so this exhortation to stand fast to stand firm is based upon the things Apollo said before, we don't know exactly what he had in mind with that were therefore it could involve all of chapter 3 could even go back further into the epistle, but there's no question that it must be linked at least to the last two verses of chapter 3 where Paul reminded the million members of the church that our right is believers citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly await for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may maybe conform to his glorious body, according to the working by which he is able even to subdue all things to himself. Therefore, my beloved and longed for, brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord beloved and so at least these reasons are clear for the exhortation of verse one, namely, that our citizenship, our primary sphere of living is in heaven. Even while we are on the earth but were governed from above. We are looking to the one above, we are obeying the laws that have been given to us by God above, we are living in a different world. Even while were living in the same world into which we were born, and which, in which, by which we are surrounded by many others who are bound to this present world, but because our citizenship is in heaven. And because, as Paul reminds us here Jesus is coming again.
Jesus is in heaven now is coming again, and that ushers in a whole number of things including our standing before him to give an account. Therefore, my beloved brethren, stand fast in the Lord don't let your grip on the word of God slipped don't slide away from your original faith in the word of God and your commitment to the apostolic teaching.
Therefore, it is interesting how many different words and phrases.
Paul Pyles together to identify the ones that is writing this exhortation to therefore number one of my beloved brethren number two were my beloved and longed for, brethren number two module and crown and then again closing diverse, my beloved, once again, it's hard to express what Paul is trying to communicate here because it's clear that he is overflowing with love for these people.
He has a strong desire to see them again even while he is imprisoned in Rome at this time. He considers them to be enjoyed and crown is joy.
This this is what Gary Paul joy the lives of people like these believers in Philippi who are walking with the Lord in our giving evidence of Paul's labors were fruitful and effective. He had not run in vain. He was successful by the help and grace of God over joy that brought to his heart and my crown the victors. Ruth, the evidence of Paul's successful labors. Here's the proof here's the evidence that what he had labored for has been fruitful by the grace of God and so these are very beloved people expresses that again and again is warm personal relationship which he feels for them.
This strong pastoral encouragement, which she issues by compiling together this whole list of phrases to express his love and encouragement and it involves what I would consider to be wise, balanced reassurance, remembering those scathing words just a few verses before verses 18 and 19 of chapter 3 minute walk, of whom I tell you, often until you even now weeping. They are enemies of the cross of Christ whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, whose glory is in their shame, whose mind is set on earthly things.
Apollo could not go through that list without arousing in the minds of some of these members of the church at Philippi. The possibility that they belong to that category rather than to another category and that was good for them to carefully examine their hearts in this matter.
But then Paul comes right back with the strong assurances by beloved and longed for brethren by joy and crown, my beloved, he doesn't really have any doubts about those cities writing to in this epistle, but he recognizes that it's possible for people to be counterfeits. It's possible for people to fool others like Judas did for a long time and so having search their hearts in very strong language.
She now comes back the ball of love and joy to soothe their hearts. Once again he's remembering these strong words in chapter 3, and he's no doubt preparing them for the scolding that's coming up in verses two and three of chapter 4. Beloved longed for brethren, my joy, my crown, my beloved, including the audio syndicate but I'm calling you ladies out. I love you.
I thank God for you, but I'm calling you out publicly. This epistle would have been read to the entire church and they would've been sitting there hearing their names read out loud by the apostle Paul.
You already and syndicate I'm calling you out. You need to get this matter resolved, but the general exhortation in verse one is to stand fast or stand firm in the Lord keep living according to the doctrine that you have learned from me, says Paul stand first firm in apostolic doctrine, which indeed is the teaching of Jesus Christ himself. That exhortation is as much-needed today as it was in Paul's day, maybe even more so in our day than in Paul's day there are so many assaults there are so many deceits. There are so many seductions that are coming at the people of God in the world today that we need to be on guard and were going to be pulled away. Stand firm stand firm against the hostile world stand firm against compromising Christianity stand firm against the sinful inclinations of your own heart. Therefore, my beloved, so stand fast in the Lord that so exhortation number one.
That's an important exhortation for every church deacon Baptist Church so stand fast in the Lord. Every local church.
The claims to be a Bible believing church so stand fast in the Lord because we know there are plenty of churches that have not done that they've drifted away. Don't let that happen here. Stand fast in the Lord in general exhortation that brings is then secondly to appointed exhortation verse two, which is nothing less than a public scolding, I implore you will do you and I implore sent to key to be of the same mind in the Lord. This is an urgent situation by implore you, I urge you I exhort you in strong strong terms.
It's important because Paul repeats the verbs in a rather unusual manner.
He would normally say we would normally say I implore you audience India can syndicate to be of the same mind of the Lord. But in order to emphasize an important matter.
This is more than just a light matter. I implore you, audio repeat, I implore syndicate. It's also a reminder that both of them are equally responsible for the solution to this division.
So Paul makes it clear this applies to you.
You audio. This applies to you syndicate it applies to both of you equally and that shows us the urgency of the situation and Paul identifies those who were guilty of this quarrel in the church and its rare for him to do that sometimes people ask the question when it comes to problems within the body of Christ, is it appropriate to name names are not the answer is sometimes it is sometimes is not, you get that clearly from Scripture. Paul doesn't do this often he does from time to time talks about Alexander the coppersmith is doubly much wrong it. He does point out names from time to time. Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world.
There is nothing wrong or something sinful. There's nothing that is unhelpful about calling names when the situation calls for it, but obviously not every situation dusk.
There is something unhelpful in going around identifying names and making that the main focus of your ministry and always criticizing and finding fault with everybody else. Specifically, there needs to be a balance here, but Paul does call these ladies at out by name, first of all you audio. Both of these are our Gentile names Greek names these ladies were Gentile pagan worshipers of false gods in the city of Philippi until the Lord begin to work in their hearts and draw him unto themselves, but you already has a name that means a prosperous journey.
Or maybe something more shortened to the work success and sent to keys naming something like lucky or fortunate. Pretty good names actually.
You'd think these are the ladies you want to be friends where they could be helpful to you. Successful fortunate but not now. Not until they get this matter resolved or identified by name there identified by reputation. In verse three Paul makes it clear he considers invaluable, hard working members of the church help these women, he says in verse three, who labored with me in the gospel, along with others as well, but they labored with me in the gospel. They contributed significantly to the work of the gospel in the city of Philippi. What did they do.
We don't know whenever you find something like this. Some people are determined to read more into the language than what is found, so some will find in this the.
The rationale for women preachers and so forth. That's going way beyond what Paul says here. We don't know what these women did.
Clearly they didn't do anything that Paul says elsewhere that should not be done so we can't take a an unclear passage in use that to cancel out a clear passage but they did was very significant. It was very important.
It was very helpful. It was very strategic.
It was very fruitful and useful to the establishment of the church in Philippi. Paul was very grateful for what they had done they had a wonderful reputation as gospel workers in that church. Eddie identifies that not only by name and by reputation but also relationship because they were not only closely associated with Paul himself but closely involved with other faithful church members. One who was named Clement. We know nothing more about him and others. He does not name they labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also in the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
They were very active, involved and important to the work of the Lord in Philippi, but something has come along to damage the continuation of that valuable work. There is an unfortunate disagreement. I implore you, Odie and I implore syndicate syndicate to be of the same mind in the Lord. It's an unfortunate disagreement because of their prominence. It's likely, though not certain that they were part of that original group of ladies who met with Lydia at the Riverside. When Paul came to Philippi looking for a synagogue which he could not find but finding instead a small gathering of women who were worshiping Jehovah the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Old Testament Scriptures down by the Riverside in Philippi and that's where Paul began his gospel ministry.
That's where Lydia's heart was opened by the Holy Spirit of God that she attended to those things which were spoken by Paul, that's where the beginning of the church all started and there were many women we don't know how many involved and it's certainly not unlikely that to others besides Lydia were you audio and syndicate.
We can't prove that, but we can tell that they were long time. Prominent members of the church. They work new converts. They were new members they been there for quite a while, possibly from the very beginning.
They were probably pillars of the church. They were probably founders of the church. They were probably what we cultivate charter members of the church and those likelihoods make their quarrel all the more problematic. This is an unfortunate disagreement because of their prominence and it's unfortunate disagreement because of the nature of the disagreement and you say what is that what was the problem or they quarreling about you search the passage carefully to find the answer and you really don't find it, but what do you find what you find certain things that are not said that lead us to understand something about the nature of this problem. Problem there is no doctrinal departure indicated. If the nature of the problem were doctrinal in one of the ladies had departed from sound doctrine of the other lady was trying to correct or they were quarreling about it, then it is inevitable the apostle Paul would've stepped in and said now this teaching is an error. This other teaching is correct. He did that frequently he would've been compelled to do that if that were the situation, but clearly is not.
There is no doctrinal departure is indicated. And furthermore follows silence and his clear unwillingness to take sides in the dispute.
He doesn't say I've heard people describe this and I waited carefully and I want to tell you who's right and who's wrong doesn't do that makes it evident that there probably is no clear violation of Scripture of any kind not only of doctrine but even of practice you can't find a biblical violation in what you already contended for as opposed to what syndicate contended for there's no clear violation of Scripture. It is, therefore, by process of elimination.
Apparently, a mere difference of opinion over something that really doesn't matter very much.
It's not doctrinal it's not biblical.
It's a difference of opinion over something that is in different this is what we probably would call in our day a personality difference that sorted covers a multitude of things doesn't what's the make nature of their quarrel. Well, it's just a personality difference. I could see some of the things about that will go on but that's in our day.
That's probably what this would be called you and syndicate are not able to get along because of their difference of personalities. In other words, in this issue. Whatever was both could probably claim to be right and could not be corrected in that opinion, but both are clearly wrong in the way they handled the situation. It's not necessarily the issue itself that is clearly right or wrong. It's one of those things that could be either way, but it was clearly wrong in the way it was not handled correctly and it was going on and on and on and on without resolution without putting it aside continuing to disturb the peace of the church. I suppose in some ways similar to the difference of opinion between Paul and Barnabas concerning John Mark who was right. Barnabas said he's repented, he's ready to go again. He's ready to recommit himself to the work of Christ will take him along on the second journey. Also don't know. Not enough time is fast. We can't be sure that he is ready to go and the contention between them was so sharp that they divided and Paul John Barnabas took John Mark and Paul took Silas and they went their separate ways and as we look at that from some distance to say will now after after several years of past who was right and who was wrong. What can we say Paul may have been right. Initially, maybe not enough time to pass, but Barnabas was correct in his evaluation. John Mark was potentially useful for the cause of Christ is initial defection was only a stumble, not a fall. He was ready to be restored. He was ready to go on and Paul was not ready to recognize that not who was right and who was run really initially it seems like Paul was probably right. But in the passing of time.
It seems the Barnabas, no doubt was right. It was a difference of opinion that there is no biblical way to put your your finger down and say here's the clear answer to the problem. That's the kind of dispute that was going on in the church at Philippi between you audio and sent to key this problem was difficult to resolve the woman women evidently couldn't see their way to resolution. Paul evidently couldn't pronounce a principal judgment as to what was correct and what was not. He wasn't reluctant to do that when that was possible. Remember the situation in Corinth. They were dallying about dealing with a man was living with his stepmother immorally and Paul said from a distance. I've already judged this matter.
I've condemned this man. It's not right now you get busy and get them out. He made a judgment clear judgment because there was a clear issue of right and wrong, no question about it, but in this case he doesn't do that.
So I think we must conclude that no such thing existed. Paul couldn't pronounce a principal judgment in favor of either you audio and sent to key but it needed this quarrel needed resolution for the sake of Christ and for the sake of the church.
So, since they had resolved and now with the passing of weeks and months. Paul did something very unusual. He called them out publicly from the pulpit and the public reading of this letter. They were sitting there and I can imagine when they heard this read their word heard this read their faces were read called them out publicly. Why were they guilty of fornication like the manna first Corinthians 5. No was one of them embezzling money from the church treasury no. So was so serious that it caused Paul to call them out publicly. They were quarreling and refusing to resolve their quarrel, which is far more serious than we usually consider it to be.
Clearly it is look at the evidence here in Philippians chapter 4 couldn't help but wonder what would happen if a pastor did something like this today called out the names of two people who had an unresolved dispute of the church and called out their names from the pulpit publicly and said you wouldn't have to be ladies could be men you to get this matter resolved. It's gone on long enough wouldn't be the reaction of the church, what would be the reaction of most Christians would be your reaction to that ply. How dare him do something like that, that's entirely overboard. That's entirely uncalled for will tell that to the apostle Paul because he didn't get the memo, which brings us then to the third exhortation in verse three. A practical exhortation what we had number one. A general exhortation in verse one directed to the entire church in exhortation to remain true to your original convictions number two appointed exhortation directed to individual church members telling them to address their unresolved differences. Number three a practical exhortation in verse three directed to a prominent leader to tell him to assist these ladies in their inability to resolve their dispute, and by extension, to ask assist those who are struggling in the church to get there house in order to practical exhortation verse three, and I urge you also true companion, whoever that is, buyers. You also true companion help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also with the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Practical exhortation directed to an unnamed partner in my Bible called true companion. Another version says loyal yoke fellow somebody obviously who partnered with Paul and the work of the gospel.
True companion loyal yoke fellow. He's not named some of tried to propose that he actually is named that this term translated true companion.
Are you loyal yoke fellow in Greek comes out something like zip discuss and that that was his name, but if so, he's the only person that's often be found anywhere in hundreds of years of Greek literature with that name. I don't think that's very likely that's not who it is that's not his name. He's not zigzags is zip discuss.
He is a loyal yoke fellow the true companion and unnamed ministry partner, but the way he's described as a yoke fellow almost makes it sound like he's a member of Paul's missionary team. He's one of those who traveled administered with the apostle Paul.
And if that's correct and we can't be sure that it is. But if that's correct. The most likely person would be Dr. Luke, we can place him in Philippi at this time we have difficulty placing Timothy or Titus or anyone else there at this time was a Dr. Luke possibly, but whoever was. It was a prominent leader well respected by the church, who presumably would be allowed to enter into the situation and Paul says please get busy and help these women. They are getting it done by themselves. We need 1/3 party to help the winning third party mediation. That, of course, assumes that the woman will sit down and talk with this person. What if they won't let becomes another matter. If they are requested to do that by the church leaders and refused to do that that becomes another issue that needs to be dealt with. We don't have the option of not cooperating in this way so they are going to be invited and if they are reluctant instructed to sit down with a third-party mediator tour and each tell their side of the story and hash things out and let this mediator tour this well respected leader.
Listen to what they have to say and then to help them bring it to a God honoring resolution help these women help them resolve the disagreement because this needs to be resolved. Help them to remove this substantial hindrance to the work of the Lord.
This hindrance to the effective labors of climate you audio and syndicate labored with me and with Clement and now they're not able to do that and it's hindering the work of climate help these ladies who formerly worked with a lot of other people in the church, Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Now a lot of this work has ground to a halt.
It's being it's only dragging along. Instead of sailing along because of this dispute that's going on between the women, so help these women because their dispute is adversely affecting the whole church. Now let's make some applications from the passage number one we learn here to beware of subtle deceits that can turn us aside from foundational Christianity verse one.
Therefore, my beloved and longed for, brethren, by joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord. How do you decide when when something new comes along.
How do you sought decide whether that's a good thing or a bad thing for the health of Christianity tell you how most Christians decide they don't do it like this, but it turns out looking something like this. A lot of people say this is a good thing.
So I guess I will to. That's the way the wind is blowing before going to be true to Christ.
We can't take our cue from the general prevailing opinion, we must be grounded in the word of God.
We must keep evaluating everything by God's word and don't you wish you could do this one since they have done that. Now I can go on to other things but you can't because new things keep coming along all the time and just about the time you got something sorted out over here you can to be blindsided back here by something else and you're going to have to evaluate something else all over again from the word of God and about the time you got this one pretty well settled in your Mike you're going to get hit from something by the site and that's the way it is and that's the way it's going to go off about your Christian life. I'm amazed that some of the Christian leaders in some of the strong Christian institutions that I thought had really gotten firmly settled on the word of God.
They fought courageous battles.
They won the war and now they're losing the battle because something entirely new has come from a different direction, and they haven't recognize this as a threat to Bible truth in the being swept along three or four decades ago. Those who come to a reformed understanding of salvation were very rare in those days really in the minority began to see encouragement there more more people that are embracing these terms are in the word of God. It's actually becoming not the majority opinion but a very sizable minority opinion, it's even becoming popular in some quarters of the suspicious of that word. Popular we do a better job sorting things out biblically when were not popular and do not succumb to the desire to be popular because when we could succumb to the desire to be popular to be well thought of to be accepted that some were blindsided by things that are contrary to the word of God. But somehow we don't see that and we we believe that they are acceptable because they seem to make our position more acceptable to others and isn't that a good thing. Probably not. Beware of subtle deceits to turn you aside another lesson I see is to understand the balance between encouragement and review pointed that out to you earlier Paul really skated this congregation in chapter 3 verses 18 and 19th. Not so much the members of the church.
She but they may have been it doesn't eat its people that call themselves Christians, who clearly think they are.
And yet they're not. That was a searching searching passage but notice how quickly Paul follows that with abundance of warm words of encouragement. We need to learn that balance. We need both.
We need to be searched, but we need to be comforted and encouraged. We know you need to learn to be wise and godly kind and courageous.
It's not an easy balance. Some people tend toward one. Some people tend toward the other.
Some people always want to be smiling and encouraging to the extent that they aren't willing to ever confront anything that's wrong. That just doesn't seems beyond their ability to better ask God to give you the courage to do it when it needs to be done that other people are really good at confronting and calling out, but not so good and encouraging and strengthening and the balance in the apostle Paul is clear to see.
We need to do both. May God help us to do that.
We need to understand the seriousness of feuds among Christians. It's so common it's so expected that we've almost come to the place were just say will that's life. That's the way it is, you can't do anything about it, just ignore it and go on. But Paul didn't he certainly doesn't encourage us to when feuds go on for an extended time among Christians and don't seem to come to any resolution that division in the body of Christ forfeits the full blessing of God that division of the body of Christ hinders the work of the church that division.
The body of Christ spreads to others because eventually others know about it here about it and they begin to take sides by side with you. Audio I believe she's right by side was sent to key I believe she's right. Pretty soon you've got all groups of people who are at loggerheads with one another because of this personal dispute between these two individuals and when that happens, it eventually leads to serious divisions in the church, and it must be resolved for the sake of Christ ignore these things take them seriously and deal with them is God instructs us to. Which brings me to application number four which is the need for mutual assistance.
In our Christian walk. These ladies are getting it done themselves.
They need help. So help them in some of the other members of the body of Christ. Get involved here. Don't ignore.
Don't walk around it lend a helping hand mutual assistance in the body of Christ is one of the prime reasons for the assembling of the saints.
Did you know that. Let me read that well-known passage in Hebrews chapter 10 beginning at verse 23. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promises faith will that sounds like verse one of Philippians 4 stir stand firm. Stand fast in the Lord. Beloved, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering or how do you do that. Verse 24 and let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works will how do we do that, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some shame on you. You some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching. You see, there are some things about the assembly of the saints designed by God that can. Not be substituted by video by Lifestream by distance how wonderful those things are when there truly is a serious problem that keeps it makes it impossible for you to attend. How blessed we are in our day to have those kinds of tools available that our forefathers did Matteo a way to stay somewhat connected but no way to be as involved as the Scripture indicates no way for us to be able to come alongside others, and encourage and help and strength in them which requires personal presence, personal interaction, personal attendance and involvement.
There is no substitute for personal involvement and then my final application is don't expect to find the perfect church.
I know you know that theoretically, but often I see what so often happens, I think I found the right church until something develops maybe a quarrel between you audio and syndicate well if that's what's going on. This church that others will find me another one will slow down is that strange how people will apply a much higher standard to the church as a whole than the plight of themselves when you're as perfect as you are to be, then you can expect the church to be as perfect as it ought to be, but it's clear that even in the first century. This is one of the best churches. Philippi is truly one of the best churches that Paul established in the Paul writes to but it wasn't perfect. It wasn't without problems.
They had a quarrel that been going on for a long time. This important lessons to be learned by studying and working through these things, God uses that in our lives. Someone has rightfully said that one of the greatest tools of sanctification in the lives of believers as marriage when you have to learn how to live together and work out all these things when you're lovey-dovey you think you got the perfect make the perfect marriage and everything is going to be perfect and tell it isn't so that bailout work through these things and in the process you're going to grow God's gonna teach you some things about yourself you can agree on.
The process is a sanctifying to that is similar. Many times we churches, what should you do find the best word centered, healthy church, you can and then what get plugged in.
Don't sit around and gawk and take what benefits you can without getting involved get plugged in and serve build relationships in the church learn to address and resolve differences biblically grow together make things better. And that's the way that we ought to relate to the local church and if we all do. What a blessing that will be, shall we bow in prayer. Father, help us to take your word seriously. Help us to examine our own hearts. Honestly, help us to direct our actions and attitudes biblically alter the honor and glory of our Savior in whose name we pray. Amen