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March 1, 2021 12:00 am
When a minor disagreement escalated and became a full-blown conflict management started out as some kind of disagreement or some kind of issue between two faithful women Georgia now this becomes the prevailing issue threatens the entire gossip has no interest in staying quiet.
These issues that emanate from a graceless character that we all have an audience in the audience better when were not personally involved. When people we know are involved in conflict. There's a couple ways were tempted to respond.
We either stay out and mind our own business or we take sides. The apostle Paul provides 1/3 option and working to learn that option today.
This is wisdom for the heart with Steve and David Stevens calling today's lesson reconcilable differences in Philippians chapter 4 and we arrived at the text where Paul names two women who were not getting along with archers later send me an email yesterday and he said this is going to be a tough passage well. It will be actually it's easy to preach because Paul is so clear in his basic issue at hand must pick up the study will be left off were now in verse two where Paul writes, I urge you loading up, and I urge since the key to live in harmony in the Lord that anybody was dozing off in the Sunday morning service. While this letter was being rather wide-awake. Now if I do every head is turned to city and probably on the other side of the assembly.
You will know what you might immediately think is rather blunt is actually a study gracious confrontation. Let me show you two things called us right off the bat first. He repeats this verb, I urge you loading. I urge since Hickey did you notice the verb, there can be translated and may be in yours. I entreat, or you can read and write. II plead I appeal even I encourage the idea and that's striking to me because the apostle Paul could very easily have thrown his apostolic weight around that church.
Through this letter and commanded these women. While I is a wisely intriguing this is disrupting the church called it done it before, where he would write. I command you little discussion doesn't do that here as he opens this rather gracious confrontation. Instead, he calls them by name. You need to think in your minds that this is a this is a grammatical expression where Paul is is as if he were speaking first to one woman and then the next. The obviously the issue of disharmony is serious enough to call out Paul understands that there is a great danger and false doctrine. Teachers, he just laid that out in chapter 3, but just as crippling as false doctrine is disharmony. Even if the church is doctrine is sound disunity robs the church of its power, it can easily destroy the testimony of any individual church in any community, maybe you're here, having come from a situation like that where the church effectively lost its testimony because of disharmony.
Just Google church flights as I did, wondering if there was anything out there and all my or more video vignettes more news reports that you would ever want to see or have time to serve and I finally clicked off too much. Paul fully knew the discord and disunity and conflict could devastate the integrity of the Philippian church is testimony fact, I think by this time, it's already splashed on the front page of the Roman news and Observer. You know, the headline would probably read something like church flight in Philippi. Just as the London Times carried the argument between Spurgeon Parker over incidental issues.
Yes, Paul calls them by name, but he uses a gracious approach appealing to these women that he does something else I want you to notice that Paul refuses to take side. He's appealing to them both and by doing that he doesn't take side with either one of them and that may have been a little frustrating to both of but he says I urge you already and I urge you to live in harmony and in this phrase in the Lord that's that's a little hint at where he's he's heading live in harmony is the same as have this mind have the same thinking why because you are both in the Lord. In other words, go back to your common ground that you have in the Lord, make up your mind to live in harmony that something you're going to choose to do and you going to choose it because you are both in the Lord go back to that, Greg can agree with a lot of things in life can you agree with the most important thing in life to return to that common ground. He pleads with as he attempts to reconcile Paul. Paul said it in a way. One commentator wrote it this way he he knew that if they got right in the Lord they would be right with each other.
The next thing Paul does observe. Is this instead of taking sides and going into all of the details and spreading it out in front of the church instead of berating these women. Paul actually begins and this is rather surprising, but I think a wonderful lesson to us all. He begins to praise these women. You would think the following that statement he was in only five reasons why you gotta do this but instead noticed the middle part of verse three. These women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel together with Clement also in the rest of my fellow workers. He said they shared me tell you about, because, by the way, the church. Everybody was talking about that but he said let me tell you about. They shared in my struggle in the gospel that tells us several things about them. First of all, it tells us that they were church members, not outsiders. Secondly, there active members. They're not, you know, inactive, or simply observers or absent there active. Thirdly, they are long-term members they share in the struggle. Paul refers to the establishment of this church is between two faithful charter members who for some reason that Paul doesn't give us have a personal disagreement and now the church is taken sides.
One is siding with you only had one is siding with syndicators.
Probably another group.
Just try to stay out of the way the enemy of the church is licking his chops. It's true that in any church division. The devil does not take sides just provides ammunition for both side and then watches and waits. This is become a threat.
Paul has to deal with. Imagine this started out as some kind of disagreement or some kind of issue between two faithful women in the church and now this becomes were the prevailing issue that threatens the entire church gossip has no interest in staying quiet these issues that emanate from a graceless character that we all have relished an audience in the audience the better going on here. Everybody knows it's the elephant in the room.
This is affecting everybody is finally on the table and not having done that. Paul begins to offer a recommendation that will bring to it and I want to look back at verse three, he says. Indeed true comrade or companion.
I ask you to help these women who have shared in my struggle. Paul here doesn't name the comrade.
The noun can be translated it may be in your text fellow or companion Paul here is clearly enlisting a leader to help these women in the church and they evidently knew the man was.
It was obvious to them of read a dozen different viewpoints on who this man was some believe it was Timothy. Timothy is certainly referred to by Paul as his true companion. Others believe it was Silas. Silas was a traveling fellow evangelist having struggled in the gospel with Paul and its delivery. Some believe that this is meant to be a metaphor for the entire church and that's a good option as well. Others believe this should be translated as a proper name and given the S students today and in the meaning of the name is young fellow or companion. And so Paul is providing upon or or parallel to the meaning of the name the good do when your name mean basically create a yoke between these who are divided there is not many but at least one of the veterans suggested that this was Paul's wife because the term companion. That same word is used to refer to why there are all kinds of different opinions. I would personally throw my vote behind a path for guidance Pepperdine this was called Paul's coworker earlier in chapter 2 of the same letter he was the man that we know was carrying this letter to the assembly in Philippi and he was more than likely the man would've been standing in reading this letter to the church assembly but we really don't know. So we don't fight about. Okay, we just we just don't know in and who he was, is evidently not as important as what he supposed to do pulses would you help these women, we pause here again and offer some principles. Number 9899 and 100 okay here we go. First, conflict is often resolved by the assistance of cooler head so many times people embroiled in a conflict. You've been there and so if I could use someone to come along and offer a fresh perspective if there a good listener, especially if they are emotionally unattached that they they can provide an honest evaluation. The kind he goes past just leave all the details and he said is really not the issue.
Just bring clarity where there is so much emotion.
Secondly, when conflicts arise, the church body is not asked to take sides but untangle the issues. In other words, where there is a divisive problem in the church in this is gonna sound strange and maybe this is why Paul left the individual in name because perhaps it is to be applied to the body and other passages of Scripture would imply the same thing. Paul is effectively recommending to the body that when you see a conflict. Feel free to jump but not take sides to untangle the issue.
Don't sit on the sidelines and say why would you look at that. Don't listen to it in anything. Well, you know will probably work itself out. John 10 and help out. I think this is much of what Paul was thinking when he wrote to the Corinthian church in first Corinthians chapter 11 verse 19 when he said I hear there are divisions among you church in Corinth was experiencing it just like any other church and then he says, but there it it it must be so, so that those who are mature will be made evident among in other words, when temperatures start to rise blocks for cool head and wise to surface begin to benefit the body and they will begin by encouraging the participants to stop and stoop low in and dish out a generous portion of grace, gracious third winning an argument is never more important than protecting the body as I have mold over the implications of these verses. It it strikes me know.
Paul was never asking his companion to get rid of these women.
He wasn't asking for his companion to take sides with one of these is not asking his companion to declare a winner in the argument that just just go and build a bridge and lead them back over it to each other.
One of the verses a kingdom I was the verse by the Lord when he is giving a sermon on the Mount and he said blessed are the welcomes you might peacemakers is instructive.
He doesn't say Blessed are peace lovers would all like that. Blessed are the piece makers job fair and help out like I couldn't help but also recall if you've read the biography of John Adams or Thomas Jefferson. These two men fell out of each other. You talk about heat and and fire between these two statesmen, they abandon any kind of correspondence in their later years.
In the feud between them was known around Washington but in 1809 another signer of the declaration of independence name is Benjamin Rush.
He began to appeal to these two men urging them for the sake of the country to renew their friendship begin corresponding with one another and evidently after several years of pleading and it took about three or four years of pleading. Thomas Jefferson wrote a very short letter to John at and John Adams wrote a very short reply. One letter followed another, however, until in one letter from John Adams written the Jefferson July 15, 1813.
He wrote this.
If I write four letters to your one your one is worth more than my four student loan grace and then he writes this, you and I ought not to die before we have explained ourselves to each other that began correspondence and the friendship between these two signers of the Declaration of Independence, both former President of the United States.
I know it's interesting if you rather biography you'll know that they both died the same day, which just so happened to be fourth of July and really it's a wonderful testimony because the story was not there division story was there reconciliation. I think that plays into what I read in the end of this paragraph. Notice how Paul concludes his discussion on the matter is how he is verse three is names are in the book of life that he's referred to claimant. We know absolutely nothing about him when you begin to guess. He references fellow workers. He references these two women.
He references this faithful commanding the notice.
All of them have their names in the book of life. This is a family issue this this final phrase is deeply convicting him unit.
It is Paul suddenly reminds them die, right, I and what Lisa said's as a relates to the unity of the church were the family of God, what is to be said or thought of as a relates to submit. Can you imagine this you will syndicate for 1900 years are known as the two women who couldn't get along great and we just got another letter to said they pass it all up and everything worked out its life there. I think it's left. There is a warning and here's the point.
What would Paul say about you and me are one sentence read as a relates to the harmony of the church, the final phrase that little phrase is not only convicting but it's very encouraging. Our names are written in the book of life. In other words, for those who believe were on our way to heaven yes were going to die going to have is another way of saying resolving problems in the present with grace takes place when we remember we are heading to a place of unbelievable grace that will be able to see and touch the graciousness of God that he is reserved for those who believe is unimaginable.
The apostle we can't even begin to imagine the glory that God is reserved for those who believe can imagine, but that's our future buses listed in light of that future. Remember, your names are written in the book of life come back to the present and demonstrate the grace that God has reserved for you beyond your own salvation. Don't forget all your names are written in the book of life is. Paul is reminding wife because an argument in an invasion is morning and say I mean those two women couldn't do that church could be divided. They were all safe deposit well those who believe in that assembly are all Savior, all other names are written. Rejoice in that the disciples came back from preaching week or two with the Lord and they were giving the reports to him and they were rejoicing over and Jesus said to them is wonderful friends of no hear something to rejoice in rejoice in your ministry.
Success don't rejoice in the power you saw it demonstrated even over the demonic world yes or you can rejoice in that but here's something to really rejoice, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Daniel and his Old Testament prophecy writes that he sees the resurrection of everyone whose name is found written in the book is your name by faith in Christ alone beloved one way to endure with grace and offer to live by grace as a believer and attempted demonstrate grace to others is to remember our eternal future drenched literally ranch with grace that God would stew to give us kind of eternal future. None of us deserve it demonstrate the uniqueness of this mindset of our Lord, who stooped low in his humility to demonstrate grace back in Philippians chapter 2 in this attitude ought to be and ours is telling the audience and you have this attitude have this mindset live in this manner as our Lord close with this front-page article in the San Francisco Chronicle's featured in the book by Christian author from the West Coast.
The article in the Chronicle was about Metro transit operator name Linda Wilson Allen demonstrated grace the people to run on a bus and and and some markers people that eventually made it in the newspaper.
Here's the article you she would wait for people who relate what bus driver does that and then make up the time to root.
She learned their names think people tended to ride the same route the same time woman in her 80s Chronicle interview named IV that some heavy grocery bags, and she struggled with them and Linda got out of her bus seat and out the door to help her load them on the bus now IV lets other buses pass she can ride on another occasion, Linda noticed a stranger in the area. She introduced herself and found that the woman was new to the area was lost. It was coming up on Thanksgiving day. So Linda said to her you're out here all by yourself. You don't know anybody will come on over for Thanksgiving dinner and spend it with me and my family and friends and this woman Tonya Spellman help she needed to get settled.
The article went on Linda and the bus driver has built a little community of blessing on this bus passengers offer Linda the use of their vacation homes. Sometimes a passenger will bring her potted plants and flowers or a scarf, like the ones she enjoys wearing to spruce up her plane, bus drivers, uniform doesn't make her job any easier fact, think about what a thankless task driving a bus can look like in our world.
The article said cranky passengers, engine breakdowns, traffic jams, cranky passengers that I mentioned already, the seeds trash in the aisles. How does she have this attitude of grace, the San Francisco Chronicle asked the reporter answered her attitude is actually said that 2:30 AM she gets down on her knees and begins to pray in the article said Linda Wilson is a Christian at the close of her shift.
Each day when she gets to the end of her line. She always hollers out to the remaining passengers.
I love you. Have a great day. Chronicle said can you imagine a bus driver telling his passengers were loving. The article ends by the author, making this application. If people ever wonder where can I find the spirit of God's kingdom tell you on number 45 bus writing present.
If people want to know where can I see the grace of God work. The answer is right there behind the wheel. Metro transit bus and I was left couldn't help but think this kind of grace were surely thanks for tuning in today. I hope this message helped you. It may not be happening right now in your life or church but were all going to encounter and observe conflict today.
You've learned a grace filled way to respond and I hope we all will do just that. The next time were faced with the opportunity.
This is wisdom for the heart with our daily Bible teacher, Stephen, Davey, Stephen is the pastor of the shepherd's church in Cary, North Carolina. This was the first message in a series called extravagant grace in the days ahead were going to explore how grace should permeate all of our relationships and I hope you'll be with us for each message. Today's sermon is entitled reconcilable differences.
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