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Agree in the Lord

Philippians 4:2

2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.

The Story: In this verse, we turn to one of the two reasons why Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians: (1) his desire to thank the Philippians for their generosity; (2) his desire to encourage two precious women to end their squabble and “agree in the Lord.” It appears that their disagreement is not doctrinal, but personal. Paul does not single out either woman in their dispute, but jointly entreats the two to “agree.” The word for “entreat” can mean, “implore,” “plead with,” “request,” “beg,” or “exhort.” A dispute in the church will not be settled until all parties agree to seek a solution in love. An unresolved squabble such as this can have dire consequences in the peace of the church and thus must be dealt with fairly but expeditiously. Paul began his letter by stating in 1:27, Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…Personal disputes that are not put to rest quickly violate a life “worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Paul then develops this theme of his letter in verse 2:3b, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Paul then shows how our Lord and Savior considered our needs as more important than holding selfishly onto His exalted place in heaven, but, instead, selflessly took on the form of a servant so that He could redeem us who were in desperate need of salvation (2:5-11). Paul is now telling Euodia and Syntyche to have “this mind…which is yours in Christ Jesus” (2:5) and relinquish their individual “rights” to prevail over the other and to humbly forgive and forge ahead.

The structure: Our Lord’s prayer in John 17, which He offered on our behalf prior to His crucifixion, is a prayer for unity, for oneness. In John’s account of the discourses of Jesus following the Last Supper, Jesus had previously given His disciples (and us) His new commandment which is to love one another as He loved us (John 13:34). Disputes will erupt in all human relationships. Some result because of gross sin, gossip, misinterpretation of a remark or an action, or even over a doctrinal issue, but more often than not, the dispute arises out of control issues. The key to a godly resolution is this: Will we seek to deal with the dispute in a “manner” that is “worthy of the gospel of Christ…?” Some issues such as those in which the culture is seeking to corrupt the faith or some issues arising out of heresy might not have a solution. But even in these cases we must strive for peace through firm gentleness and kindness.

Are you experiencing a disruption of fellowship with a brother or sister in Christ? Examine your heart and ask God to reveal to you how you are to approach this disruption in a “manner…worthy of the gospel of Christ…’”

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For more insight to the book of Philippians, order the book, Philippians: Run the Race, by Bill Hybels, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

When you hear the phrase, "the gospel," what comes to mind? A presentation of the plan of salvation, perhaps? While this is true, it's not remotely the whole truth about all this word entails. Literally, it's "good announcement." It's news that's never been heard before. Perhaps in the ancient world there was a public square where people could assemble and hear news of the world from travelers. And if someone stood up and announced that he had this "gospel" to share, it really was new news. For never before in the history of the world had there been news of a God who had reached out to humankind with a free gift of reconciliation.

God was not requiring sacrifices, or obedience to laws, or secret knowledge, or arcane rites in order to win His favor. He was offering grace instead, also a piece of new news. Through the Gospel of his Son, God was offering something freely, something to gladden the heart, something that couldn't be bought or earned: Himself. Freely. That's the new news, the Gospel of grace.
 

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