This year when we were discussing our goal in teaching we wanted to build each of you up in our Biblical mandates. Selena so expertly coined the phrase the three E’s to demonstrate the mission of our church for the year.
The Three E’s are:
Encourage, Exalt, and Edify.
Our goal for 2020 was to go back to the basics, to teach the scriptural basis of healing, rest, relating to God, and the context of Biblical stories.
This year our goal is to encourage one another, Exalt God through not only our praise but our actions, and to edify the body.
Although last week was our first service of the year and technical we’re only 2 – 3ish weeks into January we can see that this is going to be a much-needed goal not only for our church but for THE CHURCH this year.
I was reminded of this goal this morning when reading Philippians 4.
Philippians 4:1 – 9
4:1 – The Aramaic word arise implies “resurrection.” The Greek is “stand fast.”
To be resurrected in Christ we must stand fast in what the fullness of our relationship with Christ is.
Note: Pronunciation of Euodia is You Owe Dee Ah.
Pronunciation of Syntyche is Sin Tee Chee.
4:2-3 – In our spiritual walk, as well as our mundane lives we are bound to have conflict in relationships. Paul writes to encourage these two women who were leaders and founders in the early church to resolve all their disagreements. Their names, along with Paul’s instructions give us a picture of what spiritual conflict resolution should look like in the body. Euodia comes from a word that means “a fair journey.” Syntyche comes from a word that can mean “an accident” or “discourses”. Along our fair journey, we may by accident (or not) have discourse with one another, but through God, we always have grace for restoration.
4:4-5 – The Greek word used here for gentleness means “fairness;” while the Aramaic translation is “humility.”
Despite conflicts we have with one another we are called to celebrate every season of life. Even the tumultuous ones. Our job is not to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ our job is to view every encounter with them with fairness and humility.
4:6-7 – Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. The Greek in this passage is “guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.” Guard is a verb, which is an action we’re supposed to take. God’s peace is passive, but our living in his peace is an active notion. A peace that passes human understanding, one that makes the answers to life’s questions known to us requires us to take action and guard our hearts and our minds.
The dictionary definition of “guard” is:
- To watch over in order to protect or control.
- To protect against damage or harm.
This very clearly defines our actions in order to have the peace of God. We must protect and control our hearts allowing God to inspect every part of us through prayer. We must also protect our hearts from the damage or harm the world may throw at us.
Recently we’ve seen so much unprecedented rage between Christians. We’ve seen pastors level curses at those who don’t agree with their politics, we’ve seen churches splitting at the seams over semantics. (This, however, is not a note on calling out injustices in the Church.)
Are we as Christians guarding our hearts as we should be? Are we protecting and steering our hearts in a way that promotes the resolution of conflict or are we reveling in the destruction and pain going on around us?
We are not called to ignore conflict or ignore injustice. Jesus Christ came to be a light in the world and there is no longer a shadow for these things to hide in, especially in the church. However, Paul teaches us that if we follow the example of Christ and the example of the early church we are to view each other not as enemies when we have a disagreement but through the lens of verses 8 and 9 in Philippians 4.
So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God,[i] praising him always. 9 Follow the example of all that we have imparted to you and the God of peace will be with you in all things.
To watch the full sermon check out our video.