For the better part of a year we have been studying the book of Philippians as a letter among friends. Paul wrote, from prison, to a group of people that he held in high regard and deep affection. In the letter Paul prayed for them, gave thanks for them, addressed their concerns about his situation and his concerns about theirs but throughout the letter there has been an underlying theme, an issue that Paul seemed to be addressing without naming. In tonight’s text Paul names the issue, he even names those involved in the issue. I don’t believe Paul was being passive aggressive prior to these two verses, I believe he was laying the groundwork for the Philippians to learn that without the Body of Christ, conflict resolution is a corporate calling because all conflicts within the church create corporate suffering. Paul has written purposefully and at times painfully about the calling to unity through humility, the requirement to make Jesus our primary example, to understand His humility and then make His mindset and attitude ours. He has called us out on our selfishness and then condemned it saying “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition” and then given us clear instructions to “regard, count or value” others higher than we count ourselves. Paul gave Jesus as our primary example but then he used himself as the secondary example, that we should each and all let go of the things we have valued prior to Christ and make Christ our most treasured possession and relationship, to choose Him over every other thing and by doing so, choose each other over ourselves. The call to unity through humility has been the constant theme of the entire letter and in our text tonight we find out why, because two women, two leaders of the church in Philippi had a conflict that was affecting the entire church. This is one of the points we will see tonight, a conflict between any of us is a conflict that affects all of us, if we are joined to Christ then we are joined to each other and so everything that happens between any of us influences all of us. Tonight, we will take our time with these two verses and see that Paul is not calling out two people from the church, he’s imploring the church to gather around these two people and work together to restore unity and overcome conflict. Conflict resolution with the Body of Christ is not the job of the leaders or the individuals, it is the work of the entire body. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.