Let’s Work Together
Read Philippians 4:2-3 (ESV)
I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
What are the potential impacts of disunity within a body of believers?
Imagine that your name goes down in history. Pretty cool, right? What’s even more awesome is that your name is in the record books as a coworker of a highly influential missionary! You didn’t just know them but it is documented that you worked alongside them. People for generations will see your name and think, “Wow, it’s so cool that they had that opportunity!”
Now, imagine that there was only one other detail that future generations will know about you. It has gone down in history that you were fighting with another brother or sister in Christ. It is forever recorded that you were having a disagreement with a co-laborer in the Gospel of peace. That’s pretty cringe-worthy, isn’t it?
In today’s verses, that is what was recorded about two women, Euodia and Syntyche. They were having a disagreement about something. We don’t know what these women were fighting about but it must have been causing significant division. We also know that these women were true believers. They weren’t just false converts coming in and stirring up trouble. Paul said that they were among his fellow workers in the Gospel and that they had their names listed in the book of life as do all true believers. So Paul urged them to “agree in the Lord.”
Sadly, this dissension is commonplace in the body of Christ today. Believers start fighting amongst themselves and other believers start taking sides. Many churches have split over this kind of thing. I certainly don’t want my name to be remembered as one who fought with his brothers and sisters in Christ over trivial matters that caused discord.
But when believers fight amongst themselves, it isn’t just the reputation of our own names that we need to be concerned about. As Christians, our job isn’t to glorify our own names. Our job is to glorify the name of Christ. Being contentious does not rightly represent Christ to the watching world. When Christians can’t get along, we look just like the rest of the world and it damages the integrity of our witness.
The Philippian church wasn’t the only early church prone to infighting. Paul wrote something similar to the Corinthian church, “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).
It’s worth noting that Paul isn’t asking the church to get along at all costs. For example, he isn’t asking them to tolerate false teaching just for the sake of maintaining a facade of unity. There are numerous Scriptures in which Paul urges believers to stand firmly in the truth and he openly rebukes those who teach a message contrary to the Gospel. Rather, Paul is pleading with them to be so united in that true Gospel that they set aside their differences of opinion and personal preferences and stop fighting about trivial matters. They should be so focused on the core message of the Gospel that they are willing to cooperate in order to advance His Word.
Friends, as believers in Christ, we should be able to agree about the essentials of doctrine and the core message of Christianity. We should be able to unite in the Lord. Are you in the midst of a disagreement with a brother or sister in Christ? If so, I urge you to approach them and make it right today. Seek reconciliation. Not for the sake of your own name but for the glory of His.
Jesus, I want to glorify Your Name. I know that arguments and drama among believers can negatively impact our witness and distract us from focusing on what really matters—advancing Your Gospel. Help me to cooperate and live in harmony with my fellow believers. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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