But I have to say, I missed you, sweet friends – and I can’t wait to dig into Philippians 2 together!
Please begin by reading today’s text, Philippians 2:1-4 and then I just want to warn you, we’re going to get a little personal.
1. Look at Philippians 2:1 in the NLT and circle the words that describe what Paul was looking for (ie…encouragement, ect…): “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?”
2. Based on Philippians 2:2, make a list of that which made Paul happy?
Church isn’t always what it should be. We aren’t always what we should be. Christians don’t always agree; they don’t always behave as they should; misunderstandings happen; there are those who are mistreated and those who mistreat others; there are those who gossip, backbite, cause division and those who cause chaos.
Sweet sisters, these things ought not be.
In Philippians 2:1, Paul was addressing a lack of unity. Perhaps he is indirectly referring to a problem two sisters were having with each other. Later on he wouldn’t be so discreet.
“Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement.” Philippians 4:2
These girls obviously had issues. We’re women – we know what it’s like to have issues. Hormones happen, but we can’t blame all our bad behavior or raging hormones. There are no PMS clauses in Scripture. God calls us to holiness and to unity regardless of what time of the month it is.
But have you ever thought about poor Euodia and Synthyche? I mean really – how would you like your issues to be written in the pages of holy writ for the whole world to see for all eternity? What if your name was written there?
3. Think for a moment about your relationships with your sisters in Christ. Are there any fences that need mending? Do you need to re-establish a harmonious relationship for the glory of God? If so, for the Lord’s sake, would you die to yourself and get that thing right before the sun goes down today?
4. Based on Philippians 2:2, what do you think the “one mind and purpose” meant and how can we live that out?
5. In Philippians 2:3-4, what character trait do you find Paul challenging us to exhibit?
6. How do verses 3-4 call us to be our sister’s keeper?
When we read through Philippians, we find joy all over the place! It is definitely the book of joy. But sweet sisters, a deeper look shows us it’s so much more than about how to have joy in a jail cell.
Today’s passage is a call to make wrongs right and live in harmony with one another. To live humble lives and to sincerely care for one another. Placing the needs of others above our own.
It all sound nice, but do we live like that? Really?
We’re the church! The called out ones! A forever family! We’re on the same team!
When we were on the mission field, one of the best lessons we learned was that we are a family – no matter what country we live in – no matter what color our skin is – no matter what denomination we belong to – we are the body of Christ…everyone who has been born again is united into one body, one Spirit, one baptism, one Lord and one faith (Ephesians 4:1-6). United we stand – in one body, in one family.
Today I want to do something a little different with our study. I’ve prepared a little word study at Biblegateway.com. Please click on the link and read through the verses given. As you read each verse, sincerely ask yourself if you are loving like that.
As we close today’s study, I couldn’t help but think about poor Euodia and Syntyche. I wonder what their community thought about their little squabble. I wonder if anyone said, “Well, if that’s what it means to be a Christian, I don’t want any part of it.” I wonder if those two sisters were someone’s excuse for not trusting in Christ.
We have been called to have one mind and one purpose sweet friends! We are family. May our behavior never be someone’s excuse! Oh LORD, may it never be so! I beg You, Lord, may it never be so!
I know this was a hard lesson, but I love how God gives us His Word to filter our lives through – even when it’s hard.
Wednesday, we are going to examine what is referred to as a Christological Hymn in our study of Philippians 2:5-11. You won’t want to miss that beautiful gem!
I’d love to have you join us in our study of Philippians! You can receive your Bible study in your inbox by clicking this link. Or you can click on the Google or Networkedblog link to receive it in your feeder.
© Stephanie Shott, 2011