Pursuing the Mind of Christ

August 20, 2023 Preacher: Pedro Samuel Series: Philippians - Journey of a Joyful Life

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: Philippians 4:1–9

By Philippians 4:1, Paul begins to wrap up his letter to the Philippians. He confronts one specific case of disunity in the church, providing its members (and us) with concrete directives for dealing with conflict (Phil. 4:2–3). He then turns to a series of commands (Phil. 4:4–9), which in many ways summarize and materialize several themes and ideals from earlier in the epistle. There are 3 ways we are to pursue Christ outlined in our passage:

  1. In our Relationships (v. 1-3)
  2. In the Circumstances of Life (v. 4-7)
  3. In Everything We Do (v. 8-9)

The Philippians are to stand firm by pursuing peace, joy, gentleness, trust, prayer, and right thinking—matters that Paul has taught and modeled for them. We don’t know the nature or details of the disagreement between the two ladies Paul addresses in Philippians 4:2–3, but his plea to “agree in the Lord” should remind us that unity (or a lack thereof) has been no small concern in Philippians. In fact, the same Greek phrase is used in Philippians 4:2 (“agree”) and Philippians 2:2 (“the same mind”).

Paul uses the phrase “in the Lord” three times in a short span. The church is to “stand firm . . . in the Lord” (Phil. 4:1), Euodia and Syntyche are to “agree in the Lord” (Phil. 4:2), and all are to “rejoice in the Lord” (Phil. 4:4). A few verses later, he writes similarly of hearts and minds being guarded “in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). 

It troubled Paul enough that he addressed them by name in a public letter to the whole church. He pleads with them to “agree in the Lord” (Phil. 4:2). In essence he is saying, Ladies, recognize what you share, recognize your identity, recognize the saving benefits in Christ (Phil. 2:1–2), and recognize them in each other, for the unity of Christs bride, for God's glory and our joy.

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