Philippians 4:1-3 – Unity in the Body

We cannot love God whom we have not seen, without also loving our sister, whom we have. Before love ever existed in mankind it existed in God, in the love of the Father for the Son, in the love of the Son for the Father and of both for the Spirit. We are to love our fellow Christians with the same sort of love, as Jesus says, “that the love you have for me may be in them” (Jn. 17:26). That surely is awe-inspiring enough. Euodia, do you love Syntyche the way God the Father loves God the Son? But there is something even more awesome. Syntyche is to emulate the depth of love that God the Father showed for the world when he gave his only Son for it (Jn. 3:16). Even when Euodia is odious, even when she is hurtful, you, Syntyche are to love her in such a way that no sacrifice is too great, and no kindness is too extravagant. This is not the counsel of perfection, nor is it an ideal which is utterly unattainable. This is what Paul says in his great chapter on love in I Corinthians 13. No matter how deep our knowledge, how great our gifts, how stupendous our experiences, if Syntyche and Euodia are not showing that sort of love then their Christianity is mere posturing.

In the Philippian church, conceived of as the body of Christ, there is something more than the fact that Euodia and Syntyche are to ‘share’ – that hackneyed word. There is to be such an involvement with one another and such a depth of affection and sympathy, that if Euodia suffers, Syntyche suffers with her; if Syntyche is honoured, Euodia rejoices with her. But if either of these women in Christ are not performing their proper functions all the church in Philippi is affected, because the congregation is Christ’s body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, and it can grow only when each part does its work.

Euodia has no right to be in Syntyche’s way and even less in her hair, yet the fact that they are both in Christ, in his body, reflects a degree of commitment, concern, involvement and intimacy. It is not [just] that each has special bonding with Christ but each has a special bonding with one another. Euodia and Syntyche are one flesh, deeply involved in one another and they must express this in their relationship with one another. In the Lord they can each find strength to eradicate the bitterness, and can understand one another, and express practical concern for one another and pray for each other.

But they must go deeper still. The very meaning of a Christian is that the Lord has taken up residence in their lives. They have the life of Jesus Christ in their souls. He lives in them. This is surely something of enormous weight for us all. The Lord doesn’t just pray for us to become one, he actually makes us one by dwelling in each of us. How can a Christian hate another human being in whom his very own God and Saviour lives?

Geoff Thomas

Heart Preparation
Read Philippians 4:1-3. Do you see your brothers and sisters in Christ as people within whom Jesus lives? How does this affect your perspective on your fellow church members with whom you may have interpersonal conflict?

Song for this Week
Your Great Name by Krissy Nordhoff

Posted on: May 28, 2015 - 10:00PM

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