How Church Squabbles Hinder Gospel Work

One of the reasons why disagreements need to be worked out is its negative impact on the advancement of the gospel.

When we let peripheral issues rise to the place of prominence then we have displaced the gospel. Instead of embracing the humility to be of the same mind (Phil. 2:2-4) they desire to put themselves first. Instead of applying the gospel to every situation they selectively apply it how they want to. We have to see that when it comes to mission these secondary squabbles are a real problem. It is like a nail in the tire of mission; it deflates the gospel and slows down its progress.

 

Imagine the scene with me. It’s the first century in the city of Philippi. The church is abuzz because the expected correspondence from the Apostle Paul is said to have arrived. Everyone presses into the room that they meet in for prayer, preaching and the Lord’s Table. One of the elders begins reading it and they are all encouraged that the opening words indicate the fondness of the apostle not just for the elders and deacons but also all of the church. He continues to read of Paul’s joy and longing for them. He talks about the centrality of the gospel and the necessity of humility. Everyone is encouraged and strengthened.

Then the record skips. As the letter is nearly its close we read this:

I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.” (Philippians 4:2)

Paul just called out two women by name and told them to agree in the Lord (literally be of the same mind). It is as if, through his letter, he puts an arm around Euodia and the other arm around Syntyche and says, “work it out”. He even calls on others to help them in this (Phil 4:3). We see something of the importance of this in how Paul describes them as fellow workers in the gospel. It is difficult to miss the impact of these words when we imagine this group of believers, pressed into a room together, fully aware of the conflict between these two respected servants.

One of the reasons why this needed to be worked out is its negative impact on the advancement of the gospel. Think about why this is important.

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