This message was preached by Colin D'cruz at Word of Grace Church on August 21st, 2016. To listen/download the audio please click here. To listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here
There is a place in earth that is the most peaceful place ever. It's called the cemetery! If you took the same number of people and placed them in the same room there will be misunderstandings. That’s the very nature of things.
Babies are cute but they also mess. Dolls give no trouble. Proverbs 14:4 says Where there are no oxen the manger is clean. Where there are people there are disagreements. This is normal.
Q. What about the church?
We are all flesh and blood. As long as we are alive, we have opportunity to sin and be sinned against. Is it important to resolve these things?
“To dwell above with the saints we love would be grace and glory, but to live below with the saints we know is a different story.”
In Christian life, misunderstanding can and will happen. It's important how we handle it.
Phil 4:1-3 “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.”
Paul is in Rome a prisoner in chains. Paul is writing on important topics, those who want to go back to the law etc. to stand firm against persecution. He is strong in his denunciation of these people who were leading them astray. And then at the end of the letter, which is read up all the people in the church, to the elders etc. It was not a secret letter. And in chapter 4 he is addressing two ladies.
1. We cannot live with misunderstanding, and disagreements.
If Paul is addressing it out must be important. If you have gangrene on the body you have to deal with it or it will destroy the whole body.
Q. How did he hear about it? We don't know. But it was important enough.
If we have unresolved issues we should sort it out. The Bible shows us how in Matt18:15.
The starting point is talk to the person concerned. Talk about the issue. If it is sorted out, great. If not get a third neutral mature party. If not resolved yet then get a leader involved. I would like to see this practiced in the church.
When Paul heard about this, it wasn’t a case of tale tattling. If there is gangrene in the body shouldn't you know about it? Let’s see how Paul handles this- Phil 4:1- out of love.
Q. Who is Paul?
Paul is not a casual bystander. He loves them. See how he addresses them with much love. That's what gave him authority to speak. We need to cultivate this love before
Q. Who are these women?
They were not ordinary women. They were known to Paul for a long time. They had contended for the gospel. Contend- is the word we use for wrestle. They were mature believers.
No matter how much we have served we can still get caught in disagreements and miscommunication.
Acts 16:9- 12 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. From there we travelled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.
It shows us that the church in Philippi was not an easy church plant. Normally Paul would go to the synagogue on a Sabbath. But since there was no Synagogue, so he went down to the river. There were women there. Lydia gets saved and Paul stayed with them for some time. We note that they prayed a lot. Paul was troubled by a servant girl with an evil spirit and he commands the evil spirit to leave. This caused trouble for Paul. He was thrown into prison and severely flogged and put into stocks. Paul and Silas start praising God. An earthquake happens and their chains fall off. The jailer gets saved and his family is baptized that night.
This was the birthing of the church. These women were probably there from the beginning. Paul is now pleading with them to agree with each other. He is asking the others to get involved.
Q. What was the issue?
We don't know. Could not have been doctrine because Paul would have addressed it. All he asks them is to be at peace. And he asks someone to intervene. He could be an elder. So we see the importance of living in peace.
Paul talks about the Book of Life. It's the most important book. Rev 20:11-15
When you come to faith in Jesus, your name gets written in this book. Is your name in that book. If you have not put your faith in Jesus please come talk to us.
Q. So how should we live?
We should be able to forgive and bear with each other. Eph 4:13- until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
We are growing in maturity, not being touchy, keeping short accounts, giving grace to each other. Accept one another, love as Christ loves us. So if we have strained relationships let's sort it out.
Scriptures talks of loving, serving, bearing with each other. Let's practice this. We can't love God and hate each other. We are in deception. This week we are going through fellowship in Purpose Driven Life.
Let's aim to live like this.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.