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If It's Broke, Fix It!

"Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life."

Good Morning My Beloved,

Welcome to worship to this Lord's Day!
We would also like to welcome our new brothers and sisters from around the world, we're so glad you're all here. Please know that we are in prayer for each of you daily.

It becomes more and more apparent to me every day, that we live in a society that breeds discontent. Literally everything in our culture is geared to make you unhappy, discontent with your current circumstances: your job, your wardrobe, your car, your house, your husband or wife, your children, the place you live, whatever it might be. Promoting the idea, "You won't be happy or content until you have THIS. And fortunately, for you, we're here to offer it you." Television commercials and advertising are designed to show you how unhappy you're supposed to be with what you have, and make you miserable with what you have with the current circumstance. Satan's every intention is the break down of every relationship. Primarily, your relationship Jesus Christ. It all serves his purposes and plans very, very well.

People are not only unhappy, they're also upset and angry. Everyone is angry with everyone else, about everything! We have witnessed this past year, anger unfolding at explosive levels, as political and racial tensions spread like a brush fire in a tornado. Crime, violence, murders, civil unrest and protests have significantly increased. Striking up a general conservation, even in families, is like walking a tight rope. It seems so difficult for people to get along with one another. In fact, 2020 has ended as being one of the most violent in decades.

In 2019, property crime in the U.S. was much more common than violent crime. The FBI reported a total of 2,109.9 property crimes per 100,000 people, compared with 379.4 violent crimes per 100,000 people. By far the most common form of property crime in 2019 was larceny/theft, followed by burglary and motor vehicle theft. Among violent crimes, aggravated assault was the most common offense, followed by robbery, rape, and murder/non-negligent manslaughter.

Unfortunately, we have seen this problem make it's way into the church. In fact, conflict and bitterness in the church might well be the single most damaging thing to the work of the gospel. As Christians, we must do everything possible to ensure that we do not let any hindrance in our relationships, become an obstacle to the gospel moving forward. 

Why should we, as believers, be discontent, dissatisfied, unfulfilled, when Jesus is are our Shepherd? Has He not said, we shall not want?

Let us bow our heads in prayer. 

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this straightforward reminder. It is so apparent that we must keep our eyes fixed on above. Forgive us, You have promised us in Your Word, that we shall not lack for anything, yet we continue to seek more. 

Lord, I pay that You would help us to find our contentment in these great truths, so that we might live in such a way to demonstrate to the world what a truly great Savior You are. And may our contentment become our testimony to the world around us. Let our lives say to the world, you can be satisfied in life. You can find contentment. If you follow the right example.
Father, we pray that You would touch the hearts of those among us, here or around the world, who have not yet received Christ as their Savior, that today would be that day. May it all be for Your great glory.
In Jesus' name

Today's Message: If It's Broke, Fix It!

Conflict has a price. For some, the price of conflict has cost them their lives, for others, it has cost them security, for others it has turned their lives upside down and instilled fear and anxiety within them. Yet, there is a conflict that takes place that doesn’t often get in the evening news. A conflict that takes place all across this nation and around the world daily. The conflict between brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.

We need learn to realize, that while although all conflict is unique, we must not lose sight that conflict within the church and between brothers and sisters also has a tremendous impact on the Body of Christ. I believe if we properly resolve conflict in an appropriate manner, we can not only overcome but become even stronger on the other side it.

Open with me your Bibles to the fourth chapter in the book of Philippians. There are several things in this chapter that are familiar to most anyone who has been a Christian for very long. These are verses that I'm sure many of you know very well, perhaps some of you may have even memorized them. Many wonderful promises, that I believe, all of us as followers of Christ, have certainly come to lean on.

Today, we'll be looking at verses 1-3, I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read these to you, to get them set in our minds. Philippians 4:1-3.

"Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life."

The Apostle Paul wants to make it very clear how important it is for members of a church to get along together in peace and harmony. It seems so difficult for people to get along with one another. I believe that it is so important in the church, that we can look others in the eye and honestly say to one another, "I love you in the name of Jesus Christ." And that we allow no hindrances in our walk with Christ because of our relationships with others.

I realize that it is nearly inevitable with a large congregation, to never encounter a disagreement. With so many people, all from different social and economic backgrounds, differences are going to arise among the people. However, we need to agree to disagree and seek to work out reconciliation with others. Inner conflict within a church only interrupts the work of Christ, and I can not emphasize just how a serious matter this is. 

Paul, here in the book of Philippians has been making passing references to inner conflict in this beloved church. When we think back to the great churches of the first century and the church at Philippi was probably one of the greatest of them all. But this church stood on the brink of destruction because of the internal conflict between the individuals of the church.

Paul’s first instructions to them is to stand firm in verse one. Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends! In chapter 3 Paul was exhorting the church to press on in Christ, and he was reminding them of their heavenly citizenship.

With all that, he says therefore stand firm in the Lord. There is the introduction of a new section here about a church controversy. But Paul wants his church to know that although we want peace in the church, even though we want to rid ourselves of all the fractures that divide us, that it in no way means that we compromise out message in Jesus Christ.

There are certain things that we must stand for. We believe in the incarnation of Christ; that he is fully God and fully man. We believe it is because of the sins of man that Christ went to the cross was crucified and rose again on the third day. We cannot compromise that message. And there are many who would ask us to compromise that message. We must never comprise on that.

Jesus said he was the only way. He came on a mission of love when he died for the world. We preach Jesus as the only way. We must stand firm on that conviction. Paul tells this church that he loves to stand firm. Paul loved this church in Philippi with all his heart. In verse 4 he calls them brothers. He told them he loved him and longed for them. They were his joy and his crown. There are enemies of this church that would like the church to compromise its basic position. Paul says no, stand firm. Some of the attacks against the church may be subtle and some may be more direct, but whichever the case we need to, without any shame, stand firm on the essentials of the gospel. Jesus died, was buried and rose again and he is the only way to God.

As badly as we may want peace in the church if we have to compromise on that message then we have gained nothing. We must stand firm on the basics of our faith in Christ. That is what Paul is calling for in this text. But after establishing this Paul moves into the heart of the message. He wants those in conflict to seek agreement in the Lord. Paul has mentioned this disagreement but he now becomes specific and names the two ladies in the church who were at odds with each other, Euodia and Syntyche. Paul asked these two ladies to resolve their differences in a manner that honored the Lord.

There were two parties involved in this disagreement. I'd like you to note, that Paul did not ask who wronged who first. Paul says to both of them, I want you to be reconciled together. He is not concerned about started it, who was the first to do something offensive. His concern was that these two Christians be reconciled in Christ. Paul loved this church and he knew that the vitality and mission of this church was in jeopardy. This conflict had the potential to spread and divide the whole church.

When there is a problem among us we need to seek to work it out. What does an argument that took place 2000 years ago between two ladies have to do with us here today? It has so much to do with what our purpose is about. First of all it lets us know that even in the first century church, they had their problems. We talk about getting the old time religion, but we need to remember that even the old time religion of the first century had its difficulties. 

Here were two beloved members of the church at odds with each other. So we need to remember that things were not always so rosy in the first century. They too had their difficulties. But another thing, this passage tells us is that these difficulties must be worked out.

There must be a coming together of those whose conflict has the potential of fragmenting the fellowship of this church. God expects the Hatfields and McCoys to live together in one church and not just be tolerant of one another, but to love each other in the Lord Jesus Christ. Here were two women in conflict of whom Paul said, their names were written in the Book of Life. In other words these are genuine believers in Christ.

These are not pretenders who have come into the church. These are truly Christians who are at odds with each other. Paul says they worked along with him by his side. These are prominent church members. These women are great Christian leaders if they worked along side the Apostle Paul. They were probably at the very heart of the founding of the Philippian church, along with other women like Lydia the seller of purple. These were important women and prominent in the Philippian church. Their conflict threatened the life of the fellowship. When we have conflict we must carefully seek the mind of Christ. Human pride, the pride of the flesh, personal ambition can get in the way. We need to seek with prayer for the mind of Christ.

Jesus emphasized how important it is for Christians to relate rightly to one another. Let's turn to Mathew 18:21-22. "Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven."

And in Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus said "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering."

Before we come to worship, we must remember that. How we relate to our brothers and sisters in Christ affects our relationship to God. Jesus made that clear. He asked how will people really know you are disciples of Christ? Jesus said it is how you love one another. When Christians don't love, they hate. They become like the world.

And there is nothing that hurts so badly as to be wounded inside of body of Christ. It is so tragic when you find countless people who don’t go to church because somehow they were deeply hurt in their service to God. It is so tragic because what should happen is reconciliation. 

Here's the point, who cares what color the carpet is or whether or not someone who uses your room messed it up? We are here to bring glory to God and to bring people to Jesus! All this other stuff is just.. stuff. Petty childish stuff! Never forget that! And if you’ve got to get angry at someone, get angry at Satan. He’s the one that we are fighting!

I want you to remember this: It is reconciliation that we seek, not revenge. We are not to get even in the Lord. We are to seek agreement in the Lord. You might want to write that down.

Guess what else? That might even mean humbling yourself to go to that other person. It doesn't matter whether you have wronged them or they have wronged you, whatever the case seek agreement! I believe that is when the church really gives a testimony! That with all the diversity there is still harmony in the Lord. 

Paul says to seek agreement in the Lord. If you have a disagreement with one another then you should seek agreement in the Lord. You know that God has forgiven you of so much, more than you could ever forgive someone else. So we need to do as Paul says here and seek agreement with those we have difficulty with.

Furthermore, seeking reconciliation with others, will prevent you from having bitterness and resentment in your life that can become an obstacle in relationship with the Lord. Paul tells the church to stand firm, don’t compromise your message. He tells them to seek reconciliation. Then Paul says to seek others who can help you in your reconciliation.

Paul calls on a trusted servant to help these two women in conflict, look at verse 3. "Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life."

Paul appeals to someone else in the fellowship for help. This is someone who obviously had the trust of the fellowship. Paul not only told these two to be reconciled with one another, but he also called on someone else who could help them be reconciled. Maybe you are stand in the role of a yoke fellow.

Maybe you need to help two Christians to agree together in the Lord. It is so helpful at times when someone who is not emotionally involved in a conflict helps two people come together in Christ. I have been thankful for that on many occasions in my life. Times when I have been helped by a third person. We don’t have to leave in conflict, but we can seek agreement in the Lord.

This conflict in the church in Philippi could glorify the Lord or cause destruction in the church. Paul makes an appeal to those who could help. This is his beloved church and he wants to see nothing destroy it. But he knows that the one thing that could destroy this great church is unresolved conflict.

In Closing...

Ephesians 4:26-27 teaches us "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity."

It takes a mature person in Christ, but we desperately need those who are peace makers. Jesus said, blessed are the peacemakers. We need people who can help those Christians in conflict with one another.

I want to leave you with something to think about. This is not a call to meddle in the affairs of others. 

It is said with love and compassion, to compassionately help others be united in Christ.

Maybe you have a conflict with someone. If you're afraid to reach out to them, there could be someone who can help you reach an agreement in the Lord. 

We need to spend time evaluating our relationship with others. I believe this is so important. We need to ask God to show us if there is really reconciliation that needs to take place.

Weather you have been offended or you know of a situation where you have offended someone else, we need to seek agreement in the Lord. This kind of reconciliation is vital for your walk with God and for our church.

Just ask the Lord in a prayerful way if there is someone we need to seek agreement with in the Lord. If there is, I pray you will act upon it and reach an agreement in the Lord.

May it be so...

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

Copyright © 2019-2021 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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