Agree in the Lord

“I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have laboured side by side with me in the gospel” (Phil 4:2-3).

Where there are people, there will be disagreements. Some of these will be major, others minor, and the disagreement might even include whether it is a major or minor disagreement! Within the church, though we are united by Christ, disagreements remain over theological, political and moral issues.

The enemy can easily come in and sow strife among the people Jesus prayed would have unity (John 17:11). How can we maintain unity and ‘agree in the Lord’ while disagreeing on particular issues?

Love one another – Assuming you’re both Christians, you are children of God. Remember 1 John 4:20-21.

Pray for one another – Not just that the other person would agree with you, but that you’d both be humble enough to listen.

Keep the Bible open – Present your case and engage with their Biblical arguments. Don’t sidestep or ignore the verses they use. Engage with them. The Bible is our rule of faith and life; not our experience, feelings or traditions (not that they are irrelevant).

Take emotion out as much as possible – You may be emotional and hold a viewpoint strongly, but aim for gentleness in speech, and be charitable with one another. It is easier to sin, lack love, refuse to listen and lack humility when we are emotional. (James 1:19-21). Instead of being emotional, be curious why they think that way.

Don’t gather supporters – It hurts the church when we divide into factions. Don’t complain about one another but go to the other and listen. (And don’t assume what others tell you is accurate!)

Agree in the Lord – Continue to labour side by side in the gospel.

We’re all in this together

Paul, an apostle – not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead – and all the brothers who are with me… (Gal 1:1-2)

Whenever I think about it, I’m always blown away by how much is in God’s word. It’s the preacher’s dilemma that he always discovers more in the text, and thinks about so many ways it could apply to our lives, than he could possibly communicate (unless the people are willing to sit for an hour or two)!

Think about these two verses for a moment. “Paul.” A long time could be spent thinking about Paul – who he was before Christ, his conversion, his mission. “An apostle.” We could think about the task of an apostle, his responsibilities and authority. Do we treat the words of Paul as those of an apostle with authority, or as just someone else with an opinion?

We could go on, but have you ever noticed that last phrase: “and all the brothers who are with me”? When we read through Paul’s adventures in Acts, and his letters, it’s easy to forget that the great Apostle Paul was not a lone-ranger. He had men and women with him, partnering with him, in the gospel-mission.

Throughout Acts, Paul was with Barnabas, Silas, Luke, Timothy, and many others. He constantly mentions name after name at the end of his letters. Despite his calling and the revelations he received, he worked with others to proclaim the gospel.

Gospel-ministry isn’t the responsibility of one person in the church. We’re all in this together. We’re a family, meant to encourage one another and spur one another on. Gospel-work isn’t the task of the “called one” only. So are you ready to get to work? What a privilege we all have!