“Hey you guys, get along back there!” How many of us have yelled that to kids in the back seat—or had our parents yell it at us? Getting along is not a distinctly Christian thing. We all desire the fruits of tolerating each other: peace, harmony, comfort, etc. But as a church, we’re called to more than just tolerating each other.
In Philippians, Paul writes to two Christian women, Euodia and Syntyche, “Get along ladies!” (Phil 4:2– 3). Unlike our appeal to kids in the back seat, Paul’s appeal to unity in the Philippian church is distinctly Christian. And he starts that appeal all the way back in chapter two.
Paul writes in Philippians 2:1–4, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” What makes this appeal to unity distinctly Christian is the same thing that makes everything Paul writes distinctly Christian: Paul connects it to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul could have skipped over verse 1 and gone straight to his appeal: “be of the same mind, have the same love, be in full accord and of one mind.” But he doesn’t. He grounds his appeal in the magnificent realities of the gospel. And this is where we should ground our striving for unity in the church. Too often, we skip straight to “How can we get along?” without looking at or connecting it to what Christ has done to unite us. This Sunday, we’re going to linger over these four verses and think deeply about the magnificent realities of the gospel and how they connect to Paul’s call for us as the church to walk in humble unity. My prayer is that our hearts would be stirred by the powerful realities of the gospel to humble ourselves as Jesus humbled himself and walk in Christ-exalting unity together. Would you pray that God would do that? And would you join us at 10am at the Skyline Plaza?