In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, in chapter one, he indicates that the world is divided, hence him being in chains. He then turns his attention to the problem of a divided church—a situation which he said would be counterproductive. So to avoid the problem of a divided church, Paul suggested an alternative. And he principally spoke about four things:
That is, the need to build a harmonious church, full of encouragement, comfort, fellowship, tenderness and compassion; the need to promote unity, being like-minded, of the same love, and one in spirit and purpose; the need to avoid selfish ambition and instead treat others as worthy of preferential treatment; and the need to have a concern for others.
In other words pursuing one’s own interests is fine, but only if there is equal concern for the interests of others.
Now does that sound like a tough task? Well it is. And multiply that out by the number of believers and the number of churches and the number of denominations, and the task gets a whole lot harder. Nevertheless, the principles that Paul sets down for a harmonious church are still ones of which we should take special note.
The church at Philippi was but one congregation, and even so there was some evidence of disunity. So today, not everyone will agree on everything that is said or done in the church (and each church will have its own special needs). But the principles regarding the need to maintain harmony, and to look beyond the needs of the individual to the needs of all, is still very important. Indeed, as Christians, it should be at the forefront of everything we do.
Posted: 19th June 2020
© 2020, Brian A Curtis