Can you imagine being immortalized for the next two thousand years in every culture as being the two ladies in the congregation at Philippi that everybody needed to work together with to try and see if they could get them to get along again? Well, that's how Euodia and Syntyche are mentioned in this passage.

It just shows you, as beautiful as this passage is; this is a very practical passage. And it's headed towards that promise in verse 7 that we all love: that the peace of God, which passes understanding will guard our minds and hearts, our understandings and dispositions and desires. It's a great promise in that passage.

And so I want you to see four exhortations and this promise, and it begins with this: Be reconciled.

I. Be Reconciled

Look at verses 2-3. Paul addresses these two godly women, Euodia and Syntyche, and he urges them in the strongest terms. He entreats them; he begs them to agree in the Lord, to be reconciled to one another. For whatever division has come in between them that has separated them in their friendship and in their co-working in the gospel, he wants that to be overcome. He wants them to come back together again. It's an indication of how deep Paul's love and respect for these women is, and yet at the same time it's an indication of how seriously Paul takes division in the congregation.

He's not talking about people who claimed to be Christians but who weren't really. He's talking about real godly women who had worked shoulder to shoulder with one another and with him, but now they've gotten crosswise with one another. And Paul is deeply concerned about that. And the he is saying at the very outset, be reconciled. Make it a priority, congregation, to work for these kinds of reconciliations so that the power of God's grace in gospel forgiveness and reconciliation can be shown.

II. Rejoice Always

The second thing he says by way of exhortation you see in verse 4: "Rejoice always." It is no accident that the Apostle Paul, right after talking about a church division, would turn around and say, Rejoice always. Because Paul expects there to be struggle and divisions in the church, and if you get cynical about that you either weren't listening or you're not paying attention to Paul as to where you get your joy, because joy is not drawn from circumstances, it's drawn from the Lord.

III. Be Reasonable

Then he says in verse 5, Be reasonable. And notice he says be reasonable because the Lord is at hand. In other words, he gives you a reason to be reasonable! In our dealings with one another we're to be kind and gentle and generous, and respectful and reasonable. And the reason he gives for this is because the Lord is at hand. The Lord Jesus is coming back at any moment.

Have you ever been having a fight with your wife and a dear friend walks in? Ahem...things straighten up real quick, don't they? Well, here's Paul saying the Lord is at hand. He could come back at any time. So deal with one another with a kind of reasonableness that is drawn from the fact that you know the Lord Jesus is coming at any moment.

IV. Don't Worry. Pray Instead

And then he says, don't worry. Pray instead, because God knows your needs. He's calling on us to show trust and confidence in God in all situations.

You know, worry is a thing that we do to try and feel more in control of a situation that we are out of control of. The ineffective thing in worry is it doesn't do a single thing except depress you and discourage those around you. And the Apostle Paul says here's the solution: instead of worrying, pray to the one who is in control of everything in your situation, because He loves you and He'll take care of you.

He's saying, "Christian, don't worry. You have no reason to worry because your loving heavenly Father knows you, knows your needs, and He will take care of you. Just pray to Him."

V. The Promise

Then comes the promise, and you see it in verse 7:

"And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

In other words, Paul says that when you have been cultivating joy in your heart, joy in the Lord, joy that's not derived from your circumstances, but joy which is derived from the gospel grace that God has shown to you in Jesus Christ, when you have been seeking to live in gentleness and reasonableness with your brothers and sisters in Christ, when you have, instead of worrying 24/7, been entrusting yourself to God to provide for your needs, and then in your time of need, in your hour of plight and trial, God is going to give you a peace beyond your comprehension. So that when everything in your circumstance is screaming to you "Despair! Hopelessness!" you will have a hope in you that you don't know where it came from.

But do you see how following the exhortation that Paul has just talked about in verses 2-6 enables you to receive that promise? Following those exhortations help you to be ready to receive the promise. The promise is there for every believer. But if we won't pray, we won't experience the promise like God wants us to. If we don't cultivate reasonableness and gentleness with one another, we won't be ready to experience the promise the way the Lord wants us to. If we're not cultivating joy in the Lord in our hearts, we won't be ready to receive and experience the promise the way the Lord wants us to receive it.

Isn't it interesting how God never tells you to do something that isn't ultimately for your good? So, each of the exhortations in this passage, including the exhortation to be reconciled, is designed so that in your hour of need when all the lights go out, you're readied by your heeding of these exhortations to experience the peace that passes understanding.

We need that peace. We need that peace in our churches. But receiving that peace begins with our cultivating peace with one another, with our cultivating joy in our hearts, with our cultivating reasonableness and gentleness with one another, and with our praying and not worrying, because we have a God that we know loves and cares for us. And when we do that, the amazing thing is that the Holy Spirit comes and gives a direct testimony to our souls that God's promise is true and will hold you up when there is nothing else in this world to hold you up.