My first sermon series at Holy Trinity is the letter to the Philippians, preached prophylactically (this is not a strange variant of prophecy and, for Australian readers, prophylactic means the prevention of a disease when a body is infected with a parasite, rather than the common Aussie use as a means for the prevention of pregnancy). The disease we want to avoid is disagreement and bust ups. The parasite is personality clashes and inflated egos.
I take the theme of Philippians from the issue in chapter 4v2, where Euodia and Syntyche are having a bust up and this is affecting the whole church and its witness. Paul’s letter is focused on the gospel, not only as the means for bringing peace but as the focal point of unity and purpose.
In chapter 1 verses 1 to 11 Paul’s example sets the tone for peace between believers.
1. Give thanks to God for all believers in Christ (v1-6) – have you ever tried being angry with someone you’ve thanked God for? Paul’s repeated emphasis in verses 3 to 8 is for all the believers in Philippi, not just the ones he agrees with or likes.
2. Love other believers with the deep affection of Christ (v7-8) – Christ loves sinners and so we should love each other deeply, as sinners.
3. Grow in love, knowledge, wisdom and righteousness – it is easy to love people who grow in these four ways (v9-11).
A copy of my talk is on our church website sermon page.