How is it that two people sitting in the same place, hearing the same words, from the same person, respond differently? Joy is increased in one person, and bitterness in another. The difference is that some people live by feelings and the effects circumstances have on them, and the other lives by faith in Christ. They can find joy even in hardships because their strength comes from “Christ in you the hope of glory.” Paul writes this letter from prison, not making the point that he is an apostle but that he is a servant of Jesus Christ. His joy was in the One he served. He also found joy in the one he was serving with – Timothy. It is cause for great joy to a servant of the Lord to see and share in the labors of others, especially one God saved through our ministry. To see that person going on faithfully in service for Christ is very gratifying. One of the themes in the book of Philippians is unity, and that is illustrated in the first words – “servants of Jesus Christ.”
In Matthew 16:19 and 18:18, “Binding” is mentioned in both the universal and local aspects of the Church. Authority in both cases is based on one simple condition; agreement. Consensus grants to the Church incredible authority in heaven. When the Church seeks the mind of Christ and when it speaks the mind of Christ (1Cor.2:1-5) then it has power and authority. That “binding” is prefaced by one condition; reconciliation (Mat.18:15-17). Whether one is offended (Mat.18:15) or the offender (Mat.5:23-24), a Christian is to take the initiative in being reconciled. We should never underestimate the value of the local church in enabling this to be accomplished.