Read Philippians 3: 12-16 and discuss the following questions:
- Paul admits that in his pursuit of perfection, he has not yet arrived; but he is in strong pursuit of it. I am sure that we would all agree that we haven’t arrived yet either, but do we like Paul have an intense desire to pursue that Christ-likeness?
- Discuss what you (or we as a group) need to leave behind as we reach forward for maturity.
- Let’s brainstorm on the specifics of what the “prize of the upward call” looks like. Look up Philippians 1: 9-11; Hebrews 12: 14; 2 Peter 1: 3-4 as you discuss this.
- What do you need to talk to God about regarding what you need more understanding in?
Pastor Tony devotes this Sunday’s message for thanksgiving to our God. He begins in 1 Chronicles when the Ark of the Covenant is brought into Jerusalem with thankfulness and musical worship. Then he teaches on two doxologies that cover the second coming of Christ – our hope. Our great God created the universe by speaking it into existence, He became human, died and rose again and is reigning until He returns to earth to eradicate all sin and sorrow!
What is something that sets you apart from others? What are you great at? What talents do you have? Any major accomplishments? The education you have? How about your good looks? The things in your lives where you feel “I’ve done well.” Once we figure that out, let’s put it in a resume to God as to what we have to offer Him. Are we ready to hear His response – “I need none of that”? On a human level, we think that’s important, but in our relationship with God, these are not the basis in which we connect with Him. Pastor Tony continues our study of Philippians revealing that we must abandon all to know Christ.
Digging Deeper into Philippians 2:19-30
- Let’s discuss the two principles that Tony pulled from Paul’s relationship with Timothy and Epaphroditus. Dialogue as to how these transfer to our daily lives.
- Principle #1. Seek the Interests of Christ rather than your own interests.
- Principle #2. Risk your life to serve others.
- Compare Paul’s attitude about his potential death (Philippians 1: 20-24) with his attitude about Epaphroditus’ near-death experience (Philippians 2: 25-30). How does Paul’s teaching on death in 1 Corinthians 15: 24-26 and 15: 54-58 inform this discussion?
Read Philippians 2:12-13 in a few different translations
- Discuss what it means to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Also look up 1 Cor. 2:3 and Psalm 2:11 where this phrase occurs also. If you want to discuss more on how to approach our transcendent God, look up Isaiah 66:1-2 and Hebrews 12: 28-29.
- Verse 13 tells us that God is also working in us to accomplish our salvation. Discuss how our efforts relate to God’s work in us.
Read Philippians 2: 14-16 in a few different translations
- Paul immediately gives an example of working out their salvation that fits the Philippians situation: “do all things without grumbling and disputing.” Brainstorm how grumbling and disputing retard our spiritual growth to Christlikeness.
- Discuss what it means to be “blameless and innocent” in this life and why Paul wants us to be pursue this?
- In verse 16, what does it mean to “holding fast to the Word of Life,” and why is Paul worried that he might have run in vain when it comes to the Philippians’ faith?
Guest speaker, John McKendricks, shares from the book of Acts where Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison. While there, a great earthquake happened where all the prisoners’ shackles fell of and doors were opened – yet everyone stayed and, as a result, the jailer came to know the Lord. John states there’s a lot of earthquakes going on in today’s environment, making us a bit insecure. Shaking needs to happen so God’s treasures can come out. While our sensibilities tell us to leave, it takes great maturity to stick things out and then reap the rewards. Where in your life are things being shaken up?
Digging Deeper into Philippians 2: 5-8
- Read Philippians 2: 5-6.
The New Testament is quite clear, Jesus has existed as God from eternity. Look up Hebrews 1: 1-3 and then John 1: 1-3 and discuss what you can learn about Christ’s preexistence as God.
- Read Philippians 2: 6-8 below and discuss the significance of the words in “quotes”.
- though he existed in the “form” of God,
“He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,”
but “He emptied” himself, by “taking the form of a servant”, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form,
“he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
- In light of Jesus humility, how should we carry out Paul’s admonition in Philippians 2: 3-4.
Digging Deeper into Philippians 1:27-2:5
- Survey through the following verses and define what it looks like to live worthy of the Gospel. How do you do this without falling into legalism or self-righteousness.
•Philippians 1: 27; Ephesians 4: 1-3; Colossians 1: 10;
1 Thessalonians 2: 12; 2 Thessalonians 1: 11-12
- Talk through each verse in Philippians 1: 27-30 and determine what unity is and how it affects our ministry in the world. Make sure you discuss what it means for a church to have “one mind.”
- From Philippians 2: 2-4, define what humility looks like in your day to day life. Brainstorm how we can put this into practice in our church and community.
Digging Deeper into Philippians 1:12-26
- Paul has been in jail for between 2-4 years. Some would say that he had blown it by appealing to Caesar; he could still be free to proclaim Christ if he hadn’t. From Philippians 1:12-18, what is Paul’s attitude about his imprisonment and the advancement of the Gospel? What does this say about God’s power to accomplish His purposes even when our plans are greatly altered?
- Read Philippians 1:19-26
-Discuss what Paul mean by “to live is Christ!”
-Again, discuss what Paul mean by “to die is gain!”
- To what degree are these two succinct sayings reflective of your walk with Christ and of our relationship with one another?