Pastor Tony completes our studies in Philippians by recapping what we’ve learned to fully grasp what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. All that truly matters in this life is pursuing Jesus. If we are pursuing Jesus, then He informs us of every area of our lives. If we only tack Jesus on to our lives along with all the other things, that results in mediocrity. What should we truly strive for as believers?
Do we sometimes take things out of context? Pastor Tony continues our study in Philippians 4 by analyzing the meaning of “I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me” and “My God will supply every need”. Our Lord didn’t give His life for us so that we can have all kinds of cool stuff – cool stuff is a gift from Him. Rather, we need to learn how to enjoy what He has given us and then share it with others. Do we struggle with giving and receiving? We must learn to do both equally so God is honored, rather than making God servant to us so that we can be honored.
Ron Falstad continues our studies in Philippians 4: 4-9.
- Do Delight in God.
- Don’t have anxiety and live in it.
- Do be intentional in thought and deed. Bring all things to God in confidence… and leave it there.
When we don’t set our minds on His things, we will fill our minds with our things. Your mind never stops. It is like a leaking faucet in a bucket and the water is what we put into our minds. When the bucket is full nothing else can come in. Let God be God… don’t settle for anything else.
- Paul wants the Philippians to imitate him and others who are mature. How comfortable are you to say to a younger believer “imitate me”? Why do we tend to say “don’t imitate me but imitate Jesus”?
- In verses 18-19 Paul gives a somber description of some people within the Christian community that they were not to imitate. Without being overly judgmental let’s talk about the examples Tony gave in his sermon. Why are these people enemies of the cross?
- Read Philippians 3: 20-21. The country to which you commit your Citizenship demonstrates to whom you are primarily devoted. We are not to put our minds on earthly things because our citizenship is in heaven, i.e., the Lord is the one we are primarily devoted to and not the things of this world. How should this affect our daily lives? Read Colossians 3: 1-15 to see more on keeping your mind on things above.
- Jesus is coming back to fully redeem our bodies and our salvation will be complete (see Romans 8: 23). Philippians says that our glorified bodies will be like Jesus’ glorified body. Brainstorm on what that means.
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?
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?