“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
What marks your life today? Can you honestly say you have clear goals that affect not only your life as a whole, but your daily and even hourly decisions? When Paul the apostle wrote the words in the verse above, he not only tells us what his goal was (“the upward call of God”) but what he was willing to do to obtain it (“press on”). He knew that a goal that was worth achieving was worth any amount of effort it took to attain it. Paul’s goal was not just one he manufactured, but it was a call from God Himself. God loves us with an everlasting love. Because His love is perfect, His desires for our life are perfect. So we see God’s call for Paul, as well as for us, is an upward call. It will draw us closer to Him.
The decision to study God’s word is a response to that “upward call.” But we must be aware that there are many forces that might pull us downward. Let’s look at a few before we begin. In so doing we can anticipate and be prepared to persevere, no matter what we may have to overcome along the way.
1. Lack of time, busyness: In the world in which we live, there are so many things that vie for our time. Therefore, we need to ask the Lord to help us set an “appointment” with Him. It has been said, “we always find time to do the things that are important to us.” Ask the Lord for a plan: whether it is to set your alarm 1/2 hour earlier, taking your lunch break in the car to do your study, or eliminating an activity that has a lower priority than your study. Be assured that the Lord is very interested in helping you carve out this important niche of time.
2. Focus: Often times we sit down to study, and our mind wanders. We lose precious time and become frustrated. An important principal to always remember is: start each study time with prayer. Remember that the Lord Himself wants to be your teacher. Our awareness of His presence will help our spiritual eyes and ears to be open and attentive.
3. Commitment: As we start any new endeavor, like a Bible Study, our initial enthusiasm is high. But as time goes on, we may begin to feel weary and lose interest. We must realize that this isn’t just a natural progression; this is a spiritual battle. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 The enemy of our soul, Satan, would like nothing better than for you to drift away from God’s Word. We need to approach this challenge with an awareness of our spiritual resources. If we feel our commitment waning, we need to ask the Lord for renewed enthusiasm and strength. For as Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12
Stop and pray now that the Lord will help you find a special and protected time. Pray also that He will teach you by His Holy Spirit and give you strength to “press” toward His “upward call” through the study of His precious and Holy Word.
DAY #1 INTRODUCTION TO PHILIPPIANS
Although we commonly call this “the book of Philippians,” it was originally penned as a letter. Ten years earlier Paul the Apostle spent just three short weeks in Philippi. *If you have a map in the back of your Bible, take some time to locate this city. On what is called “the second missionary journey,” Paul traveled to Philippi with Silas and Timothy. They shared the gospel first with a handful of women. Later, they delivered a young slave girl from demon possession. Then they were stripped, beaten, thrown into jail and, upon release, asked to leave town. But Paul, Silas and Timothy were used as instruments of God’s saving grace and life transforming power. The greatest of all miracles had occurred: the lost were being saved, the spiritually dead were given new and eternal life in Christ. The Gospel had been preached in a Roman Colony which was a hub, a crossroads of the trade route between Europe and the middle east. A new church was planted. And a bond of love and fellowship was established between the believers in Philippi and the Apostle Paul that would endure time and distance.
At the time of this writing Paul was in a Roman jail 800 miles away. He was able to go to Philippi only two times in ten years. Yet we see Paul continued to faithfully pray for them. Despite the fact that Paul was in prison, a primary concern of this letter was for their welfare, not his. From the human perspective, being in prison wouldn’t provide the inspiration for writing a letter with such important and positive subjects as joy, peace, victory and contentment. But then, this letter was not written from a human perspective. The Holy Spirit was the divine author, Paul was the inspired instrument. And if we look closely, we will see that it is Jesus Christ Who is the central theme. Our life in Him is the subject of instruction and exhortation. Paul wrote, “for me to live is Christ.” Philippians 1:21 Therefore, the joy he experienced and encouraged these believers to experience, was derived not from pleasant, happy circumstances, but from a deep, vibrant relationship with the Savior, who promised to “never leave us nor forsake us.” Hebrews 13:5b
As we begin this study, may our central theme be the same. May we grow in our love and understanding of Christ’s abiding presence in our lives. May our lives be transformed. May we also rise above our circumstances as we seek to see Jesus and live a life focused on Him.
In our study of Philippians, we will be using a guided version of what is called, “the inductive study method.” As we look at each section of verses, we will attempt to do so in three important steps:
1. The Facts: Our first goal should always be to understand clearly what is being stated. That is, what do the scriptures say? It is important to study each section of scripture carefully to understand the basic facts: The who, what, when, where, how and why.
2. Interpretation: The next step will be to take a close look at what the scripture means. We will consider the general lessons and principals that we see. Sometimes looking at historical background and definitions of words helps us understand what is being communicated.
3. Application: The final and vital stage will be application. The Bible is not just a textbook by which we gain information. The Word of God is “living and powerful” and, when applied personally, it can feed, exhort, comfort, strengthen, warn, teach and enlighten us. No study of the Bible is complete until we ask the final, personal question: “What does this mean to me?”
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that doesn’t need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
In this 1st lesson we will endeavor to gain an overview of the entire Epistle (letter) of Philippians. The first step will be to read through all four chapters and make notes of some of the major points and information. You will also be asked to give a summary sentence and a title. The purpose of both is that it causes you to focus on the main points. Putting main themes in your own words helps to clarify and reinforces your ability to remember what you’ve read. Most of us have had the experience of reading through a section of scripture and then within a few hours not being able to recall even a portion of what we read.
As you read, meditate and record in writing what you’re learning, you will find that the scriptures become part of your thinking. When that happens, your life is transformed and conformed to be more like our Lord. Philippians is a book that addresses the importance of our thought life. This is critical because our thoughts affect our attitudes and our attitudes affect our choices.
“Sow a thought, reap an action
Sow an action, reap a habit
Sow a habit, reap a lifestyle”
Our goal in this study will be to not only know all the wonderful truths taught in this book, but that we might “own them” in a personal way. As we own them, may they then begin to own us and give us nourishing food for thought: “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy------meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8
DAY #2 Pray before you begin your study each day.
As you read this letter, read it as if you were there. Picture yourself, as one of the brothers or sisters in the church of Philippi. You heard Paul was experiencing difficulty. The pastor of your church, Epaphroditus had made the 800 mile journey to take supplies and to be an encouragement to Paul. The trip was hard on Epaphroditus and you received word that he almost died in Rome. But now he has returned. How thankful all of those in the fellowship are for his safe return. All are eager to hear the letter he has carried back from Paul. There is not a dry eye in the room. But there is a reverence and anticipation that the Lord will use the word on that parchment to minister to each and every life there.
1. Read Philippians chapter 1, verses 1-11. Read through these versus again, making note of anything that stands out as important to you. You don’t have to use complete sentences. You may just want to record a key word, or a word or a concept that is repeated or you feel is emphasized.
2. In one sentence, summarize this section using your own words.
3. Write a short title for this section. Coming up with a title doesn’t have to be complicated. Jot down the first main thing that comes to your mind that seems to capture the main thought. Some sample titles could be, “Greetings and Expressions of Gratitude” or “Paul’s Love, Prayers and Concerns.”
1. Read Philippians chapter 1, verses 12-30. Read through these verses again, making note of anything that stands out as important to you. Again, you don’t have to use complete sentences, you may just want to record key words and concepts.
2. In one sentence, summarize this section using your own words.
3. Write a short title for this section.
1. Read Philippians chapter 2, verses 1-30. Read through these verses again, making note of anything that stands out as important to you, recording key words and concepts.
2. In one sentence, summarize this section using your own words.
3. Write a short title for this section.
1. Read Philippians chapter 3, verses 1-21. Read through these verses again, making note of anything that stands out as important to you, recording key words and concepts. Don’t get bogged down with what you think others may record as important. Just write down what you see.
2. In one sentence, summarize this section using your own words.
3. Write a short title for this section.
1. Read Philippians chapter 4, verses 1-23. Read through these verses again, making note of anything that stands out as important to you, recording key words and concepts.
2. In one sentence, summarize this section using your own words.
3. Write a short title for this section.
4. As you have read through Philippians, what are some subjects or themes that you are looking forward to studying because they seem particularly important to your life?
5. What would be a good title to use for this book? Think about this a little bit. Coming up with a title can be both fun and productive.
6. *Personal Question* As we close this first lesson, pause and pray that the Lord would help you to formulate a goal or goals for this year of both Bible Study and your spiritual life in Him. Record them here so you can periodically look back and either renew them or redefine them. If you choose to share your goals with the group, or another brother or sister, this helps to reinforce them and provides others the opportunity to pray for you and also hold you accountable.
WHY STUDY PHILIPPIANS? Does this book relate to our lives today?
*Quote* “The modern world, and with it the modern church, has been afflicted by unbelief, secularism, and materialism which have deteriorated its faith, clouded its vision, and cluttered its life with the temporal. The timeless relevance of the Word of God as a whole is illustrated effectively in the epistle to the Philippians written so long ago. Today as never before a believer in Christ needs to have a clear vision of his Savior, an intimate walk of fellowship, the inner peace and power that come from such association, and the unclouded hope of the life to come with its resurrection from the dead, its glorious body, and its fulfillment in the presence of the Lord. Coming from the context of the triumph of its human author suffering for Christ’s sake, limited in earthly things, and yet overflowing in spiritual power and joy, the epistle is well adapted to speaking to human hearts tender toward Christ and willing to listen to His revealed truth. It is an epistle to be read often, worthy of long meditation, and one which provides spiritual healing for those wounded by the present world. It is the triumphant Word of God for those who would triumph in Christ today as it was for those who triumphed yesterday.”
(Dr. John F. Walvoord-PHILIPPIANS, TRIUMPH IN CHRIST-Everyman’s Bible Commentary)
“Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:1
Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles, that is his primary ministry was to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people who were not Jewish. Paul wrote this letter with his close companion and protégé Timothy. He did so under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the believers in Philippi. It was written approximately 30 years after Jesus’ ministry here on earth. This letter was not only used to encourage and instruct those Christians then, but it has ministered to all who have come to faith in Jesus Christ and have had the great benefit of its teachings ever since.
The Founding of a Church
Many people go to a church which was established long before they began attending. Therefore, most people don’t know the details of how their church came into existence.
As we read the book of Acts, we learn that after Christ’s Resurrection and ascension into Heaven, three important things happened:
1. God sent His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13).
2. The Disciples began the task of proclaiming and spreading the good news of the Gospel (Acts 2:14-40).
3. As people responded and accepted the Lord Jesus as Savior, groups of believers gathered together to form churches (Acts 2:41-47).
All three of these things are still going on today. To enrich our understanding and appreciation of the book of Philippians, we will do a brief study of these three things. A study of the exciting details of the founding of the Church in Philippi can greatly enrich our lives today.
DAYS #1 and #2 The Holy Spirit
The goal of this section is to gain an understanding of the importance of the work of God Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit and His relationship to the Church.
The Promise: Jesus’ ministry here on earth lasted a few short years. He accomplished the one “work” that only He could do: providing salvation for all who believe through His death on the cross. Although He reached and taught many people, God’s plan was that the message and ministry of salvation would continue and expand after His resurrection and ascension into Heaven.
1. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” John 14:12 As you ponder the statement Jesus made in John 14:12, you might have some of the same questions that the 12 disciples had the night Jesus said this. How could we possibly do similar work and even greater than our Lord did here on earth? Jesus answered these questions in John 14:16-17 and John 14:26. Record 3 or 4 important things you learn about the Holy Spirit. Also describe how these things make all the difference in accomplishing a task that seems bigger than you.
2. The disciples had enjoyed an incredible time of close personal friendship and partnership in ministry with Jesus. His words to them of His parting brought them sorrow (John 16:5-6). Yet He had good news for them. Read John 16:7. Share the insights you gain as you read these words.
3. We must remember that the Holy Spirit is “The Holy Spirit of God.” Therefore He is all that God is: Holy, powerful, omnipresent, loving, righteous and all-knowing. Since God is Spirit and not flesh as we are, His realm must be understood with more than just our natural understanding and perceptions. What do you learn that is important to your own life from the following Scriptures?
A. 1 Corinthians 2:14 “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” NIV
B. John 3:3 Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:6-8 “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at My saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” NIV
C. John 4:23-24 “a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
4. Acts 1:1-6 describes the exciting fulfillment of this promise and the Spirit’s role in spreading the Gospel. Read this and record what you learn.
5. The last words that Jesus spoke on earth are recorded in Acts 1:8. Read Acts 1:8-9. The Holy Spirit gives power. What is this power to be used for and why is it necessary for the assigned task?
6. Acts 2:1-4 tells us about the arrival of the Spirit. What details especially capture your attention and why?
7. In Acts 2:14-40, the apostle Peter stands up and preaches a powerful message. Just a few days before, Peter had been too fearful to admit he was a disciple of Jesus when a servant girl questioned him (Mark 14:66-72). However, as we read this account, we see that Peter is not afraid of anyone. He speaks with great clarity, authority and boldness. How can we account for this difference in Peter? In light of what you have already learned, explain this difference.
8. Acts 2:41 records the results of Peter’s preaching. Note that not everyone responded to the Gospel proclamation. The Holy Spirit will not force anyone to believe the Gospel. Reflect on verse 41 and read Acts 1:8 again. Share what you learn and how this is an encouragement to you.
9. *Personal sharing is optional* Have you experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in your life? Do you yield to His leading and guiding? Do you depend on His power instead of your own when you have an opportunity to share the Gospel? Is there anything in your life grieving or quenching the Spirit? (Ephesians 4:30, 1 Thessalonians 5:19) Share your thoughts. Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any area where you may need to change. Stop and pray right now and ask that the Spirit will have the influence and power in your life that Jesus promised.
The power that compels
Comes from the Spirit that indwells.
DAY #3 Acts 9:1-29 PAUL, ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS, HAD A CHANGE OF COURSE
Over the next few days we will look at the preaching and spreading of the Gospel in Philippi as well as the founding of the church in this city. Remember that the definition of church is not a building, but the church is the gathering of believers.
Just as there was a time when the Church of Philippi did not exist, there was a time when the great apostle Paul (who was previously called Saul) was not even a Christian. In fact, he hated Christians and did everything he could do to destroy churches. Read Acts 9:1-29.
1. We encounter many people today who are opposed to both the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Christians who proclaim this Gospel. Identify some of the reasons you believe people may react so negatively to the message (i.e., the Gospel of Christ) and the messenger (i.e., a Christian). Think of as many reasons as you can. In understanding what motivates people to reject the Gospel we will be: 1) less intimidated; 2) less offended; 3) more emboldened; 4) and more effective at reaching them with the love of Christ.
2. In Acts 9:4 and 5, the Lord spoke personally to Paul. Although Paul was attacking Christians, Jesus asked “Why are you persecuting Me?”. Explain what you learn from this question our Lord asked Paul. How can this encourage you in times of opposition?
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12
3. In Acts 9:10-17, Jesus gave Ananias a tough assignment. To Ananias it must have not only seemed dangerous, but impossible to speak to Paul.
A. Look up the word disciple in a dictionary; the Vines Bible dictionary is best if available, but not necessary. Also read Matthew 28:18-20. Why would the fact that Ananias was a disciple be important in the Lord’s choice to send him to Paul?
B. Verse 17 tells us Ananias went. What do you learn from this?
C. Because Ananias obeyed, He was used by God to do the impossible, change a life. Read Acts 9:18-20 again. The history of Christianity is filled with thousands and thousands of cold, hard hearted, sinful people who have fallen on their knees before the loving Savior who have then gone on to make a stand for Christ to others.
1) Do you know anyone like that? Write a little of their story.
2) How can you gain courage and hope from this story as you pray for and encounter those “impossible candidates for Christianity”?
Salvation gives spiritual vision to sin-blinded eyes.
DAY #4 Read Acts 16:6-10 WHY AND HOW DID A CHURCH START IN PHILIPPI?
Paul, as we have already learned, was an apostle. Apostle means one sent out. He was a missionary whom God sent to start new churches and encourage the churches that had already been established. Many Bibles have maps in the back that show the routes of his 1st, 2nd and 3rd missionary journeys. The events of these journeys are recorded in the book of the Acts. If you have these maps, pause and look at them for a moment. Paul’s first visit to Philippi was on his second missionary journey.
1. As we read Acts 16:6-10, we see that Paul planned to go to certain areas, but the Spirit did not permit him. We often just think about the Spirit directing us to do something, not stopping us. Share ways the Spirit might communicate a “no” to us. Also share any insights you gain as you meditate on this.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.” Psalm 32:8
2. Paul was in the ancient city of Troy (in the area known today as Turkey) and was intending to head east again deeper into Asia. This is how the Lord changed Paul’s plan and sent him to take the Gospel for the first time to Europe: “…a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ This unknown night visitor to Paul represents a whole world of lost people who need help. A missionary is one sent to help the lost. While a man or woman may need help in a lot of different ways, his or her greatest need is spiritual. We live in a world where people have so much materially and yet they have such great needs spiritually. Pause and pray now. Could it be that the Spirit would communicate to you someone who could also say, “come over and help us, give us the words of eternal life”? Share your thoughts.
3. Acts 16:10 “after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.” The word immediately speaks volumes. Look up this word in the dictionary. Explain how it applies to Paul’s response then to your own when you feel that the Lord wants you to minister to someone.
DAY #5 Acts 16:13-24 PEOPLE REACHED, LIVES CHANGED
Often times when Paul entered a new area, he would enter the local Synagogue and start sharing the Gospel of Jesus with the Jews of that city. It appears that there was no Synagogue in Philippi, therefore the devout Jews of that city met in a place outside of town.
1. A Religious Woman with an Open Heart. Read Acts 16:13-15. In what ways did Lydia respond to the Gospel that are important as models of the evidence of conversion?
2. Lydia and her household believed and were baptized. Romans 6:3-4 and Colossians 2:12 refer to baptism as a kind of spiritual burial. Some view this as water baptism, some view this as Spirit baptism. What are the implications of baptism in terms of the way we are supposed to live versus the way we lived before?
3. A Slave Girl with a Possessed Heart. Read Acts 16:16-18. The slave girl was useful to her masters. A demon possessed her and was her true master. There are people today who are enslaved in sin and used for the ultimate purposes of Satan himself.
A. What specific examples can you give of people you know or know of who would fit this broader category of bondage? (Be careful to not share private matters of other’s lives without their permission.)
B. How can we be used of God to set them free?
God formed us; sin deformed us; Christ transforms us.
4. Read Acts 16:19-24. When we are zealous and faithful to share the Gospel and help others, we aren’t always rewarded in the way we expect and hope. Paul often paid a high price.
A. Explain what you learn from the opposition and reactions of the disgruntled masters, the magistrates and the multitude.
B. How do we also sometimes suffer unexpected and undeserved consequences in our service for the Lord?
DAY #6 Acts 16:22-34 JAIL TIME (Sub-title, Jail House Rock)
1. Read Acts 16:22-25. Paul and Silas had been beaten “with many stripes,” thrown into the inner prison (probably a dark and dank cubicle), and their feet were in stocks.
A. Acts 16:25 “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” What do you learn from the example of their actions?
B. How do you think the other prisoners were affected as they listened? Pause and ponder this as it applies to those around you when you face adverse circumstances.
2. The Jailer with a Desperate Heart. Read about the very unexpected deliverance in Acts 16:26-28. The Jailer’s response seems drastic. If the prisoners had escaped, he would have probably been executed. The consequences were worse to him than taking his own life. It is interesting that Paul and Silas’ concern at this point was more for the jailer (who, just hours before, had been cruel to them) than for their own freedom. Pause for a moment and deeply ponder this. Share your insights. How does this encourage and exhort you?
3. Read the wonderful account of the jailer’s conversion in Acts 16:29-34. Record what you learn from this story. What do you find interesting?
4. It is perfectly conceivable that the jailor continued in this line of work. What a wonderful ministry he might have had. He may have started the first prison fellowship as he had opportunities to share with “a captive audience.” In light of this, what lessons can we learn about the following:
A. God used Paul and Silas’ arrest for good.
B. The jailer’s opportunity to use his work for ministry.
5. As we reflect back on the first converts in the city of Philippi, we learn an important principal of the Lord’s purposes. Lydia sold purple. Purple was a symbol of wealth. Lydia was probably affluent and was in a social circle of affluence. The slave girl (whom we hope accepted Christ) was at the bottom of society. The jailer was in the working class. His job included dealing with the most base and despised. By the world’s standards, this was an unusual mix to start a church. How is it possible that a combination of people like this could unite with mutual love and common goals? Pause and ponder this important question before you answer.
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.” John 17:20-21
6. Share one or two lessons you have learned from the lesson this week that is important to your life. How will you put this lesson to practice? Pause and pray that the Lord will help you.
*Optional Background Reading* THE CITY OF PHILIPPI
“ … sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days.” Acts. 16:11-12 Philippi was approximately 10 miles inland. Remember, most land travel was by foot.
“Philippi was a strategic center from which to begin his evangelization of the continent of Europe. Philippi had been founded by the great King Philip of Macedon, whose name the city bore. It lay in a wide and fertile plain that was marked by a multitude of springs and rivers that flowed through it to make it a very productive land. The area surrounding Philippi had been a center of gold and silver mining for centuries, and King Philip revived the industry so the city became prosperous. Philippi was settled at the base of a cut through the mountains that divided the East from the West, and consequently it became the center of the trade route between Europe and the Middle East.
When Paul set out to evangelize on the continent of Europe, his goal was not to confine himself to the Greeks but to reach beyond them to the Romans. In Acts 16:12, our attention is called to the fact that Philippi was colony. ..in reaching the continent, ..[Paul] began, not in a center of Greek culture like Athens nor in a commercial center like Corinth, but in a Roman city, that through it he might penetrate the Roman world. Rome in its conquest of the Middle East had been engaged in a war against Macedonia. History tells us the Roman army ran out of salt, and it was with salt that Roman soldiers were paid. (From this we get our expression that a man is not worth his salt.) The Roman legions threatened to defect and return home from the battle, which meant Macedonia would remain unconquered. The people of Philippi preferred to be ruled by Rome rather than the Macedonians, so they collected a great amount of salt and turned it over to Roman army, and thus the soldiers were paid. They continued in their conquest and defeated the Macedonians, incorporating Macedonia into the Roman Empire. As a reward to the citizens of Philippi, the Roman emperor conferred upon them the status of a colony. This meant they had the same rights and privileges as Roman citizens of the city of Rome. They were under the special protective care of the emperor; they had all the privileges afforded by Roman law. Like residents of Rome, they were given privileges of freedom from taxation. As a consequence, many Roman soldiers chose to settle in Philippi instead of returning to Italy after they had completed their military service, Thus Philippi became a little Rome: Roman in its loyalties, Roman in its law, Roman in its philosophy and outlook. It was here the apostle came to begin to penetrate the continent of Europe with the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith.” Quoted from The Joy of Living, by J. Dwight Pentecost.
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,…….” Philippians 1:3,4
The tender tone of the entire letter to the Philippians shows that in Paul’s brief time with them, he had grown to love them deeply. And they loved him. There are many things that we, as Christians, should do for others. When we do not love them, it is drudgery. But when we love those we serve, it is a delight. Paul’s heart was full of the love of God, and therefore, the effort he put forth for these people was small to him compared to the joy he received as he saw them grow and mature in Christ.
DAY #1 Read Philippians 1:1-7
1. From now on, day one of each lesson will include the first step of the inductive Bible study method, observation. It is an important, and as you will discover, a rewarding process. Read Philippians 1:1-7 again with pen in hand making note of what is being said. Record the important words, statements and facts. You may go verse by verse to do this, or look at this section as a whole, giving an overview of the main facts. Give a title to this section.
DAY #2 Read Philippians 1:1-2 SLAVES WHO ARE FREE!
“Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:” Philippians 1:1
1. The Christian application of the definition of bondservant is: a servant who willingly commits himself to serve the master he loves and respects. Share some of the things you think being a “servant of Jesus” meant to Paul. Include what he stated in Galatians 1:10.
2. Paul was a powerful preacher of the Gospel and a great teacher of the Word of God. He had been used to perform miracles and healings and to start many churches. Why do you think that he did not start out this letter by listing his credentials or accomplishments but by calling himself a servant? In your answer include how his attitude might have affected those he wrote to and also how it is an example to you.
*Quote* I would rather have Jesus Christ as my Master than anyone else I know. He loves me, He knows all about me, He made me, He knows the future, and He gives me the power I need to serve Him acceptably and fruitfully. When I fail, He forgives me and helps me start over again. He never leaves me or forsakes me, and He rewards me graciously, though I don’t deserve it. Could you want a better master than that? Warren W. Wiersbe, On Being a Servant of God
3. Before we were Christians, we were all slaves, but our bondage was to sin. Non-Christians often think that if they were to become a Christian, they would lose all their freedom. Explain in your own words what Romans 6:16-18 and Romans 6:21-22 teaches us about the following. Apply it to real everyday life in a way that would explain this principle to a non-Christian:
A. Slaves of sin
B. Set Free
C. Slave to Righteousness
4. Timothy, whose name means “precious to God,” was a young man, probably in his late teens or early twenties. Paul took him under his wing and allowed him to receive experience and training in the ministry. He also chose him to accompany him on several missions. Later, Timothy served as pastor of the church at Ephesus. What do you learn about him from the following passages? Add any blessings or insights you gain.
A. 2 Timothy 2:5 “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”
B. 2 Timothy 3:15 “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
C. Acts 16:1, 2 “Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek. He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium.”
D. 1 Corinthians 4:17 “For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.”
5. This letter was written to the saints in Philippi. Most of us certainly don’t feel like saints. Perhaps this is because we think of a saint as a kind of super Christian. However, according to Scripture, everyone who has personally received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, is a saint.
*Definition* To be a saint is to be “set aside by God for service to God. As God is holy, so all service to Him must also be in holiness and have a holy purpose.” What are some of the practical implications of being a saint for you? In other words, what should you do and how should you live because you are a saint?
*Quote* “The great saints of past eras did not know they were great saints. If someone had told them, they would not have believed it, but those around them knew that Jesus was living His life in them.” A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
DAY #3 MORE THAN A GREETING
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:2 These words express more than just a casual greeting. They convey a desire that these believers would have something that the world doesn’t offer and money can’t buy, grace and peace.
1. Justice is getting what we deserve. Grace is receiving from God what we don’t deserve, unmerited favor. Most of us would gladly choose grace over justice. Explain why grace is so precious as you ponder the Scriptures below.
Justice - What do we Deserve?
Grace - The Gift of God
A. Romans 3:10 “As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one;”
A. Romans 4:7-8 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.”
B. Romans 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death,”
B. Romans 6:23b “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“ For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8
2. Why is grace important? Because life is tough! There are times when we feel beaten down, rejected, and unloved.
A. Share how you think and act when you feel that you are always falling short, beyond the reach of God’s love.
B. The truth that God loves us and wants to bestow His grace on us, despite how unworthy we are, is like water to a thirsty soul. Stop and ponder how important it is for us to remember that God loves us with an everlasting love, not on the merits of our goodness, but on His. Share the effect this has on you.
3. Read Romans 5:1. Peace with God and the peace of God are the fruit of the grace of God. “Trying to relate to God on the basis of effort and works is always a struggle. We can’t know the peace of God until we experience the grace of God.” Chuck Smith in his book, Why Grace Changes Everything.
A. Describe “Peace with God.” In your description, contrast this to a state of being at odds with God, fighting against His way and will in your life.
B. Describe “the Peace of God.” In your description, contrast this to a state of inner turmoil.
4. Read Philippians 1:2 again. Prayerfully ponder the truth that both peace and grace are provided for us by our loving Heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Then ask yourself the following questions. (Although these are personal questions, communicating your answers with the group will serve to prompt both you and them to lay hold of all that God has for us.)
Am I accepting God’s forgiveness in all areas of my life? If not, why?
Am I a vessel of God’s grace, pouring out to others grace, not condemnation?
Is my life marked by Peace? If not, why?
When I find a lack in these areas, what do I do about it? What would God have me do?
No God, No Peace……Know God, Know Peace
DAY #4 Read Philippians 1:3-5 THANK GOD AND PRAY FOR OTHERS
1. Read verse 3 again. Paul thanked God every time he thought about these brothers and sisters.
A. Are there people in your life whom you are thankful for? Have you thanked God for them lately? This would be a good time to make a list of people you should be thankful for.
B. *Personal question* Is my life lived in such a way that others are thankful for my role in their life? Pause and pray that the Lord will help you form the habit of looking for opportunities to be a blessing to others each and every day. Our aim shouldn’t be to please man but our Lord Who has called us to be a blessing to them.
2. Prayer is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give someone. As we read verse 4, we realize that Paul did not simply minister to people and then move on. He remembered them. He remembered them in prayer first and foremost.
A. Go back to your list of people from question 1A. Ask the Lord to give you several out of the list who you can pray for each day this week. It helps to post their names in a location that you will see often to help you remember.
B. Read verse 4 again. Remember, Paul was in Jail. He was the one who seemed to have so many needs. And yet it appears that his focus was on the saints in Philippi, not himself. Share what his example means to you.
C. Read verse 4 again. Prayer was not a drudgery to Paul. It was not just a duty, it was a privilege and joy. Stop and think about this. Why do you think he found prayer such a joy?
3. Read Philippians 1:5. Sometimes we have Christian friends whom we enjoy, but we never have true fellowship with them. The Definition of fellowship (koinonia) is: partnership, i.e. participation,: (to) communicate, communion. Explain what “Fellowship in the gospel” is and why it is important. *Optional* Include a scripture that applies.
*Christian Fellowship* For the early Christians, koinonia consisted of more than just church-sponsored socials. It was not coffee, cookies, and casual small talk in the Fellowship Hall after the sermon. Their conversations centered not on world events, sports or gossip but on the Lord. It was an true commitment to share their lives with the other members of Christ's body.
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
1. Memory verses: David said, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart,” Psalm 119:11. When we commit God’s Word to memory, it is like treasure that we can spend many times to benefit our own lives and others. The key to scripture memorization is practice. It is helpful to write out the scripture on a 3”x5” card and carry it with you so you can refer to it often. If you pray, the Lord will give you a divine opportunity to share this valuable verse with someone else. Sharing a scripture serves to anchor it in your mind. Commit Philippians 1:6 to memory.
2. Let’s take this precious verse and look at it carefully to understand the important truths it speaks to us. Read verse 6 again. Share below what each section of the verse is telling us. Think carefully about each section. State general principles and lessons you see and how they apply to your life. You might want to look up some of the words to give you added understanding.
A. “Being confident”
B. “He, Who”
C. “has begun”
D. “a good work”
E. “ in you”
F. “will complete it”
3. God is constantly at work in our lives. What a comfort to know that we aren’t the one who must change ourselves!
A. If God is the One Who works in us to change us and to conform us into His image, what is our role? Quote a scripture that applies, if possible.
B. The last part of verse 6, speaks of the fact that this work in our lives will be complete on the day that Jesus returns. Read Jude verses 24, 25. What do you learn from this that gives you comfort and encouragement?
When God starts a project, He finishes it!
*Point to Ponder* We are greatly comforted by the fact that it is God Himself who will change us. Occasionally though, we would like to help Him out on His projects of other people, i.e. our husband, wife, children, friends. Read verse 6 again and mentally apply it to this tendency.
4. Notice that verses 4 through 7 are all one sentence. Read verses 6 and 7.
“just as it is right for me to think this of you all,” It was appropriate to Paul to feel that all of verse 6 would be true for his friends in Philippi. He had their best interests constantly on his heart. Imagine if there was someone who felt this way about your spiritual welfare. What about the affect it would have on others if you let them know you truly had this confidence for them. We need more of this in the body of Christ. Hopefully the lesson this week has challenged you to follow Paul’s example. State three things you have learned and want to apply to your life.
5. In the last part of verse 7, Paul affirms to them that “you all are partakers with me of grace.” The Apostle Paul knew that ministry was more than merely giving out the facts and information people needed to know to come to a saving and sustaining knowledge of God. He first of all needed to constantly accept God’s grace for himself and then pour it out to others. 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 gives us a glimpse of Paul’s style of ministry. State what you learn and how we can model his example.
*Amazing Grace* John Newton was once an infidel, living a life of rebellion and sin. He became a captain of his own slave ship, capturing, selling and transporting black slaves to the plantations in the West Indies and America. He lived a cruel and hard life. In 1748, during a life threatening storm, he called out to God. His life completely changed. He left his old life and became a pastor in a small village near Cambridge, England. John Newton knew about grace. He wrote this song to teach and remind others “to be partakers with him of grace.”
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come.
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
“This I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment” Philippians 1:9
Praying to God is talking to God. When we are reading the Word of God, He is talking to us. Most of us would rather talk about things that are important to us. God is no different. The Spiritual growth and welfare of believers was not just important to Paul, but it is important to God. When we pray for the spiritual growth and enrichment of others, God is pleased.
DAY #1 Read Philippians 1:8-18 Pray before you start your lesson each day.
1. Read these verses through again, making note of the important facts and statements. The goal is to understand what is stated. You may prefer to list the verses, and then write the key statements from each verse or you may choose to write a summary concerning the key people, places, actions and truths.
2. Read Philippians 1:8. The statement “God is my witness,” tells us that Paul was constantly aware of God’s presence and knowledge of not only our actions, but the attitudes and motives behind our actions. This can either make us nervous, or it can give us comfort that He is involved and interested in our lives. State how you are prompted toward right motives as you read David’s instruction to his son Solomon, 1 Chronicles 28:9a “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts.” NIV
3. Read Philippians 1:8 again. Many people live life side by side with others, yet never heart to heart with anyone. Verbalizing love and concern to others is hard for some. Paul assured his friends of his love for them. Why is it important to communicate our love in words as well as actions?
4. “The affection of Jesus Christ” tells us that Paul had Christ like love for them. Explain what the following scriptures tell us about our Lord’s affection for us. Also add insights you gain.
A. Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” NIV
B. John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
The nail-pierced hands of Jesus reveal the love-filled heart of God
C. *Personal* Will you make an effort to call, write a note, or visit someone to tell them of the Love you have for them? Before you do, pause and pray that the Lord will truly give you “His affection” for them. Remember that “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” Romans 5:5.
DAY #2 Read Philippians 1:9-11 ABOUNDING LOVE
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more
in knowledge and all discernment,” Philippians 1:9
1. Paul prayed specifically. He didn’t just pray generic prayers like we often do, such as “bless Sue and John.” He prayed that their love would abound more and more. “Abounding love” is something that would not only change our world, but it would change our lives, if we loved the Lord and each other more each day. Pause and think about this. Is this your specific prayer for others? Do you pray this prayer for yourself? If you do not, this would be a great time to begin doing so. Give examples of the difference this will make as we pray this way and the Lord answers our prayers.
2. When our love comes from God Himself, it is a discerning love. Jesus said we are to love with our mind as well as our heart. First, explain what is meant by the following. And then share how we can apply these truths to our own lives and relationships:
A. Abounding love, with knowledge
B. Abounding love, with discernment (Jude vs. 22, 23 speaks about this)
C. Knowledge and discernment are matters of the head. Affection is a matter of the heart. Why do you think that the Lord wants us to combine, not separate these? *Optional* If you have the time, look up 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 and ponder how it applies to this concept.
3. Read Philippians 1:10-11. The next part of Paul’s prayer for these Christians is threefold: they would approve the excellent, be sincere without offense and that they would be fruitful.
A. “Approving the excellent” We live in a world where many feel that truth and falsehood or right and wrong should be decided by each person, not by any divine standards. But God has revealed truth and right which never changes. Jesus explained the results of approving and applying God’s truth in Matthew 7:24-25. State in your own words what this means in your life.
B. Definition of “Sincere”: tested as genuine. Why is it important for Christians to be sincere?
C. “Without Offense” Sometimes when we share about Christ, people are offended. Paul experienced this many times. What did he mean when he prayed that their lives would be without offense (blameless) until Jesus returns? Why is this important in our lives today?
Day #3 Read Philippians 1:11 FILLED WITH FRUIT
1. “Filled with the fruit of righteousness” This term creates a wonderful picture in our minds. Galatians 5:22, 23 lists the fruit of Spirit. Record them below and then next to each, describe what the opposite of that fruit would be. Sometimes, when we consider the contrast, it makes us desire the good fruit even more.
2. Look at the list of the fruits of righteousness (of the Spirit) again. Pick out two that you feel are particularly needed or lacking in your life right now. Write them below with a definition of each. Pause and pray that the Lord will fill you with that fruit.
3. Jesus taught us how our lives are to be fruitful in John 15:4-5. What do you learn from this and how will you apply it? What practical steps can you take?
DAYS #4 and #5 Read Philippians 1:12-14 JAIL, MISERY OR MISSION?
Paul’s desire as a missionary to Gentiles (non-Jews) was to preach the Gospel in Rome. Rome was the capital and hub of the Roman Empire. If he could make an impact there, the effect would ripple through the entire civilized world. Paul desired to preach in Rome. As is turns out, it was God’s will that he preach the gospel as a prisoner in Rome. While in Jerusalem, the Jews stirred up the people against him, and he was unfairly arrested. The events that followed are fascinating including: a plot against his life, Romans soldiers escorting him in his escape by night, officials seeking a bribe, opportunities to testify of Christ to rulers, a message from an angel, ship wreck, an Islander healed, a snake attack, and finally a jail sentence in Rome. *Optional Background Reading* The full account is given in Acts 21:17 through Acts 28:31. If you have the time, you might enjoy reading this fascinating account.
*Quote* ‘The apostle briefly looks back over these events of his life and summarizes them in verse 12, “I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.” The things that happened unto me, what a story the Apostle Paul might tell were he to catalogue all the things he suffered. It is as though he dismisses these with a wave of his hand and gives only passing mention to the things which he has experienced.’ J. Dwigtht Pentecost
1. Read Philippians 1:12-14 again. Paul speaks of chains in verse 14. He was chained to a Roman soldier 24 hours a day. The soldiers changed shifts every six hours, therefore he was in close contact with four soldiers from the elite Roman Imperial (Praetorian) guard every day. During this time, at least two years, he was able to receive fellow Christians, gather the Jewish leadership to share Christ with them, and write this letter along with letters to the Ephesians, Colossians and to Philemon. In light of this, answer the following questions:
A. In Philippi, a once hostile jailer came to Christ. How do you think the daily contact with Paul affected these solders in Rome? Explain your answer.
B. The soldiers were there every day. Some of the soldiers probably returned to normal duty at the Emperor’s Palace. When off duty, they returned home to family or friends. Since there was no TV, conversation was a common pass time. Explain how the solders might have played a role in “the furtherance of the Gospel” mentioned in verse 12.
C. Most of us would consider being in jail as negative and limiting. However, Paul was able to reach people he might never have met. Are you in a situation that is hard and confining in some way? Are you stuck in a job, handicapped by an illness, bound by circumstances? Perhaps He can use your “prison” to help free others by your example of joy in suffering and by sharing Christ with them. Share your thoughts. *Optional* Include a scripture that applies.
God Is Not Limited By “Limitations”
In her book, Tramp for the Lord, Corrie Ten Boom tells the story of an old woman she met in Russia during the time of Communist oppression and persecution of Christians.
Corrie writes: “The old woman was lying on a small sofa, propped up by pillows. Her body was bent and twisted almost beyond recognition by the dread disease of Multiple Sclerosis. Her aged husband spent all his time caring for her since she was unable to move off the sofa.
The only part of her body she could control was her right hand. With the index finger of that hand that she had for many years glorified God by typing on a vintage typewriter beside her. Her husband would prop her into a sitting position with pillows around her so she wouldn’t topple over as she typed.
All day and far into the night she would type. She translated Christian books into Russian. Always using just that one finger---------- peck…..peck….peck –she typed out the pages. Portions of the Bible, the books of Billy Graham and Corrie Ten Boom. “Not only does she translate their books,” her husband said as he hovered close by during our conversation, “but she prays for these people every day while she types. Sometimes it takes a long time for her finger to hit the key, or to get the paper in the machine, but all the time she is praying for those whose books she is working on.”
Corrie says, “I looked at her wasted form on the sofa, her head pulled down and her feet curled back under her body. ‘Oh Lord, why don’t You heal her?’ I cried inwardly.”
Her husband, sensing my anguish of soul, gave the answer. “God has a purpose in her sickness. Every other Christian in the city is watched by the secret police. But because she has been sick so long, no one ever looked in on her. They leave us alone and she is the only person in all the city who can type quietly, undetected by the police."
One day Corrie received a letter from her husband. In the early morning hours last week she left to be with the Lord. But, he said, she had worked up until midnight that same night, typing with that one finger to the glory of God.”
2. *Personal* This little Russian lady had a choice to make. She could have sat and sulked because of her dismal circumstances, but instead she let God use them and her for His Glory. Will you? Explain.
3. Often we count on “ great evangelists” to do the work for all of us in spreading the Gospel. But sometimes God allows circumstances to limit them, leaving no one but us to do the job. Read Philippians 1:14 and describe how this verse might apply.
Everyone outside of Christ is in the mission field;
Everyone in Christ should be a missionary.
4. Paul experienced some very serious consequences because he shared the Gospel. Yet his Christian brothers and sisters saw that this did not hold him back. How do you think his example stired them to be “more bold to speak the Word without fear?” How does it stir you?
DAY #6 Read Philippians 1:15-18 BAD MOTIVES CAN’T HINDER THE GOOD GOSPEL
In this section, Paul is not saying that it does not matter how Christ is preached. On the contrary, it matters very much. Rather, in keeping with the principle (i.e., and theme of this book) that all things have “turned out to the furtherance of the Gospel,” Paul is saying that if God can use direct opposition to further His purposes, He can also use those who have improper motives and unacceptable attitudes in preaching the Gospel as well.
1. In verses 15 and 16, we learn that even in Paul’s day there were people who were doing the right thing with the wrong motives. Explain the right and the wrong way from these verses, giving examples that illustrate if possible.
A. Right Motives
B. Wrong Motives
“Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity like men sent from God.”
Paul wrote this statement in Corinthians 2:17
2. Paul rejoiced whenever Christ was preached. He knew that there are always hungry hearts who will respond to the truth even when the preacher isn’t living the truth. Why is it that a person of this kind can still be effective? We must realize that the real power is in the person of Christ, and not in the one who proclaims Him. What do the following scriptures teach us about this that encourages or exhorts you?
A. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
B. Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
C. Acts 16:30-33 “And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.”
3. Read through Philippians 1:8-18 again. Reflect on the lessons and examples that have especially ministered to you this week through these verses. Record several below and then spend time in prayer with the Lord that He will help you to apply them to your life.
“Let your conduct be worthy of the Gospel of Christ,……..that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel,” Philippians 1:27
The Gospel of Christ is not just a creed or belief system. It is the good news about what God has done for us in and through His Son. Knowing that God loves us enough to send His Son for us should affect the way we live our lives. Does it?
DAY #1 Pray before you begin your lesson each day.
1. Review Last week we looked at the fact that adverse circumstances can be used for great good. Read Philippians 1:12-18. Then read each verse carefully again and answer the following personal questions. The answers are between you and the Lord. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart. Sharing your answers during group discussion will be on a voluntary basis.
A. Verse 12: How do I react to frustrations, disappointments and set backs? Am I quick to anger and short of patience? Or can I say that my response is one that furthers the Gospel and makes it appealing to others as they see His grace in my life?
B. Verse 13: Is my witness for Christ evident to all? Or are there some who either know me, or that I’ve encountered today, who would be surprised if I told them I was a Christian?
C. Verse 14: Have I boldly shared Christ with someone lately? Will I pray for a divine opportunity?
D. Verses 15-16: Am I ever jealous of other Christians? Do I resent their successful efforts in any type of ministry? Have I ever said or done anything that would add to another Christian’s troubles? Will I take any selfish ambition to the Cross and ask forgiveness and freedom from such motives?
E. Verse 17: Do I see myself as one “appointed for the defense of the Gospel?” Read Matthew 28:18-20 and ask, “what part of ‘Go’ don’t I understand?”
F. Verse 18: Can I honestly say that the fact that Christ is preached is one of the great joys of my life? Really? Are any of my efforts or resources directed toward this?
Your Life Is The Only Bible Some Will Ever Read
DAY #2 Read Philippians 1:19-30
One of the goals of this study is to embrace and retain what you learn as your own. Therefore, the fact finding step is important. Your retention is increased as you record the truths of each section. Without drawing out lessons or applications, record below the important statements or truths of Philippians 1:19-30. You may do this by stating the main points of each verse or stating the main facts from this section as a whole.
1. Read Philippians 1:19-20. Paul was confident that deliverance would come one way or another. He would either be set free from jail or he would be executed, which would set him free from this mortal body. There is a third deliverance he might have had in mind, deliverance from anxiety in the present while awaiting the outcome of the future. Some have called this, “Salvation in the Present.” Describe what you learn from the following passages that can help you be “delivered” from the inner turmoil caused by fear and worry.
A. Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
B. Romans 8:31b-32 “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
C. Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
2. Read Philippians 1:19 again. There are two things that Paul relied upon, the prayers of his friends and the Spirit of God.
A. Does prayer for others and other’s prayers for you really make a difference? Explain your answer, giving examples if possible. (You might want to read James 5:16b and Romans 15:30 for added insight.)
B. How does the Lord supply His Spirit in our lives? Don’t just give an answer. This is as important for your life as it was for Paul’s. Maybe a better way to ask this is: “how do you seek to be supplied and filled with the Spirit of God?” (*Hint* read Luke 11:9-13.)
C. As the Lord fills us with His Spirit, we are enabled to face whatever comes our way, by His strength, not our own. Read the scriptures below and apply each of them to a particular crisis, problem, difficulty or struggle in your life. Focus your answer on how reliance on God’s Spirit makes the difference.
1) Zechariah 4:6
2) Ephesians 6:10-12
3) Galatians 5:16
3. Read Philippians 1:19 and 20 again, realizing that they are one sentence.
A. Explain what is being said in verse 20.
B. Are you earnestly expecting and hoping the same to be true in your own life? What are the benefits of this?
DAY #4 THE WIN-WIN OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21. This is the key verse of this Book, the title of this Bible study lesson and the theme of Paul’s entire life. It speaks volumes.
1. Life for many is summed up differently: their career, possessions, family, hobby, or themselves. When this is true, what are some of the end results?
*Pause to Ponder* “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who love me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
2. Christ isn’t just an addition to a balanced life, Christ is life! Pause and prayerfully ponder what this means, or should mean, in your own life. Let’s look at different dimensions of life in Christ that result in “abundant life.” Explain how each is as important to us personally as it was to Paul.
A. Christ’s presence in our life.
B. Christ’s mission and purpose for our life.
C. Christ’s perspective (seeing life and others from His viewpoint).
D. As you reflect on the above, describe in your own words the “Christ Filled Life?” (We can be certain it is not narrow and boring.) What are the blessings and benefits?
*Quote* “Christ died for us then so that He could live in us now!
You will never have a changed life until you experience the exchanged life.
Jesus Christ did not come just to get men out of hell and into heaven;
He came to get Himself out of heaven and into men!”------Bob George
3. The reality of our very life being in Christ is a truth that should constantly be in our hearts and minds. It should affect our goals, motives, actions and thoughts. How do the following verses help you visualize and respond in practical application to this truth?
How can you apply this to your own life in practical ways?
2 Timothy 2:19-21 “The Lord knows those who are His, and, Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”
Colossians 3:1 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.
8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” NIV
4. “To die is gain.” There is a saying, “life is tough------and then you die.” But for the Christian, every day should be full of Christ and adventure. But then when you die, it gets even better!
The Christian Life is the gateway to adventure
In Christ, Death is the gateway to Heaven
Let’s preview the wonderful future that awaits us when we die (pass from our earthly body and existence). Describe the encouragement you receive as you ponder the reality as stated in the following verses.
A. John 14:2
B. Revelation 22:1-5
DAY #5 Read Philippians 1:21-26 HEAVENLY MINDED, EARTHLY MINISTRY
Having an eternal perspective does not make us “so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.” Just the opposite should be true. Paul had his heart in Heaven and both feet planted firmly on the ground. Although he knew it would be much better for him to go and be with the Lord, he also knew that God had a vital work for him to do here on earth.
1. Read Philippians 1:22. Jim Elliot once said, “we have the divine privilege of investing our lives in that which will outlive us.” What practical fruit in this life can our labors produce? Be as descriptive as possible.
2. Read Philippians 1:24, 25. Paul describes the goal of his ministry with these believers. Should we also have a care and concern for other’s “progress and joy of faith?” Explain your answer, giving scriptures that you feel apply, if possible.
3. At the point that Paul wrote this letter, he knew that he could die in prison. Nero was the emperor at the time, and he was a cruel and unstable ruler. But Paul felt and hoped that he would be released and would be able to go again to Philippi. His hope was correct; after two years, he was released and returned to visit his friends in Philippi. Read Philippians 1:26 again.
A. Describe the reunion they must have had. Especially try and imagine the joy of those who had been faithful to pray for him.
B. When we are faithful to pray for others, their deliverance and victory is shared with us. Share a personal experience you have had in rejoicing in answered prayer for another.
C. How can this encourage us to continue to be faithful in our prayers for others? Also read Colossians 1:9-12.
4. Read Philippians 1:27. Conduct worthy of the Gospel is Godly conduct. In this verse, worthy conduct is connected to being committed to unity in Christ.
A. Unity with other Christians. Does this mean that we need to agree on every detail of how things are to be done? Explain your answer.
B. After reading the last part of verse 27 again, what is it that does unite us and that we must always agree on to have true Biblical unity? Explain why this is necessary.
C. What do you learn in James 3:17-18 that teaches us to be peacemakers, helping to build unity and harmony among others?
*Quote* “Unity does not eliminate diversity. The absence of diversity is not unity; it is uniformity, and uniformity is dull. It is fine when the choir sings in unison, but I prefer that they sing in harmony.” -------Warren Wiersbe
DAY #6 Read Philippians 1:28-30 COMES WITH THE TERRITORY
It is as if Paul is saying that “suffering for Christ comes with the territory of believing in Christ.” Many Christians have a much more difficult time with trials because for some reason they do not believe they are supposed to have troubles. They think that it means they must be doing something wrong. But the truth is, Christians often get in trouble because what they are doing is right.
The Amplified Bible states Philippians 1:28 in this way, “And do not (for a moment) be frightened or intimidated in anything by your opponents and adversaries, for such (constancy and fearlessness) will be a clear sign (proof and seal) to them of (their impending) destruction; but (a sure token and evidence) of your deliverance and salvation, and that from God.”
1. Why do we sometimes dread and fear opposition from others who attack our faith and the Christian life?
2. From the following verses describe the encouragement and exhortation you receive to make a bold and confident stand for Christ.
A. John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
B. Matthew 10:32-33 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.”
C. Luke 21:12-15 “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.” NIV
D. Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.” NIV
3. As we read Philippians 1:28, we get the impression that it is an honor and even a privilege to “suffer for His sake.” Share your thoughts and insights on this.
Christians find safety not in the absence of danger
but in the presence of God.
4. Look over the verses and lessons we have studied this week. What do you think is the one area you feel that you need to grow in the most? Will you commit to growth in that area? Will you pray that God will “supply by His Spirit” the ability to grow and change?
5. *Memory Verse* Write out Philippians 1:21 on a card or separate paper. Commit this inspiring verse to memory so it will be deeply imbedded in your heart.
“For to me, to live is Christ, And to die is gain.”
“God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those on earth and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
DAY #1 Read Philippians 1:27-2:11
Pray before you begin your lesson each day. Remember, the Bible is the only book whose Author is always present when it is read.
We need to keep in mind that when Paul wrote this letter he did not number the sections into chapters and verses. These were added later to make it easier for us to reference certain sections. As we begin to study chapter 2, keep in mind that there is a flow of connected thought with what was said in Chapter 1. Therefore, let’s begin this week’s reading with Philippians 1:27.
1. Read Philippians 1:27 through Philippians 2:11. After asking the Author of Scripture (God Himself) for insight, explore the words of this section with a pen in hand and the curiosity of a prospector looking for something more precious than gold (Proverbs 7:1). Record what you see as the main words, ideas, and concepts. Remember the goal of this first step is not to draw out lessons or applications but to focus on what is stated and to record that.
2. Give a title to this section.
DAY #2 Read Philippians 2:1-2 THE CONSOLATION THAT MORE THAN COMPENSATES
*The comfort of God’s love more than compensates for the hatred of man.
*The fellowship of the Spirit more than compensates for the loss of all worldly possessions and comforts.
*The affection and mercy of God more than compensates for all the injustice and mistreatment the world can dish out.
Picture someone saying to Paul, “You are hated, stripped of comforts and possessions of all kinds, unjustly thrown into prison, treated harshly etc., etc. Is it worth it? What do you get out of all this?” To this Paul would answer, “My consolation in Christ is the comfort I experience because God loves me, even though others hate me. I know that although I may lose all my early possessions, I have spiritual and eternal blessings that come from God that no one can take away. No matter how others may feel about me and treat me, I am consoled and my consolation is the affection Christ feels for me and the mercy and compassion He shows to me because of how He feels about me.”
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,” Philippians 2:1 New King James Version
The definition of the word consolation used in verse one is: solace or comfort, to attempt to lessen the grief, sorrow, or disappointment, to cheer up, to soothe. We learned in chapter 1, verses 27-30 that there will be those who oppose us because we are Christians. We won’t get the prize of the world’s approval because we don’t adhere to the world’s system and values. Normally we consider a consolation prize as one of minor value given to the loser in a contest. But in this case, just the opposite is true, our consolation is that we are “in Christ” and He is in us. This is the true and lasting prize. Pause and pray that this truth will comfort, cheer and console you.
1. “Comfort of Love” The fact that God loves you should console you. Read Ephesians 3:17-19 carefully and slowly several times. God loves you with an everlasting love. As you grow in your understanding of this, what affect should this have in your life? Be specific and descriptive in your answer.
2. “Fellowship of the Spirit” God didn’t just create us to be caretakers of the planet or objects of His entertainment. His desire is that we might have a close friendly relationship and loving companionship with Him. This is an amazing and wonderful truth. From the following, explain the benefits of having the fellowship of God’s Spirit in your life.
A. John 14:16-19 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.”
B. 1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
3. “Affection” So many people view God as stern, cold, distant and uncaring. Just the opposite is true. God is very personal and caring. Share what you learn about the affection of God. It is very important that you include in your answer the comfort and encouragement you personally receive from this.
A. Psalm 139:17-18 “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.”
B. Jeremiah 31:3 “The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”
4. “Mercy” God’s compassionate kindness to us is the final element discussed in verse one. It is last, but truly not least. Explain why it is important to you that God is merciful.
A. Lamentations 3:22, 23 “Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”
B. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.”
*Quote* “It is when you get to doubt the love of God that you grow hard and cold. But when you are fired with the love of a dying Savior who gave Himself for you, you feel as if you loved every beggar in the street, and you long to bring every harlot to Christ’s dear feet. You cannot help it. If Christ baptizes your heart into His love, you will be covered with it and filled with it.” Charles H. Spurgeon
DAY #3 Philippians 2:1-2 TO BE BLESSED AND TO BE A BLESSING
The truths stated in verse one can be thought of as vertical blessings and benefits. They come directly from God to His children. However, Paul is concerned about translating these vertical blessings into horizontal blessings. That is, he calls on us to be a blessing to one another as God has been a blessing to us.
1. Read Philippians 2:1-2 again, realizing that the two verses make one complete sentence. Basically this is saying: because of all God does for us, we should love each other and be in harmony. What insights do you gain from 1 John 4:11-13 and 1 John 4:20-21 regarding this?
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for
brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
2. The encouragement to love and unity among these believers is closely tied to the fact that Paul had just warned them that they would encounter opposition from non-Christians. Explain how love and unity will buffer the effect of outside persecution.
3. Paul said that their obedience in oneness would “fulfill his joy.” He had a father’s love for these people. A father is not only disappointed but saddened when there is fighting between his children. Explain the sorrow caused by division in the family of God and the joy of unity that God our Heavenly Father experiences. Add scriptures to your answers if possible.
A. God’s grief caused by division
B. God’s joy when there is love and unity
DAYS #4 and #5 Philippians 2:3, 4 THE MASTER’S MASTER PRINCIPLE
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be servant of all.” Mark 10:43, 44
*Quote* “Jesus was a revolutionary, not in the guerrilla warfare sense, but in His teaching on leadership. The term servant speaks everywhere of low prestige, low respect, low honor. Most people are not attracted to such a low-value role. When Jesus used the term, however, it was a synonym for greatness. And that was a revolutionary idea.” Spiritual Leadership, by J. Oswald Sanders
1. One of the greatest hindrances to unity is selfish ambition and conceit. In a dictionary look up the definitions of both.
A. Selfish ambition
C. How can these hinder others, the work of Christ and even ourselves?
D. Both ambition and conceit have focus on self. Unfortunately this is very natural. Even after we are Christians these motives can subtly creep into our actions. Prayerfully consider this. This can take the form of wanting others to think you are especially spiritual, knowledgeable, capable, right or even humble. This is an issue of extreme importance to the Lord Himself. Read and ponder Galatians 5:24-26. What speaks to you, and how can you apply these verses?
*In The Mark of a Man, Elisabeth Elliot tells this story* “One night some boys in a dorm at a Christian college in the Midwest, smeared the walls with shaving cream, peanut butter, and jelly. When the dean heard about it, he wondered what action to take. He could force the young men to clean it up or he could order the janitor to do it. Instead, he started to clean up the mess himself. Soon doors began to open, and before long the guilty ones were helping him wash the walls. Because he was willing to take the role of a servant, he solved the problem and taught the boys a valuable lesson at the same time.”
2. In the second part of Philippians 2:3, we are given the antidote for self-seeking. An antidote is something that protects, prevents or counteracts the effect of a negative. How can we apply these in our own lives in practical ways?
A. Lowliness of mind.
B. Esteeming others better than yourself.
C. How does 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 relate to this?
“When it comes to doing things for others,
Some people stop at nothing.”
3. Read Philippians 2:4. This verse is addressed to each and every one of us. We sometimes feel that the burdens and problems of the people within the Church are the responsibility of the pastor and staff or leadership in the church. Underline the word “each” or “every” as stated in this verse in your Bible. Why is it important that we all take this personally?
4. Read verse 4 again. How can we “look out for the interests of others?” Share what you learn from the following verses.
A. Spiritual Concerns: Galatians 6:1-2
B. Concern for those in the Ministry: Galatians 6:6, Hebrews 10:34
C. Physical Needs: James 2:15-16
“I used to think, that God's gifts were on shelves
one above another, and the taller we grow,
The easier we can reach them.
Now I find that God's gifts are on shelves
one beneath another and the lower we stoop,
The more we get.” F.B. Meyer
5. You can’t out-give God. When we obey God in this principal, He blesses us far more than we bless others. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” Acts 20:35. What do you learn from what Jesus taught us regarding the rewards of caring and giving to others in the following verses?
A. Matthew 25:34-40
B. Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
“We make a living through what we get,
we make a life through what we give.” -- Winston Churchill
DAY #6 Read Philippians 2:5-11 THE MAJESTY AND HUMILITY OF CHRIST COMBINED
F.B. Meyer powerfully states, “Guided by the Spirit of God, the Apostle opens the golden compasses of his imagination and faith, and places one point upon the Throne of the eternal God, and the other upon the Cross of shame where Jesus died, and he shows us the great steps by which Jesus approached always nearer and nearer to human sin and need; that having embraced us in our low estate, He might carry us back with Himself to the very bosom of God, and that by identifying Himself with our sin and sorrow He might ultimately identify us with the glory which He had with the Father before the world was.”
The process of humiliation, which refers to God the Son becoming the Son of Man, a Servant of Man and the Sacrifice for Man, is called the Kenosis.
Philippians 2:6 This verse may be paraphrased: “Who, though of the same nature (form) as God, did not think this something to be exploited (grasped) to His own advantage.”
Philippians 2:7 He emptied Himself. Jesus Christ is, was and will always be God. By definition, an eternal God can never cease to be God. So when He, the Son of God became the Son of Man, He did not (nor could He) become less than God. When it says, “He emptied Himself” it means that He temporarily took on the limitations of humanity.
1. Read Philippians 2:6-8. Jesus came all the way from Heaven, leaving His throne on high, giving up His Divine privileges with one goal in mind, the cross. What does this say to you?
2. The very thought of this should inspire us to have His perspective, His mind, His attitude, knowing that the things of this world are merely temporal and passing away. We do have a choice. Compare the two mind sets below and consider the end result. Share your thoughts and insights.
A. The mind of Christ: Philippians 2:5-8
B. Satan’s Attitude: Isaiah writes of Lucifer’s thoughts as he first rebelled against God. Read Isaiah 14:13,14 and describe what you learn.
3. We have pictured the Lord Jesus Christ descending from the highest position in the universe down….down……down to the lowest death on the cross. Now our eyes shift to another picture.
A. Satan said, “I will go up….up…….up”. Describe his eternal end in Revelation 20:10.
B. Visualize and then describe the Exaltation of Christ from Philippians 2:9-11. How does this bless and encourage you?
4. Review this week’s lesson. How will you apply the things that you have learned to your life? It is often better to focus on one specific area or action than just setting broad, general goals like, “I will more Godly.” Ask the Lord to show what you can specifically do to apply the lessons you’ve learned.
5. *Optional memory verse* Commit either Philippians 2:4 or 2:9, 10 to memory this week. Pray for an opportunity to share it with someone else. This will not only bless another, but reinforce your retention.
“…that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:15
We live in a world that is dark and lost. Many of those around us are held in bondage to sin and are buying Satan’s lies and schemes. As God’s Children, our influence is not to be negative or even neutral. We can make a positive difference. We can shine as lights. The question is, “will we?”
DAY #1 Read Philippians 2:9-16 *Pray before you start your lesson each day.
As we saw in last week’s lesson, each section of scripture is connected to the context, the portion before it, and the portion after it. Although the main focus of our study this week will be on verses 12 through 16, we will back up to verses 9 through 11. One of the reasons for doing this is because verse 12 begins with “therefore.” Whenever we see that word, we want to make sure that we understand what it is there for. In other words, the author is drawing our attention to a connection between what he has just said and what he is now going to say.
1. Read Philippians 2:9-16 again with pen in hand. Look for the key words, ideas and principles that are taught. You may go verse by verse to do this, or look at this section as a whole, giving an overview of the main facts.
2. What connection do you see between the glorious scene of Philippians 2:9-11, knowing that we will all bow before the throne of Jesus, and the instructions to live a Godly life in the meantime as stated in Philippians 2:12-18? The more you think about and picture this before you answer, the richer your response will be.
3. Give a title to this section. A title may be just one word, or it may be a phrase that captures a thought.
DAY #2 Read Philippians 2:12 LOVING INSTRUCTION
1. Read Philippians 2:12. This exhortation is direct and pointed, but tempered with love by the term “beloved,” also translated “dearly loved.” Because Paul loved them, he wanted them to be all they could be, reflecting their new life in Christ. *Optional* Include a scripture that applies.
A. Why is it important that we really do love those to whom we give instruction?
B. How important is it that those instructed know they are loved, especially when the instruction is firm or corrective? Explain your answer.
C. *Personal sharing is optional* Giving instruction when necessary is sometimes difficult. Is the spiritual welfare, integrity and character development of others important to you? Will you respond when the Lord prompts your heart to instruct, warn or exhort? Will you be receptive when someone instructs you? Give an example or a scripture that applies.
2. Philippians 2:12 teaches us that our Christian walk and conduct should be consistent. It is important that our good behavior and actions are not dependant upon whether we are being observed by others. What do you learn from the following verses concerning this?
A. Matthew 6:1-4
B. Colossians 3:22-24
C. Ponder the fact that when we seek to please the Lord, the Lord Himself is pleased. Read Matthew 25:21 and comment on this.
DAY #3 Read Philippians 2:12-13 “FEAR AND TREMBLING”
“…be careful to do the good things that result from being saved, obeying God with deep reverence, shrinking back from all that might displease Him. For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey Him, and then helping you do what He wants.” Philippians 2:12, 13 (Living Translation)
In verse 12 the New King James uses the phrase: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Notice in this verse, we are told to work out, not work for our salvation. Jesus already paid the price for our salvation with His own precious blood. When you have a penny in your pocket, its safety is of no concern to you. However, if you were given a priceless diamond, you would treat it with great care. Sadly, some Christians treat their salvation and their life in Christ with careless regard. The exhortation here is to treasure it. We are to give great attention and effort to guard against things that would distract, rob, tarnish or tear down our walk with Jesus.
1. As we read the last part of Philippians 2 verse 12 along with verse 13, the statements seem to contradict. First we are told to work, then we are told that it is God Who is doing the work within us. Maybe it would help us in our understanding to read these two statements in a reverse order: “Because God is working in you to will and do His good pleasure, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” In other words, God is actively working in our lives. We need to work with Him, not against Him. After reading the scriptures on the left, describe what you learn and what this means to you.
What does God do in us and for us?
2 Pet 1:2 “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
2 Pet 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
2 Pet 1:4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
What are we to do, and what are the results?
2 Pet 1:5 “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,
2 Pet 1:6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
2 Pet 1:7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
2 Pet 1:8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Pet 1:9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
2 Pet 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
2 Pet 1:11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
*Quote* “Even when God chastens us, He does it with a smile---the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect but promising son (daughter) who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he (she) is.” A.W. Tozer
2. How can we hinder the work that God wants to do in out lives?
Work out what God has worked in.
3. *Optional Digging Deeper* Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church because they were casual in their view of sin within the church. They were not taking their moral conduct seriously. Note the very intense tone of the message in 1 Corinthians 5:1-13. Ponder the situation and what you learn as it applies to Philippians 2:12.
DAY #4 Read Philippians 2:14 NO GRUMBLING PLEASE!
Murmuring and disputing --- to most of us the very mention of these words is like scraping fingernails on a chalkboard. They are certain to ruin any atmosphere of joy and harmony.
1. Give a definition of each. Then give an antonym, a description of what the opposite would be.
2. *Personal Challenge* If we examine our attitudes closely, we will see that complaining and disputing are manifestations of an unthankful heart. Will you commit yourself to try to enter every situation with a patient and grateful attitude? What if, instead of complaining or reacting with irritation, you tried to find something to be thankful for and expressed that thankfulness? Instead of arguing or criticizing, suppose you looked for opportunities to encourage and build up others? Wouldn’t it be more pleasant to be around you? Wouldn’t you also find that you would enjoy your day more? Most importantly, think about how this pleases the Lord. Try this for an entire day. Then try this for an entire week. Come back and record the results below.
*Quote* Frank A. Clark declared, "We would be happier with what we have
if we weren't so unhappy about what we don't have."
3. From the following scriptures, explain why we must guard against getting into the habit of being argumentative (disputing).
A. Proverbs 26:21 “As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”
B. Proverbs 25:24 “It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”
“A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
DAY #5 Read Philippians 2:15 WE ARE GOD’S CHILDREN, CAN YOU TELL?
1. We are Children of God. Read Ephesians 1:3-7. Now, as you read each verse again, answer the following questions.
A. How do you become a Child of God?
B. What are the benefits you have because you are a Child of God?
2. Look up and record definitions of the words blameless and harmless as used in Philippians 2:15 (New King James Version).
3. Because we are God’s Children, we are to live like His Children. Can we say, “like Father, like son” or “daughter?” Read Philippians 2:15 and Ephesians 1:3-7 again. This time answer the questions: why should we and how can we live lives that reflect our Godly heritage, blameless and harmless?
4. We are to be without fault (blame) in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. How can we live unpolluted when there is constant pollution all around us? This is an important question because many Christians are not being careful. They are letting the world’s ways, values, and influences creep into their homes, thought lives and habits. Philippians 2:15 says we are to be different. We are to be without fault. This is a serious and important area. Let your answers to the following questions reflect this.
A. Explain what insights you gain regarding the world in 1 John 2:15-17.
B. As you look around at today’s society, what are the world’s influences that can erode our thoughts and standards?
C. *Personal* Have you compromised? Have you allowed “crooked and perverse” influences into your life in any way? Will you take these to the Lord right now and ask for forgiveness and cleansing? Will you ask Him to help you detect and flee anything that might drag you into the world and its habits? He is very interested in freeing you in this area, ask Him!
D. We are to be without fault. This does not mean sinless perfection. It means we should be free from the fault of moral compromise that brings shame to our names as Christians. Have you noticed that even unbelievers are deeply disappointed and angered when a Christian commits a blatant moral sin? It is a great honor and privilege to be a Child of God. However it is also a responsibility. Share your thoughts on this.
*A prescription that will bring revival* For revival to any church, or community, or any city on earth:
1st: Let a few Christians get thoroughly right with God. If this is not done, the rest will come to nothing.
2nd: Let them bind themselves together to pray for revival until God opens the windows of heaven and comes down.
3rd: Let them put themselves at the disposal of God for His use as He sees fit in winning others to Christ. That is all. It cannot fail.
5. The last part of verse 15 is glorious. What a wonderful picture we have as we read these words: “you shine as lights in the world.” Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. This speaks volumes. What does it say to you?
I could tell where the lamplighter was by the trail he left behind him.
6. The light that shines through us is God’s light. Write out the words of Daniel 12:3. Describe how it applies to Philippians 2:15.
DAY #6 Read Philippians 2:16 HOLD ON AND HOLD FORTH!
“…holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” Philippians 2:16 (NKJ)
The Greek word epechontes, hold fast (verse 16) means either “hold firmly” or “hold forth.” Both concepts are important.
1. Many people view the Bible as a sort of dry, even boring text book. They think it is good for finding a few helpful tips on living or to learn about some historical facts. However it is so much more. It is God speaking to us. It is “the words of life.” Psalm 119 is a wonderful Psalm describing many benefits of the Word of God. Take some time to read this. Pick out several (2 to 5) truths that especially minister to you and give you a greater desire to study His Word. For each truth you choose, describe the importance of each and how the Word is able to affect your life in the way described.
2. To hold fast is to heed as well as read the Word of God. After reading 2 Timothy 3:16-17, explain why we need to hold fast (tightly) to the “words of Life” found in the Bible. Give examples that apply to everyday life.
3. Jesus said, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32 How thankful we should continuously be for the fact that God has given us His word. It has, and will continue to set us free. But we live in a world of those who are lost, blind and in bondage. We have what they desperately need------ the words of life. How can we “hold forth” the truth in a way to make it available to others? Share as many practical ways as you can. Now, will you? Will you go and “hold forth the words of life?”
4. Review Philippians 2:12-16. Look back over the lesson this week. What two or three lessons or exhortations do you feel are especially important to your life? How will you apply them?
*Quote* It was Dwight L. Moody who said, "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And that which I can do, by the grace of God, I will do." With that simple commitment, God used him to bring revival to England and America.
“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus……..He made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant……….He humbled Himself.” Philippians 2:4-8 (in part)
The word translated “mind” in verse 5 is the Greek word phroneo, which means “to think.” In what way is the Christian to think? What kind of mind are we to have? We are to think in the same way as Jesus. Paul took this seriously. He also was thankful when he was able to serve alongside those who also shared this “Christ way of thinking.” This week’s study will introduce us to Paul’s fellow servants, Timothy and Epaphroditus. These men were examples to the believers then, and their testimony continues to speak to us today. Through the centuries, there have been many who have made the choice to follow in their steps, knowing that our ultimate example is Jesus Himself, the humble servant.
DAY #1 Read Philippians 2:17-30
1. Read these verses through again, making note of the important facts and statements. The goal is to understand what is stated. You may prefer to list the verses, and then write the key statements from each verse, or you may choose to write a summary concerning the key people, places, actions and truths.
2. Give a title to this section.
DAY #2 Read Philippians 2:17-18 POURED OUT FOR OTHERS
1. In verse 17 Paul could have said “I worked hard” or “I was diligent in every detail of my ministry.” Instead he said, “I was poured out.” Explain the term “poured out for others” as used in verse 17.
2. The end goal of Paul’s labor and sacrifice was to encourage their faith. There are people who have done wonderful humanitarian acts around the world. But there is no goal in mind past serving the physical needs. On the other hand, thousands of Christians labor tirelessly, taking food, medical care and support to others with a burden on their heart for not just their physical welfare, but also their spiritual welfare. They take “the bread of Life,” Jesus, along with loaves of bread. In what ways can you personally make sacrifices of time and effort to serve the faith of others? Be careful not to give an unrealistic answer, but one you will make a commitment to do.
3. Paul was a man who, like Christ, knew that his life on this earth was limited. And like Jesus, he measured his life not by what he gathered for himself, but what he was able to impart to others. Many of us feel like we need to pour out in service at times to our family, friends, or church. But then we feel drained and empty. How can we be re-supplied, with our needs met, if we spend time ministering to others? Share a scripture or an example if possible.
To Paul, the ministry wasn’t just his job, it was his life!
4. “I am glad and rejoice with you all.” Phil. 2:17b Giving in service shouldn’t be a drudgery. In this verse, we see joy. When we see others growing in Christ, knowing we have played even a small role is wonderful. They are glad, and we share in their joy. Give some examples of this.
5. Read Philippians 2:17-18 again. We, like Paul, can learn the joy of “sweet surrender in service.” What insights do you gain from the following verses? Explain the benefits and blessings.
A. 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
B. 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
“ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1
DAYS #3 and #4 Read Philippians 2:19-23 TIMOTHY, THE TRUSTED AND TRUE
1. You have probably noticed that care and concern for others is a reoccurring theme in this book. Timothy not only understood the concept, he lived it. Verse 20 in The Amplified Bible is translated, “For I have no one like him---no one of so kindred of a spirit----who will be so genuinely interested in your welfare and devoted to your interests.” We need to be reminded to do the same. Timothy not only had the same attitude as Paul regarding this, but he had the same attitude as our loving Lord. From the following scriptures, explain how we can play a spiritually positive role in the lives of others.
The Lord anoints us with His Spirit and sends us to play an active role.
What are the real needs of the people around us and how can we be used by God to help them?
Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor (meaning poor in spirit).
He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
Isa 61:2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
Isa 61:3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.
Isa 61:4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” (Verse 4 could apply to broken relationships.)
2. “For the others all seek (to advance) their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.” Philippians 2:21 These words which were sadly true then, and are so often true today, probably broke Paul’s heart. There was so much to do, and so few who would answer the call! Contrast the two attitudes.
A. Seeking our own interests comes naturally. Read 2 Timothy 3:1-4 and explain how we vividly see this within our society.
B. Seeking the things which are Christ’s is behavior that comes as we allow Him to live in and through us. How can we apply what is said in 1 Peter 4:2-3 and 7-11? Add other scriptures that apply if possible.
3. Paul planned to go to Philippi himself as soon as he was released from prison (Philippians 2:24). But he prefaced his plans with the statement “I trust in the Lord” which could also be stated, “if the Lord wills.” It was his habit to always make his plans subject to either confirmation or veto by the Lord. This is an excellent habit. How can you apply the following verses to your own planning?
A. Proverbs 16:2-4a “All man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD. Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. The LORD works out everything for His own ends…..” NIV
B. Isaiah 30:1 “Woe to the rebellious children,” says the LORD, “Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin;”
C. James 4:13-15 “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
4. Read Philippians 2:22. The Philippians knew the “proven character” of Timothy. This speaks of integrity that has been tried and shown to be true.
A. Look up and record the definition of integrity.
B. Why is integrity lacking in our society today?
C. Why did Paul need to mention the fact that Timothy was a man of “proven character?” Why is this important?
D. How can we instill and teach integrity to our children and grandchildren (even if you don’t have children of your own, you can still play a role to nieces, nephews and children around you)? Give examples of how we can do this.
DAY #5 Read Philippians 2:25-30 EPAPHRODITUS, WHO RISKED HIS LIFE
1. Some feel that Epaphroditus might have been the pastor of the church in Philippi. We don’t know for sure, but it is certain that he was loved and important to the fellowship there. Notice the roles that he played as mentioned in verse 25. He was and did whatever was needed at the time. Our Lord also wasn’t locked into a rigid role. Jesus was a teacher one moment, and a foot washer the next. Describe the ways you can fit into different areas of service and blessing to others as did Epaphroditus.
A. Brother (Sister) in Christ (What are ways you can function as a true family member?)
B. Fellow Worker (How can you be a fellow worker in the kingdom?)
C. Fellow Soldier (How can you be a fellow Christian soldier?)
2. As we read verses 25-28, we see that Paul loved Timothy and Epaphroditus. They were a great source of encouragement and support to him personally. Nevertheless, he chose to send them to help others. This is hard. Sometimes we need to give up the present benefit and blessing of having those we love nearby, so they can be free to serve where God is calling them. This may be a child, a friend or a leader in your Church whom you rely upon. Read Philippians 2:28 again. Describe your thoughts and insights.
3. Epaphroditus was a man who had traveled 800 miles to carry supplies and encouragement to Paul. Not everyone could be trusted with such a mission. And the truth is, not everyone would go.
A. Explain what it cost him, whether it was worth it and why.
B. Reflect on the words that Jesus spoke in Luke 14:27-33. Are these instructions that apply to us personally? Why or why not?
C. *Personal, sharing is optional* Is there a “cost” you have held back? Is there a price you must pay (i.e., to a fruitful and effective servant) that you now see as small compared to the valuable return you will receive on your investment of time and service in the Kingdom of God? Will you pause and speak to the Lord about this right now? Will you allow Him to speak to you?
*The Cost of Saving Lives* A young man beginning his work with the Coast Guard was called with his crew to try a desperate rescue in a great storm. Frightened, rain and wind pounding his face, the man cried to his captain. “We will never get back!” The captain replied, “We don’t have to come back, but we must go out.”
Excerpt from the book, Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders.
DAY #6 Read Philippians 2:17-30 HONORABLE MENTION
“A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1
1. In Philippians 2:29 we are told to “hold such men in esteem.” Explain how we can to do this without the use of flattery and inappropriate admiration.
*Quote* “Those who hold themselves as worthy of honor and esteem are not the ones whom God calls upon the saints to thus recognize; but those who are willing to take the lowly path, seeking not great things for themselves, they are the ones whom the Lord will exalt in due time.” H.A. Ironside
2. In this section of Philippians we have seen men who inspire us all. Who inspires you?
A. Can you think of other people in the Bible whose lives shine to spur us on to “love and good works?” Describe one and why their life and actions inspire you.
B. How about Christians who have lived in the past or who are living now that you know (or know of)? Explain why their life and actions inspire you.
3. *Personal * Look over this portion of Scripture (Philippians 2:25-30) and this week’s lesson. Prayerfully ask yourself some of the following questions:
*Am I poured out, or bottled up? Am I a vessel that God can use to build up other’s faith?
*Am I glad or sad when I am called on to pour and pour and pour for the benefit of others?
*Do I, like Timothy, have a kindred spirit with Paul, one who sincerely cares for others?
*Do “my own interests” overshadow the things that are important to Christ Jesus?
*Do I commit my plans to the Lord? Am I angry or frustrated when He vetoes my plans?
*Am I willing to risk or give up anything for the cause of the Kingdom of God?
*Will I risk my comfort zone? Will I risk a negative reaction when I share God’s word?
4. Pause and pray. Ask the Lord Himself to move your heart and give you strength and the desire to grow. Share the lessons, exhortations and encouragement that have meant the most to you this week from this lesson.
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.” Philippians 3:1
The theme of joy is woven throughout the letter to the Philippians. Joy that endures, no matter what, is evidence of a deep and abiding faith and trust in the Savior. This overrides any temporary setback. Looking back at what we have already studied, we will give the following titles to chapters 1 and 2.
Chapter 1----------JOYFUL TRIUMPH IN SUFFERING
Chapter 2----------JOYFUL TRIUMPH IN SERVICE
Now as we begin Chapter 3, we will give it the title--------------JOYFUL TRIUMPH IN CHRIST ALONE
DAY #1 Read Philippians 3:1-14 *Begin your lesson today, as always, with prayer.
Read these verses again and record the important facts, words and statements. Remember this step of the lesson is to fix in our minds what is being said. Then give a title to this section.
DAY #2 Read Philippians 3:1 REJOICE IN THE LORD!
Notice that verse 1 is addressed to the Brethren, the brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul is talking to the family of God. Outside of God, circumstances can get us down. But in God, He will never let us down. This can give us a joy that is deep and constant. But Paul doesn’t just say “have joy” he says “rejoice!” This means, express it! Joy is infectious. Among the family of God, we should be reminding each other of all that God has done in, for and through us.
1. Remember, Paul was writing from prison. Even though he could not ignore his adverse circumstances, that was not his focus. “In the Lord” we know we can have hope when we focus on and trust in Him. Therefore we can rejoice, being confident that God is at work even when things look grim. Explain in terms of everyday life how the following verses apply to this principle. (For some, these scriptures are so familiar, we often don’t apply them in fresh ways. Pray before you answer for a renewed view of their application.)
A. Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
B. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
C. John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
D. *Personal* Have you been depressed or even just joyless? The Bible tell us, “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” When we lose our joy, we feel weak, tried, overwhelmed. Have you been “under the circumstances?” Look up! Look at Jesus. Record all the things you are glad about because you are “in the Lord.” Write down as many things as you can think of. Then notice the joy return and give you strength to face your day.
DAY #3 Read Philippians 3:2-3 BEWARE OF DOGS, EVIL WORKERS, MUTILATION!
The exhortation to rejoice in verse 1 is also a perfect bridge to the very serious and negative matter that Paul now enters into. Whether it is unpleasant circumstances, or problems caused by false teaching, the same principle applies. We’re in the Lord. As long as we use His teachings as the standard, we are safe. We won’t be “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” Ephesians 4:14.
“For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.” Philippians 3:1b
Paul says in verse one, that he never tired of dealing with important matters of our faith. He knew that reviewing the truth provides a kind of spiritual reinforcement and protection against false teaching.
1. Read Philippians 3:2. This verse graphically describes a group of people called Judaizers, who were guilty of putting confidence in their own efforts (in the flesh). They were those who had accepted Christ, but then began to believe that they needed to complete both their salvation and sanctification by obedience to the laws of the Old Testament. They insisted circumcision was needed for a right standing before God. When circumcision is done by Christians, either for salvation or sanctification, the otherwise spiritually neutral procedure becomes something evil and is therefore called a mutilation. In the letter to the Galatians, this same error was addressed.
A. Read Galatians 3:1-3. Explain what you learn about the danger of the “self perfection by our works” type of belief?
B. Read Galatians 1:6. When we turn to trusting in our own works, what do we turn from? Why is this harmful?
C. Those that teach “salvation by works” say they are just expanding or helping the Gospel. What does Galatians 1:7 say about this? Why is this harmful to our faith?
D. The terms used for these false teachers in Philippians 3:8 seem harsh, almost like name calling. But he is warning those he loves and cares for about a great and terrible danger. Dogs were considered unclean scavengers, willing to eat those things that were left behind as garbage. Mutilators are those who do surgery that hurts, not helps. Evil workers have evil results. How does Galatians 1:8-9 warn us about teachings other than the Gospel of “Salvation and sanctification through Christ alone?”
*Quote* “The true gospel is good news. It is the good news of God’s grace and the forgiveness of sins through the finished work of Jesus Christ. Your relationship with God isn’t based on your righteousness or your works or in keeping certain rules, but upon your believing in God’s sacrifice for you. If you will just believe in this work of God, through Jesus Christ you can have a beautiful, unbroken relationship with God. All your sins will be washed away and the guilt of all your shortcomings, failures, and attitudes will vanish. They won’t exist, for you will have been justified through faith in Jesus Christ.”
Pastor Chuck Smith, Pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa in his book Why Grace Changes Everything.
2. Read Philippians 3:3 along with what Jesus said to the woman at the well in John 4:22-24. How can you apply what you learn, and why is this important to your own worship and spiritual relationship to God?
“God doesn’t want to bind you with law;
He wants to draw you to Himself with His love.” Chuck Smith
3. In Philippians 3:3 we are given the contrast of the teachings of those who teach “perfection by works.” Three evidences of true spirituality are listed. Explain each and then explain what the opposite of each would be. Give as much description as possible.
True Spiritual Circumcision
How can we do this?
What actions are opposite to this?
1. Worship God in the Spirit
2. Rejoice in Christ Jesus
3. Have no confidence in flesh
DAYS #4 and #5 Read Philippians 3:4-10 TRADING TRASH FOR TREASURE
1. Before Paul was a Christian he was the creme’ de la creme’ of the Jewish religious world.
A. From Philippians 3:4-6 list Paul’s credentials and accomplishments. *Optional* If you have the time, explain why each was important and viewed as righteous to the religious Jew.
B. In Philippians 3:7-8, how does Paul describe the value of these credentials and accomplishments? Pause and ponder. Why does he use such negative words for what he once took great pride in?
C. What did Paul gain in trade for his own self achievement as described in Philippians 3:7-9? List and underline each. Then describe the value of each to you personally. The more time you spend on your answers, the richer they will be and the more you will gain from these truths.
Faith in Christ replaces faith in ourselves
2. The “excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus” is a treasure beyond measure. Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the LORD.” First of all, notice that this is a statement by God Himself. Selah (pause to meditate).
A. What do you learn from this? What does it mean to you personally?
B. Can you say that you are growing in your knowledge and understanding of Him more and more every day? Why or why not?
3. In Philippians 3:10 and 11, four aspects of knowing Christ are listed. Paul saw each as having tremendous value in his own life. What do each mean? How can each be a benefit to the “Christ filled life?”
A. Experiencing the power of His resurrection (Galatians 2:20)
B. Fellowship of His sufferings (Acts 9:16 and Phil. 1:29)
C. Conformed to His death (Romans 6:6-7)
D. Attainment to the resurrection from the dead (Colossians 3:1-4)
*In Summary* Humility, obedience, service and sacrificial living is what conformity to His death is all about. In living this way, a Christian is liberated from his or her “old dead life” and living the newness of the resurrection life. Paul is using the imagery of some of the most important, powerful and profound truths to encourage Christians not to live the old life of self-centeredness and self-righteousness but to live the new life of service and sacrifice for our Lord and others. What better way could he do this than with the imagery of two of the greatest events of all history (the death and resurrection of Christ)?
Jesus painted a word picture of this concept: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:24
DAY #6 Read Phil. 3:12-14 VICTORY IS MARKED BY PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION
It is knowing that we can always move forward spiritually that keeps us going in the right direction. Knowing that you will not slay all the enemies does not make you surrender but keep on fighting until the Lord returns and declares the war over. Knowing that there will always be some distance between you and the finish line does not make you want to drop out of the race, but encourages you to keep running until the Lord returns and declares the race is finished.
1. At this point in his life, Paul had been a Christian for over 25 years. But even though most of us would consider him far ahead of us, he shared two important concepts he had of himself and his life in Philippians 3:12.
A. What do you learn and why was it important for him to state: “I have not already attained nor am I already perfect”?
B. Explain, in your own words, each of the portions of this verse and how they should and how they can apply to your life.
1) “I press on,
2) that I may lay hold of
3) that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”
2. Read Philippians 3:13-14. We see a picture here that inspires us to follow Paul’s example. Read these verses again. Personalize them. Say them in such a way that you are making a commitment to each step. Then share how you can, in practical ways, make each step a part of your life.
A. I do not count myself to have apprehended:
B. Forgetting those things which are behind:
C. Reaching forward to those things which are ahead:
D. I press toward the goal:
3. Define in as much detail as possible “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” If a clear definition does not come immediately, pause and pray. Ask God what He wants you to know about this. *Personal, sharing is optional* Prayerfully answer the question: “Is this the prize worth leaving all else behind for? Why?”
There is no power on earth that can neutralize the influence of a high, pure, simple, and useful life.” Booker T. Washington
“FOR ME, TO LIVE IS CHRIST!”
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:20, 21
Where do you really belong? Are the roots of your life clinging deeply to the things of this world? Or are you, like Paul, reaching upward? Are you eagerly awaiting our Lord’s return? How do you picture that moment of seeing Him face to face? Take a few moments before you begin this week’s lesson to reflect on this glorious truth, and let it sink deeply into your life.
Read Philippians 3:12-21. Read through again with pen in hand, making note of what is being said. Record the important words, statements and facts. Note, although last week we ended the lesson with verses 13 through 15, we will begin with these verses. Give a title to this section.
DAY #2 NO TURNING BACK, NO STANDING STILL, ONLY REACHING FORWARD
“Paul still had more spiritual heights to climb. This testimony of the apostle reminded the saints at Philippi----and it serves to remind believers today----that there must never be a stalemate in their spiritual growth or a plateau beyond which they cannot climb.” Robert P. Lightner
1. Read Philippians 3:12-14. Paul was not a young man at the point that he wrote this. And yet he writes with an enthusiasm and expectation that the best was yet to come. Each inch of spiritual growth to him was moving one inch closer to Jesus. Are there areas in your life in which you desire to grow? Maybe you have never written these spiritual goals down. Take some time with the Lord in prayer right now. Ask Him to help you see goals that would bring you closer to Him.
A. Record each goal and why you feel that they are important in your life right now. It is better to state less than 7.
B. Describe how past failures can cause us to feel defeated and quit before we even begin. Ponder how they have hindered you. Remember, Paul encouraged us to forget those things that are behind.
C. In verse 13, Paul said, “one thing I do.” This is a picture of focus, ignoring distractions. What are the distractions that can sidetrack your growth in attaining the goals you recorded in part A? *Personal* Will you set these aside for the sake of your goal?
2. “Reaching forward” and “pressing toward the goal,” both involve effort. The analogy of Christians being like runners in a race is used several times in the New Testament. After reading the following passages, describe the effort and rewards of this race.
A. 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 “And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
B. 1 Timothy 4:8 “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”
C. 2 Timothy 4:7, 8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
3. Although we need to give our all, we must never rely entirely upon our own abilities and efforts. The words “upward call” remind us to lift our eyes upward to Him. Review the following so that you continue to be dependant on the power of His Spirit within your life.
A. Philippians 1:6
B. John 15:4-5
C. 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10
4. *Personal* All of our goals in the Christian life should merge into the category of “our upward call” to please our Lord and to become more like Him. It is not just pastors and missionaries who have a calling from God. God is personally calling you! Will you listen, will you respond?
*Quote* “I have learned to place myself before God every day as a vessel to be filled with His Holy Spirit. He has filled me with the blessed assurance that He, as the everlasting God, has guaranteed His own work in me.” Andrew Murray
DAY #3 Read Philippians 3:15-16 MATURITY CONTINUES TO MATURE
High in the Alps is a monument raised in honor of a faithful guide who perished while ascending a peak to rescue a stranded tourist. Inscribed on that memorial stone are these words: HE DIED CLIMBING. A maturing, growing Christian should have the same kind of attitude, right up to the end of this life.
1. Normally we think of maturity as the point in life where we have arrived at completeness. In verse 15, Paul states that the mature Christian will have the mindset that was stated in verses 12 through 14. A vessel that grows as it is filled will never be full. Explain how we can and should continue to grow in the areas stated in the following scriptures:
A. 1 Peter 2:1, 2
B. 2 Timothy 3:16, 17
C. John 15:17
D. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and Romans 12:12
*True spiritual MATURITY manifests itself in:
1. The desire to be holy rather than happy.
2. The desire to see the honor of God advanced through his (her) life.
3. The desire to carry his (her) cross.
4. The desire to see everything from God's viewpoint.
5. The desire to die right rather than live wrong.
6. The desire to see others advance at his (her) expense.
7. The desire to make eternity-judgments instead of time-judgments.
A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)
2. Read Philippians 3:15b again. We are told here that when you are blind in your thinking to areas in your life that you need to grow in, that “God will reveal even this to you.” This should encourage, not discourage you. How does God reveal these things to us? Explain what you learn from the following passages about the different ways that God uses to speak. Also share any additional insights or examples.
A. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
B. John 16:13a “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth;”
C. Hebrews 3:13 “but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
DAY #4 Read Philippians 3:17 MATURITY MODELED
“Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.”
Paul knew that many truths are “caught as much as taught.” He knew that if people cannot see the truths being taught them in the lives of those teaching them, it is difficult for them to hear those truths.
1. By using the term brethren, Paul put himself on equal standing in the family of God with the other believers. Yet, he understood that he played an important role as an example.
A. How is Paul a role model to you?
B. Our Lord Jesus modeled for us the principles He taught. Read John 13:3-5 and John 13:12-17. The pattern Jesus gave us was not just the habit of washing dirty feet. What was it, and how can we follow His example?
C. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” Explain what you learn from this, and how this can apply to your own life.
D. *Personal challenge* “WWJD” These letters stand for “What would Jesus do?” Some people wear bracelets with these letters, worn as a constant reminder of the opportunity we have to make choices that reflect the Lord’s imprint on our attitudes, words and actions. Will you write these letters in a place that they will be a reminder to you? Then, throughout the day will you silently ask the question WWJD? Then, will you follow His example? Share any encouraging blessings you receive after you have done this.
*Definition* The word example in the Greek New Testament (tupon) is where we get the English word type as in a typewriter. As the keys of the typewriter hit the paper and leave a mark behind, so there are people who have made an impression on our lives. *Personal reflection* What kind of imprint do you leave on others?
DAY #5 Read Philippians 3:18-19 ENEMIES OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST
*Quote* “Freedom in Christ does not mean freedom to be selfish.” Life Application Bible
1. In verse 18 Paul tell us that he spoke often of those who were enemies of the cross of Christ.
A. Explain in practical terms what it was about their lives and motives that was a contradiction to true Godly discipleship and harmful to others (verse 19)?
B. Attitude is important. In scripture, we are warned against talking critically about other people, and we shouldn’t, except for the right reasons. Why do you think Paul had informed them about these people often? What were his motives? *Notice, he “told them weeping.”
DAY #6 Read Philippians 3:20-21 OUR REAL HOME IS HEAVEN
Jesus said, “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20
As we read these words, all that Paul has said thus far in this book falls into place. No wonder he wasn’t overly stressed about his circumstances. No wonder he was more interested in investing in people than in things. No wonder he loved using Jesus as his supreme example. No wonder he was willing to lay aside all of his earthly accomplishments for the prize that was priceless. Paul viewed himself as a temporary resident on this earth. “For our citizenship is in Heaven.” This truth should stir us as it stirred him. Pause and pray that it will!
“Heaven is not just a destination, it is a motivation.” Warren Wiersbe
1. Citizens of Philippi had the same rights and privileges as the citizens of Rome, because Philippi was a Roman colony. Each citizen’s name was recorded in ledgers to assure the protection of these benefits. We as Christians are assured that our Heavenly citizenship is secured because we belong to Christ. Our names are written in Heaven. This truth should inspire us to live as ambassadors of our true country. As you reflect on the following, how does this affect, prompt, encourage and comfort you? Share the insights you gain.
A. Heaven, the place where God dwells: Revelation 22:1-5 “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”
B. Heaven, where our names are registered: Luke 10:20 “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Revelation 21:27 “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.”
C. Heaven, where our inheritance awaits us: 1 Peter 1:4, 5 “to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Jesus taught us to pray; “Your kingdom come.
Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.”
2. Picture the moment described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
A. After looking at the details of this glorious future event, what do you learn?
B. Explain how these words are encouraging and comforting.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
3. Our earthly bodies have limitations. Fortunately, they are temporary. Reflect on and share the insights you gain as you read the following passages. If you are short on time, choose just one or two.
A. Philippians 3:20b, 21 “We also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”
B. 1 Corinthians 15:40-44 “There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”
C. 1 Corinthians 15:47-53 “The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
D. 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”
4. “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3 In these verses we are given an inspiring hope and a challenge to go with it. How should this truth affect our personal lives?
5. *Optional memory verse*
“But our citizenship is in heaven.
And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,”
*Quote* “Who can overcome the world, but those who have our faith----the faith which detaches from this world, because it attaches us to the unseen and eternal, in God and His Christ? The Church of God will never be able to conquer the world so long as she is part of it, but only as she comes on the world from the sphere above it, with the impulse and impetus of those who believe that their city lies beyond the stars.” F.B. Meyer
PHILIPPIANS Lesson #11
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6, 7
Can you imagine living life in an absolutely peaceful state, never stressing and feeling frazzled? Most of us can’t. We are so used to worrying that if we stopped we wouldn’t know what to do. One lady told her pastor that it was good for her to worry she said that it actually helped because then 95% of the things she worried about never happened. There is a sense in which we all feel like this lady. We think that by worrying, we are making a contribution to the solution. The fact is, worry never helps, it only makes us miserable and often makes matters worse. God has a better solution, turn everything over to Him, and the result in our life will be peace. Now this is good news!
DAY #1 Begin this day’s lesson in prayer, asking God to be your teacher.
Read Philippians 4:1-8. Read through again, taking notes of the important facts, words and statements. Then give a title to this section.
DAY #2 Read Philippians 4:1 TERMS OF ENDEARMENT
Many people attend church as if it is merely one among many of the required duties in life. They attend the service, and leave immediately afterwards. There is never a warm, personal bond developed with others. This is far from the New Testament model. Paul refers to the Philippians with four different terms of endearment.
1. The terms “my beloved and longed-for brethren” are words that would be used by close family members. They were very appropriate since he was speaking to his brothers and sisters in the family of God.
A. Give a definition of each:
B. Are you developing these kinds of relationships? Your discussion group is a wonderful atmosphere to build this closeness. Explain how each of us can make the effort needed to do this.
2. The second terms used are “my joy and crown.” This is similar to the expression “my pride and joy.” It is as if Paul was saying that just thinking about them brought a smile to his face (joy) and satisfaction (crown) for his efforts. In Rome, an athlete received a laurel wreath (crown) when he won a race. Paul’s efforts and sacrifice were all worth it as he saw fruit in their lives. His prize was eternal souls instead of temporal trophies. Explain how the following scriptures stir your heart to want to make the same kind of investment in others.
A. Galatians 6:9, 10 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
B. Acts 20:22-24 “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
C. 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.”
3. Read Philippians 4:1 again. We are not to stand fast in our own strength, but “in the Lord.” This is important to remember. Ephesians 6:10-13 gives us instruction on this. Explain what is meant and in practical terms how we can personally apply what is said in each verse.
Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
DAY #3 Read Philippians 4:2-3 KEEPING PEACE IN THE FAMILY (OF GOD)
Unity is an important and reoccurring theme of the book of Philippians. Unlike the division that developed between the believers in Corinth, evidently the division mentioned in verse one (between Euodia and Syntyche) is not yet all that serious nor wide spread. This can be deduced from the following:
a. Only the two women are exhorted.
b. There is no harsh or heavy rebuke.
Then why does Paul mention it? Paul knew that little unresolved problems can become big problems. A little crack in a slab one day can become a major crack, undermining the very foundation of a home (or in this case a church.) Differences between individuals are natural. But conflict and disunity need not be inevitable.
1. When a conflict does arise, we need to examine our hearts. Often we see that self is at the center of the problem. What do you learn from James 4:1-4?
2. Ephesians 4:26, 27 tells us “In your anger do not sin: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Describe the danger of retaining our anger and frustration against another.
3. Paul had already emphasized the importance of love and unity among believers in this letter (1:9, 27; 2:1-4, 5, 14.) He now addressed the issue in a direct and yet gentle way.
“I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.” Philippians 4:2-3
A. Reflect on the use of the words implore and urge. How important did Paul view the resolution of this conflict? Explain your answer.
B. Is unity among those in your church important to you? How can you play a role and help others when there is disunity and friction?
4. What is the antidote for conflict? The answer is given in verse 2: “be of the same mind in the Lord.” Explain any insights you gain from the following verses, giving application if possible.
A. Philippians 2:4-7
B. Ephesians 4:1-3
C. James 4:6-10
DAY #4 Read Philippians 4:4-5 JOYFUL GENTLENESS
Disharmony in the church (as discussed on Day #3) is often the by-product of internal disharmony, personal unrest, fear, unthankfulness, disappointment and bitterness. Therefore the encouragement to “rejoice in the Lord” is the perfect subject to insert here.
When we choose to turn our eyes from self and the temporal and instead, focus on the goodness and mercy of God, all of our disappointments and nitpicking of fellow Christians fades away. “In the presence of the sun (Son) hard icicles flow together.”The acronym for Joy: Jesus
Notice, Jesus is 1st. This is the key to true joy!
1. Pure joy is joy in God as both its source and object. The psalmist says, "You show me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy, in Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11 Describe what you learn from the verses below. If you are short on time choose just one or two.
A. Psalm 30:11-12 “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.”
B. Psalm 43:4-5 “Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”
C. John 15:10-11 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
D. Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
E. Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Where, then, is joy found? The answer is simple: In Christ alone! Jesus said, "I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man can take it from you." John 16:22
2. *Optional digging deeper* What is the principle we can learn about the importance of rejoicing in the Lord from Nehemiah 8:9-12? How does this apply to your own life?
3. Christians are sometimes criticized for being too sober. The Lord desires His people to take Him seriously but to not take themselves too seriously. He wants them to wipe off their grim looks, put smiles on their faces, and let laughter flow from their lips. To the unbeliever our witness will be more appealing when they see the radiance of the joy of the Lord in our lives. What do you learn that you can apply from Psalm 51:12-13? “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.”
*Let your light shine!* A Hindu trader in India once asked a missionary, "What do you put on your face to make it shine?" With surprise the man of God answered, "I don't put anything on it!" His questioner began to lose patience and said emphatically, "Yes, you do! All of you who believe in Jesus seem to have it. I've seen it in the towns of Agra and Surat, and even in the city of Bombay." Suddenly the Christian understood, and his face glowed even more as he said, “Now I know what you mean, and I will tell you the secret. It's not something we put on from the outside but something that comes from within. It's the reflection of the light and joy of God in our hearts.”
4. “Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand (near).” Philippians 4:5 NKJ
A. Look up the definition of gentle.
B. Then state antonyms (meaning words that are opposite of gentle).
5. *Quote* “Gentleness (meekness) includes such enviable qualities as having strength under control, being calm and peaceful when surrounded by a heated atmosphere, emitting a soothing effect on those who may be angry or otherwise beside themselves, and possessing tact and gracious courtesy. Clearly, it includes a Christlikeness, since the same word is used to describe His own makeup.” Chuck Swindoll
A. What role does the gentleness of the Lord play in your relationship to Him as stated in Matthew 11:28-29?
B. What is the value of gentleness in our Christian character and the witness we are to others?
6. Is it hard for you to be gentle and meek in certain circumstances? Would you like to be gentle at all times? The realization that the Lord is near can help. We need to conduct ourselves with a sense of His nearness, both in time (the fact that Jesus may return at any time) and distance (He will never leave us or forsake us). Picture a situation that might cause you to react in an unkind, impatient or harsh way. How do the following truths prompt you to choose the gentle response?
A. 1 John 2:28 “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”
B. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
C. Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
DAYS #5 and #6 Read Philippians 4:6-8 DON’T WORRY, PRAY!
According to John MacArthur, some years ago, the Mayo Clinic stated that statistically 80% to 85% of their total case load were ill either in reality or artificially due directly to mental stress. Also according to MacArthur, not too long ago, there appeared an article in a leading medical journal entitled, "Is Stress the Cause of All Disease?" The author of the article says that at the beginning of the century, bacteria were considered to be the center of attention. Today, mental stress has replaced bacteria.
Worry can be a serious problem even for Christians. “Be anxious for nothing.” This instruction is stated more like a command than a suggestion. Pause and pray as you begin to study this section that the lessons learned through God’s Word will permanently make a difference in your life.
1. Define the state of anxiousness as descriptively as possible. Also describe how the accumulation of many concerns affects you both mentally, emotionally and physically.
2. What are some of the things you have been anxious about recently?
A. Record the big, important issues you have worried about in the last few weeks.
B. Record some of the minor things that you have found yourself fretting about, cluttering your mind with concern.
C. Now, state the concerns and problems you recorded in A and B above that are valid for you to have anxiousness about according to Philippians 4:6. Pause and ponder your answer, then share your thoughts.
Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.
3. Although we are instructed not to worry, we are not told to merely ignore our problems and concerns. Verse 6 gives us some tangible steps to take each time a worrisome thought comes to mind. Explain the benefits of each.
A. Prayer: a devout petition, or any form of spiritual communion with God.
B. Supplication: to pray humbly to God, to entreat or petition humbly.
C. Thanksgiving: the act of giving thanks, feeling or expressing gratitude or appreciation of the benefits and goodness of God.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
4. The final part of verse 6 tells us to “make our requests known to God.” Requests is the key word. Many people pray, asking God to do something and it doesn’t happen. They say, “God never answers my prayers.” Maybe He has answered but He has said “no, or not now.” God’s ways, His will and His answers are perfect. We need to trust Him. What insights do these verses give us on this subject?
A. Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”
B. Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
C. Matthew 6:9-10 “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
D. 1 John 5:14 “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
5. So many people feel that prayer is merely a duty, a gift they give God. But the truth is, prayer is a precious gift that God has given to us. It is a wonderful privilege. From the following verses, describe the benefits that can be yours personally.
A. 1 Peter 5:6-7
B. Hebrews 4:15-16
C. Psalm 62:8
When we worry, we believe more in our problems than in God's promises.
6. *Personal, sharing is optional* We have looked at the some of the problems caused by anxiety. But it is important to look at one of the most serious truths regarding this topic. “Worry is an indication that we think God cannot look after us.” Oswald Chambers (1874–1917) When we look at it in this light, we realize that it is actually sin. Are you tired of the grip that anxiousness has on your thought life? Will you kneel and pray for forgiveness right now? Will you make a commitment, with the help of God, to resist worry and pray?
7. *Optional digging deeper* As we study the Old Testament, we saw that the people of God often faced overwhelming obstacles and dangers. Sometimes they trusted their own resources and did not even consult God for wisdom or help. The results were disastrous. But at other times, they fell on their faces before God, and found deliverance in miraculous ways. We can learn from their mistakes and also from the times they chose prayer as their first option. Read 2 Chronicles 20:10-20. Record the most important lessons you see and how you can learn from and apply each of them.
*Quote* “The storm was raging. The sea was beating against the rocks in huge, dashing waves. The lightning was flashing, the thunder was roaring, the wind was blowing; but the little bird was sound asleep in the crevice of the rock, its head tucked serenely under its wing. That is peace: to be able to sleep in the storm!
In Christ we are relaxed and at peace in the midst of the confusions, bewilderments, and perplexities of this life. The storm rages, but our hearts are at rest. We have found peace—at last!” Billy Graham
“Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God.” J. Oswald Sanders
8. Read Philippians 4:7 carefully several times. How would you describe “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding”?
9. Peace rules the day when Christ rules the mind. Why is “the peace of God” an important protection for our thought life (mind) and emotions (heart)?
10. Peace isn’t a state that we can fake or merely muster up within ourselves. How can we apply what we learn from the following verses?
A. Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.”
B. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
C. Luke 12:29-32 “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”
What a Friend We Have in Jesus (written by Joseph Scriven 1857)
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief’s to bear!
What a privilege to carry… Everything to God in prayer
Oh what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry…. Everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged----Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful…..Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness----Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge---Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do they friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee----Thou wilt find a solace there.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy----Meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8
How important is your thought life? What affect does it have on your actions and ultimately your life? God’s Word gives us instruction that can free us from the negative and fill us with the positive.
DAY #1 Pray that the Lord will open your heart to receive His instruction.
Read Philippians 4:8-19. Read the important statements and facts, noting key words and phrases. Remember the value of this first step is to really understand fundamentally what is said. When you have done this step correctly, you should be able to close your Bible and briefly state the main thoughts and ideas from this section. Give a title to this portion scripture.
DAYS #2 and #3 MATTERS FOR MEDITATION------RIGHT THINKING!
In Philippians 4:8 Paul provides a brief and representative list of matters for meditation. To meditate is to think deeply on a matter. While it includes thinking on an intellectual level, it is also a matter of the heart. To meditate takes time. It is also to take stock. Strong’s Concordance says that to meditate on a matter is “to take inventory.” By carefully pondering a matter, you are attempting to come to terms with how important you believe it is and how important it is to you personally.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
1. Read Philippians 4:6-8. Reflect on the lessons you learned last week in verses 6 and 7. Were you able to apply what you learned in the last few days? If so, share how you benefited.
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:3-4 NIV
2. We were instructed in verse 6 that our thoughts and emotions should not be consumed or even cluttered with anxiousness and worry. We can also be troubled by impure thoughts, unhealthy daydreams, misunderstandings, lies, unproductive, and destructive thinking. Now in verse 8 we are told that there are better things, excellent things, and constructive things that should occupy our thoughts and emotions.
A. Beside each, write out a definition using the dictionary. Then give some antonyms (words that give the opposite meaning) of each.
6) Things of good report
3. The first priority for our thinking is truth. Truth is like a rock, a fortress that gives us protection against being deceived, blinded and confused. God’s word is the ultimate standard and storehouse of truth. This is one of the reasons that Bible study is so vital and should never be neglected. Reflect on the following passages. What practical affect does truth (meditating on it) have in our lives? Give examples if possible.
A. Psalm 119:9-11 “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!”
B. Psalm 119:28 “My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.”
C. Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”
D. Hebrews 4:12 “ For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
E. Psalm 19:7-10 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”
4. *Optional digging deeper* Read Psalm 1 and record the benefits of meditating on the Word of God.
5. “Whatsoever things are true.” Besides the things we have already dealt with, list some of the true things that you can and should ponder that would affect your mental attitude and outlook.
Emerson said, "A man is what he thinks about all day long."
DAY #4 Read Philippians 4:9 MATTERS FOR APPLICATION------RIGHT LIVING!
Right thinking should lead to right living. As Paul begins to close his letter to his dear friends in Philippi, he encourages them to apply all that they have learned: “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do.”
1. It is important to notice the combination of the words, “learned and received.” Some people learn truth, but it never becomes a part of them. They don’t receive it (apply it) to their lives. In the following verses Jesus explained the value of receiving the truth in such a way that real changes are made. Describe what you learn and how this applies to your own life.
A. Matthew 13:19-23 “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
B. Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”
2. Once instruction has been received, the final step is obedience. “Just do it” is the theme of verse 9. State what you learn that is important in the following verses:
A. James 1:22
B. James 4:17
C. 1 John 1:6-7
3. In Philippians 4:9 there is a connection make between obedience (putting into practice the things learned) and the presence of “the God of peace.” Prayerfully ponder the relationship of these two concepts and explain what you learn.
4. Read Philippians 4:10-18. In these verses, Paul puts the issue of financial and material matters into perspective. First he commends them for their “care” for him. It was not how much they were able to do that mattered to Paul. It was the fact that when they could and as they were able, they stood with him in his ministry by supporting him financially and materially. He also notes that this was not the first time they cared for him in this matter.
As you read the following verses, state what you learn about the values, benefits and joys to yourself and others when you give to support pastors, missionaries and others involved in ministries working to expand the Kingdom of God.
5. Paul often worked as a tent-maker so that he wouldn’t have to ask for money or burden others with his needs. But this caused him to spend hours and hours away from ministry. Should Christian workers always support themselves in secular jobs, or is it valid to be supported by ministry funds and contributions? Explain what you discover in answer to this question by looking at 1 Corinthians 9:7-14.
DAYS #5 and #6 Read Philippians 4:11-19 WHAT IS THE SECRET OF CONTENTMENT?
1. Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get. In verse 11, Paul said he had learned to be content. This is a topic that deserves intense study.
A. Record the dictionary’s definition of contentment.
B. Give antonyms (meaning words that describe the opposite).
2. How did Paul learn contentment? The first lesson was in abasement (hard times). Most of us think we have it rough. Read and record some of the things Paul went through as recorded in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28. Share your insights about what he learned through these experiences.
*About being thankful even in hard times*
Bible commentator Matthew Henry, after being robbed, wrote this in his diary:
Let me be thankful...
* first because I was never robbed before.
* second, because although they took my wallet, they did not take my life.
* third, because although they took all I had, it was not much.
* fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.
3. In verse 12, Paul said “I know how to abound.” That may sound a lot easier than learning how to be abased. But the good times offer their own set of challenges. Someone once said, “It does not matter how much you have but how much has you!” Describe what you learn that is important.
A. Hebrews 13:5-6 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’?”
B. Luke 12:16-21 “Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, “What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?” So he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry’.”
But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God’.”
C. 1 Timothy 6:6-10 “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
D. 1 Timothy 6: 17-19 “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
“ For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”
2 Corinthians 8:9
4. It is that deep inner longing, dissatisfaction, and discontentment that drives many. And yet, with each attainment, the longing remains, they still have a void. Even we as Christians can find ourselves getting caught up in seeking what the world advertises will fill us. This is not a new dynamic ---------this has been true with mankind throughout the ages. How do the following passages apply? Explain what you learn.
A. Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, who had been married many times, and was then living with a man. Unfulfillment was the story of her life. Jesus answered and said to her in John 4:13; “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
B. Buying, buying, buying-----with no satisfaction! God speaks about this in Isaiah 55:1-3; “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you; The sure mercies of David.”
C. *Personal* Do you find yourself with a dryness—an unfulfilled longing deep within your being? Have you been thinking of all the “if onlys” that would make you happy at last? Be honest. Write these down. David said in Psalm 62:1b, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.” Will you take this emptiness to Him and allow Him to fill your heart? He can. He will. Will you let Him?
5. The key to learning to be content, to rise above the circumstances instead of sinking under them, is found in verse 12, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me!” This is the victory shout. We know we are weak. We know we get distracted, we get weighted down. But we can turn to Christ, we can depend on Christ. He will never fail us!
A. Write this verse below, in block letters, underlining the parts that speak to you most.
B. Now record the situations in which you need to apply them. Pause and ask for His strength in these areas.
*Emptiness* The 19th century Bible scholar G. S. Bowes pointed out the ultimate futility of ambition that isn't accompanied by dedication to God. Citing four powerful world rulers of the past, he wrote: "Alexander the Great was not satisfied, even when he had completely subdued the nations. He wept because there were no more worlds to conquer, and he died at an early age in a state of debauchery (excessive immorality). Hannibal, who filled three bushels with the gold rings taken from the knights he had slaughtered, committed suicide by swallowing poison. Few noted his passing, and he left this earth completely unmourned. Julius Caesar, 'staining his garments in the blood of one million of his foes,' conquered 800 cities, only to be stabbed by his best friends at the scene of his greatest triumph. Napoleon, the feared conqueror, after being the scourge (harasser) of Europe, spent his last years in banishment."
6. *Memory verse* Philippians 4:19 “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” This is a verse that we should have firmly established in our hearts and minds. Let’s look at each section so we can appreciate the full impact of what it means to us. Explain the importance of what each of the phrases communicate to you.
A. And my God (Who is He? Who is He to you? Is He able?)
B. shall supply (Is this a maybe?)
C. all your need
D. according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Money can buy medicine, but not health.
Money can buy a house, but not a home.
Money can buy companionship, but not friends.
Money can buy entertainment, but not happiness.
Money can buy food, but not an appetite.
Money can buy a bed, but not sleep.
Money can buy a crucifix, but not a Savior.
Money can buy the good life, but not eternal life.
That explains why we are told in the Scriptures that it is God (alone) who is able to supply us "with all things to enjoy." As Seneca, the Roman statesman once said: "Money has never yet made anyone rich."
7. The themes of this week’s lesson are; right thinking, right living and having the right perspective. Reflect back on what you have learned.
A. *Personal* In what areas have you found weakness or lack in your life regarding these things?
B. How can the application of this section of scripture (Philippians 4:8-19) give you direction, encouragement, strength and victory?
“Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Philippians 4:20
Now is a key word in this verse. We need to learn from the past, but we also need to leave it behind. We need to look forward to the future, knowing that we will be rewarded for our labors and “our citizenship is in heaven.” But we should live to glorify God in the present, because that’s where we always are.
The past is history.
The future is still (somewhat) a mystery.
But today is a gift----that’s why we call it the present.
Paul encouraged us to glorify God now-----today. He always deserves our worship. Do you delight to give God the honor and glory due His name? Do you personally spend some of your prayer and devotional time in true, undistracted worship? Did you know that your every day actions, attitudes and words can and should also glorify God? An elderly pastor made this superb observation, “It is very hard to glorify God and yourself at the same time.” This is an excellent point. However, to be even more precise we should say that it is impossible to glorify God and yourself at the same time. Who is on the throne of your life? Who or what do you worship?
DAY #1 Read Philippians 4:20-23 GLORIFY GOD, HE IS GLORIOUS!
1. Read Philippians 4:20-23 again making note of the important words and phrases. Give a title to this final section of Philippians.
2. We are to give glory to God. Look up the word glorify in the dictionary. Define what it means to glorify God in your own words.
“And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen.” Psalm 72:19
3. Ultimately, all will see God on His throne. His glory will be awe-inspiring. Reflect on the picture portrayed in Philippians 2:9-11; “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” We have been given glimpses of this “parting of the curtain of the heavens” as seen by various prophets who were instructed to record what they saw for our benefit. When we read these passages, it is as if we should take off our shoes in reverence-------this is holy ground. Carefully read the following “visions of His glory” as described in the following passages. Record your thoughts and insights. Afterwards, spend some time in worshipful prayer.
A. Ezekiel 1:26-28 “And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. So when I saw it, I fell on my face.”
B. Revelations 4:1-11 “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’ Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!’ Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: ‘You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.’”
*Quote* “One hundred worshippers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.” A.W. Tozer
Day #2 GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR LIFE
1. It ought to be the goal of every believer to do that which directly and deliberately brings glory to our God and Father. After reading each of the following passages, explain how God can be glorified in and by our lives in practical ways.
A. John 15:8-10
B. Matthew 4:14-16
C. Romans 15:5-7
2. *Illustration* Three men worked on a large building project. One was asked, “What are you doing?” “I'm mixing mortar,” he said. The second man said, “I'm helping put up this great stone wall.” When the third man was asked, he replied, “I'm building a cathedral to the glory of God.” Read the instruction given in 1 Corinthians 10:31 and describe some tasks or areas of your life that you should and can apply this to.
3. When Paul wrote verse 20, earthly forces and powers had taken Paul captive. He was in chains. He could no longer freely travel and minister to the churches. Can we really praise and glorify God when our circumstances are bleak? It is easier to praise and glorify God when times are easy and good. Or is it? How can we glorify God in our times of hardship and trial?
4. *Optional digging deeper* Our society esteems fame and fortune. Yet the Bible compares the glory of man to grass. Contrast the glitter and attraction of the things of this world and accomplishments of man with the unfading glory of the eternal God of the universe. Include scriptures that apply.
DAY #3 Read Philippians 4:21-23 GREET THE SAINTS
With all the lofty theology and deep spirituality evident in Paul’s life, the great Apostle is still a down to earth man, aware of legitimate affections and friendships that had developed between his brothers and sisters in the family of God. As Paul closes this letter, he greets all the saints making sure that no one is left out, even though there were probably many bothers and sisters now in the church in Philippi whom he had never met. He also includes greetings from the Christians who were in Rome, who had never personally met any of the Philippian Christians. Nevertheless, their greeting of these saints is sincere and heartfelt.
1. Read Philippians 4:21. Many of us have experienced meeting a fellow Christian and immediately sensing a deep bond. This can be true even when two Christians meet who don’t speak the same language.
A. Just hours before Jesus was crucified, He prayed that there would be a oneness among believers. Read John 17:20-23 and record the insights you gain and why this is important.
B. Read Galations 3:28. Explain how the love of Christ crosses and even dissolves the lines of race, background, age, and financial status.
C. Do you think it encouraged the Philippian believers to know that they were part of a greater Church family, the Body of Christ, connected although separated by distance? Explain your thoughts.
2. Some of the brethren sending greetings were; “those who belonged to Caesar’s household.” This could have included everyone from the soldier at the gate to the cook in the kitchen, from one of the emperor’s chief advisors to a member of Nero’s family.
A. Read Philippians 1:12-14. Reflect on the fact that these believers were probably the fruit of Paul’s time of confinement in chains. Was it worth it? What do you learn from this?
B. History tells us that in approximately 64A.D. Nero set fire to Rome and then blamed it on the Christians. He then began a campaign of intense persecution of Christians. Probably some who suffered were the same people who sent their greetings to the Philippians who had also encountered persecution in their own area. The story is told of Nero tying Christians to poles along the paths of his garden and lighting them on fire as torches. Many Christians chose to suffer such things rather than denounce their faith. Was it worth it? Share your thoughts, including scriptures if possible.
DAY #3 REVIEW, REMEMBER, REINFORCE AND RESPOND
One of the strongest tools of learning is review. By reflecting back on the things that we have learned they sink more deeply not only into our memories, but into our lives. In lesson one, we did an overview of Philippians and anticipated some of the lessons and important truths we would learn. An appropriate conclusion to our study, will be to reread, reflect and reinforce our commitment to respond by applying the things that we have learned.
1. Read Philippians chapter 1, verses 1-30.
A. What did you learn in your study of this section of scripture? Were there some principals here that you had never thought of before? Explain what you learned that was especially important.
B. Was there a lesson that you have tried to apply to your life in a practical way? Share the results.
C. Were you able to share any of the lessons you learned to edify or minister to someone else? If so, explain how.
D. Philippians 1:6 and 1:21 were our memory verses for this section. Write them out from memory if you can. If you did not commit these verses to memory, this would be a good time to write them out on 3x5 cards that you can carry or post. Through practice you can make them your own. Were you able to share these scriptures with someone else? If so, describe how.
E. *Optional* Review Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9-12 again. There are many elements of this prayer that are needful for all of our lives. Will you commit these verses to memory or write them out and post them at your most common place of prayer? Will you pray this prayer for yourself and for others often? You will be blessed if you do.
DAY #4 Read Philippians chapter 2, verses 1-30.
A. What did you learn in your study of this section of scripture that stands out as important? Explain why.
B. Was there a lesson that you have tried to apply to your life in a practical way? Share the results.
C. Were you able to share any of the lessons you learned to edify or minister to someone? If so, describe.
D. Philippians 2:4 or 2:9, 10 were our memory verses for this section. Write one out from memory if you can. If you did not originally memorize one, this would be a good time to practice one of these verses and then try to share it with someone. If you were able to share this scripture with someone else, explain how it ministered to them.
DAY #5 Read Philippians chapter 3, verses 1-21.
A. What lessons did you learn in your study of this section of scripture? Explain why these lessons are important to our lives today.
B. Was there a lesson that you have tried to apply to your life in a practical way? Share the results.
C. Were you able to share any of the lessons you learned to edify or minister to someone? If so, explain. Your experiences will be an encouragement to others you use the Word in this way.
D. Philippians 3:20 was our memory verse for this section. Write it out from memory if you can. If you can’t, commit yourself to memorize it this week. If you have been able to share this verse with someone else, explain how it blessed them.
DAY #6 Read Philippians chapter 4, verses 1-23.
A. What lessons did you learn in your study of this section of scripture? Explain why these lessons are important to our lives today.
B. Was there a lesson that you tried to apply to your life in a practical way? Share the results.
C. Were you able to share any of the lessons you learned to edify or minister to someone? If so, explain. Your experiences will be an encouragement as you use the Word in this way.
D. Philippians 4:19 was our memory verse for this section. Write it out from memory if you can. Or commit yourself to memorize it this week. If you have been able to share this verse with someone else, share how it was a blessing.
E. *Optional* Philippians 4:6-8 is a wonderful antidote for worry. If you have not committed this verse to memory, add it to your treasure chest of scripture promises. You will find it has value both for yourself in times of stress and turmoil and for others. The Word of God is living and powerful!
2. Turn back to lesson #1 of this study of Philippians. Review your answers to the last three questions on day #6. In summary they were:
Question #4: What are some subjects or themes that you are looking forward to studying because they seem particularly important to your life?
Question #5: What would be a good title to use for this book?
Question #6: What are your goals for this year of both Bible Study and your spiritual life in Him.
A. Would you write a new title for the book of Philippians? If so, what would that be?
B. Did you establish new goals for your spiritual life inspired by this book?. Were your goals met? Describe.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
Philippians 4:22 (NIV)
The last words that we read in this letter are far more than just a salutation. We can see Paul, prayerfully pausing, pen in hand before he closes. There was so much that he wanted to tell them. Would they understand all that he had said? Would they apply the principals that he taught and the example he had shown? He loved them very much. He wanted them to be all that they could be. To do this--they needed grace. They needed the grace that only God can give through faith in His Son and in the power of His Holy Spirit --poured directly into their lives. And so do we.