Philippians 1:21. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
- One of the key themes in the book of Philippians is eternal perspective. Paul wanted his readers to understand that there is more to the here and now. What thoughts come to mind when you think about eternity?
- We also see from Philippians that suffering is a part of life. How has suffering looked in your own life? In your experience, has the church been helpful or harmful as you’ve dealt with suffering?
- Paul says, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” If you’re a Christian do you feel like you can embrace this statement or do you find it to be a struggle? With either answer, why?
- If you’re not a Christian, what thoughts come to mind when you hear this verse?
- It’s clear in many of the writings of Scripture that suffering is never without purpose, or void of God. With that in mind, how can we as believers grow in our understanding of suffering and let our eternal perspective lead us forward.
- Do you find it easy or hard to hold on to the hope Paul talks about in 1:6. What ways can we as a community of believers help one another in seeing the hope we have in Christ?
Philippians 2:5-11. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- In 2:2 Paul talks about unity among believers. How have you seen this done well, and how can we grow in unity as a church?
- In our “me-centered” culture, how can believers be an example to the world of serving one another? What/who have been examples of Godly humility and service in your life?
- In 2:6-8 we have a perfect picture of Jesus laying down his life for the world. How does this picture challenge us as believers?
- We also see Jesus not counting his equality with God a thing to be grasped. He chose to humble himself to the point of death. How do you feel this picture of humility rubs against our entitlement?
- This section of Scripture ends with a reminder that Jesus is Lord. What areas of your life do you need to give over to the Lordship of Christ?
Philippians 3:13-14. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
- In 3:13-14 Paul is encouraging believers to press on towards the goal of Christ Jesus. What do you think that means?
- Paul continues to go back to the idea that there is more to the here and now. Do you find it hard to gain perspective in the moment? If so, what do you feel like causes that struggle?
- Are you someone that dwells on the past too much, or maybe you look to the future with anxiety? How could you begin to focus on where God has you now?
- If you’re a believer how does 3:13-14 help you to see your conversion with Christ? Share your stories of who you once were, and how Christ has made you new?
- This entire section is about believers having a HOPE that looks towards eternity. How can your Grace Community encourage one another this week to press on towards the goal, no matter what we’re facing? What does this look like practically?
Philippians 4:6-7. Do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.
- Have you or someone close to you struggled with anxiety? If so, how has that affected you?
- If you’ve struggled with anxiety in the past, what are some things that have helped you to find peace?
- All too often in the midst of our anxiety it’s very hard to rejoice in anything, but Paul is saying that praise to God has to be an active part of seeing breakthrough. How can you incorporate more thanksgiving and praise this week?
- Paul talks about a peace that surpasses all understanding. Have you experienced that? If so, share. If not, what does that sound like to you?
- How can we as a Grace Community help one another this week to walk with more peace in our lives?
Philippians 4:17-19. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
- How was money taught or perceived when you were growing up?
- Do you find it hard to trust God for the provisions you need?
- How has the church impacted your view of money?
- Paul mentions in this section that he has learned how to become content in all thing. Would you say contentment comes naturally to you, or is it a struggle?
- What are some ways we can encourage one another towards contentment?
- As this series ends, we see in 4:19 that God will supply our every need. Is this concept a struggle for you? Do you trust that God will provide?
- How do we as a community of believers help the world around us to see that God is faithful to provide, no matter what?