Saturday, September 26, 2015

My New Normal - Sunday Questions

Today’s sermon is from Philippians 3:7-16.  Paul discusses the intensity with which he pursued knowing the Lord, and he presents his radical striving as normal for the Christian.  This study is intended to help you go over those verses again on your own.  First, see if you see things like Paul did.  Second, consider how that type of zealous focus would look in your own life.

1.       Read Philippians 3:7-11.  The things to Paul’s “profit” were all the things that made him look good, righteous or holy to others.  What kinds of things accomplish that today?  In one way, this seems like bad advice from Paul… isn’t a good reputation a good thing?  Paul has talked this way in other letters.  Read 1 Corinthians 4:3-4.  When Paul does boast, he brags different than most folks.  Read 2 Corinthians 11:22-30.  Can you sum up, in a sentence or two, what Paul thinks about our achievements?
2.       Paul says he wants to know Christ (3:8, 10), and you get the sense it is his highest priority.  How do you think he accomplished that goal?  For you to be able to honestly say “Knowing Christ is my highest priority”, what kinds of life changes, if any, would you need to make?
3.       Read Philippians 3:12-16.  Using the imagery of a track race, where did Paul feel like he was at in his spiritual life?  Where are you?  What is the prize?  How was Paul planning to reach it?  Paul used this picture of a race in other letters he wrote.  Read Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Galatians 5:2-7; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; and Hebrews 12:1-3 for other examples.  Why is “running a race” such a great metaphor for the Christian life?
4.       In Philippians 3:15-16, Paul says that all mature people see Christianity the same way that he does.  Compare that statement to what you see in church today.  Is it still true that 100% devotion is the only mature way to look at the faith?  If it’s true, how would that change how you see “maturity”?  Maybe maturity is not defined by titles, outward successes, great speaking ability, etc.?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Maturing Together in Christ...

Today’s sermon is from Philippians 2:12-30.  You can use the study as an aid to better understanding that passage!

1.       Read Philippians 2:12-13.  Note the similarities between 2:12 and 1:27.  Paul was greatly concerned he wouldn’t be there to help them become mature in Christ.  What kind of accountability do we have for one another?  How is it my problem if someone else doesn’t mature?  Paul says to work out your salvation with “fear and trembling”.  What does that mean?  How does fear/trembling go with verses likePhilippians 4:4?  How does 2:1-4 explain Paul’s thoughts on working out your salvation?  How does God work in us in this process?

2.       Read Philippians 2:14-16.  How does our complaining and arguing get in the way of our growth?  Is this a real problem for Christians today?  How so?  The ancient Israelites grumbled frequently against Moses.  Read Numbers 14:1-24.  How did their grumbling affect their destiny?  How does grumbling affect your faith (and the faith of those around you)?  When we obey, without grumbling/argument, Paul says we’ll shine (Matthew 5:14-16; John 8:12).  What do you think Paul means by “shine”?  By “holding out the word of life”?

3.       Read Philippians 2:17-18.  Do you think Paul expected to see them again?  (Maybe look over Philippians 1:21-24).  How did Paul view his life?

4.       Read Philippians 2:19-30.  How did Timothy and Epaphroditus exemplify Philippians 2:1-4?  How can the church honor such people today?