For Intro to Philippians the study is in Acts 16:6-34
1) As we follow the Lord there are times when He opens and closes doors in life. Do you let the Spirit lead ?
2) Do you see yourself as flexible ? How do you adapt to changes in the plan ?
3) In the midst of trials and suffering are you still able to worship the Lord ? Can you give an example in your life when you did that and God used you. Can God do that in your present situation? Do you see how your perspective can effect others and how it could influence them to turn to the Lord ?
4) Are you by faith looking for God to move in your life and through your situations to reach others with the Gospel ? Do you have an "expectation" that Jesus is at work? God really does want to use each of us in our daily lives to connect Him with others. Give some current examples of how he is moving through you to do just that.
1) Vs. 3-8
What new ways could your life display thankfulness in the Lord regardless of your circumstances ?
2) Vs. 9-11
Are you one who approves the things that are excellent? or do you lean toward more of a fault finding attitude? How can this be improved ?
3) Vs. 12
Name a few things in your life of how God has made a good thing of a bad situation. Romans 8:28 - Talk about it and how we can all trust God more.
4) Vs. 13-18
How do you view others who say bad things about you being a christian? What can you do to adjust your response?
1) What do you want your life to really stand for when it's all said and done? Is that obvious to others? If not, why not? What is it that you would say God may want to adjust in your life? It seems that boldness regarding our faith is a real issue today. What can we do to develop this in our life according to Acts 4:31?
2) We are caught in the tension between two points, Heaven (our ultimate home) and Earth (our temporary dwelling place). Paul is clear that God's desire is that we would bear fruit while here on earth. With that in mind, how can you (personally) and we (as a body of believers overall) bear more fruit? Read John 15:1-8
3) Are you the same person when no one is around? God is always wanting to develop our character with that thought. Paul mentions 4 ways our lives can be effectively used to represent Jesus to others who are watching our lives. Remember each day that you may be the only bible most people read!
Discuss these 4 ways and how to practically apply them in our lives.
a) A steady and consistent walk.
b) A unified body of believers.
c) Our response to the nonbeliever (faith or fear).
d) Suffering and conflict.
Vs. 1 - 4
1) According to Paul how can we encourage other believers and display true agape (love) toward each other ? In these verses it seems that the self esteem view from the world to develop a healthy outlook on self and life is challenged talk about self worth from a biblical perspective.
Vs. 5 - 11
2) What is the mind of Christ ? Discuss the difference between reputation and character. What can you personally do in your everyday life to display practical humility in your interaction with others ?
Vs. 12 - 13
3) What is meant by Paul when he says "work out our own salvation" ? Who is at work in you as a believer ? What two things is God wanting to accomplish ?
What is Gods ultimate purpose in this work ?
Vs. 14 - 18
4) As lights that are to shine in the world what do you think God would want you to be more aware of about your life ?
1) Paul starts and finishes with the statement that he will "trust in the Lord" to do things. There is Gods part and our part discuss how we can have an active faith and trust that God will do things as we are letting Him move through us. So is it God or us that is at work? Our place is to trust God to move through us and our decisions.
2) What ways can you see God desiring to have you say or do something to encourage and build up someone else ? Like we saw Paul do with Timothy in 2 Tim. 1:3-7.
3) What does Paul see as things to be esteemed in ourselves and others? Is that what you see as valued? If not why not?
4) Overall are you a like-minded believer? With a primary focus on the eternal things of God?
Extra Credit: As we looked at Demas and how he just gradually slipped away from being a like-minded believer what do you believe you or we can do to help prevent that from happening both to ourselves and other believers around us. This needs to be from a biblical perspective.
1) Paul warns against religion and then gives 3 marks in Vs. 3 that evidence Gods people the true church followers of Jesus. What are they ? Are those being developed in your personal walk with Jesus ? Talk about how we can see this active in our lives and why it's so important.
2) Paul spends the rest of this portion of thought on a comparison between the two concepts Religion vs Relationship and his own personal experience. Talk about your life and how you see or understand this idea that Paul puts forth. In what do you place the most value? why? and how is that displayed in your life?
1) Are you pressing on? and to what? (Why has Christ Jesus laid hold of you?)
2) In pressing on to that goal in Christ, are there some specific things that Jesus would say to you "let it go"? so you can reach for the future in the present.
Do you see how important this concept is to your personal growth as a believer?
3) As Christians what is the mature mind set we are to have? Are you daily pressing toward this mind set? How?
Chapter 3:17- 4:1
1) We all pattern our lives after someone or something. This will create an outcome as we live out that pattern. What are those patterns? Who are our examples? Are they Godly? As others look at your life are you producing a Godly pattern for those around you to follow? Jesus is to be our ultimate pattern as Paul says in 1 Corinth. 11:1.
2) Paul gave a tearful warning to the Church about what? and why? (These are other patterns that can easily creep into our lives. What is the source?)
3) Paul again gives us a direct contrasting view of where we belong and to whom we belong. Paul also tells us that we have hope in. What? And why?
Ch 4 Vs 1
4) Referring to the truths mentioned in the previous verses what should be our spiritual posture? Is this to be in our own strength or ability? If not, then in Whom?
1) In these four verses Paul mentions two main things that our names as Christians are in the Book of Life and "The Lord is at hand". Knowing this, how does it effect your attitude and your actions in life's situations and with other people?
2) Here we find a crash course in stress management and a way to enjoy true peace in the midst of difficulty. Discuss what the Word tells us we can do. Do you do that? If not then why not? Will you begin to try this approach?
3) What is your mind most occupied with? Paul suggests that what you spend you mental energy on will effect your view on life. We can't always control our circumstances but we do have charge over what we dwell on. Do you see the connection? How are you doing with this as a believer?
4) Paul said to follow his manner of life.
From Acts 16:9-34 we looked at 4 main things. Discuss how these are working out in your life personally and how you might improve your walk with Jesus.
1) Vs. 9-15
Following the prompting of the Holy Spirit and pursuing God's purpose and plan for his life.
2) Vs. 16-24
Staying engaged in the spiritual battle regardless of the outcome.
3) Vs. 25-26
Worshipping God regardless of life's situations.
4) Vs. 27-34
Recognizing God at work and leading others to Jesus. Taking the opportunity to free others in his freedom.
1) When we do something for someone else it is important that we do it unto the Lord. It seems equally important to acknowledge others for their care for us and to give God the glory knowing all things ultimately come from Him. What is your attitude if you're not acknowledged? Is it loving and Christ like? Read 1 Cor. 13:5
2) Are you content? If not, why not? Paul says it is something we can learn no matter what our circumstances might be. In verse 13, what we are to rely on? Talk about the ways this could be applied to your life situations.
3) Paul talks about how God honors our giving and how our giving honors God. Here are 6 verses where this truth is at work. Read through and talk about each of them. Acts 20:35, Mark 12:41-44, 2 Cor. 9:6-11, Haggai 1:2-11, Malachi 3:8-11, Matt. 6:19-21 and 6:24
4) Paul speaking from experience tells us we can trust God for all that we need according to verse 19. This is based on what? Paul also is using his jail time wisely to share his hope in God with all those around him. Can you do the same in your difficulties? Talk about your personal experiences of sharing Jesus during the difficult and challenging times in your life.