P’s and Q’s : Philippians 1
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (verse 2)
- Paul often uses the terms grace and peace in his opening greetings. Why does he use the term grace before the term peace?
“Always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all.” (verse 4)
- Why does prayer for someone bring so much joy? Who do you pray for regularly?
When you pray for someone else, the focus turns from self to God and others. First, you are trusting God with your prayer and second, you are lifting up the needs of someone other than yourself. Prayer is conversing with God, and He is the Savior of the World! How amazing is it that you can have a conversation with God?!
- What is “Prayer Discipline?”
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (verse 6)
- “He who began a good work in you will perfect it…” What is the meaning of that phrase?
“For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.” (verse 7)
- What is a “partaker of grace”?
“For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” (verse 8)
- Describe Paul’s “affection of Christ Jesus” for his folks. Compare & contrast with our affection for each other.
Paul felt such an affection for his people that he sacrificed his time, his energy, and even suffered persecution to care for them. Example: I don’t feel like I sacrifice much for others. Most of my time is spent on things I want to do or that, I think, will bring me happiness. I do see that type of affection in my parents for me and my siblings. They are willing to give it all to care for us.
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment…” (verse 9)
- How does love abound in real knowledge and discernment?
“So that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ…” (verse 10)
- How does approving the things that are excellent help you become sincere and blameless until the day of Christ?
“…having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (verse 11)
- What does it mean to you personally to be filled with the fruit of righteousness?
“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel…” (verse 12)
- How have you found different circumstances to turn out for the greater progress of the Gospel?
“…so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.” (verses 13-14)
- How does another brother’s suffering encourage you in your boldness to walk stronger in your faith?
“Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.” (verses 15-17)
- What’s the difference between sharing Christ out of selfish ambition vs. sharing Christ with pure motives?
Sharing Christ out of selfish ambition brings the focus of sharing on that person and not on God. Often, this person wants to be in front of a crowd to become famous, more well known or more sought after.
Sharing Christ with pure motives puts the focus and spotlight on God and God alone. Often, this person is willing to share the Gospel with one person just as easily as sharing to a large crowd, even if no one else notices. They live out Philippians 2, not looking to better themselves but to serve the interest of others.
“…according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” (verse 20)
- How do you describe a “Paul attitude” of boldness in your faith?
“But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better…” (verse 23)
- What difference does it make in your disposition to know God’s grace in your spirit?