1 Corinthians 15:42-44
1 Corinthians 15:51-57
Philippians 2:13 & 2:2
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
1 Corinthians 9:24-25
2 Timothy 4:7-8
1. Phil 3.18 Paul is recounting the many who now walk as enemies of the cross, and he does so in tears, and in the same breath he states the harsh realities of verse 19. Wouldn’t it seem that verse 19 is one that would be written with a type of derision or harshness? Yet this is not how Paul does it. We should not hear these words with a hard tone, because Paul didn’t write them that way. It is important for us to feel the brokenness of Paul’s heart behind this idea. The truth is not easy, and it is certainly not made easier by tears. This truth here is hard and ugly, and this ugliness brings the Christ-like heart and mind to tears, with gentle, rooted, humility. This is precisely why Paul is crying! Where are you at with this idea? Is your mercy dependent on the way you are treated by others? Does the joy you have with Christ bring tears when you see others walk as enemies of the cross? Or maybe you are experiencing a hardness and a satisfaction in the destruction of your enemies?
2. What will our new body be like? (1 Cor 15.42-44 & 15.51-57; Matthew 13.41-43)
3. He calls them his joy. They themselves are his joy! Is this in tension at all with 3.7- 8? Paul said he counts everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. Doesn’t everything include the Philippians, since his ultimate satisfaction is in Christ alone? What does Paul mean when he calls the believers his crown? (1 Thess 2.19-20; 1 Cor 9.24-25; 2 Tim 4.7-8; James 1.12)
4. What is the “thus” referring to when Paul commands “stand firm thus”? (Hint see the imperative verbs in 3.15-17)
5. What is the “therefore” in verse 4:1 referring to? What are the reasons for the believer to stand?
6. How pervasive is Paul’s concern with conflict in the church? Though this ‘entreatment’ from Paul for these women may come as a surprise, he has been addressing their conflict, and providing solutions throughout the letter. (1.27- 28; 2.1-5; 3.14-15)
7. Let’s look at the word “always”. How is it necessarily grounded in the phrase “in the Lord”? How does this command make sense even in the midst of conflict within the church (4:2-3), outside the church (1:28), through Paul’s imprisonment (1:12-13), and suffering weakness in our lowly bodies (3.21)?
8. How does Jesus say to rejoice? (Luke 10.19-20)
9. Can anyone really rejoice ‘always’?
10. How does the phrase “the Lord is at hand” fit in with what Paul is teaching here about gentleness and letting go of anxiety and giving thanks? Then, how does the peace of God flow from this?
11. In v. 7 another possible translation for the word “understanding” can be “thought” or even the idea of “human intellectual capacity.” Rendering “the peace of God which surpasses all ability of thought will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” How does this equal alternative translation affect the way you understand this verse? (Hint: when all the tips from the world on how to cure anxiety fall short…)
12. How does God look when we worry all the time?
13. There is a peace which goes beyond what we can compute in our thoughts. A peace that cannot be achieved by thinking through our anxieties. How does this peace guard our hearts and minds?
14. How does this familiar text (4.6-7) connect to the bigger ideas we have been looking at in Philippians?
15. The peace of God given to us, which guards our hearts and minds, does not produce passivity in the believer. What is the use of the mind and the body in 4:8-9 as a result of this God-given peace?
16. Which of these options Paul gives to think about stick out to you? What has been helpful for you?
17. 4.9 How can we experience the presence of God?
What did I learn about God today?
What did I learn about myself?
How is God relating this to my life right now?
What does God want me to bring in prayer to Him today?