Lights in the World
* Review and Report on last week’s Walking Points questions and next steps. Thoughts? How did you do? Share any victories and/or struggles you may have had following through with your plan.
1. Read Philippians 2:12-18 twice. Write down any key ideas or phrases that catch your attention. What are the key principles you believe we ought to draw from this text? Why did you choose those principles?
2. In Philippians 2:5-11, Paul presented a beautiful and majestic picture of Christ and his work. Now he tells the Philippians that because of who Christ is and what he has done, their lives, “therefore,” should reflect Christ’s life being lived in and through them. List the ways Paul says the Philippians should live, according to verses 12-18.
3. Read Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 3:21-26; Galatians 2:15-16. In these texts Paul makes it clear that we are justified (i.e., declared righteous or saved) by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and not by works. In Philippians 2:12, Paul calls the Philippians to “work out” their own salvation. What do you think he means? What do you think he does not mean? Explain your reasoning.
What do you think Paul means by adding the phrase, “fear and trembling?”
4. Read Galatians 2:20 and Colossians 1:29. According to these verses and Philippians 2:13, how will the Philippians be able to work out their salvation? Describe why this good news is a source of hope and confidence for Christians who desire to faithfully live for God.
5. Paul says we should do all things without grumbling or disputing (or, arguing). What do the following words mean?
· Grumbling –
· Disputing (or, arguing) –
Read 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 and 10:1-12. Why are grumbling and disputing, or arguing, so bad for individual Christians as well as Christian communities to practice? Compare and contrast what you find in these texts with what Paul describes in Philippians 2:1-11. How are they different?
6. According to verses 15-17, why does Paul want the Philippians to do all things without grumbling and arguing?
7. Read Matthew 5:43-48 and Romans 12:9-21. Based on these texts, what do you think Paul means by exhorting the Philippians to be blameless and pure in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation?
Read Deuteronomy 32:5. How did Moses describe Israel when they went astray? Paul surely had those words of Moses in mind when he wrote about his own crooked and twisted (or depraved) generation. Describe two or three ways in which ours is a crooked and depraved generation.
What do you think it means to “shine as lights in the world” (v. 15)? See also, Matthew 5:13-16.
8. The phrase in verse 16, “holding fast,” can also be rendered “hold out.” Thus, it can mean either “remaining steadfast” in the word of life, or “offering” it to others. Regardless of which way it is meant, what is the “word of life” that Paul refers to? Read Acts 5:17-21 and 1 John 1:1-3 for help.
Paul was looking forward to the “day of Christ” when he might be proud, not of his accomplishments, but in the way God moved in and through the faithfulness of the Philippians. Read 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Romans 14:10-12. Based on these texts, what happens at the “day of Christ” and why would Paul want to make a good showing?
[We are not saved by our own good works. We are saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone. And yet, as Paul says in Ephesians 2:10, and earlier in verse 12, our salvation in Christ should bear the fruit of good works. We are saved for good works, not by our good works.]
9. In verses 17 and 18, Paul says he rejoiced in the sacrifice of the Philippians who were in committed fellowship with the Apostle and supported his ministry, financially. In turn, Paul saw himself as the accompanying “drink offering” or “libation” that was customarily poured upon the sacrifices of that day.
Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8 and Romans 12:1. What did Paul mean by saying he was being poured out as a “drink offering?
10. When do you most often grumble and argue? What is the attitude of your heart when you are grumbling and arguing? Read Philippians 2:1-5. What are opposite attitudes and actions of grumbling and arguing?
What are three things you can begin doing today to head off grumbling and arguing before it takes hold of your life?
11. Read John 17:6-19. In his High Priestly prayer for his disciples, Jesus specifically says he has not prayed for God to take his disciples out of the world. Therefore, based on this text and others that come to your mind, what are three practical ways Christians can remain blameless and pure in the midst of our generation without a total withdrawal from the culture? Or, do you think withdrawal from the culture is an option? Explain your answer.
12. Name three ways you are, or can become, a drink offering to God, for the sake of others in your life?
Click the image to buy the study guide to use with your small group or for personal use.
Each lesson can also be downloaded in Microsoft Word.