Contentment and God’s Provision
* 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 4:10-23 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. As Paul moves toward the close of his letter, he expresses his gratitude to the Philippians for their support of his ministry. Read verses 10-11. What does Paul want the Philippians to understand?
What does it mean to be content?
3. How does Paul describe his understanding of contentment in verse 12?
Read 1 Corinthians 4:11-13; 2 Corinthians 6:4-10; Acts 27:13-28:10. How do these verses teach and illustrate Paul’s understanding of contentment?
4. According to verse 13, how is Paul able to be content, regardless of his circumstances (vv. 11-12)?
How might verse 13 be misinterpreted?
Practically speaking, how does Christ enable Christians to be content during the hard times and the good times?
5. In verses 14-15, Paul referred to the beginning of his ministry with the Philippians. Why did he have such affection and appreciation for them?
Read Acts 16. Write down the ways God was working before and during Paul’s ministry in Philippi. List also what happened to Paul and his companions during this time.
What are three of the most important principles you learned from Acts 16? Explain why you chose each.
6. After Paul left Philippi (Acts 16), he headed for Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-9) to minister there. What did the Philippians continue to do, even after Paul left Philippi? What does this tell you about Paul’s relationship with the Philippians?
7. What is Paul’s main point in verse 17?
Paul knew the gifts he received from the Philippians would not only bless his ministry, but them as well. Read the following verses (Matthew 6:20; Matthew 19:21; Luke 12:33). What does Jesus say will happen when you bless others?
8. In verse 18, Paul told the Philippians their gifts to him were a “fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.”
Read the following verses: Genesis 8:20-21; Exodus 29:15-18; Ezekiel 20:41; Hebrews 13:16; 1 Peter 2:5; Romans 12:1; 2 Corinthians 2:14-16; Ephesians 5:2. Paul went back to the Old Testament to draw upon the idea of a fragrant and acceptable sacrifice which pleases God. How are the sacrifices in the Old Testament and New Testament different from one another?
How are they similar?
Is Paul teaching that Christians are saved by their works? Explain.
9. The Philippian church was not wealthy, and yet they gave generously. How did Paul say God would respond to their giving, in verse 19? What do you think Paul meant?
Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-4 and Luke 21:1-4. How are the gifts offered by the Macedonian churches (which meant the Philippians) and the widow described?
What does it mean to give sacrificially or “beyond your ability?”
10. Read verses 21-22. What do these two seemingly insignificant verses teach you about the Apostle Paul and his ministry?
Who may Paul have had in mind when referred to those in Caesar’s household?” What is the big picture of what this meant?
11. Does our culture tend to promote contentment or discontentment? Explain your answer and cite examples.
Why does God call us to be content? Would you describe yourself as usually content or discontent? Explain. What are three ways you could learn to become more content than you presently are?
Can you think of a godly or positive form of discontentment? Explain.
12. How are you doing with your giving to the church and other kingdom work? Do you give sacrificially? Why or why not? What obstacles are in your way? Pray for the Lord to guide you on this topic and to move you toward greater faithfulness in this area of your life.
13. Who or where are the “Caesar’s households” of our day? Do you pray for the Gospel to reach such people and places? Write down three such people and/or places (be specific) and start praying for them each week.