The Book of Philippians

 

In this series from Equippers London, Ps Mark Collard and Ps Peter Prothero lead us through the book of Philippians together. As you go through this series as a group, take the time to read through the book in your own time.

 
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CLICK BELOW FOR EACH SESSION

SESSION ONE

Introduction

This week introduces the book, and the idea of this series is to read through the book as you go. There is less discussion than usual this week, so use the extra time to pray for each other in your group.

Key thought:

The Book of Philippians is Paul the Apostle’s letter to the church in Philippi - written while he was in prison. He writes the letter from a place of gratitude to the church leadership as well as the church, not knowing whether he is going to live or die. Despite his circumstances he remains content and joyful – the word ‘joy’ is used more often in this letter than any other that Paul wrote.

Watch Session One of the series.

Key Verse:

Philippians 3:3-4 (NIV) 

“For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.” 


OPEN 

Did anything particularly stand out from the video?

Have you read this book before?


STUDY 

Read Philippians 4:10-11 (NKJV) “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:”

There’s a sense in this letter of Paul’s feeling of personal triumph despite his circumstance. The word ‘joy’ or ‘rejoicing’ is mentioned more in this letter than any other.
Discuss where you think Paul finds this joy from. How can you cultivate this contentment in your own life?


COMMIT 

In Philippians 3 Paul says “we boast in Christ”.
What are some of the things you/we boast in? 


PRAY 

Pray that God speaks to you over this series and ask the Holy Spirit to work in your lives. Take an extended time to pray for any needs in your group.


PRACTICAL 

Read the whole book of Philippians, try reading it in one sitting before we meet next week.

As you are reading Philippians, make some notes about your observations and findings – look out for different themes. 

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SESSION TWO

Motivations

Key thought:

Paul starts off chapter 1 by placing the focus on how big God is, despite the magnitude of his own problems. The bigness of God gives Paul the confidence to face the problems in his life - he knows God will finish what He started. Paul presents the bigness of God before dealing with the bigness of a problem. In this chapter Paul also explores the difference between people who are doing ministry with the right motives as opposed to those who are doing it out of envy or for selfish gain.

Watch Session Two of the series. 


Key Verse:

Philippians 1:6 (NKJV) 

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” 


OPEN 

Did anything particularly stand out from the video?

Paul has confidence in God that He’ll finish what he started. He places focus on the bigness of God, rather than the bigness of the problem. When we do this the problem becomes small and we have a confidence that God will get us through it.
How does this picture of a big God encourage you when you face challenges?

When you face a problem is your response like Paul’s in this chapter? If not, how could you change your approach to help you focus on the bigness of God?


STUDY 

Read Philippians 1:15-18 (NIV)

“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”

Have you found in serving or in ministry that you’ve done the right things but with the wrong motivations? Can you share an example?

Can you identify your inner dialogue when someone gets promoted or blessed instead of you? Where are you currently in that process?

COMMIT 

Do you feel like you need to repent for any wrong motivations (envy / selfish gain)? 

How do you respond when you identify a wrong motivation? Discuss some good ways; Ps Peter mentioned some.


PRAY 

Pray that God would help you to act with the right motivations, and to respond in the opposite spirit when you identify a negative inner dialogue.


PRACTICAL 

Read Philippians 2 before we meet next week.

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SESSION THREE

Humility 

Key thought:

In chapter 2, Paul explores the theme of Jesus’s great humility in becoming a man, a servant and ultimately dying for us. In His humility, Jesus was exalted to the highest place and honour - humility is something we choose, but promotion is something God gives. The attitude of humility works itself out in many different ways, in this session we are going to explore the servant leadership that Jesus displayed.

Watch Session Three of the series. 


Key Verse:

Philippians 2:12-13 (NKJV) 

“work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” 


OPEN 

Did anything particularly stand out to you from the video?

Philippians 2 talks about how Jesus modelled humility to us.
What does humility look like? 

Have you ever thought it to be 'wrong' to think of yourself as humble? 

STUDY 

Read Philippians 2:8-9 (NKJV)

“He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,”

Ps Peter said, “Humility is something we choose, promotion is something God gives”.
Can you think about times in your life where humility has led to promotion?

We often talk about how we are “called to serve”.
How does this contrast to worldly promotion?

COMMIT 

Philippians 2:12-13 instructs us to work out our salvation, for it is God who works in (energises) us.
When have you felt the energising Ps Peter was explaining to help you do what you want to do?

We live in a culture where everyone is talking about their rights, rather than their responsibilities. Ps Peter says this mentality can result in living like a victim.
Jesus laid down his rights in order to pick up responsibility. Can you think of ways that you can model this in your life?


PRAY 

Pray that God would help you to live with humility and to trust Him with promotion.

PRACTICAL 

Read Philippians 3 before we meet next week.

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SESSION FOUR

Our Boast

Key thought:

In chapter 3, Paul is addressing two types of behaviours - boasting in what Jesus has done for us through grace, and boasting in what we’ve done which would be works of the Law. Paul asks the question, “what will you boast in?”. He draws our attention to the fact that the goal of our lives should be to replicate the environment of Heaven, bringing it down to earth.

Watch Session Four of the series. 

Key Verse:

Philippians 3:14 (NKJV) 

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”


OPEN 

Did anything particularly stand out to you from the video?

Paul talks a lot about 'boasting in Christ' and 'having no confidence in the flesh'.

What are the differences between these two ways of living? 

Why do you think people often want to boast in works, rather than accepting salvation by grace?


STUDY 

Read Philippians 3:20 (NKJV)

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”

Paul says that "our citizenship is in heaven".
How does that impact the way we live our lives? 

As 'Citizens of Heaven', can you think of ways to replicate the culture and environment of Heaven in your life? 

COMMIT 

In Matthew 6, Jesus prayed “Your kingdom come, Your will be done." 
What does this look like? How can we take everything of heaven and bring it to earth?

Paul uses the concept of being “citizens of heaven” to link to the idea that a Roman colony was intended to feel like Rome.
Would Jesus feel at home in our homes? Have we replicated the culture of heaven?

In Philippians 3:14, Paul talks about pressing on toward the goal. 
Discuss some practical ways to press on to reach the goal and to keep moving forward. 


PRAY 

Pray that the Holy Spirit would help you to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth.

PRACTICAL 

Read Philippians 4 before we meet next week.

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SESSION FIVE

Our Focus

Key thought:

In chapter 4, as Paul concludes his letter to the Philippians, we are reminded to ask ourselves: where does our motivation in life come from? Is there any selfish ambition we need to address? Are peace and contentment present in our lives? And are our relationships with others in a healthy place? Paul encourages us to be joyful in everything, not anxious, because God is always working things out for our good.

Watch Session Five of the series. 

Key Verse:

Philippians 4:6 (NKJV) 

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”

OPEN

Did anything particularly stand out to you from the video?

This week’s memory verse is well known, and as Ps Mark said it has helped a lot of people over the years.

What do you think of it? Has there been a time it’s particular encouraged you?

Are there any relationships in your life that need mending and what steps can you take for that to happen?

STUDY

Read Philippians 4:8 (NKJV).

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

We need to be better at finding the beauty everywhere and in everything.

Can you identify good, pure and beautiful things in your world? Where can turn your attention and thoughts to daily to find joy?

How can you “meditate on these things” as Paul writes?

COMMIT

Reflecting on the whole book Ps Peter encourages us to ask ourselves these questions:

Where am I in terms of my motivation in life? (Is there ambition and selfishness?)

Where am I in terms of my peace and contentment? 

Most of us will experience both lack and abundance in life at some point. The key is learning to be content in both. Where are you in that process? 

PRAY

Take some time to thank God for the good, pure and beautiful things in your world.

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