Discussion Questions for February 11, 2018

PHILIPPIANS 4:14-20

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1. What are the big ideas of the book of Philippians?

2. Review chapter 4.  How are the ideas of chapter 4 linked?

3. What trouble is Paul referring to in v14?

4. What does “the beginning of the gospel” refer to?

5. Why does Paul return to the idea of partnership?

6. Paul describes this partnership in terms of “giving and receiving.” What was given? What was received? 

7. What does Paul mean when he says, “not that I seek the gift”?

8. What is the “fruit that increases to your credit”?  Explain.

9. Why does he say, I have received full payment, and more”?

10. Explain what Paul means when he says their gift was “a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God”. 

11. In what way does Paul intend to communicate that “God will supply every need”?

12. How would you paraphrase Philippians 4:14-20?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1. Paul calls the Philippians partners.  He could have called them donors, supporters, or friends.  What does the word 'partnership' uniquely convey? 

2. What does 'partnership in advancing the Gospel' look like today? at RCC?

3. What criteria do you use to determine where you will invest your time, treasure or talents?

4. How does God get glory when we are generous with our time, treasure or talents? How important are our motives in that process?

5. How does our view of God affect how we invest our time, treasure, and talents?

6. How has your view of God changed/shifted/expanded during our time in Philippians?

 

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Discussion Questions for February 4, 2018

PHILIPPIANS 4:10-13

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1. How would you summarize the big ideas of Philippians 1-3?  What shift has occurred in Philippians 4?

2. What does Paul mean by “now at length you have revived your concern for me”?

3. What does it mean that the Philippian church “had no opportunity”?

4. What does Paul mean that he has “learned in whatever situation I am to be content”? Why does Paul use content rather than joy?

5. What does contentment mean?

6. What is Paul referring to when he says, “brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance”?  Is this material?  Spiritual?  Explain.

7. What is the “secret” that Paul has learned?

8. In this context, what does “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” mean? 

9. How would you paraphrase Philippians 4:10-13?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1. Is it possible for us to experience the type of contentment that Paul felt?

2. How do we gauge how great an impact circumstances have on our contentment?

3. Do we believe Jesus is satisfying enough to provide contentment in all circumstances?

4. Who are the people that you have seen demonstrate this type of contentment? What was the situation?

5. In what areas are of your life are you struggling to find contentment?

6. How can the life group encourage you in this struggle?

7. Who is someone in your life who is struggling to find contentment?  How could you encourage them? 

 

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Discussion Questions for January 28, 2018

PHILIPPIANS 4:8-9

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1. What does Paul intend to communicate with the word, “finally”?

2. Does Paul have something specific in mind that he shared previously in the letter or a general admonition with the phrases, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable”?

3. What does “if there is any excellence” and “if there is anything worthy of praise” mean?  How is Paul using those questions here?

4. What ‘things’ does Paul have in mind as he encourages his audience to “think about these things”?

5. What does “learned and received” refer to? What does “heard and seen in me” refer to? Explain.

6. What does it mean to “practice these things”?

7. What does it mean that the peace of God “guards our hearts and minds”? Explain.

8. How would you paraphrase the big idea of Philippians 4:8-9?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1. How aware are we of what’s going on in our culture through media, movies, TV, etc. and to what degree does it influence our thinking?

2. What are the primary influences of your life?  What would you need to change to align your life more with what Paul describes that should saturate our thinking?

3. In general, does it feel like thinking deeply about God is encouraged or discouraged?  Explain.  How could we encourage more of it?

4. How do we as a group continue to invite those around us to think deeply about God, and be an influence their life? 

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Discussion Questions for January 21, 2018

PHILIPPIANS 4:4-7

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1. How would you explain the big ideas throughout Philippians?

2. What does it mean to rejoice in the Lord? Why do you think he specifies “always”? Why does Paul remind us of this?

3. Why do you think Paul is so serious about showing reasonableness and having a non-anxious presence? According to the text, where do we get the power to be reasonable with everyone?

4. What does it mean to be “anxious about nothing”?

5. What do our hearts and minds need to be guarded or protected from? How are we guarded “in Christ Jesus”?

6. What does it mean or look like for the God of peace to be with someone? What kind of peace is Paul describing?

7. How would you paraphrase Philippians 4:4-7?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1. What sorts of things occupy your mind? The things that cause you worry, anxiety, fear, or emotional pain? How does your preoccupation with these things affect your relationships?

2. When you feel worried, anxious, fearful, or emotionally pained, what do you do to feel better? What would it look like for you to use prayer and your mind to fight for joy or peace?

3. Where have you seen God at work in your life for which you are thankful?

4. What are the concerns you need prayer for right now? How can we pray for the things which occupy your mind which are causing you to be worried, anxious, fearful, or emotionally pained?

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Discussion Questions for January 14, 2018

PHLIPPIANS 4:2-3

REVIEW

1. READ Philippians 1:1-26.  How would you paraphrase the big idea?

2. READ Philippians 1:27-30. How would you paraphrase the big idea?

3. READ Philippians 2:1-11. How would you paraphrase the big idea?

4. READ Philippians 2:12-30. How would you paraphrase the big idea?

5. READ Philippians 3:1-4:1. How would you paraphrase the big idea?

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1. In 4:2, who are Euodia, Syntyche, and Clement? Why do you think Paul makes such a public display of these people?

2. What does it mean to “agree in the Lord”? Why is it so important that Euodia and Syntyche are of the same mind?

3. Who is Paul referring to as his true companion?

4. Why might it be significant that they each labored with Paul or that their names are in the book of life? Why does Paul mention it here?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1.    How do you typically handle conflict? Do you avoid it? Do you embrace it? Why?

2.   Was there ever a time when a disagreement left you feeling devalued in the local church?  How did you respond?  Was there ever a time when you were overly attached to the wrong things?  Explain.

3.   In a conflict, what does it look like to try and see the situation from the other’s perspective?

4.   How do you determine the importance or significance of the issue that you are wrestling with?  How do you determine if a passionate response is founded in a desire to advance the gospel, or a desire to protect our image, ego, significance? Explain.

5.   If it should happen again that you feel devalued, or find yourself in conflict; would you respond differently?  If so, how?

6. How can we help each other to respond to conflict in Christ-like ways?

 

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Discussion Questions for December 10, 2017

PHILIPPIANS 3:17-4:1

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1. How would you summarize Philippians 3:1-16?

2. According to v 17, who are the Philippians to imitate?  Is it limited to the preceding context or does Paul have all of his letter in mind?  Explain. What is Paul referring to when he says that he hasn’t attained to or obtained yet?

3. Who are those walking as “enemies of the cross”?

4. What do the phrases “their god is their belly”, “they glory in their shame” and “with minds set on earthly things” mean?

5. What is the significance of our “citizenship” being in heaven?

6. What perspective is Paul encouraging when he says that Christ will “transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body”?  How is this connected to our citizenship?

7. What is Paul hoping his readers hear when he says, “by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself”??

8. How would you paraphrase 3:17-4:1?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1.    Who is someone seeking to know Christ that you have imitated? Who are you imitating today?

2.   How does an awareness of our citizenship impact our thinking, feeling and behavior today?

3.   What makes someone an enemy of the cross of Christ? Why might their example be tempting to follow?

4.   Have you ever experienced strong emotions at the thought of those who are lost in easy-believism, though they claim to be followers of Christ? Explain.

5.   How can we help support each other to lovely engage those who walk as enemies of the cross?

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Discussion Questions for December 3, 2017

PHILIPPIANSs 3:10-16

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY

1. How would you summarize Philippians 3:1-11?

2. Paul lists four intense desires in v.10-11. What are they? What is Paul attempting to communicate through those ideas?

3. What is Paul referring to when he says that he hasn’t attained to or obtained yet?

4. In v.12-14, what is the “goal” for which Paul is striving?

5. What does Paul mean by “forgetting what lies behind”?

6. Paul indicates that his motivation to persevere is because “Christ Jesus has made me his own”. How does this work? Why might the assurance that Paul belongs to Christ motivate him to “strain forward”? What does Paul mean when saying “Knowing Christ Jesus My Lord”?

7. In Paul’s mind, is “forgetting” just as important as “straining toward”? Explain. How would you paraphrase Philippians 3:1-9?

8. Why might Paul consider it a mark of maturity to recognize your own imperfection?

9. How would you paraphrase Philippians 3:12-16?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1.    What does knowing Jesus more mean for you?

2.   How would you explain your current strategy for growing in your “knowledge” of Jesus?

3.   What kinds of results is your strategy producing?

4.   What thoughts or feelings do you experience when hanging with others who are growing in their knowledge of Jesus? Hanging with those who don’t “know” Jesus?

5.   If you have someone in your life who isn’t desiring to press on in the way Paul describes, what would your encouragement to them be?

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Discussion Questions for November 26, 2017

Philippians 3:1-9

What does it mean?

1. How would you summarize the big ideas thus far in Philippians?

2. Who are the “dogs”, “evildoers” and “those who mutilate the flesh” and how does Paul want us to understand them?

3. How are they contrasted with the Philippians?

4. What does it mean to “put no confidence in the flesh”?

5. What reason does Paul have in mentioning all of these things in verses 4–6? Why does it seem that Paul isn’t merely neutral about his background?

6. What does it mean to consider everything a loss that he may gain Christ?

7. What does Paul mean when saying “Knowing Christ Jesus My Lord”?

8. What does it mean to be “found in” Christ? How is this related to being righteous?

9. How would you paraphrase Philippians 3:1-9?

How does it apply?

1.    Why is justification by faith alone, with nothing added, important?  What makes it difficult?

2.   Describe what life looks like for someone depending on their own efforts to become righteous?  What’s it look like?  What’s it feel like?  

3.   Describe what life looks like for someone who has been declared righteous through faith alone?  What’s it look like?  What’s it feel like?  

4.   How do you see yourself putting confidence in your achievements?  What things are you hesitant to lose or count as rubbish for the sake of Christ? Why? 

5.   What things do you do/can you do to see Christ’s surpassing worth more clearly? 

6.   Make a list of situations, events, or choices over the past few months that show God is transforming you from the inside out. That you are counting more things as rubbish (relative to Christ).  Take time to pray and celebrate and thank God for working in and through you. 

 

Discussion Questions for November 19, 2017

Discussion Questions
hilippians 2:19-30
Be Humble Like Timothy and Epaphrodictus

What does the text say?

1.     How would you summarize the big ideas of Philippians thus far?

2.     Why did Paul plan to send Timothy to the Philippians?

3.     In Paul’s view, why did Timothy stand out? Explain.

4.     How would you expand on the metaphor of a father/son relationship?  What characteristics about Timothy is Paul trying to expand on?

5.     How does Timothy’s characteristics speak to the ideas in Philippians thus far?

6.     Who was Epaphroditus? How would you paraphrase his core characteristics?

7.     In what way would Paul experience less anxiousness?  Does this contradict Paul’s earlier statement of “to live is Christ to die is gain”?  Explain. 

8.     Paraphrase the big idea of Philippians 2:19-30.

 

How does it apply?

1.     Who are those in your life that take a “genuine interesting the welfare of others”? How have you observed that in their life?

2.     In what ways have you seen people take an interest in others that is not genuinely looking to serve the interests of others?

3.     What are some practical ways we can show others that we have a genuine interest for them?

4.     What can we do as a group that could help show our communities that we have a genuine interest for them? Write them down, pray through them and possibly implement them in the next few weeks.

 

Discussion Questions for November 12, 2017

SOLA FIDE “FAITH ALONE”

Ephesians 2:8-10

What does it mean?

1. We have taken 3 weeks off from Philippians to dig into the reformation.  What were the big three ideas we have looked at?  What of those has resonated with or challenged you?

2. What is the difference between justification and sanctification?

3. How are justification and sanctification related?

4. Why is it important to emphasize justification by faith alone, with nothing added?

5. What does saving faith entail? Is understanding enough? (Anchored in Ephesians 2:8-10. Philippians 2:12-13. James 2:14-17). Explain.

6. What does treasuring Christ look like? How does that change the way we think, feel and live?

7. Do  you believe that exegesis leads to clearer theology and inevitably changes the way we live? Is there a story that you could share about your experience in that process?

8. If  this process is true (exegesis to clearer theology to life) how does it affect your conversations about Jesus? 

 

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Discussion Questions for November 5, 2017

 

SOLA GRATIA

ROMANS 3:21-25, EPHESIANS 2:8-10

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

1. What’s the difference between imputed and infused righteousness?

2. How would you describe the difference between the Roman Catholic view of grace and the protestants view?

3. According to Paul in Ephesians 2:8-10 and Romans 3:21-25, how is that grace received that produces our righteousness? Explain.

4. Why is grace contrary to the human experience, or counter-intuitive? Why do we sometimes resist the idea, especially when it comes to a person’s relationship with God?

5. In what ways do we move away from the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith without realizing it?

6. What do you believe are the effects God intends to produce in our life through the belief in salvation by grace alone? How does that impact our thoughts, feelings and actions?

7. How might you lovingly, humbly initiate this conversation with a Roman Catholic friend? Others in your sphere of influence?

 

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Discussion Questions for October 29, 2017

Sola Scriptura

1. REVIEW: What has stood out to you from Philippians thus     far?

2. As you understand it now, what was the Reformation and what made it so significant in 1517?

3. Why do you think the doctrine of ‘Scripture Alone’ is still important today? Can the Bible be trusted? Explain.

4. What kinds of thoughts and feelings flow from believing that Scripture can be trusted and is the supreme authority for your life?

5. How does the supreme authority of Scripture practically get expressed in your life?

6. Read II Timothy 3:16. As expressed by Paul, what is Scripture useful for?

7. Are there ways you struggle to view Scripture as the authority for your life?  Explain.  In what ways can we lose the centrality of Scripture alone? What are the things in your life that compete with Scripture to be an equal or greater source of authority?

8. At RCC, we talk about being Biblically Saturated.  How do those ideas go together (Scripture Alone and Biblically Saturated)?  What does it mean for how we pursue God corporately?  What does it mean for how we pursue Him individually?

 

Discussion Questions for October 22, 2017

Philippians 2:12-18

What does it mean?

1. How is Paul continuing the big idea from Philippians 1:1-2:11?

2. How might “work out your own salvation” be misinterpreted? How does it fit into this passage?

3. Why does Paul use the words “fear and trembling”? Why might those words be significant?

4. What does Paul mean when he uses the phrase “shine as lights”?

5. What does Paul mean by “so that I didn’t run in vain”? What is he connecting that idea to?

6. What does Paul mean when he talks about pouring himself out as a “drink offering”?

7. Is Paul asking the Philippians to put in effort? How does effort fit into the equation of salvation?

8. What is the “word of life”? Why does Paul want them to cling to it?

9. What is the big idea of Philippians 2:12-17

How does it apply?

1. What would it look like to experience more ‘fear and trembling?’ How can we live more consistently with an appreciation of the miracle of our ongoing spiritual transformation (OST)?

2. If effort is such a big deal to Paul, what would it look like for us to put in more effort in our every day experience in this journey of OST?

3. How do I determine the level of effort I’m putting into this journey, or whether I’m simply floating along? Who are the people in my life that I can ask this week to help make me more aware of the blind spots I may have in my OST?

4. What role does going beyond our church walls, into the world, play in this understanding of working out your salvation? What are those areas of ‘the world’ for you?

5. When I encounter difficult circumstances, what emotions would reflect a heart that desires to hold fast to the word of life? What does that holding fast to the word of life look like day to day?

 

Discussion Questions for October 15, 2017

Philippians 2:1-11

What does it mean?

1. What has been Paul’s flow of thought from 1:3-30?

2. How is Paul continuing the big idea from Philippians 1:27-30 in 2:1-11?

3. What are the foundations or benefits that Paul lists for our Christian unity? What do you think these things mean?

4. What does Paul mean when he says, “complete my joy”?

5. How does Paul define humility? How do we see Jesus pictured in v5-11 as the primary example Paul uses for humility?

6. What does it mean that Jesus emptied himself?

7. How is Jesus being exalted? What is the name that is above every name? What does this say about Jesus? (cf. Isaiah 45:23)

8. How would you summarize Paul’s big idea of Philippians 2:1-11?

How does it apply?

1. How does the expression of humility get misinterpreted?

2. How does the humility of Jesus empower you to serve the best interest of those that claim to treasure Christ? Those yet to believe? How does that get expressed?

3. What gifts or talents do you possess that cause you the greatest frustration when they aren't recognized or valued?

4. How is humility foundational in the development and maintenance of unity?

5. Is being exalted in death a motivator in you life? Explain.

 

Discussion Questions for October 8, 2017

Life Group Discussion Questions:

Philippians 1:27-30

What does it mean?

1. How would you summarize Philippians 1:2-26?

2. What does Paul mean by“live worthy”? 

3. How does Paul intend his readers to understand “whether I come and see you  or am absent?

4. How is “you” being used in this passage? Is he speaking to us as individuals or us as a community?

5. What does it mean to be “standing firm in one spirit” and “with one mind striving side by side”?

6. How does fear fit into this passage? Fear of what? What fear is Paul talking about?

7. What is the “clear sign” that Paul is referring to? What is the clear sign of destruction and salvation?

8. What does “For it has been granted” mean? How are faith and suffering gifts?

9. How is unity functioning in this passage?

10. What’s the big idea of Philippians 1:27-30

How does it apply?

1. Did something specific strike you about what it looks like to live a life worthy of the manner of the gospel? Explain.

2. In what ways can we seek unity within the body? How can we display a greater unity within the community of RCC?

3. What fears are we facing? What does this passage have to say about those fears, both to those around us as well as the condition of our hearts? 

4. What should we think of Paul’s promise that we’ll suffer? In what ways has suffering caused you to assess your own faith, draw closer to God, or provided opportunities you otherwise wouldn't have had to share your faith? 

 

Discussion Questions for October 1, 2017

Life Group Discussion Questions:

Philippians 1:18-26

What does it mean?

1. Why might Paul mention the prayers of the Philippians alongside the help of the Spirit?

2. What does Paul mean that he will ‘not be at all ashamed’ in v.20? 

3. In v.22 and 24, what benefits does Paul list if he is to be released from prison? 

4. How is Paul ok with ‘deliverance’ that means death? What is the benefit he is expecting?

5. With either form of ‘deliverance’ what is Paul’s confidence in v. 20?  Describe how Christ is honored in both scenarios. 

6. How would you state Paul’s big idea in Philippians 1:18-26?

How does it apply?

1. Does Paul’s ability to find joy in the midst of difficult circumstances encourage us, or discourage us?  Why?

2. Who have you known who clearly lived out this phrase “for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”?  Do we believe it, and do we live it out?

3. What fruitful labor do you look forward to if God leaves you here 1 more year?  5 more years?  10 years?  20 years? 

4. Am I experiencing progress and joy in the faith?  How do I continue and/or experience more? 

 

Discussion Questions for September 24, 2017

Life Group Discussion Questions:

Philippians 1:12-18

What does it say?

1. What has happened to Paul in v. 12?

2. How has Paul’s imprisonment served to advance the Gospel?

3. Who are the “most of the brothers” in v. 14?  What do they believe about Paul’s imprisonment? 

4. Who are the “some” who are preaching Christ out of rivalry?  What do they believe about Paul’s imprisonment?

5. How is Paul’s imprisonment “for the defense of the Gospel”?

6. How are his rivals hoping to ‘afflict’ Paul in his imprisonment?

7. How would you state the big idea of Philippians 1:12-18? 

How does it apply?

1. How should Paul’s imprisonment be an encouragement to us? What should it encourage us towards? 

2. What typically keeps us from proclaiming the Gospel?

3. How can we have greater trust that God is at work and using our circumstances?

4. How could our difficult circumstance serve to advance the Gospel? 

5. Do you feel God calling you to proclaim the Gospel somewhere specific or to someone in particular?  Let the group pray with you over that opportunity.

 

Discussion Questions for September 3, 2017

Revelation 21:1-4

What does it mean?

1. Where have we been thus far in the series? 

2. How does the theme "forever with Him" fit into the over all scheme of the series?

3. What is the significance of God's dwelling place being with God? 

4. Are there themes in Revelation 21:1-4 that we have seen throughout the 20/20 series?

5. Who is the bride in verse 2?

6. What's the big idea of Revelation 21:1-4?

How does it apply?

1. How does this picture of this future reality affect our current circumstances?

2. How does the continuity of the whole bible seen in Revelation 21:1-4 help us see the relevance of the entire bible to us?

3. How has the 20/20 series encouraged us to see a bigger picture of who God is? 

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Discussion Questions for August 27, 2017

 

Acts 1:8

What does it mean?

1. Where have we been thus far in the series? 

2. How does the theme "too good not to share" fit into the over all scheme of the series?

3. What does the disciples’ question in v. 6 reveal about their expectations? 

4. What power are the disciples supposed to receive? (v. 8)

5. Is there any significance to the locations Jesus lists in v. 8?

6. What's the big idea of Acts 1:1-10?

How does it apply?

1. How do verse 7 and 8 give us a better lens to see the church’s role in the world?  

2. How should the power we receive be an encouragement to witness to the ends of the earth?

3. What practical and concrete steps can I make towards sharing this good news? 

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Discussion Questions for August 20, 2017

Acts 7:51-8:8

What does it mean?

1. Where have we been thus far in the series? 

2. How does the theme "trusting in every circumstance" fit into the overall scheme of the series?

3. Read Acts 6:3-8, how does Luke describe Stephen?

4. What does Luke tell us about Stephen’s response to the angry mob in vs.55-60?

5. What is the result of Stephen’s death for the Jerusalem church (in 8:1-2)?

How does it apply?

1. Why is it difficult for us to trust in God's provision during difficult circumstances?

2. In what ways do we functionally deny the truth of Stephen’s story when we meet difficult circumstances or struggle in our Ongoing Spiritual Transformation process? 

3. Trusting God's provision in tough times does not mean the absence of grief – so what does it look like? 

4. How have you grown in your ability to trust in the hard times? 

5. What would help you to keep growing in this area?

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