Friday, March 22, 2013

Bible Study: Partnered in Ministry - Philippians - Chapter 2

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, winter 2009, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy, health care and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded, there are floods in India, earthquake and tsunami in Samoa. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Seek His wisdom. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 2 of the book of Philippians. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

2:1 – We should encourage (console each other’s souls through Christ – share the good news), comfort, fellowship (participate), show affection and mercy. Are you doing this? In what areas could you improve? Pray for the Holy Spirit’s help.

2:2 – Unity brings joy. It also brings strength and encouragement.

Are you united to other believers?

2:3 – We should treat others as better than ourselves. This will eliminate vanity, selfishness and conceit.

2:4 – We should concern ourselves with the interests of others.

2:5 – as a bondslave – one whose will is given over to his master.

Watch the next several verses closely. Paul is going to tell us about Jesus’ attitude that we are supposed to emulate.

2:6 – Jesus is humble. Even though He is God, He didn’t consider equality with God as something to be grasped.

What does this mean to you? When I meditate on this verse, I concentrate on the word “grasped”. When we grasp something, we reach out and take it. Jesus didn’t consider the He should grab and hold onto His equality with the Father. That is some serious humility!

2:7 – Jesus emptied Himself. He gave up His right to be God and became human.

Have you even contemplated what He gave up? Take a few minutes to do that. So, what do you think? What might it have been like to be limitless God in a limited suit of skin? Whenever I contemplate this, I think of the Genie from Aladdin: “Phenomenal cosmic power! Itty bitty living space.”

As God, Jesus didn’t need food or water or sleep. But His human self certainly needed these things. He probably skinned His knees as a child, so He felt pain. God is everywhere, but in human form, He could only be in one place at a time. How frustrating this must have been?

2:8 – Jesus is obedient. He came to earth knowing what He would endure to reconcile mankind to the Father. He saw our souls as such a treasure that it made the horrifying torture and death on a cross a price He was willing to pay. WOW! Just typing that brings tears to my eyes as I recall the brutality pictured in “The Passion Of The Christ”.

2:9 – Jesus didn’t exalt Himself. The Father exalted Him, and lifted Him above all things.

2:10 – I love this verse! The NAME of JESUS will make EVERY knee bow!!!! Every knee in heaven…every knee on earth…every knee under the earth! EVERY KNEE!

The name of Jesus is uber-powerful! Start paying attention: how often do you hear people refer to God, but not Jesus? I make a conscious effort to use His name, now, because I’ve caught myself doing just that. His name is mighty. Use it!

2:11 – Jesus’ name will also make every tongue confess that JESUS CHRIST is Lord! This confession glorifies the Father. Notice this verse says every tongue. Every language. Every animal. Incredible! What a sound this is going to be!

2:12 – What techniques could you use to work out your salvation with awe and reverence? Are you doing this?

2:13 – Who is actually doing the work in you to change you into the likeness of Christ? Does that affect your response to the previous question?

How difficult is it to let go of this responsibility? What will you do (or stop doing) to let go?

2:14-15 – the Word tells us not to complain or argue. Let’s train our kids not to do either. (Creative Correction – Lisa Whelchel)

2:14 – Are you a grumbler? An arguer? Do you realize that grumbling is what kept the Israelites walking around the desert in circles for 40 years? Take a few minutes to think about with whom you grumble or argue?

Re-read verse 13. Are you comforted by it? As a believer, you can pray that the Holy Spirit would take away your grumbling or arguing. Be creative in your prayer. Ask Him to remove this ability or make it completely distasteful or foreign to you.

2:15 – What makes us blameless and pure? Study Psalm 15 for an in-depth look at blamelessness.

Are you shining as a light in this crooked and perverse world? Believers are like lighthouses that guide lost ships safely home.

2:16 – This is how we shine as lights in the world: by holding onto the word of life. What or Who is the word of life? Are you holding on?

2:17 – Poured out like a drink offering. Read Genesis 35:14 for the first instance of a drink offering. What is the purpose of an offering? Is any part of your life an offering to God? If not, are you willing for it to be?

2:19 – Paul wanted to send Timothy to Philippi to gather the latest encouraging news and return to Paul to share that news.

2:20 – Paul and Timothy both love the Philippian church.

2:21 – There were people around Paul who didn’t prioritize Christ.

2:22 – Paul thought of Timothy as a son.

2:23 – Why would Paul want to wait to send Timothy until he knew more about his situation?

2:24 – What is Paul saying in this verse?

2:25 – What do you know about Epaphroditus from this verse?

2:26 – What more do you know about him from this verse?

2:27 – Since to die is to be in the presence of the Lord, how is it a showing of God’s mercy to let Epaphroditus live?

How is this also showing God’s grace to Paul?

How might this have been “grief on top of grief” for Paul?

2:28 – How would seeing Epaphroditus relieve the anxiety of the Philippians?

2:30 – What more do you learn about Epaphroditus?

• The book of Philippians emphasizes how we can partner with others doing ministry. What new ideas do you have about how you might do that in a creative way?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

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