What does this passage say?
What does this passage mean to its original audience?
What does this passage tell us about God?
What does this passage tell us about mankind?
What does this passage demand of me?
How does this passage change the way I relate to people?
How does this passage prompt me to pray?
Rick Hawks continued his series through Philippians by examining the uncertainties that Paul faced at this time and the spirit of joy in which he faced them. We can be weighed down by the “what ifs” in days of uncertainties. Paul shows us a better way by choosing joy in the midst of uncertainty.
1. Paul opens this section of the letter to the church at Philippi with “what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel (v12)”. Do you actively try to avoid trials and tribulations? When you think back to the trials and tribulations of your life, how did God use them to advance the gospel?
2. In verse 16, Paul says that he had been “put here [prison] for the defense of the gospel”. Have you ever felt specifically put in a situation by God? What confirmed God’s hand placing you there? Why did God put you in the situation? What did you learn / how did you grow from that situation?
3. In verse 29, Paul tells the church at Philippi that it had “been granted to you that…suffer for his sake”. Granted is like giving a gift or bestowing an honor. Why might suffering for the sake of Christ be looked upon as a gift or an honor? What are some of the countless ways someone might suffer for Christ?
Pastor Rick shared five things to remember that might helps us to maintain our joy in days of uncertainty:
Remember our joy is independent of what is happening
4. Why is it difficult to separate our circumstances from our attitude? What reminds you of the joy you have in Christ? How can you turn to those thoughts in times of uncertainty?
Remember God works in our uncertainties
5. On a scale of 1-10, rate your comfort level with being in a situation over which you have little to no control. How might our desire to have complete control over our lives inhibit us from growing our faith muscles? How can we actively practice surrendering control to God?
Remember God turns opposition into opportunities
6. What are the practical implications of believing that God can work in all situations for your good and his glory? How has God used bad situations for your good and his glory?
Remember suffering is a part of the normal Christian life
7. One on hand, we talk of suffering being a part of the normal Christian life. On the other hand, we talk of Jesus removing our cares and burdens and finding rest in him. How is it possible that both are true? How do we make sense of each side of the coin?
Remember we are willing servants of the Lord Jesus Christ
8. Pastor Kevin was fond of saying, “The answer is ‘yes,’ Lord. Now what’s the question?” That posture requires a servant’s heart. What gets in the way of you saying “yes” to what God asks of you? What exercises do you need to do to train your servant’s heart?