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Philippians 1:1-11

1 Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. 8 For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

In this passage, Paul lets the Philippians know how important they are to him. He emphasizes the relationships that are strengthened through the gospel, prayer, and work of God in our lives. He argues that his strong connection with other believers is not only right and fitting, but also an example of how to connect with others.

  1. Position in Christ

    1 Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus
    • In verse 1, Paul introduces himself and Timothy as bond-servants of Christ Jesus. How does his self-introduction describe their relationship? Was Paul indicating a relationship of power? submission? superiority? equality?
    • How is our interaction with other believers affected by our attitudes and position in Christ.
  2. Biblical Leadership

    To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons:
    • Paul then addresses the letter to all the saints in Philippi, adding the Biblical leadership as almost an afterthought.
    • Based on this, how does Paul see the leaders of the church as distinct from the church?
    • How does Paul see the leaders as an outgrowth of the church?
  3. Prayer for Others

    2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 ¶ I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.
    • As we are “socially distancing” ourselves, what are some ways that we should pray for other believers?
    • How can our relationship with others be strengthened in spite of our distance?
    • How do we and others in our fellowship participate in the gospel? Is this just about being saved or doing evangelism?
  4. Confident Relationships

    6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 ¶ For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.
    • What is Paul’s confident of in the lives of his fellow believers?
    • How does he have this confidence?
    • The Philippians were never imprisoned with Paul, they were never at the court hearings, so how do you think they shared the grace Paul had in these events?
    • Do you think they had in any way communicated to Paul that they cared about him and for him in his trials?
  5. Affection

    8 For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
    • How is longing for someone with the affection of Christ the same as affection you have for your non-Christian friends and family?
    • How is longing with the affection of Christ different than the affection you have for your non-Christian friends and family?
  6. Knowledge and Discernment

    9 ¶ And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
    • Paul asks that our love would abound in knowledge and discernment. How does love change when we have knowledge about others?
    • How can love be damaged if it lacks discernment?
    • How can our notice of what is excellent about others help them to be sincere and blameless? How can it help us to be sincere and blameless?
    • How is God glorified through our relationships?

Application

  • What are some practical steps we can take in the coming weeks to help people feel connected to each other?
  • What actions of your childhood helped you to communicate with others who were not nearby? Can we apply these same actions in our modern age?
  • What 2 or 3 people from church will you call in the next few days to see how they are doing, to pray with them and to encourage them?