For further thought and discussion:
1.What was helpful to you in this week’s sermon? What didn’t you understand?
2.What have you done recently that was difficult, yet rewarding? Share your experience with the group.
3.Read Philippians 1:9-11. What is Paul’s prayer for this church? What kind of “love” does he want the Philippians to grow in? What kind of knowledge and discernment does he want them to cultivate? What would it look like for your group to work together to discern what’s best (v.10) for the advancement of the gospel?
4.What’s surprising about Paul’s personal report (see 1:12f)? What do you think the Philippians expected to hear? Why can Paul find meaning in his imprisonment (see v. 18)? How does Paul’s imprisonment advance the gospel? Why would Paul have wanted the Philippians to hear his perspective on his imprisonment (see Philippians 1:7, 30; 4:9)?
5.Who are Paul’s rivals (verses 15-18)? How do these rivals differ from those mentioned in places like Philippians 3:1-2, or the book of Galatians?
6.Paul’s ultimate concern was the progress of the gospel. What other kinds of progress were people concerned about in Paul’s day? What kinds of progress are you most concerned about (e.g. physical, moral, financial, family, political)? How does Paul’s aim in life challenge you personally?
7.Paul saw obstacles as opportunities to share the gospel (v. 13), setbacks as strategic for the gospel (v. 14), and competitors as collaborators in the gospel (vv. 15-18). Which of these principles stood out to you? Which of these do you need to keep in mind this week?
8.What’s one way you can apply this passage this week?