How a different mindset can change everything
PHILLIPIANS SG WK7
Note to leaders: Do not feel that you have to use every question. Pick and choose as the Spirit leads you but don’t skip over the first question in the discussion from the message!
Warm Up: What is your pet peeve at home? What is it about that one thing that drives you crazy? What about at church?
Background: Even in the early church, just as in congregations today, people didn’t always see eye-to-eye on everything. Church people are real people with honest convictions on almost every subject. In some cases, our convictions align; in others they don’t. And that’s true even when we try to line up our opinions in light of what it means to follow Jesus. Thus, while we, as a congregation, may be trying to have the same mind as was in Christ Jesus, we, as individual Christians, differ about politics, social problems, lifestyle decisions, the Bible, worship styles and a host of other matters.
Paul has made it clear in this letter that the secret of maintaining unity is humility. Wherever there is conflict, it is a revelation of the presence of pride. Pride in a single individual life, in a family, a church, in government, or a whole nation, always destroys, divides, sets one person against another, perpetuates conflict, breaks up marriages and partnerships and unions of every sort. So what do we do? We do what Jesus did and in order to do that we have to let Christ change our thinking and our minds.
Text: Phil. 2:5-11
- Who do you think Paul is actually addressing; the two involved in the conflict (Phil 4:2-3) or the entire church? Do you believe people were taking sides? Why?
- Paul said that our attitude, our mindset, or disposition must be the same as Christ Jesus if we are going to maintain peace in our relationships. How does one attain the mind of Christ?
- What do you think it was like for Jesus to leave heaven and become human? How hard was it and what made it possible for him?
- Paul said, “Jesus empty himself or made himself nothing” when he became human (v.7). How did he perform miracles and wonders as a human being if He laid aside his rights as God? Did he cease to be God?
- How hard do you think it was for Jesus as a human being to trust God with the outcome of his total sacrifice and obedience? Do you think there was any conflict between his two natures? Read Matt. 26:36-42
- Paul brought Jesus’ humility and obedience to the forefront as this congregation’s example and solution to relational conflict. What is the implication for us?
From the Message: Phil. 2:1-5
- What spoke to you the most from the message and why? What challenged you the most? Don’t rush by this!
- Paul believed that whenever conflict is present, pride is also at work. What evidence of this have you seen or where have you experienced this in your own life?
- Pastor Steve said, “Most people settle for “saving face” rather than striving for true peace.” How so? Why is saving face in a conflict a poor substitute for true peace?
- Jesus surrendered his rights as God when he became human. What motivation did Pastor Steve say drove Jesus? How hard is it for you to surrender your rights?
- Pastor Steve said, “In order for there to be peace, someone must be willing to give up his or her right to be offended.” Why? How hard is this for you to do when you believe you’re right?
- This morning Pastor Steve asked, “Where do you need to die today so that a relationship can live?” How would you answer that? Why is this so hard?
- If the Bible says, “We have the mind of Christ,” (1 Cor. 2:16) why don’t we experience more of his peace in our relationships that what we do? What did Pastor Steve say about this and how do you plan on putting it into action this week?
Reflect: There are no shortcuts in the Christian life. If you want to follow the model of humility, you must take the high road, which requires getting low for others! The place to do it is when you get into disagreement with someone. It is in that kind of situation that the mind of Christ is intended to operate today. Paul doesn’t say, “seek for the mind of Christ, struggle to achieve the mind of Christ, or try to imitate it.” He is saying, “You have the mind of Christ if you have him”. All that he is is available to the one who is available to Him.
Jesus is more than a pattern for us to follow. He is the power that enables us to reproduce that pattern and to transfer to our lives that example.