The power of example.
PHILLIPIANS SG WK13
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: In your day to day life, how do you know the difference between a friend and a foe? Have you ever had someone in your life who turned out to be a “frienemy?” What tipped you off?
Background: Just as a positive and godly example can be a powerful force in our lives, so can a negative and ungodly one. When people profess to be Christians we have every right to expect them to subscribe to the clear teachings of the Bible and order their lives accordingly. We have every right to see where their walk is taking them and where it would lead others if they followed behind them. We should expect the same thing from them.
Text: Phil. 3:16-4:1
- Some groups and people have taught that, even as a Christian, you can still indulge in sin and live a life that is hardly any different from that of an unbeliever. Discuss this in the light of the teaching in this section.
- Many confuse grace with sloppy living and obedience with legalism. Why is this wrong (see Titus 2:11-14)? When does sloppy living cross the line to where a person actually is an enemy of the cross and not a Christian at all?
- Can a professing Christian who is living in sin have assurance of salvation? Use Scripture to defend your answer.
- If someone didn’t know you very well, which kingdom would they say you are a part of based on what they see? What evidence could you point to other than going to church as evidence you are a citizen of heaven?
- How can a Christian who honestly is caught up with the things of this life make a change and regain a deeper love for the Lord’s return?
- A mentor is someone who sets an example to others and teaches them. Is there someone whom you could mentor, by modeling and demonstrating the grace of God in your life? How would you plan to go about this process?
From the Message: Phil. 3:16-4:1
- What spoke to you the most from the message and why? What challenged you the most? Don’t rush by this!
- This morning Pastor Steve said, “Not all relationships are good for you.” Do you feel that there may be relationships in your life that you should examine and possibly eliminated in light of what you heard this morning?
- This morning Pastor Steve said, “Just because there are hypocrites in church doesn’t mean you have to be one.” Has your life outside of church ever caused someone to question whether your walk matched your talk? Has it ever provided them with an excuse for not following Christ?
- Pastor Steve said, “Your life, not just your words, shows what you are and what you truly believe.” Is there an area of your life right now where you are living “off the reservation” and need to get back on the path?
- Pray About It: This morning Pastor Steve asked, “What kind of Christian would a new believer become if they imitated you?” How would you answer that? Does it scare you or challenge you?
- How do you believe others would answer that question about you? How about God?
- How can this group pray for you in this area? How can we pray for one another as it comes to a deeper and more personal relationship with Jesus?
Reflect: Christianity centers on the person of Jesus Christ. There are counterfeits in life because the real thing is worth imitating. The same is going to be true in the spiritual realm as well. Satan has always made sure that there are counterfeit Christians who talk as if they’re true believers, but whose lives betray that fact. But, the existence of hypocrites in the Christian community does mean that every Christian who fails is one. Even true Christians will disappoint you because we’re all in process. It’s the ones who consistently live a sinful lifestyle without seeing any need to change that you need to mark and avoid.
Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.
1 Cor. 16:13 (MSG)
For Personal Study: Read 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:1–2, and Galatians 6:14.
- How did Paul regard the cross of Christ?
- How is the Christian to respond to the lusts of the flesh? Read 2 Timothy 2:22; Titus 2:12; 1 Peter 2:22; 4:2.
- In Romans 1:32, the apostle Paul refers to approving of those who do shameful things. Read Romans 1:18-32. What shameful things did he have in mind?