Philippians: A Powerful Poem for the Persecuted – Part 2

Philippians 1:27-2:18

Philippians: A Powerful Poem for the Persecuted – Part 2

Gospel Poetry

I. A life WORTHY of the GOSPEL. (1:27-2:5)
A. Living BOLDLY through DIFFICULTY. (1:27-30)
B. Living TOGETHER as ONE in Christ. (2:1-5)

Paul, writing from Prison, is embodying the gospel and how it shapes his responses to the suffering he endures. It’s a way of living that is worthy of the gospel. It’s all shaped by the poem about the work of Jesus that we find in chapter 2:5-11.

1. Kid’s question – If you could do any one thing in your life time what would it be and why?
2. Read Phil. 1:29. Is that true of us today? What does that mean?
3. What does it mean for us to “be one” with other believers? How does that challenge you personally?

II. Jesus DEMONSTRATES our CALLING. (2:5-11)
A. REFUSAL to grasp for RIGHTS. (2:6)
D. TRUSTING God with the OUTCOME. (2:9-11)

In this poetic rendering of the work of Jesus, which some scholars think was a hymn sung in the ancient church, we see all the things that have deeply shaped Paul’s understanding of reality and how to live faithfully in a world that wants to shut him down. He calls us to follow the same example.

4. How do our rights fit into following Jesus? How can we best navigate the questions that come with those kinds of ideas?
5. How would you describe the difference between serving and taking on the nature of a servant? How can you know which you are doing?
6. Where do you find it most challenging to trust God with the outcome of a given situation? Why?

III. Our Calling: To SHINE like STARS. (2:15)
A. Working OUT what God has WORKED in. (2:12-13)
B. The HOW and the WHAT. (2:14-16)
C. REJOICING in God’s DIRECTION. (2:17-18)
D. Our EXAMPLE both EMBRACES and EMPOWERS us. (1:27-2:18)

How do we live in light of this explanation of what Jesus has done? How do we translate this poetic rendering of a profound truth – the profound truth – and incarnate it into our everyday lives? That’s what Paul had given himself to, that’s what he was calling the Philippians to, and that’s the call for us as well.

7. How would you explain the phrase working out what God has worked in? Does what we do matter in regards to our relationship with God?
8. What stands out to you the most from the poem about what Jesus has done? Why does that resonate with you personally?