Philippians: Joy Centred in Jesus – Part 4

Phil. 2:19-3:11

Philippians: Joy Centred in Jesus – Part 4

The Foundation of the Gospel

I. The FLOW of the LETTER. (2:19-3:11)
A. Paul’s JOY in RELATIONSHIPS. (2:19-2:30)
B. An ALMOST transition to the END. (3:1)
C. A REDIRECT to an important ISSUE. (3:2-11)

We have to remember that many of the New Testament books are letters. You can see that as Paul takes a detour to talk about the relationships he has around him and then just prior to wrapping up the letter gets sidetracked to deal with another important issue for the church in Philippi.

1. Kid’s Question: Have you ever gotten a letter in the mail from a friend? What did they write about?
2. What stands out to you about Paul’s comments about Timothy and Epaphroditus? Who do you have in your life that fills roles like these guys do for Paul?

II. The DANGER of a DISTORTED gospel. (3:2-11)
A. No need to ADD to what is DONE. (3:2-4)
B. Paul as MODEL keeper of the LAW. (3:4-6)
C. The GOSPEL brings a REORIENTATION. (3:7-11)
D. More about KNOWING than DOING. (3:7-8)
E. The gift of RIGHTEOUSNESS and RELATIONSHIP. (3:9-11)

Paul has been emphasizing the joy that comes from embracing and resting in the truth of the gospel. God is for us and we have nothing to fear…He can be trusted. But there are some in Philippi who would add things to that life-giving truth. Tacking on some requirements to a free gift is something Paul is warning them about.

3. What are things that you have seen added to the gospel in your own experience? What are the danger of this?
4. How is a “gospel” approach to life different than the typical way we live in the world today? Isn’t the gospel too permissive?
5. How would you describe the way you know Jesus? What is your relationship life?

III. The SUBTLE ways we ADD to the gospel. (Mt. 23:1-4)
A. Moving from JOY to JUDGMENT. (3:1; Lk 9:52-55)
B. Moving from EXPERIENCING to EVALUATING. (3:2-3; Jn 9:24-25)
C. Moving from KNOWING to knowing ABOUT. (3:4-8; Jn 5:39-40)
D. Moving from RELATIONSHIP to REQUIREMENTS. (3:5-6; Mt. 9:10-13)

We may not be “mutilators of the flesh”, but we can often tack on extra baggage to the truth of the gospel. We do it for others…and we even do that to ourselves. It’s a subtle way that the enemy tries to drain the joy out of our lives.

6. Which of the four “movements” do you find yourself prone to? Why do you think that is?
7. If you had to summarize the “gospel” in one, or at most two, sentences, what would you say?
8. What steps can you take this week to live more in line with the truth of the gospel? How might that look in your relationships with others?