Reflection & Discussion Questions

Bible reading: Philippians 3:10-4:1

  • What stands out to you from the passage? 

  • Read this from Tim Foster’s Captivity of the Suburban Church: “The suburban vision for life may be summed up as the pursuit of a comfortable, secure and settled life, in an ordered domain, with one’s family and closest friends, where each individual is free to pursue those interests that will bring happiness with minimal disruption. Happiness is achieved by meeting one’s needs – and enhancing the quality of life – through consumption. This consumption is conspicuous, functioning as a sign of upward mobility… Within this vision God may or may not have a place. There is certainly very little need for God when we are masters of our domain, with power, money and control. Where God is given a place, it is relegated to the margins, where he serves this vision by blessing our aspirations and assisting in their fulfilment. In particular, God provides security, protecting our families against those elements that could undermine this dream. Where things do go off the rails, he is also there to provide consolation: either that ‘God is in control’ or that, should the worst happen, there is assurance of an afterlife where all the hedonistic desires that were denied in this life will be enjoyed.”

  • Do you see any of this way of thinking or behaving in our wider community? 

  • How do you see yourself buying into this vision?

  • What similarities can you see between the Philippians passage and the paragraph from Foster?

  • How might you be more intentional in allowing God’s vision for eternity inform your present? (Cf. Revelation 21)
Reflection & Discussion Questions

Bible reading: Philippians 3:1-11

  • Do I regularly ‘rejoice in the Lord’ (verse 1)? What are some of the things that I can rejoice in the Lord about, whatever my circumstances might be?

  • When it comes to ‘taking stock’ of what my confidence is in (verses 2-6),
    • in what ways can our background, achievements or capabilities be an impediment to our faith in Jesus?
    • how can any of us easily put our ‘confidence in the flesh’ instead of in Jesus if we’re not careful?
    • why is it so dangerous to do so?

  • When it comes to ‘taking stock’ of what matters most in life and faith (verses 7-9),
    • what matters most to you in life and faith?
    • what in your experience have been some of the things that even though immediate, incidental or illusionary, can easily become more of a focus than they should be?

  • When it comes to ‘the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ my Lord’ (verses 8), what are some steps you can take to get to know Jesus in a greater way?

  • In particular, over this advent season and beyond, how can you know Christ in greater ways
    • personally ? (verse 9 – being found in Him)
    • powerfully ? (verse 10a – knowing the power of His resurrection)
    • passionately ? (verse 10b – the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings)

    Reflection & Discussion Questions

    Bible reading: Philippians 2:12-30

    • What stands out to you from this passage? 
    • How have you seen the Spirit transform your own character?

    • In what other ways do you see the Spirit at work in your life at the moment?

    • What sacrifices have you had to make to see these changes? 

    • What changes might you still have to make and what might you have to give up to see them come to be?

      Reflection & Discussion Questions

      Bible reading: Philippians 2:3-11

      • How strongly do you react to criticism? Do you think this is a reasonable response, or does it reflect an unhealthy degree of pride or self-interest?

      • Have you seen pride damage a relationship? Write down what happened and how it would have gone differently if there was no egos involved.

      • What does it mean for Jesus to have “emptied” himself?

      • Why did Jesus need to be both 100% God and 100% human when He died?

      • How often do you reflect on the future event of Jesus coming back and all knees bowing to him? How should it influence how you live today?
        Reflection & Discussion Questions

        Bible reading: Philippians 2:1-4

        • Reflect on and/or discuss what has kept you connected and united with God and others through 2020, along with what have been challenges to that.

        • Reflecting on ‘having any encouragement from being united with Christ’, as Paul speaks of in verse 1, in what ways have you experienced God’s encouragement, coming alongside you in your life and faith?

        • Reflecting on ‘if any comfort from his love’, next in verse 1, when and how have you experienced ‘the whispers of God speaking to you, cheering you on in life and faith because of His love for you?

        • Reflecting on ‘if any fellowship with the Spirit’, next in verse 1, when and how have you seen the Spirit of God drawing people together in Christ?

        • Reflecting on verse 2-4, what are some of the ways we can ‘be like-minded’, ‘have the same love’ or ‘be one in spirit and purpose’ with others in Christ?

          Reflection & Discussion Questions

          Bible reading: Philippians 1:12-30

          • Reflect on what Paul says in verses 12-14 of ‘what has happened to me’, and how even though he found himself in the worst of circumstances, facing trials and suffering, God was still able to be at work in ways that advanced the gospel. Looking back on times of trial or suffering in your life,
            • What has been hardest about them?
            • What promises or purposes of God have been significant through those times?
            • In what ways might God have used even those difficult times to impact others with His love and grace?

          • In verses 18-21, Paul goes to reflect on what matters most. During times of suffering or trial in your life,
            • What are some of the things that mattered most to you?
            • What are some of the things that ‘faded into the background’, so to speak?
            • When have you seen Christ exalted or God’s glory displayed in the lives of others?

          • In verse 27, Paul speaks of whatever happens, conducting yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
            • What can stop us from doing this?
            • Why is it so important, even through times of suffering and trial, to conduct ourselves in ways that are worthy of the gospel of Christ?
            • What might it look like for you to do that through times when life doesn’t go according to plan?
            Reflection & Discussion Questions

            Bible reading: Philippians 1:1-11

            • What is something that you have that you can be thankful to God for this week?
            • Reflecting more specifically from verses 1,3, and 7-8, Paul highlights how he is thankful for God’s people.
              • What are some of the ways you are thankful for God’s people and the part they play in your life and faith pathway?
              • From verses 4-5, what are some ways that Paul expresses thanks for God’s people?
              • What is a way that you might be able to express being thankful for God’s people, especially through these times when we still can’t gather together?
            • Looking at verses 2, 6 and 7, Paul also speaks of and is thankful for God’s grace.
              • What is it about God’s grace that you are most thankful for?
            • Looking at verse 6, and then verses 9-11, we can also be thankful for God’s growth.
              • Reflect on and share aspects of your faith where God has begun a good work in you. You might also wish to reflect or share aspects of your faith pathway that you are thankful God will carry on to completion.
              • How does knowing that your spiritual growth isn’t just about what you do but about what God does make you feel?
            • Reflect further on the anchor verse for the week ‘Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
            • Take some time as you finish to ‘be thankful in prayer’.