Monday, September 12, 2011

Life on Earth is Best Lived for Others! (Philippians 1)

Study Thoughts:

Philippians 1:21-30 is broken into two sections. The first section consists of Paul's answer to the question, "Is it better to live or to die?" The second section builds on this by answering the question, "If I am going to live, how should I live?" His answers are simple, and yet profound.

He determines that while death is selfishly preferable because it means enjoying the presence of the Lord, life is the correct choice because it provides opportunity to benefit others. The unspoken truth here is that life is not worth living if it is only lived for one's own benefit.

In verses 27-30 he reminds the Philippians that they are citizens of a different kingdom. This passage is similar to 1 Peter 2:11-12. He calls on them to live as if they are citizens of heaven, and then uses the following verses to paint a picture of what that looks like. I see at least three character traits of the citizens of heaven: they are unified, they are gospel-centered, they are fearless.

This discussion guide will focus on the first half of the passage. I'll cover the second part of the passage later.

Discussion Questions:

What was the greatest day of your life? What made it so great?

What was the most difficult day of your life? How did you get through it?

When you think of heaven, to what do you most look forward? What questions do you have about heaven?

Read Philippians 1:21-23. What do you like about these verses? What raises questions?

What kind of things would have driven Paul to be having these kind of thoughts? (read 2 Corinthians 6:3-10)

Have you ever experienced the kind of feelings Paul writes about in these verses? How did you deal with them?

When you think about being in the presence of the Lord, are you excited or terrified? Why?

Read Philippians 1:24-26. Why did Paul decide it was better to remain present on the earth?

Life is not really worth living if you are only living it for yourself!

How has someone impacted your life because they were focused on your benefit instead of their own?

What are some simple ways you can be more others focused in your life?

How can this group be more others focused? What are some things we can do to bring benefit to our church, our community, or our workplaces?

How will we pray for one another this week?

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