June 2 – Philippians 1:3-11
The 2019 theme for Vintage Church is “Love God, love your neighbor.” We began the year by studying the four covenants of the Old Testament, laying the foundation of love. Then in the Spring we examined how Jesus saw and loved each individual he interacted with through the “Seen” series. With both series focused on receiving God’s love, we want to spend the Summer studying how we respond to that love and ultimately obey the one who loves us.
This week kicks off our ten-week series in Philippians called Obey Love. This week also starts our Gospel-Centered Life class, which many of our groups will be attending in lieu of their regular weekly meetings. Our hope in Gospel-Centered Life for CG leaders is to provide a break from the normal CG schedule that still edifies your group, keeps you in regular community with one another, and asks less of leaders than a typical weekly meeting (since we’ll do all the planning and manage childcare). Some groups will be attending GCL while keeping their normal weekly meeting, or picking and choosing specific GCL weeks to attend. We hope leaders will decide on whatever fits the life of their group the best. Over summer as we work to resource groups both at GCL and in their regular weekly meetings, you’ll see less information and resources than normal here. However, if you ever have any questions or need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, on to Philippians 1:3-11. This is still very much Paul’s intro to the letter, in which he expresses his prayer or hope for the church at Philippi. Paul is also starting some of the themes and topics he’ll be discussing through out the letter. For instance, you’ve maybe have heard Philippians described as the “Epistle of Joy” before; we see that theme introduced in verse 4, which he’ll pick back up in chapter 4. Two major things stand out from our passage for this week: 1. Paul tells the Philippians that their growth in love speeds along their sanctification and prepares them for Judgement Day (v.9-11). Now, we should be careful to determine what kind of love Paul is talking about. He’s not talking about generic warm feelings or romantic love. Only a godly love can produce godliness. This echoes 1 Corinthians 13, where Paul instructs that without love (the putting-other-before-yourself kind of love), our efforts in faith and holiness are worthless.
2. Paul reminds the Philippians that their growth as followers is initiated, sustained, and completed by God. We see these things both in his memorable reassurance in verse 6, and in verse 11, which tells us that on Judgement Day we will stand before God with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ and returns to God in praise. As we respond to God in obedience, we see that he is the one who perfects and completes our imperfect lives.
Questions for Discussion
• Can someone read Philippians 1:3-11 for us?
• What stood out to you from the passage?
• What is Paul’s hope for the Philippians here?
• According to Paul, what affect does love have in our lives?
• How does love prepare us for Judgment Day (the day of Christ)?
• What can this passage tell us about growing in our obedience to God?
• What does this passage tell us about what God accomplishes in us? How does that make you feel?