June 23 – Philippians 1:19-26
We’re in the middle of our ten-week series in Philippians called Obey Love. Simultaneously we’re holding the Gospel-Centered Life class, which many of our groups will be attending in lieu of their regular weekly meetings. 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. That being said, if you ever have any questions or need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick antecedent check, the “this” Paul is talking about in v. 19 is his imprisonment. Paul is certain that through the prayers of the Philippians and through the help of the Spirit that he will get out of prison and continue serving the church at Philippi. However, in the midst of this certainty Paul speculates on whether he’ll make it out of prison alive and gives us some clear insight into the way he understood his time on earth. As much as he looked forward to being with Christ after death, he knew that his highest calling was to remain among the living, serving the body of Christ and supporting their progress and joy in the faith.
To understand this life of service, Paul looks to Christ (“to live is Christ”). So we’ll turn to Philippians 2:5-11 to better grasp the servanthood of Jesus that Paul was imitating and calling us to imitate. Often we don’t believe living like Christ is actual an obtainable objective for life; we think of it more as an aspiration than an endeavor. But Paul legitimately desired to imitate Jesus in all things. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”(1 Cor. 11:1) “…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”(Phil. 3:10) If you look at Paul’s theology around our life and death, Paul taught that just as Christ’s death became our death (substitutionary atonement), his life also lives within us (Rom. 6:5; 2 Tim. 2:11; Gal. 2:20). Elsewhere we see that we were both made for life in Christ and saved for life in Christ.(Eph. 2:4-10) That life is meant to be spent following Christ, imitating him and pursuing the life he has for us.
So it’s helpful for us to ask: am I living like Christ? In what ways does God want me to become more like his Son? And how can I trust him in the process of following him more and more closely? We’ll spend most of our discussion talking about what “living like Christ” actually means, and what the motivation behind this is (e.g. not guilt, obligation, or requirement), but take the time to get to the last question and really dig in on how God is calling each person in your group specifically to follow Jesus.
Questions for Discussion
• Can someone read Philippians 1:19-26 for us? (feel free start at the beginning of the sentence, 1:18b)
• What stood out to you from the passage?
• What does it seem like Paul’s purpose in life was?
• What do you think Paul means by “to live is Christ”?
• Can someone read 2:5-11 for us? What can this tell us about living like Christ?
• Why do you think living like Jesus was such a priority for Paul?
• What do you think God is saying specifically to you through this passage?