Philippians is Paul’s most joyful letter even though he’s in jail, he’s old, people are behaving poorly and it’s not clear if things will get any better. Can there be real joy when circumstances are awful?
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- Paul is not super gentle on the religious types who are insisting that Christians should be circumcised and adhere to other Jewish laws. He calls them “dogs” and “mutilators of the flesh.” Why is he so harsh? What’s your experience been with legalist religious types?
- Paul gives a considerable list of the things that used to make him feel valuable and right. Was there a time in your life when you were pursuing something other than Jesus? What mattered most to you then?
- “The surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Do you know this place of “knowing Jesus”? Is this more than “believing in” Jesus’? How realistic does it seem to you?
- Explain “having a righteousness that comes from God through faith in Christ” in words that your unconvinced friends would understand. What is righteousness and why does it matter?
- What could participation in his suffering” look like in our day? What do you imagine it will be to “know the power of his resurrection” when that day comes?