(While I do not have an official copyright on any of the bible study I have created, I do ask that if you copy, post articles, or excerpts authored by Faith Steps please include and/or post a hot-link to the original article as it appears at Faith Steps, including the title of the post. Also, if you make print copies of the complete bible study for individual or small group use, please provide a complete, typed web address for this site and the particular article is included on each copy.)
“Because God is so far above us in every aspect, the process begins with Him as He reveals Himself to those who hunger and thirst to know Him.” (Bright 24)
Choose how you will dine with your Lord today:
Read Philippians Chapter 2 (Fast Food)
Read Philippians Chapter 1-2 (Home Cooking)
Read Philippians Chapters 1-4 (Fine Dining)
As you read, again make note of any keywords or reflections as the Lord speaks to your heart.
Shine Like Stars-Philippians Chapter 2:12-18
What has Paul’s friends always done? (2:12)
What two things does Paul encourage them to do in his absence? (2:12b)
How should one work out their salvation? (2:12b)
Are the Philippians to workout Paul’s salvation? (2:12) No they each have their own. Children cannot rely on their parent’s salvation to save them; they have to own it themselves.
How will they be able to work out their salvation? (2:13a) God is the one working in them, giving them the ability to desire and to work out His good purpose.
Upon reading this verse a prayer to the Lord came to my lips: Lord, I cannot instill in my children a desire to workout their own salvation, You must give them first the desire and hunger and then enable them to carry out Your purpose for them. Lord, I beg you to place that desire in them as well as myself and give us the ability to carry out whatever that desire is.
Psalm 37 reflects the attitude Paul is trying to convey to his friends. If you have a little extra time today, take a moment to read the whole chapter. Our delight and love for the Lord opens up a funnel for His desires to be poured into our lives in a way that enables Him to carry out His purposes in our lives. Our desires become His desires and He will give those desires to us! We are not to despair over what others around us are doing, just like Paul did not have to despair over what the people around him were doing to him.
How should we live/work out His good purpose? (2:14)
A lot of times we fight over how God’s plan should be carried out when in reality we should just carry it out. Christians sometimes have a tendency to grumble or complain about the job God gives to them, but we must remember no job is too small. Every part of the body is important. I wrestled with this passage (2:12-18) for a long time last February. Finally the Lord slowly began to reveal His truths in it to me. It began with seeing how our own children have to work out their salvation for themselves. We can’t do it for others. Then I got to the grumbling and arguing part. How did this fit in? Finally, I realized that we have a tendency to carry out God’s purposes, to work out our salvation, not with joy and gratitude, but with grumbling and arguing. Even on the day God revealed this to me, I got upset and argued with Scott for not going and helping me with Awanas. He was feeling sick and didn’t want to go. I began to get really frustrated and upset because he was “backing out on me.” In reality I too didn’t want to go that day and instead of owning up to my own selfish desires, I began to make it look like I was the righteous one. I loaded the kids in the car and walked out angry. My attitude transferred to the children and I had to literally pull off the road and sit for 5 minutes until the attitudes in the car changed. I prayed and God whispered in my ear. “Do everything without grumbling or arguing so that you may be blameless and pure children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world.” With a much more renewed spirit we went on. Yes, there were several people out that night and we were extremely short handed, but God made a way and we had one of the best Bible Quiz practices.
What are the side effects of an attitude without grumbling or complaining? (2:15) We are blameless, pure, and faultless in a crooked and perverse generation. We can look to the example of Daniel in Daniel 6:3-4
“Daniel distinguished himself above the administrators and satraps because he had an extraordinary spirit, so the king planned to set him over the whole realm. The administrators and satraps, therefore, kept trying to find a charge against Daniel regarding the kingdom. But they could find no charge or corruption, for he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him.”
How will this attitude reflect God’s good purpose? (2:15b)
People will see us as children of God and we will shine like stars in the world. Our name does not have to be on the Hollywood sidewalk Star of fame to have an influence in this world to bring glory and honor to God
What is the message of life Paul speaks of in 2:16?
What happens when the Philippians hold on to the message of life? (2:16b) Paul is able to boast in the day of Christ that his efforts were not in vain. He did not run or labor in vain. He did what he did so that others would be able to live the message of life.
When is the day of Christ? (2:16)
How does Paul feel if the Philippians do not hold on to the message of life? (2:17)
What is a drink offering?
Paul is willing to die for the Philippians who are living a life of faith based on sacrifice and service. In other words, Paul is willing to die for those who are working out their salvation with fear and trembling (2:12) and for those who are living their life in a manner worthy of the gospel (1:27). However, even if they do not live a life of faith and in a manner worthy of the gospel, he will still offer his life. Why? Paul knows it is not for the Philippians he is living, but for Christ alone.
How does Paul feel about giving up his life for them? (2:17b) He is glad and rejoices with them. Can you imagine being happy to die for someone else? This is so counter-cultural as well as counter-human!
What does Paul tell the Philippians they should feel? (2:18) He tells them they need to be rejoicing and glad as well. That is like telling someone you are going to die for them and then telling them to rejoice and be glad about it. Doesn’t this sound a little familiar in the life of Christ? Is this not what Jesus told his disciples? (John 16:7, 20-22) He had to die so that they might live.
Paul is glad to die for his fellow Christian’s sacrifice and service because he knows that through them the gospel will continue to be carried out. Can I honestly say and believe that even if I have to die, my children would live out their salvation? Do I truly believe what Romans 8:36-37 says:
“As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us.”
“All of our actions…are driven by our views of God and how He interacts with us. Nothing in life could be more important than knowing God accurately.” (Bill Bright in God Discover His Character)
To know God accurately we have to spend time with Him. Christ never complained or argued while He worked out His salvation. Paul spent time getting to know Christ. As a result his attitude and heart changed to allow Christ to work through him even through death if need be in order for the gospel to continue to be proclaimed. Bill Bright also took time to know God and was able to pray
“I want to be the suit of clothes for the Lord Jesus. I invite Him to walk around in my body as His temple. My heart’s passion is to let Him think with my mind, love with my heart, speak with my lips, and continue to seek and save sinners through me. This is what He came to earth to do 2,000 years ago.” (Bill Bright in God Discover His Character)
Take a moment to day to repent of any grumbling or complaining and ask God to help you to have an attitude like the one of Jesus Christ, who even to the point of death carried out God’s will (2:8).