06 CONTENTMENT Philippians 4Philippians and Colossians – Joyful Living in Christ
All written materials for this series will be posted on this website, http://servingandsharing.com/, under the category, “Philippians and Colossians – Joyful Living in Christ.” Here is my video presentation introducing this series – https://youtu.be/VBg_Wdyu104. The video of this specific class presentation, as well as all the others in this series, will be posted to this YouTube playlist as they are recorded – Faith Builders Class: Philippians, Colossians: Joyful Living in Christ – YouTube. Please use the “Contact” button to request corresponding handouts and outlines.
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06 CONTENTMENT Philippians 4
(4:1) Note again Paul’s affectionate, tender way of addressing those he exhorts and then corrects.
“Therefore” (because of your present citizenship and your future transformation), in this way stand firm in the Lord! How can you tell when you are standing firm and when you are likely to fall?
Why does the Bible talk so much about unity? Have you ever seen a “church fuss?” What kinds of personalities and issues were involved? How did the leaders respond? How were others affected? What was the ultimate outcome?
Did the first-century church ever have similar problems?
Describe the conflict in view in each of the following passages:
How might Paul’s earlier statements (listed below) have laid the groundwork for his personal appeal to Euodia and Syntyche to “be of one mind in the Lord?”
How does Paul’s approach to this problem help insure a positive resolution?
- He “pleads,” begs, or implores.
- He names both women and considers both responsible to reach agreement.
- He stresses their common commitment: “agree in the Lord.”
- He authorizes a peacemaker, his “true yokefellow,” to assist them.
- He commends the women for their having “contended at my side.”
- He reminds them of their inclusion in God’s “Book of Life.”
What positive lessons can Christians learn from church conflict?
The “Book of Life” parallels the list of registered citizens of Philippi. How does the “Book of Life” in verse 3 lead into the “rejoice always” of verse 4?
(4:5) Word study: “gentleness (NIV);” “forbearing spirit (NAS).” Greek epieikes: reasonableness, yieldedness, moderation, kindness. See Acts 24:4; 2 Cor 10:1; 1 Tim 3:3; Jas 3:17.
How would this quality help Euodia and Syntyche? How could it change any relationship?
List some specific ways in which we can let our gentleness be evident to all.
(4:5) In what two ways could we understand, “The Lord is near?” How does that truth inspire us  to make our gentleness evident to others and  not to be anxious?
(4:6) What are some major sources of anxiety in today’s high-stress climate?
Is prayer usually our first resort, or our last resort? Why?
How does prayer relieve our stress and change our outlook?
How does thanksgiving (not just petition) in prayer help to reduce anxiety?
What is the peace of God, and how does it guard our hearts and minds?
Describe a tense time in your own life when God gave you peace as a result of prayer.
How should we look at “unanswered” prayer? What if the Lord does not remove the source of our anxiety as far as we can tell?
What other Scriptures and ideas will help us become more effective in prayer?
(4:8) With what should we fill our minds, rather than with our anxieties?
How can these thoughts help displace and force out our anxieties?
What will happen to us if we let our minds dwell on the wrong things?
The world bombards us with messages that are not true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, or praiseworthy. How can we screen out these messages? How does an active prayer life help?
Discuss: “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
(4:9) In what four ways should the Philippians (and we) benefit from Paul’s example?
What good does it do to learn, receive, hear, and see what is right, but never put it into practice?
What do you find ironic or unusual in the way that Paul says “thank you” to the Philippians?
The source of true contentment (according to Paul, the world, or you) is:
- Favorable circumstances: good health, financial security, possessions, and achievement.
- Fulfillment of the “American dream:” a big house, a nice car, and an ideal family.
- Other people: acceptance, recognition, and appreciation.
- Faith in a Sovereign God to sustain one regardless of all other factors.
Contentment (according to Paul, the world, or you) results from:
- Accumulating what we want.
- Choosing to be at peace with what we have and limiting what we want.
What do the following Scriptures reveal about contentment?
1 Tim 6:6-10
Why do some people who have more seem to enjoy life less?
How do Satan, the world, and the advertising industry promise yet steal our contentment?
What attitudes hinder many Christians from being content?
(4:10) How have the Philippians renewed their concern for Paul? See 4:18.
(4:11) How can Paul say, while in prison, “I am not in need?”
(4:11) If contentment must be “learned,” it does not come naturally. What might the Lord use to teach us contentment? Might he use adversity, loss, and disappointment?
(4:12) What would you prefer: to be in need, to have plenty, or to be content in either case?
(4:13) What is the “secret” that Paul has learned?
Name some unbearable things that the Lord enabled Paul to bear. See 2 Cor 11:23-29.
(4:15-16) What made the Philippian church unique to Paul? See also Phil 1:3-8.
Contrast the Philippians with the Corinthians. See 2 Cor 11:8-9.
(4:17) Normally we think that, when we make withdrawals from an account, we decrease its value. However the New Testament consistently teaches that in some sense giving actually increases our account. Read the following and discuss how this could be true.
2 Cor 9:6-11
(4:18) Remember what Paul wrote earlier about Epaphroditus (Phil 2:25-30). This faithful brother delivered the church’s gift to Paul and then carried this letter back home to Philippi. Imagine the joy and blessings he received as a result and what God “credited to his account.”
Discuss: “When we are content with what we have, each gift we receive is an excellent bonus.”
What was a “fragrant offering” in Old Testament times? See Lev 1:9, 13, 17; 2:2, 9, 12.
Who ate the meat that was cooked in the process? See Lev 6:16, 18.
What about today? Is a gift to an apostle or missionary actually a “fragrant offering” to God?
Also see regarding Christian “sacrifices:” Eph 5:2; Rom 12:1-2; Heb 13:16.
(4:19) If Christians are poor, persecuted, and imprisoned, is it really true that God “meets all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus?”
(4:22) How did people “in Caesar’s household” come to be followers of Christ?