Today’s Scripture Focus: Philippians 4:1-13
There are so many wonderful truths in today’s scripture focus that we are going to just jump right in to it. Paul is concluding his letter to the Philippians, the theme of which has been joy and unity. Paul now applies this teaching to a concrete example. Two leading women in the church at Philippi were in conflict, and it had caused a division in the church. Paul pleads with them to become “of the same mind” in the Lord. Paul requests the other church leaders in the “book of life” , such as Clement, help them do this. The book of life is the equivalent of government roles that listed citizens. Those in God’s book were citizens in Heaven.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” (v4) Philippians is the “joy” letter. Paul reminds his readers that the Lord is “near” – in other words, He is returning soon. Therefore, instead of concerning themselves with who is in the right in the division between Euodia and Syntyche, they should act with “gentleness” towards everyone. If anyone has been wronged, just remain wronged, get over it, and serve God together. Instead of spending time worrying about who is right, who is wrong, or the division in general, the Philippians should spend time in prayer and thanksgiving. Then, God will give everyone supernatural peace and joy.
The Philippians had been generous to Paul, both when he first came to Macedonia and once again when he was in prison. They had been doing a good job of proclaiming the gospel. Therefore, Paul gives them general instruction for “keeping on keeping on”. If they will focus on what is true, honorable, just, pure, etc. then God’s peace will remain in them. Paul reminds the Philippians that they have benefited more from giving to Paul than Paul has in receiving. Paul had reached the state in his relationship with God that no matter how desperate his circumstances became, he remained content in the Lord.
What was the secret of Paul’s contentment? “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Paul has laid out a clear choice in Philippians. We can be the kind of person who worries, stays focused on our limitations, gets stuck on how someone else wronged us, grumbles and complains, argues to get our way, cares only about our immediate needs, and falls apart when things go wrong. OR, we can have a “joy” mindset, take all of our needs to God in prayer, thank God for what we already have, focus on Heaven, not worry when we are wronged, and choose contentment no matter our circumstances. Now, what kind of Christian would you rather be?
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
There are some verses in the Bible that stay in our mind and encourage us just when we need them. What are some of those familiar phrases in today’s scripture focus?
Philippians has a lot to say about attitudes (mind set). What is the difference between a good attitude and a bad attitude? What is your first reaction when things go wrong—focus on the problem or focus on God?
As a class, pray that we will develop a “Philippians 4” attitude as we journey together towards Heaven. It will make the journey much more enjoyable!