Paul closes his letter to the Philippians by returning to a thought that he began his letter with, his partnership with the Philippians. Here Paul does not have any sin to call the Philippians out on, but praise for excelling in concern and generosity. Paul indicates that the value of such generosity is not limited to the help that it provided Paul, but is primarily valuable because it brings God pleasure to see his children providing for each other out of the confidence that he will richly provide for them. This, of course, brings God glory. So Paul closes calling for the glory of God, echoing his prayer at the opening of the letter that the Philippians would be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (1:11).
Describe a time when you felt like all your needs were met? Can you think of a time when you were perfectly content? If not why? How did that affect you or your relationships?
1. What is Paul rejoicing in?
2. Many people think of Philippians as a thank you letter. Yet Paul never thanks the Philippians for their partnership with them. Here he says he “rejoiced in the Lord” for their concern. What does that tell you about Paul’s perspective on their financial help?
3. Why would it be significant for the Philippians to know that Paul is not rejoicing because they alleviated his need? (Hint: revisit the question “What is he specifically rejoicing for?”)
4. What is Paul’s secret to contentment and strength? How does this work?
5. How does Paul describe his relationship with the Philippians? How is his relationship with them unique among the churches he planted?
6. What is the difference between volunteering or donating and entering into partnership with someone?
7. What is Paul’s desire for the Philippians in their partnership? What is he seeking for them?
8. Why does Paul call their gift a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, and pleasing to God? Was it a gift to Paul or to God? How might the different perspectives affect someone’s giving?
9. Why is it significant for the Philippians to know that God will supply their needs?
10. What might Paul want to emphasize about God’s generosity with the phrases, “according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus?
11. How does God get glory when we are generous?
12. What keeps us from feeling the contentment that Paul felt? When do you live as though God were not meeting “all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus”?
13. Who are these people for whom you feel concerned? Are there people you have partnered with to provide for their needs over me? If not what has kept you from generosity?
14. How have you seen God provide for you in the past? (It may not be only physically, but spiritually or otherwise)
15. How does it affect you to think of God’s generosity as “glorious riches”? How does it affect you to remember that God provides for those “In Jesus Christ”?
16. What would it look like to recognize God’s provision in your life? How would it change the way you think about yourself, or your situation?
17. Who has God put into your life that is in need? What are their needs? What would it look like for you to partner with them and show concern for them?
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