Welcome to the sixth week of our fall series Philippians: Choosing Joy Under Pressure. Sitting in a Roman prison, Paul writes a letter to a church in crisis. Paul’s letter encourages us in the midst of our struggles. This week, we see how our reputation can help advance the gospel. Today’s conversation covers four character traits important for us as we desire to see the gospel impact those around us.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
Today we will read that Timothy served Paul. Sometimes in our small groups, we just default to thinking the leader will help the group care for situations as they come up. However, sometimes the leader may be the one needing care. What does it look like for a group to care for each other and the leader?
Share part of your story
Who in your life modeled strong character? What specific trait stood out to you about them?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Look back to Philippians 2:19–30. Identify the main themes, big ideas and key words in these verses.
Paul gives the Philippians some examples of what it looks like to follow Jesus and work to advance to the gospel. He knows the gospel is at risk in the community in Philippi. What does a 5-star reputation of the people in Philippi have to do with the gospel?
Paul tells the Philippians about the genuine care of Timothy. How does Paul describe Timothy?
Timothy demonstrated his care by being dependable. Being dependable means others can count on you. Do you think dependability is becoming more or less valued in our culture?
Why do you think it is important for a Jesus follower to care, whether it is something big or small? What do you think could happen if they don’t?
What is the importance of showing real care and being dependable for your small group? What are some practical steps we can take to grow in care and dependability?
Timothy intentionally models a life of service. How do you think faithful service helps the gospel advance?
Timothy “proves” himself through intentional, faithful service to Paul so the gospel can advance. What can you learn about someone through his or her service that you might not learn any other way?
Pastor Jeff often says service reminds us that it’s not about me, it’s not about me. What do you think he means when he says this?
Epaphroditus journeys from Philippi to Rome to carry a gift for Paul. He risked his health and even his life to make the journey. Following Jesus often involves risk. What do we risk when we share about Jesus with someone? What do we risk when we decide to take the next step in financial giving? What do we risk when we choose to forgive someone?
How is risking something for Jesus an important part of the gospel spreading?
Where is God asking you to risk?
Paul lives for one thing—God. He wants to see the Jesus message spread. What do we know about the life of Paul that would show his selflessness?
Paul sends Epaphroditus back to Philippi and even wants to send Timothy. He was thinking of the Philippian believers before himself. Given where Paul is, what is he sacrificing by sending Epaphroditus and Timothy?
Paul prioritized God, others, then himself. What does our culture tell us to value? How have you seen things like social media cause people to focus on themselves even more?
Paul’s focus on others actually leads to less anxiety for him. What are some ways focusing on others can help us be less anxious?
Paul understands the gospel is at risk in Philippi and gives them two examples of people who model what it means to live for Jesus. He encourages them to care, to be intentional, to take a risk to advance the gospel and to be selfless. Which one of these areas would you like to take a Next Step in this week? What is one practical way to do it?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
Timothy modeled a life of service that was intentional. Discuss where you are serving and ways you can plug into faithful and consistent service. For ideas, visit adabible.org/serving to see the different service opportunities at Ada Bible Church.
Timothy served Paul in his ministry, but eventually Paul sends him out to do his own ministry. For someone in the group, it may be time to take the Next Step of leading a new group. Discuss what this might look like for your group. If you are interested in having a conversation about leading a group, email us at email@example.com.
Download a printable PDF here.