Friendships {Philippians 2:19-30}

Read Philippians 2:19-30.


How many of us have them?

If you remember from Chapter one, you can feel Paul’s affection for his Christian family. He longs to be with them, he is thankful for them in his prayers, and is grateful to have someone to share in grace and in his suffering.

Friendships can be hard. Friendships can be messy. Friendships can be one of the greatest blessings on this Earth.

I have friends that I have known since high school, friends that speak truth in love to me, friends that make me laugh, friends that will sit with me in pain, friends that are a season ahead of me, friends that are a season behind me. Each of these friendships adds value to my life.

Image Credit: Iryna Yeroshko, Creative Commons

Paul mentions two of his friends in this passage:

Timothy, who was like a son in the faith to him.

Epaphroditus who Paul says was a brother to him.

Both fellow workers in the faith, whom he encouraged and whom he was encouraged by.

Notice how Paul refers to his Christian friends? He uses the terms son and brother. He considers these fellow workers, one he was discipling and training up, and the other who was ministering to him in his time of need, to be like family.

Again, the Christian life is not meant to be lived alone. We are to have others around us to sharpen us, encourage us, and challenge us. I think it’s important to note that Paul didn’t just have friends that were in the same season of life as he was, either. He had Timothy, who was younger and less mature in the faith and he had Epaphroditus who was a fellow worker and encourager. He had someone behind him and someone beside him.

What about you? Do you have a Timothy, someone you’re pouring into? I think we can learn from Paul and see that while we think discipling someone takes much from us, it really in the end adds to our life and fills us. Consider finding someone a season behind you to pour into and then grab some friends to run alongside you.

1. What are some of the characteristics Paul says about these men, his friends?

2. Why do we need friendships?

3. How are your friendships? Do you have friends that are in different seasons or walks of life? What can you do this week to pursue healthy friendships?

Maybe you are Timothy in need of a Paul. The Well has a mentoring program, if you’re interested in being or finding a mentor, you can sign up here: The Well: Mentors


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Work Out Your Salvation {Philippians 2:12-18}

Read Philippians 2:12-18.

One of the greatest lies of the enemy is that we are to work hard to earn our salvation. We must do enough good things to get on God’s good side. He makes us believe our behavior is what matters most in God’s sight.

I know I used to believe that. Which is why the Gospel was so confusing to me at first. And why when I compared myself to others who had done heinous things, I didn’t consider myself so bad.

However, we can never earn our salvation. Not one of us can live a perfect life, even the most goodie-two-shoes of us has still had anger in their heart or told a white lie.

So where does that leave us if we can’t work for our salvation?

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It leaves us with Jesus who has done the work for us.




We live in light of his death.

Which is why Paul is telling us in these verses to “work out our salvation”. We don’t work FOR our salvation, but once we are saved we work OUT our salvation.

In other words, if we have truly come to understand the meaning behind the verses we read yesterday, and have truly come to understand Jesus and the Gospel good news that he has saved, our lives should look different. We should live differently after coming into right relationship with God. We should care about our morality, we should care about our work on Earth, we should care about the broken, the poor, the hurting, the lost, because Christ cared enough to die for all of these things.

Our good works don’t earn us salvation, but our good works matter. We can’t be any more approved by God in Christ Jesus, and because of that approval our lives should be full of compassion, love, and good work. So much so, that like Paul says in verse 17 we are to be poured out like a drink offering.

When we truly grasp the Gospel, our lives will be forever changed.

We can work out our salvation because of the work God has already done.

We can work out our salvation because it is God who works in us and through us.

We can live our life poured out as a drink offering because Christ’s blood has been poured out as a sacrifice.

With fear and trembling, let’s work out our salvation and point others to the One who saves.

1. What does God to for us according to verse 13?

2. Why is this significant when considering the good works we may do on earth?

3. Are you still trying to earn God’s approval? How can you rest in the finished work of Christ today?


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Humility of Christ {Philippians 2:5-11}

Read Philippians 2:5-11

These verses found here in Philippians 2 might be some of the most significant verses found in scripture that tell of Christ’s humanity.

God with us
The Word made flesh

humilityImage Credit: Tony Verdú Carbó, Creative Commons

One of the unique qualities of Jesus, of the Christian faith, is a God who came to Earth as a humble servant.

A God who emptied Himself so that we would be filled.
A God who became obedient to death, so that we could have new life.
A God who was brought low so that we would praise His name on high.
A God who dies in humility and is raised up in glory and honor.

This is our LORD and Savior, Christ Jesus.

A perfect God, living the life you and I could never live and dying the death that you and I deserve.

In all of the ways God could have chosen to reveal Himself, He chose to do so personally. He chose to be known by mankind, by making Himself known.

He chose to dwell among so we could know about.

These verses show his full humanity, which is what makes his death a full satisfactory payment for our sin. If He was not fully human, this sacrificial atonement would not fulfill God’s requirement. We know the penalty of sin is death, and without a perfect sacrifice God’s judgment is not satisfied. Christ Jesus taking our punishment is the ultimate example of humility, love, and service.

Again, Paul is telling us how to live. WE do not live in humility or service to others out of our own strength, but out of God’s love and Spirit, modeling after Him. We are called to reflect our God to the world around us. In order to do that, we must incarnate the brokenness and the pain in our world, we must dwell among the lost and the outcast. WE must love in humility just as our LORD Jesus did.

1. What are some of the characteristics of Jesus based on these verses?

2. In today’s culture, is humility a virtue? Why or why not?

3. Does humility mark your life? How can you better follow after Christ and serve others in humility?


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Unity & One Love {Philippians 2:1-4}

Read Philippians 2:1-4

Last week, Paul’s words helped renew my perspective on suffering. This week, we’ll get to see his perspective on how we live the Christian life.

He starts this second chapter, reminding us that we, as Christians, are to be of one mind, under one love, one of our greatest aims should be unity.

IMG_4061Image Credit: Pettann, Creative Commons

I don’t know how much time you spend on the Internet, or reading other Christian blogs, but it is like a blood bath out there. Right now, there is a media storm around a pastor and some of the things he said years ago, and they’re ugly. Awful words that no Christian, let alone pastor should say. But he did. And those who disagree with his theology are sharing every bit of it, rubbing his nose in it, and making sure everyone knows about it.

We all saw the same thing happen with the World Vision controversy. We as Christians can be so mean to one another over our opinions and quite frankly, it’s embarrassing and sinful.

We don’t all have to agree with each other, but we should be able to disagree or confront sin in a loving way. We should hold unity above airing other people’s dirty laundry.

Paul is reminding us of that here, this problem is not new. It’s been around for ages, different camps within theology. However, he encourages us to be unified and to not only look to our own interests but to the interests of others.

These few verses get to the heart of the Christian life, we are called to humility, unity, and serving others. Our calling is to love and service.

We as Christian are to follow after the example our LORD Jesus gives in seeking unity and seeking others’ needs above our own.


1. List Paul’s instructions for us as Christians in verses 2-4.

2. Look up the word humility and write the definition below.

3. Do you consider your needs or the needs of others more important? How can you live in a way that helps seek the good of others more than the good of your own self?


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To Live is Christ {Philippians 1:19-30}

Read Philippians 1:19-30.

Apart from Jesus and Job, I don’t know anyone else from the Bible who has suffered more than Paul. This man was nearly beaten to death more than once, was imprisoned for his faith, bit by a snake, shipwrecked, and a hungry vagabond.

Yet, you can see in his letters he has one ambition after coming to Christ . . .

To make Him known and bring Him glory.

arms upImage Credit: Bethan, Creative Commons

He is literally weighing out the benefits of staying on Earth and getting beat up again to labor for the LORD or leaving the Earth to be in Heaven with God. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Um, hello? Paul! You are crazy. People are trying to kill you and you still want to go out and proclaim Christ.

That’s passion.

Paul’s greatest aim in life is to see God glorified. So much in fact, that he tells the Philippians in verse 27, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.”

This message is for us today as well. God’s greatest desire for us on Earth is to labor for Him, live in a manner worthy of wearing His name, striving in unity, side by side. Our greatest aim in life should be knowing Christ and making Him known.

Part of knowing Him is sharing in His suffering. If we learned anything from Chapter 1, it’s that suffering is a part of the Christian life. It’s the part all of us would prefer to do without, but I think if we’re honest, it’s suffering that makes us grow in Christ and lean on Him more.

Paul shows us the way to suffer well and find joy and peace in the midst of pain is by keeping an eternal perspective. When we can meditate on who God is and what He has planned for eternal life, our perspective for suffering on Earth will change. Remembering “to live is Christ and to die is gain” is how we can press on through hard times.

1. What are some of the things Paul lists in chapter 1 that should mark the Christian life?

2. What does it mean to life in a manner worthy of the LORD? Use Ephesians 5:1-21 as a guide.

3. Paul tells us that when we suffer well, it is a sign to non-believers of our salvation (v.28). What is your attitude in suffering? How can you be both honest in your pain and yet represent God and bring glory to Him?


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Advance the Gospel {Philippians 1:12-18}

Read Philippians 1:12-18

It’s hard to imagine that trials and our terrible circumstances would actually bring good. In the midst of hard times and suffering, we can’t see past the pain and so we stop believing God is with us or working in our suffering.

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

For those that love God and are in His will, He works ALL things for good.

Terrible things.
Hard things.
Painful things.
Good things.
Bad things.

All work for good. This doesn’t mean all things ARE good, but that God can use even the most painful places in our life for good.

Do you believe that?


While I don’t know what it’s like to be wrongfully accused and put in prison, I do know what it’s like to have figurative “chains” that I can’t break out of.

My husband and I have walked through infertility for 3 1/2 years. Believe me, if there’s any circumstance we’re trying to pray our way out of, it’s this. Yet, like Paul, I can say “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” because I have seen this first hand. My suffering has allowed me to sit with others who are suffering in the same way and point them to Jesus. Do I want out, YES! Do I ask God to change my circumstance, YES! But in the meantime, I’ve learned that God is working all things for my good, even when they don’t feel good, and I trust that His plan and purpose for my life and those around me is bigger than what my eyes can see and my heart can feel.

I can grow bitter and weary or I can redeem the pain and use it to spread the Gospel.

I think that’s Paul’s point in these first 18 verses. He is showing us that even circumstances that seem hopeless can be used to bring God glory. We just have to be willing to look past the pain, and look up in praise.

1. What is the result of Paul’s imprisonment in verses 13-14?

2. What does it mean to proclaim Christ? Why is Paul comparing this between love and selfish ambition?

3. Is there a circumstance that you are praying your way out of? Have you grown weary? Bitter? Angry? What would it look like to ask God to redeem the pain rather than remove the pain?

This is a lot to ask of someone, and I honestly don’t think we can truly praise God in the midst of pain (not for the pain, but praise Him in the midst of pain) unless we truly understand the Gospel. So again, remind yourself who God is and what He’s done for you. Read here for more on “What is the Gospel” or visit the website “Self-Talk the Gospel” for resources on how to keep a Gospel perspective during suffering.


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Paul’s Prayer Life {Philippians 1:9-11}

Read Philippians 1:9-11

I don’t know about you, but Paul’s prayer life messes with me. Do you remember where he is while writing this letter?

In prison.

When was the last time you were in prison? Okay, maybe you’ve never been in prison so when was the last time you were in a circumstance that felt like prison?

Locked up, no way out, feeling hopeless, alone, and dark.

What was your prayer life like?

Image Credit: Anandham, Creative Commons

I can tell you when I am in a circumstance that seems hopeless, my prayer life does not look like this:

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (v9-11)

It looks like this:

God GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?? Have you forgotten me? Why are you allowing me to stay in this prison for so long?

What about you? What is your prayer life in times of suffering? Prison? Circumstances that won’t seem to change?

Paul is not even focused on God changing His circumstance. In fact, in the midst of his circumstance, he is praying for others to know and love God more. He is praying that others would grow in their discernment, be pure and blameless, filled with the fruit of righteousness. Then, he closes his prayer “to the glory and praise of God.”

It’s as if Paul’s greatest aim in life is to bring glory to God, even if that means sitting in a prison cell for days on end, trusting that God will use his circumstance for His purpose and His glory.

I want to learn to pray like that. I want perspective like that. I want to trust God in the midst of my prison sentence because above all, I want His glory above my own comfort and my own plan.

1. List the things Paul prays for.

2. What does it mean to be filled with the fruit of righteousness? Use Galatians 5:22 as a guide.

3. What is your prayer life like in comparison to Paul’s? Is there a circumstance that God has you in right now that is hard to see past? How can you begin to pray with God’s glory in mind?

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Completing the Work {Philippians 1:1-8}

Read Philippians 1:1-8.

Have you ever had a friend who encourages you and loves you in a way that lifts you up? Pushes you forward? Helps you endure?

I think the apostle Paul would be a friend like this. He is writing this letter, in prison, in chains, and writing with JOY. He is so grateful that while he is chained up, his friends are out doing the work God has for them to do.

You can feel Paul’s affection for his friends in Philippi. He is so grateful for their partnership, their love for God, and their sharing in God’s grace with him (v.8). If there’s one thing I have learned about the Christian life, it’s that it is not meant to be lived alone.


We need each other. There will be days when we want to give up and crawl in a hole, and we need each other to help us out. We will have circumstances that make us feel chained up and we’ll need others to help us live free. There will be days when we’ll want to shy away in fear or doubt from what God has called us to do, and we’ll need friends to remind us to be “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (v.6)

We need others to lift us up and push us on. Do you have others to lean on and grow with? Who are the people you would trust to help you in a time of need? Do you have partners in the Gospel? Who do you share in God’s grace with?

1. List some of the reasons Paul is thankful and joyful from these verses.

2. Who is it that completes the “good work” we are doing? Why is this significant?

3. Is there something God has put on your heart, a good work to be done, that you’re not doing out of fear, doubt, insecurity, etc.? Write it out below. Who can you share that with and let them partner with you to help you move forward?

If you are in need of community and others to help you grow, let me know. We are launching a bunch of life groups in September that cultivate these types of friendships or you and I can just go grab coffee 😉


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Philippians 1


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(Can’t see the video? View it here)

1. Read the first chapter of Philippians. Record any notes, questions, observations you had from this chapter.

2. How many times is the word Gospel repeated in this chapter?

3. What is the Gospel? When did the Gospel become real to you? Write it out or share with someone in your life this week!


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