Philippians 1:7-11: Small Group Discussion Guide

**Bible Reading:**

Philippians 1:3-11 (ESV)
"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so 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."

Matthew 5:11-12 (ESV)
"Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

**Observation Questions:**

1. In Philippians 1:3-11, what are the reasons Paul gives for his joy and thanksgiving when he prays for the Philippian church?
2. How does Paul describe the partnership in the gospel between himself and the Philippian believers?
3. What does Paul pray for regarding the love of the Philippian believers, and what are the components he wishes to accompany their love?
4. Reflecting on Matthew 5:11-12, what attitude does Jesus suggest His followers should have when facing opposition?

**Interpretation Questions:**

1. Considering Paul's description of the partnership in the gospel, what might be some characteristics of a church that is deeply connected in the mission of spreading the gospel?
2. How might the love that Paul prays for, which abounds with knowledge and discernment, look different from love that is based solely on emotion?
3. What does it mean to "approve what is excellent" and how can this discernment impact the way believers live their lives?
4. In light of Jesus' words in Matthew 5:11-12, how should believers view persecution and opposition in the context of their faith?

**Application Questions:**

1. Identify a specific way you can contribute to the partnership in the gospel within your community this week.
2. Choose one relationship in your life where you can demonstrate commitment to work for the good of the loved one, as described in the sermon. What action will you take?
3. Think of a current cultural issue that requires discernment. How can you apply moral and spiritual clarity to this issue in your conversations this week?
4. Recall a recent situation where you faced opposition for your faith. How did you respond, and how might you respond differently in the future to align with Jesus' teaching in Matthew 5:11-12?
5. What is one area of your life where you need to grow in knowledge and discernment? Set a goal for how you will pursue growth in this area over the next month.

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