LIFE group guide: I can do all things?

 

NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow night (March 10). This guide will enable your follow-up in our LIFE groups of my sermon tomorrow morning. This sermon is part one in a series of sermons dealing with some commonly misunderstood and misused Scriptures. The title of this series is I Do No Think It Means What You Think It Means. This first sermon in this series deals with Philippians 4.13 and is entitled “I Can Do All Things?” Look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous discussion guides. All Scripture texts reproduced below are from the CEB.

Aim

To examine familiar Scripture more closely, so as to correct our misunderstanding.

Word

• I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4.13 KJV)

• I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4.13 NIV 1984)

• I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4.13 NIV 2011)

• I was very glad in the Lord because now at last you have shown concern for me again. (Of course you were always concerned but had no way to show it.) I’m not saying this because I need anything, for I have learned how to be content in any circumstance. I know the experience of being in need and of having more than enough; I have learned the secret to being content in any and every circumstance, whether full or hungry or whether having plenty or being poor. I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength. Still, you have done well to share my distress. (Philippians 4.10-14 CEB)

Open

Icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.

1. Tell us, with humility, what you think you’re good at. Name one of your strengths.

2. What’s something you’re not at all good at, but have to do often? Name a weakness.

3. Name something hard to do, but that you’ve learned to do. How’d you learn it?

Dig

These questions are meant to help us grapple with Scripture related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.

1. What exactly had the Philippians done for Paul? What makes you think so (vs. 10-14)?

2. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to say “thank you” simply because it’s so easy for people to get the wrong impression. Paul told the Philippian Christians “thank you” (vs. 10a). What sort of wrong impressions did he want them to avoid (vs. 10b-14)?

3. Sometimes it’s hard to help others. You might be afraid they’ll expect more help in the future. Or that they’ll become dependent on you. Or that you’ll be throwing good money after bad. Does Paul say anything here (vs. 10-14) that makes you think some of the Philippians might have thought such of helping him? Explain.

Reflect

These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.

1. Why is it all too easy for us to read Scripture without considering its context?

2. What sort of factors make this text (vs. 13) especially difficult for us as Americans to understand, appreciate, and live?

3. What sort of unhealthy thinking does the popular misunderstanding of this text sometimes generate? Brainstorm a list.

4. Finish this sentence: “I struggle most at being content whenever I __________?”

5. What experiences seem to consistently spark a keen sense of awareness deep within you of your absolute dependence on God?

6. What does it cost to do the good thing and “share” in someone’s “distress?” (vs. 10,14)

7. What can a Christian do to learn “how to be content in any circumstance?” (vs. 12)?

8. Given what you’ve learned, restate Paul’s point in vs. 13 in your own words.

fresh bread: if I want to hear him say “you are a good and faithful servant” …

Having heard my Lord speak straight to me through Matthew 25:14-30 I know …

I must seize this opportunity he has given me. No matter how many decades I might live, my life is short and the days fly by. I am here only for a little while so I must do more than dream and intend; I must act and act now.

I must not be paralyzed by fear. I dare not play it safe by making the avoidance of loss or embarrassment my objective in life. If I’m not taking risks for his glory now, I’m not living my life as my Lord intended for me to live it.

I must put to work what God has entrusted to me. My Lord knows me better than I know myself and he has given me what I have with that in mind. If I do not fully exert myself or try to make the most of his resources he has temporarily put in my care, then I am a lazy, foolish, unproductive person unworthy of the designation as “servant.”

I must not misunderstand the character of my Lord. If I mistake his expectations of me as hardness, I will never grasp, much less enjoy, the depth of his generosity. If I view his trust in me as an extension of his own trustworthiness, I will surely enter into the joy of my Lord.

I must live with my Lord’s pleasure as my goal. To do so will make my Lord happy and his pleasure will surely spill over onto me. To completely bless the Lord with my life here and now will lead to my total blessing there and then forever.

Heavenly Father, I long to hear you say to me “you are a good and faithful servant.” I know those who will have the ultimate regret over their life will be those who never really tried. So Father, in the name of Jesus, bring me to that servant way of life for you now. Break whatever is within me that mindlessly resists such a life and reinforce whatever good you have caused to be within me. May I wholly celebrate you by living my life in service to you and so avoid regret over the loss of what might have been. Amen.