NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow night (April 14). This guide will enable your follow-up in our LIFE groups of my sermon tomorrow morning from Philippians 3.8-11: The Forgotten Verse. 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.
To examine familiar Scripture more closely, so as to correct common misunderstandings.
… I consider everything a loss in comparison with the superior value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have lost everything for him, but what I lost I think of as sewer trash, so that I might gain Christ and be found in him. In Christ I have a righteousness that is not my own and that does not come from the Law but rather from the faithfulness of Christ. It is the righteousness of God that is based on faith. The righteousness that I have comes from knowing Christ, the power of his resurrection, and the participation in his sufferings. It includes being conformed to his death so that I may perhaps reach the goal of the resurrection of the dead. (Philippians 3.8b-11)
Icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.
1. Complete this sentence: “If someone went through my garbage bags each week, they’d likely be surprised as to just how much ________ I throw away.”
2. Tell us about one of your great “glory” moments in life, or, if you prefer, one of your experiences of profound “humiliation.” Be silly or serious, either one.
3. Tell us of some “good trade” you’ve made in life; a time you truly “traded up.”
These questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.
1. Compare different English translations of the phrase “sewer trash” (vs. 8). What other renderings do you find used?
2. What is a Christian’s righteousness, or if you please, where does it come from?
3. What does it mean to experience the power of Christ’s resurrection (vs. 10)?
4. What does it mean to participate in Christ’s sufferings (vs. 10)?
5. From this text, make a list of everything Paul experiences, or wants to experience, in Christ (vs. 8-11).
These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.
1. What has following Christ cost you, that upon looking back, you’re glad you lost?
2. What does it mean to you to know that as a Christian, your righteousness is not really your own, but that of another, given to you?
3. Paul said he had a righteousness “that does not come from the Law” (vs. 9). In what ways have you attempted (or seen other Christians attempt) to “get your righteousness” from sources other than Christ himself?
4. Do you face anything that tempts you on a continual basis to renounce the superior value of Christ? That is, is there anything you sense tugging at you all the time to leave Christ and live life with it, and without him?
5. You’re talking with someone who is yet to believe and they say to you: “I often hear Christians talk about ‘knowing God’ or ‘knowing Christ.’ What does it mean to ‘know Jesus?’” How would you reply?
6. What consistently underscores in your mind the superior value of knowing Christ?