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Philippians 3:4–14 (NIV)
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Keys to transformation:
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings...
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name. Philippians 2:8–9 (NIV)
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
3. Holding on
I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me...
Small Group Questions
CONNECT WITH GOD (choose one of these practices that best suits your group or use a practice from a previous week)
Silence: Explain that you are going to be silent as a way of inviting the Lord into your time together. Read the following quote by Richard Foster and begin your silent time of connection with the Lord.
Silence is one of the deepest disciplines of the Spirit simply because it puts the stopper on all self-justification. One of the fruits of silence is the freedom to let God be our justifier. We don’t need to straighten others out.
Read: “If you can’t take time to do nothing, you are a slave to doing. Doing nothing is a radical, revolutionary act. It frees you from the universal slavery of our age: slavery to the clock. The clock measures doing but not being” —Peter Kreeft
Explain: During these next 3-5 minutes write down all of the tasks that are occupying your mind and keeping you from simply being in the presence of the God who loves you. When you have written down the things you are hurrying from, simply sit focusing on Jesus.
Focus on the Cross:
Read: ““If the Cross of Christ is anything to the mind, it is surely everything – the most profound reality and the sublimest mystery.”
—John R.W. Stott, The Cross of Christ
Journal: Draw a simple cross in your journal. Put down your pen and spend three minutes focusing on the love of Jesus displayed at the cross. End by thanking the Lord for the cross.
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
Journaling: Spend 3 minutes writing a list of what reasons you have confidence in the flesh - your points of pride, identity, successes, etc. in this world. When you are done making your list, have someone read Philippians 3:8-9. Reflecting on these verses, cross out your points one by one, starting with the ones that are easiest to consider a loss for the sake of Christ and ending with the most difficult. Discuss with each other one or more of the following questions:
- How easy or difficult was it to make your list?
- How easy or difficult was it to imagine the things from your list as garbage?
- What was the hardest point to cross out?
- What sufferings or challenges in your life do you need to face in order to know Christ more?
End in prayer, thanking God that we have our prize and identity grounded in Christ.
CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Read the passages and review the sermon outline. Then select the best questions or customize the questions for your group.)
- Read Philippians 3:4–14.
- Read the main points from the sermon outline.
- What does it mean to have righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith (v. 9)?
- How does knowing the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings(v. 10) help us to know Christ more?
- What encouragement can we take in knowing that Paul himself also says that he has not already arrived at my goal (v. 12)?
- What things do you think Paul is forgetting that are now behind him (v. 13)?
CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD (select one question for discussion)
- How can we live day to day as those who consider all things as loss (v.7) for the sake of others to know Christ?
- What is God asking you to strain towards as you look ahead (v.13)?
- Who in your life needs the encouragement to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (v.14)?
- As Easter approaches, who are you going to invite to services who needs to experience the love of Christ?
End in prayer, paying special attention to specific prayer requests. Please also pray for our celebration of Holy Week together.