The following outline and discussion questions have been prepared to accompany the sermon on February 25, “Gospel Perspective (pt. 2)” (Phil 1:12–18). The questions can be used for discussion in small groups or for personal reflection. Link to PDF.
Main Point (1:12–18) The gospel completely reshapes our perspective by redefining the nature of true success.
I. The Situation: Unstoppable Advance of the Gospel (1:12–17)
A. Advancing through imprisonment (1:13)
B. Advancing though ever-increasing boldness (1:14)
C. Advancing despite mixed motivations (15–17)
II. Paul’s Response: Unbridled celebration over the Gospel’s advance (1:18)
Question: How can Paul rejoice when disingenuous preachers are preaching the gospel for their own ends?
I. Paul is Passionate About Gospel Purity
A. Paul reserves his strongest language for those who pervert the gospel
B. Paul believes that he gospel is more than a “decision” for Jesus
C. Paul must believe that these disingenuous preachers are truly preaching Christ.
II. Paul is Critiquing their Motives NOT the Content of Their Message (1:14–17)
A. Their identity (1:14–17)
B. Their motivation (1:15–17a)
C. Their goal (1:17b)
D. Their message (1:14; 1:18)
III. What Can We Learn From Paul Today?
A. Learn to celebrate the important things
B. Learn to check your motives first
- In what ways has Paul’s situation “really served to advance the gospel” (1:12)?
- How do we know that these self-serving preachers were really preaching the gospel? [1. Textual evidence. 2. Circumstantial evidence]
- How is the boldness of those who “preach Christ from envy and rivalry” different from the boldness of those who preach from “good will” (1:15–17). [Connect to part 1. Q: How does persecution and imprisonment produce boldness? A: Superior Power and Superior Treasure. And contrast with “boldness” of the envious group who are emboldened merely because Paul is out of the picture.]
- What are you most passionate about right now? Honestly? (What do you think about the most and spend your time and money pursuing?)
- How can we nurture and pursue a greater sense of gospel-centered perspective in our personal lives?
- What are the three things that cause Christians to struggle with boldness that pastor Mark identified two weeks ago in part 1 (Sunday, February 18)?
- How might these three things nurture OR erode gospel-centered perspective? (Nurture if corrected and erode if uncorrected.)
- How do our personal motivations in service or refusal to serve nurture OR erode gospel-centered perspective?
- What would our church look like if we, as a local congregation, we measured and celebrated true success like Paul does in 1:18? What kind of things would we be doing?