Catch up on how things have been over the past week. Then ask group members: how have you seen God at work in your life recently?
Ask for a volunteer to read Philippians 2:12-18 to the group, praying that you’d be deeply impacted by God’s word and then impact others in Jesus’ name.
If you’re not gathered in person, the leader should project the video for the group through sharing their screen
Here are some suggested questions to help your discussion:
The phrase ‘work out your salvation with fear and trembling’ in verse 12 can cause some Christians confusion. In Chapter 2 of Basics for Believers, D. A. Carson offers some help:
The text does not say, “Work to acquire your salvation, for God has done his bit and now it is all up to you.” Nor does it say, “You may already have your salvation, but now perseverance in it depends entirely on you.” Still less does it say, “Let go and let God. Just relax. The Spirit will carry you.” Rather, Paul tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, precisely because it is God working in us ‘both to will and to act according to his good purpose’ … God himself is working in us both to will and to act: he works in us at the level of our wills and the level of our doing. But far from this being a disincentive to press on, Paul insists that this is an incentive. Assured as we are that God works in this way in his people, we should be all the more strongly resolved to will and to act in ways that please our Master.
Paul says that holding firmly to the gospel ‘word of life’ enables Christians to remain joyful in whatever season they find themselves. Even as he faces potential execution, Paul too is clinging to the life promised in the gospel – and able to face even this eventuality with joy.
Ask group members which aspects of the gospel they want to become more real to them, enabling them to remain joyful in their own present circumstances.
Paul tells the Philippians that they shine like stars in the darkness as they hold to the word of life – a word they are then able to share with others.
This isn’t a task we do alone. The God who works to will and to act in us is also with us by his Holy Spirit as we speak for him. Becky Pippert tells a story of how God answered a friend’s prayer in leading him to a spiritually open person, concluding:
Learning to walk in the Spirit means asking the Holy Spirit to guide us to people that he is seeking – and then expecting that he will and being ready when he does. The truth is that, expectation is rooted in faith, and it is very important for evangelistic fruitfulness. If we expect little from the Lord, we will often get little. If we expect much, we will ask much, and we will often receive much more than we asked or even imagined.
As a group, honestly reflect on the extent to which you are asking God for opportunities to talk to others about his Son. As a CU Impact Group, how could you learn to expect more, and therefore to ask for more?
Turn these thoughts to prayer. Pray that the gospel word of life would remain precious to you, and give you joy in your circumstances. Then ask that God would open conversations with any friends and flatmates who are seeking him. Pray by name for those you might already know to be spiritually open.
For more on this, see Chapter 4 of Becky’s book, Stay Salt.
Confirm the time you’ll meet next week, and pray to close.
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