The Race for Righteousness (phil 3)
Introduction Today we continue with our study of the book of Philippians. This chapter deals with the “race of righteousness” as Paul, nearing the end of his life, admits he is still “Pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me”. Righteousness simply means, to be at peace with, or aligned with, God. When our lives are aligned with His power and presence, the Kingdom can come into our world.
The Benefits of Righteousness
- Read Romans 5:17 and discuss what benefit righteousness can bring to your life (e.g. what does it mean to “reign in life”)? How might this practically be seen? Can you think of any further benefits of aligning yourself with God?
The Rules of the Righteousness Race
- Watch out for the Dogs! Read Philippians 3:2-3. Here Paul speaks of legalistic (rule orientated) Christians, trying to get Christians to live under the fullness of Jewish law. How might legalistic Christians bring false guilt into your life? What is the difference between good guilt, and false religious guilt?
- Tame Your Strengths! Read Philippians 3:4-7. We all understand how our weaknesses can negatively affect our walk with God, but How can our strengths hinder our spiritual walk? How can you “tame your strengths” to bring them under God’s grace?
- Purpose to Know Christ! Read Philippians 3:7-8. In Paul’s pursuit of righteousness, his primary longing was to “know Christ” and he recognised this came from righteousness, not legalism. What things get in the way of simply learning to “Know Christ” more than anything else?
- Exercise Your Faith! ow might Read Philippians 3:9. Righteousness comes from God, and is BY FAITH. There are five great ways to exercise your faith in God, giving you the focus to believe him for righteousness. With each of these, discuss how you are developing as a Christian, and how you can enjoy these spiritual disciplines by faith, and not legalism: (make sure everyone feels encouraged and not deflated…as we all find these hard at times!)
FAITH BUILDER 1) Prayer. How is your personal prayer life? How can you improve it? Encourage each other with how to pray?
FAITH BUILDER 2) Bible reading. How is your daily bible reading? How can you improve it?
FAITH BUILDER 3) Church attendance. A great faith increaser. How can you develop a higher regard for church attendance?
FAITH BUILDER 4) Serve. Through serving in church life, we develop stronger faith muscles. Can you think of ways service can increase your trust, experience and faith in God?
FAITH BUILDER 5) Tithe. How is your giving to God? How does our giving express our faith, and give an opportunity for God’s miraculous provision?