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Sermon Discussion + Prayer: "What To Do When The Pandemic Turns Divisive"

While the current pandemic may lead to divisive arguments, we turn to Philippians 2:14-16 where Paul tells us how we can be light in the darkness. First, he outlines threats to the unity of the church like rivalry and conceit. Then, he calls the Philippians to practice humility by citing Christ’s example and commands them to “do all things without grumbling or disputing.” This comprehensive command is key for maintaining unity in the church and for shining a light in our culture. It also affects our own condition as we maintain both a biblical and historical perspective on our current circumstances.

 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Philippians 2:5-8 is a breathtaking observation of Christ’s character? What qualities of Christ is Paul calling us to imitate in verses 14-16?
  2. Paul writes that we should “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” How did CJ’s exposition of this change your view of this command?
  3. Paul has an evangelistic view in verses 15b-16. How does this seemingly simple command create opportunities for conversations about the gospel in your own context?
  4. CJ briefly defined the differences between wisdom issues and ethical issues. How can we use these categories to navigate our daily conversations and interactions with others? (James 3:17 cited)
  5. How does having a historical perspective help us in obeying this command? Take time to discuss the CS Lewis quote with the Coronavirus in mind.

 

Praying the Passage:

Philippians 2:14-16 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

“The text, then [Philippians 2], emphasizes the selfless attitude of the preincarnational Christ...”– Stephen Wellum
“...the impulse to serve lies at the very heart of deity.” – Donald Macleod
Lord, may my comments, views, and judgments always be informed by a heart to in some way serve others, and not have them serve my opinions.

Paul doesn’t outline a course of action but a kind of action. – Alec Motyer
Father, help me to clearly see the manner and attitude in which I share, and perhaps complain; and direct me to those who I can trust to help me more clearly see and evaluate that manner and attitude.

The heavenly light of the small community of believers in Philippi shines far beyond their own city to illuminate the way home for a warped and crooked generation lost in the darkness of the world.”
– Walter Hansen
Father, help me to be mindful that I am an ambassador, and am always representing the Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to see to seize the ways I can be light and a means of grace and comfort and hope to a lost generation.

The many choices and decisions before us are, for the most part, wisdom issues not ethical issues. Be wary of strong opinions in the face of many options.
Father, may my preeminent concern be to please and honor you in all I say and do. And as a primary means, help me to love my brothers and sisters, and display the unity that adorns the gospel.

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation.”– C.S. Lewis
“As long as man is alive, and out of hell, he cannot have any cause to complain.”– Charles Spurgeon
Father, amid the many challenges, concerns, and unanswered questions – by the prompting of the Holy Spirit – remind me again and again of the many glorious things for which I can be thankful, beginning with the love you’ve shown me in the gift of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In whose name I pray. AMEN