Finding Fruit

Finding Fruit in Philippians

an SK Bible Study


Introduction

As we begin this Bible study series, some of you that are knowledgeable Bible students already may be thinking (after reading the title) that I am a bit confused. “Uh, Kristin, I hate to tell you this, but the listing of the fruit of the Spirit is not in Philippians; it’s in Galatians.” Yes, the title may seem a bit strange, but there are two reasons for going this route for our first study together.

The first is that I am currently involved in another group that is studying the fruit of the Spirit so those ideas are fresh in my mind. Because of that, in this study, I would like to search and discover how the Holy Spirit’s fruit was used in practical ways as people related to each other in Bible times so that we can, in turn, practically apply those principles to our current situations, experiences and relationships.

The second reason for the combination of themes is because I have been particularly drawn to the letters that Paul wrote to the local churches that he was in partnership with. As an international missionary, I am finding that I am relating more with many of his comments, feelings, and thoughts. This is not (at all!) to say that I am of the caliber of missionary that Paul was; all it means is that, with my new ‘missionary viewpoint’, I am beginning to relate to the way Paul thought about different issues.

Over the next 8 weeks, we will learn more about the relationship between Paul and the local church at Philippi as well as glean from some of his teachings and the church’s example. We will discover, at a greater level, and in fresh new ways, who our God is as He transcends time and culture. We will also realize how the fruit of the Spirit can and should permeate and radiate in our lives.

So, let’s give this a try and get started…

Week 1: Saying Hello to Old Friends

Philippians 1:1-11 (NIV)
(1)Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
(2)Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(3)I thank my God every time I remember you.
(4)In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
(5)because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
(6)being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
(7)It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.
(8)God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
(9)And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,
(10)so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,
(11)filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.



Read Philippians 1:1-11. Please try to read these verses at least once every day throughout this week. What a joy and a mystery to know that, as we read and reread a passage of Scripture, God gives us a new revelation and/or greater clarity each time it is read. Today, what did God reveal to you within this Biblical text? What word, phrase, verse, or group of verses jumped out at you?

This section of Scripture is divided into three sections: the greeting, thanksgiving, and a prayer. The greeting, such as we use for our letters, is given in verses 1 and 2. Even though both Paul and Timothy are listed as writing this letter, scholars believe that Paul was the sole author. He probably mentioned Timothy as well because the church at Philippi knew Timothy and he was there with Paul at the time he was writing this letter. (I guess it’s kind of the same thing as me signing a letter “From, Max and Kristin”. I would be the one writing it, but I include him in it because it’s just natural to do so.)

Paul has a time of thanksgiving in the second section of this passage, which is found in verses 3 through 8. The NIV commentary stated that this letter seems to be the most personal that Paul had written to any of the churches. There was a close bond between Paul and this church. It was also mentioned that this letter was the most positive of all his epistles. There is very little chastising or reprimanding in this letter to the Philippian church. On the contrary, there is much encouragement and joy coming from Paul as he writes.

During this section of thanksgiving, Paul mentions their “partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,…” (vs.5). As I read that part, I can’t help but think of the partnership we have with our ministry partners back in the States. Just as the local church of Philippi did as partners of Paul (sent gifts, prayed continually for him, wrote letters, gave financially, encouraged him, and sent helpers when needed), our partners are doing for us. We are a team that is working together to spread the gospel here in Chile.

Are you in partnership with a missionary? If so, how has this impacted your life? If not, I would encourage you to “adopt” a missionary family. How do you find a missionary to support? Talk to your church’s pastor or leadership team to see who your local church supports. If you are not connected with a church, you could always support us and/or any of the other missionaries from our mission board. Click here for more information.

The final section in this passage is a prayer that Paul offers for the church at Philippi. He asks for many things for the church: love, knowledge, depth of insight, discernment, purity, etc. He also asks that the Philippian church would be “filled with the fruit…” (vs. 11). In fact, within these first 11 verses, there are quite a few instances where the fruit of the Spirit are mentioned or referred to. Please cite one example and how it might be expressed in a similar situation in today’s context. (Be sure to say which fruit and which verse(s) it is found.) (Reminder: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindess, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

I also love how he finishes his prayer: “…to the glory and praise of God.” (vs. 11b)
My prayer (for all of us) is that whatever spills out of our lives would give glory and praise to God!

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Here is a summary of the questions to respond to. When answering, please be sure to first put the number of the question in your comment box below:

  1. Today, what did God reveal to you within this Biblical text? What word, phrase, verse, or group of verses jumped out at you?
  2. Are you in partnership with a missionary? If so, how has this impacted your life?
  3. Within these first 11 verses, there are instances where the fruit of the Spirit are mentioned or referred to. Please cite one example and how it might be expressed in a similar situation in today’s context. (Be sure to say which fruit and which verse(s) it is found.)

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I am looking forward to ‘hearing’ the discussion. ‘See ya’ next week!

Oh, and be sure to be praying for the things that are listed on our Prayer page.

13 Responses to “Wk.1: Saying Hello to Old Friends”

  1. Carissa Vincent Says:

    1. Verses 9-10 stand out because of Paul’s prayer. He prays for depth of insight and knowledge so that they may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ. We need to be in the word and constantly working on our relationship with God, that way when things arise we will have the knowledge to be able to be pure and blameless.

    3.Vs 6 alludes to patience.When we feel bad about falling into the same sin – something that we are working on to correct- we can be assured that because God has started this good work in us it will carried o nto completion and we should not get discouraged.

  2. sincerelykristin Says:

    Great point, Carissa. Felicia was just getting frustrated about that yesterday. “Why do kids keep doing things wrong and adults don’t?” Of course I just smiled and let her know I was the same way when I was her age – and adults still do things wrong too (even though she doesn’t believe me.)

    1. part of verse 1 stuck out for me: “…To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons.” Why did he mention ‘the saints’ separate from the ‘overseers and deacons’?

    Also part of verses 9&10 jumped out at me: “that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best…”
    In my mind, I don’t usually connect love with knowledge, depth of insight and discernment, but in these verses he’s making that connection. As your love grows, so do these other things in your life.

  3. Rindy Says:

    1.7-10: as we see God’s love, we want to share it. as we share we understand God’s love more and more and appreciate that love is not always just about ‘feelings’, but a choice for doing for others (as Christ did for us).
    v.10 in NLT “For I want you to understand what really matters…”. Often it’s not just about discernment of right vs. wrong, but also the main point vs. trivial details or determining what is really important.

    2. yes–I think knowing when God calls someone, and they obey and follow, then we should support them! I think I’ve learned that it makes it easier to talk about a calling knowing it is from God—I mean, if God is God and I believe my calling is what He is telling me, then who cares what others think!?!😉

    3. v.2 peace==then leading to v.6. It is the reassurance that if God has started something, he will not ‘bail’ on us, but will continue to work and be patient–He will always be there. That gives me peace…

  4. Stephanie Debo Says:

    1. Verses 9-11… these verses jumped out at me as being something I’d like to be praying for my children!

    2. Yes – it makes me remember to see outside my own life and circumstances, and it also gives me perspective on my own difficulties.

    3. I was also looking at verse 6, but I was thinking about faithfulness. God is so faithful to us that he sticks with us until his work is completed in us. Funny how we all we looking at verse 6 and it reminded each of us of a different “fruit”!!!

  5. sincerelykristin Says:

    That’s what I love about a group Bible study. We can each contribute and help others to see a new perspective to the same part of Scripture.

    1. today I was hit by the phrases:
    “servants of Christ Jesus” (vs. 1)
    “partnership in the gospel” (vs. 5), and
    “whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel” (vs. 7).
    It reminded me that we are here on this earth to “give glory and praise to God!” (vs. 11) I’m remembering one of the catechisms I learned when I was young – “What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

    3. JOY – (4)In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
    (5)because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…
    Joy is something more than happiness, something more than a fleeting feeling. I think of it more as a personal characteristic – a deep part of someone, regardless of the daily situations or issues. Lord, may joy become more and more one of my life’s characteristics. May it flow through me, regardless of outward circumstances. May it flow through my prayer life as it did for Paul.

  6. Carol Foote Says:

    1. v2 grace and peace, a daily “dose” makes the day go so much easier as I rely on God no on myself.

    2. Yes, as a VISA missionary my life was impacted by those who supported us through prayer and giving and now it is my turn to “pass it on.”

    3. V4 joy – made me stop and think, do I always pray with joy and does my life reflect the joy of the Lord? I agree that joy is a personal characteristic and pray that no matter what the circumstance that joy is always present and flows from me. It is joy in the Lord that gives me peace to face whatever comes my way.

  7. Wendy D' Says:

    1. My favorite part in this passage is the prayer Paul offers to his Philippian friends. Phil. 1:9-11. I just finished a bible study on becoming more like Christ and this prayer truly encourages. I like to think that Paul is writing this to me/us…The words, ‘that your love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight’ Boy! How exciting is THAT? I long for it…Knowledge and insight offers us a better view of situations and makes it so much easier to follow Jesus’ way of doing things.

    2. I am not currently supporting a missionary family on a regular basis. This is an area I must work on.

    3. Phil 1: 4-5 “I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel…” I think that having the knowledge of his partner’s prayers and support could only encourage him in his mission. In response to that, he encourages them as well. I am absolutely certain that had I not had the support of fellow believers over the years, I would have never made it through some of the toughest times in my life. There is so much reassurance in knowing that you have a support team…and I believe God places specific people in our paths to be those ‘team’ members.

  8. muckdogs Says:

    Hi, I am enjoying this cyber Bible study. I have read the passage twice so far and this is what has been revealed:
    1. Verse 7 It is right for me to feel this way …. all of you share in God’s grace with me. It struck me that whether a missionary is in jail or spreading the word I share in God’s ministry with them just by believing. God’s grace extends to more than just a missionary or me.
    2. Yes, by praying; reading their updates; and sending care packages. It amazed me that the Northgate care packages arrived on time to be shared with others. We sent them later than we expected. Who were we to question God’s timing.
    It was great to see the pictures in the last newsletter of the picnic.
    3. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. Paul truly loved these people and joyfully prayed for the always. He uses the word Joy once, but he uses the word ‘all’ three times! No matter who he was praying for he always did it joyfully. Shouldn’t we do as much?
    Lynda

  9. Delphine Says:

    We love the Missionaries. From a Teen I have watched and listened to them and wondered if I would be one of them. So many we have known: Nellie Reed(Bob’s Mother’s sister),Victor & Susan Macy(Bob’s cousins),Phyllis & Jim Sortor( Bob’s cousins via the Macy’s) Wesley & Mary King( My cousins), Carolyn Winslow, The Taylors(James Hudson TaylorII & SonIII in our home),Genieve Sayre, Verna Tite, Lily Horwood(in our home),Bessie Reed Kresge,Others.And now our Grandson, Jeremy & wife Petra are Missionaries in Croatia. In 2001 we were privileged to go to the Dominican Republic on a Mission trip. It has been a journey much appreciated and the Missionaries have been role models for me. Their willingness to go where He leads them, leaving family, friends, country & the pleasures of life to follow the Saviour has been a great example to me.
    Delphine

  10. Wendy D' Says:

    I agree with you Kristin, that joy is much more than happiness or fleeting feelings. Joy is such a rich fruit. I think the average person would think first of feelings or happiness but the joy that Paul is talking about goes so much deeper. It is deeply rooted in our souls and that can bring much assurance when faced with difficult situations. Carole said, “the joy in the Lord gives me peace to face whatever comes my way”. So true. I think that is why Paul expresses that to the Philippians. He was leading them by his example. They needed to be prepared to face any obstacle. As do we today.

  11. Nancy Carter Says:

    1. The verse that jumped out at me was v. 8 “God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.” Yesterday I said good-bye to a dear friend who is a missionary in Ukraine and her Ukrainian roommate who is visiting the states. They will be heading back to Ukraine in a couple of weeks and I won’t see them before they go. I spent the morning catching up on emails and blogs of other people that I am geographically separated from and now find myself longing for them with the affection of Christ. Even as I feel a bit sad though, I am reminded how fortunate I am to have such wonderful godly people in my life to miss! Many are not so fortunate!
    2. see above🙂
    3. I was noticing faithfulness in v. 5 in that it requires faithfulness to one another and to Christ to be partners in ministry. Faithfulness in supporting each other in prayer, faithfulness in financial support of the ministries to which we have committed, faithfulness to prepare properly for ministries in which we have leadership roles . . .

    Kristin, thanks for your faithfulness in providing such a wondeful forum for people to connect on a spiritual level!🙂

  12. Yvonne Says:

    I found you! What JOY! I’d wondered where the Bible Study was!

    Good choice for a parallel study to the fruits of the spirit, Kristin. Philippians oozes the fruit of JOY. Paul seems to choose to be joy-filled, no matter what his circumstance. I’ll look forward to seeing that fruit afresh throughout the book.
    V.6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus,” shows Paul believing in Christians. Sometimes we wonder with young christians, “Are they going to make it? Are they going to continue faithful? Paul believes in them and verbalizes it. What a cheerleader–“I know you’re going to make it!” (He also relies on the part Jesus plays in our transformation!

  13. Patty Sisson Says:

    1. Verse 3 jumped out at me. I am constantly amazed at the awesome people God has placed in my life now and in the past.

    3. Paul expressed that same thought by saying how these people brought him joy. Joy comes from knowing God is always with us but I think it also comes because we know true friends will always be there for us too.

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