Bible Study Lessons

The Fellowship of the Gospel

Introduction

Two Englishmen, brothers, were travelling on business to France. They heard of a fellow citizen who was a missionary in the town where they were staying and went to visit him. One of the brothers and the missionary shared a wonderful hour of fellowship. When the brothers left, one brother turned to the other who had been so friendly with the missionary and ask when they had met before. "Oh, we haven't met before, but we know the same Savior and have the same heavenly Father." The other brother was silent for a moment before replying, "That beats the comraderie of my exclusive club!" Philippians 1:1-5 speaks of this amazing fellowship Christians share because of the gospel. Study the passage to learn more about the gospel and the wonderful unity and fellowship it brings to those who know it.

Observation

Pray

As you come to God's Word, ask Him to open your heart and mind to understand it and apply it specifically to your life today.

Read Focus Verses

Read Philippians 1:1-5 and notice the way this book opens.

Context

These verses are part of a longer passage. Read Philippians 1:6-11 to understand today's verses better.

Authors

Who are the human authors of this book?

Defined

How do Paul and Timothy identify and describe themselves in verse 1?

Recipients

Who were the first recipients of this letter?

Blessing

In verse 2, what blessings do Paul and Timothy request for the Christians in Philippi?

Thanks

When did Paul and Timothy give thanks for these believers?

Joy

What about these Philippian Christians brings Paul and Timothy such joy according to verse 5?

Keyword - Gospel

The word gospel is a theme in this first chapter of Philippians. Mark it's use in today's passage to help it stand out to you.

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Gospel

Fellowship of the Gospel

Mark the word gospel in Philippians 1:5

When?

When did the fellowship that Paul, Timothy, and these Christians share in the gospel begin?

Interpretation

Paul's Story

This short animation will give you some background on Paul, the main human author, which will help you understand many details in this book.

Timothy's Story

This post, especially the first paragraphs, will fill you in on Timothy's story. He was Paul's protégé and friend.

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About Timothy

Read what Paul says about Timothy in the next chapter of Philippians, 2:19-23.

Paul's Humility

As we continue to study Philippians, you will see that Paul is the main author. What does it tell us about his character that he included Timothy as his co-author?

Christ's Humility

Paul's humility here shows that he has learned to be humble like Jesus Christ - something he urges these Christians to learn in Philippians 2:5-11.

Philippi

The story of Paul's visit to Philippi is dramatic. When he first got to the city, he spoke to a group of women praying by the river. One of them, Lydia, who was a merchant of purple cloth, believed in the Lord Jesus and was baptized. She hosted Paul and Silas during their time in Philippi. As Paul and Silas went around in the city, a slave girl who was demon possessed and told fortunes started following them around yelling. Finally, Paul cast the demon out of her. This angered her owners who realized this evil source of income was gone. The owners took Paul and Silas to the town leaders and claimed that they were teaching treason. They were then beaten and imprisoned. Pick up the story in Acts 16:25-40 for the best part of the story about the Philippian Jailor's conversion.

The Gospel in Philippi

How did Paul answer when the jailer asked what to do so that he could be saved?

Map of Philippi

You can see Philippi (in the region called Macedonia in what is modern Greece) on this map.

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Grace and Peace

Paul opens and closes many of his letters with a request that God would bless the readers with grace and peace. Grace is God doing good to those who deserve His judgment. Peace is harmony without conflict. What are some reasons these two gifts are Paul's most common prayer for other Christians?

Thankful for You

In many of his Epistles, Paul tells the Christians he's writing to that he constantly thanks God for them just as he does in today's passage. Read a few of these passages to get a better sense of why he gives thanks for them starting in Colossians 1:3-8.

We Thank God

Read 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 and notice the similarity.

Thanking the Lord

1 Thessalonians 2:13 also gives further reasons for Paul's thanksgiving for fellow Christians.

Thankful

What are some of the reasons Paul was thankful to the Lord for other Christians?

Prayer

In verse 4, Paul mentions that he is praying for these Christians. In the next few verses he explains why he prays for them. Then in Philippians 1:9-11 he tells them what he is praying for them.

The Love of Christ

Read one of Paul's prayers for the Ephesian church in Ephesians 3:14-21.

Walking Worthy

In Colossians 1:9-13, Paul tells another church what he is praying for them.

Paul's Requests

What are some of the things Paul requested for the Christians he prayed for?

With Joy

What does it mean that Paul makes his requests for these believers with joy?

Fellowship

1 John 1:1-7 defines the basis of Christian fellowship.

With Whom?

With whom does a Christian fellowship most truly?

Basis

On what basis does 1 John say a Christian has fellowship with God?

One Another

When a Christian is in fellowship with God, with whom are they also in fellowship according to 1 John?

Together

Hebrews 10:24-25 explains that Christians should fellowship when they gather to worship the Lord.

Provoking

What is the result of true Christian fellowship according to Hebrews 10:24?

Gospel

Consider the definition of the word gospel.

Strong's G2098

Greek,euaggelion [yoo-ang-ghel'-ee-on]

--Noun Neuter

Origin: from the same as (2097)

Definition:

  1. a reward for good tidings
  2. good tidings
    1. the glad tidings of the kingdom of God soon to be set up, and subsequently also of Jesus the Messiah, the founder of this kingdom. After the death of Christ, the term comprises also the preaching of (concerning) Jesus Christ as having suffered death on the cross to procure eternal salvation for the men in the kingdom of God, but as restored to life and exalted to the right hand of God in heaven, thence to return in majesty to consummate the kingdom of God
    2. the glad tidings of salvation through Christ
    3. the proclamation of the grace of God manifest and pledged in Christ
    4. the gospel
    5. as the messianic rank of Jesus was proved by his words, his deeds, and his death, the narrative of the sayings, deeds, and death of Jesus Christ came to be called the gospel or glad tidings

Amazing

Read Romans 5:6-12 to better understand the gospel.

Status

What is a person's status in relationship to God before they are saved according to Romans 5:10?

Gospel Defined

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 defines the gospel.

False Gospels

In Galatians 1:6-12 we are warned that there are false gospels and told the source of the true gospel.

Whose?

Who is the source of the true gospel according to Galatians?

Why a Gospel?

Romans 3:23 tells us why we need a gospel.

The Heart of the Gospel

Romans 6:23 summarizes the heart of the gospel.

Who?

According to these verses, who needs the good news about God's gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ? Why?

The Gospel and You

Romans 10:9-15 tells you what to do so that the good news of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life can be yours.

Clarified

Ephesians 2:8-10 clarifies that the salvation is God's gift - we can't earn it. But once someone has truly turned away from their sin and trusted in Christ's death in their place, they will do good works to please the God who saved them.

Making it Yours

In what way does the Bible tell you to accept the gospel so you can be saved?

Tell the World

In Mark 16:15 Jesus commands His people to tell the gospel to everyone.

Sharing the Gospel

You saw in Romans 10:15 that God considers the feet of those who share the gospel beautiful, and in Mark 16:15 that He commands all of His people to tell the gospel to others. Putting all of these verses about sin and the Savior together, how would you explain the gospel very simply?

The Story of the Gospel

This video explains the story of the gospel in 5 minutes.

You and the Gospel

This video explains why the gospel is so important to everyone - even those who aren't as bad as other people.

The Gospel and Fellowship

Based on this understanding of the gospel, what does it mean that Christians fellowship in, or around, the gospel?

Listen

Listening to Scripture is a wonderful way to become familiar with it and learn to think God's thoughts. Listening to Scripture is a great thing to do while you're doing other tasks like driving, cooking, and working out. Perhaps you could listen through the short book of Philippians a few times over the coming days to become more familiar with it.

Application

Is It Yours?

Have you accepted God's gift of salvation through Jesus Christ? If not, turn from your own way and ask Him to save you. If you have, remember what He's done for you and thank Him for His salvation

Fellowship in the Gospel

When you fellowship with other Christians, how can you be more purposeful about provoking them to love and good works?

God's Messenger

God has appointed you as His messenger to share the good news of the gospel in Jesus Christ. How are you going to obey that command this week?

Wrapup

Closing

We hope this study has helped you better understand the fellowship Christians share in the gospel and has challenged you to learn more about the gospel and the joyful unity it brings.

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