Bible Study Lessons

Without Wax: The Sincere Christian Life

Introduction

If you had ordered a marble bust of your favorite hero in ancient Greece, you would have taken it outside before paying for it. Why? In those days some sculptors used clear wax to repair flaws in their craftsmanship. Rather than making a new piece if he accidentally chipped off the ear lobe, a dishonest craftsmen would use wax to stick it back on. Indoors, this wax was invisible until it melted. So, you would take the bust out into the sunlight to inspect it carefully for any imperfections. When you were satisfied that it was sincere, or without wax, you would pay with confidence that you had a piece that was genuine. In Philippians 1:9-11, Paul prays that the Christians in Philippi would be sincere. That they would be so genuinely like Christ people could inspect them closely and find nothing fake. Learn more in today's study about the Christian life that brings glory to God and stands up to inspection …

Observation

Pray

Ask the Lord to give you wisdom and understanding as you study this passage, and ask Him to change you to be more like Jesus Christ through it.

Read Focus Verses

Read Philippians 1:9-11.

Context

Today's passage is part of the introduction to this book. Read the whole introduction: Philippians 1:1-11.

Describe

How would you describe what is happening in verses 9-11?

Who?

Who is praying?

For Whom?

For whom is Paul praying?

Verse 9

What does Paul pray for these Philippian Christians in verse 9?

Verse 10

What does Paul pray for them in verse 10?

Verse 11

What else does Paul pray for these Christians in verse 11?

What Kind?

What kind of love does Paul want God to give these Christians?

Approved

What things does Paul want these Christians to approve?

Until…

Until when does Paul ask that these Christians be kept sincere and without offense?

Result

What is the result of the fruits of righteousness he wants these Christians to have?

Keyword - Pray

Marking the word pray will help you remember the theme of these verses.

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Pray, Prayer, Supplication

Paul's Prayer

Mark the word pray in verse 9.

Keywords - Requests

Mark the key word or phrase of each request in this prayer to help each of them stand out to you.

Requests

Paul's Requests

Mark the key word or phrase of each request in Philippians 1:9-11.

Main Request

Looking at the structure and wording of the passage, which of these requests is the main request which paves the way for each of the others?

Interpretation

Joyful Prayer

Look back at Philippians 1:3-5 to see what Paul says about praying for these believers.

With Thanksgiving

What do these verses tell you about Paul's prayer for these believers?

Starting with Love

Matthew 22:37-40 can help us understand why Paul starts with love.

The Greatest of These

1 Corinthians 13:13 also explains love's importance.

Why Love?

Why did Paul start with love?

Already

What does verse 9 in today's passage indicate about the current state of their love?

More and More

In 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 Paul prays for love for other Christians who also already love.

Abounding

1 Corinthians 15:58 talks about abounding in what is good.

More Love

Why does Paul pray that Christians will abound more and more in love - even more than at present?

Model

What does this teach us about how Christians should pray for each other?

Love in Knowledge

What is the connection between love and knowledge?

Knowledge of Christ

2 Peter 3:18 mentions one aspect of knowledge that a Christian's love should be informed by.

Knowledge of His Will

Colossians 1:9-13 speaks of another kind of knowledge Christians should seek.

What Knowledge?

What kinds of knowledge should inform a Christian's love?

Discernment

What is the connection between love and discernment?

Word of God

Hebrews 4:12 tells us what is the ultimate discerner.

Gaining Discernment

What is the best way to learn discernment considering Hebrews 4:12?

Love and Discernment

Romans 12:9 also connects the ideas of love and discernment.

Approving What Is Excellent

Isaiah 7:15 speaks of the Lord Jesus learning to approve excellent things in His childhood.

Seek Good

Amos 5:14 speaks of seeking for good.

Command

1 Thessalonians 5:21 commands Christians to test things so that they can approve what is excellent.

How?

Romans 12:1-2 sheds light on how a Christian can learn to approve what is excellent in God's sight.

Learning to Approve

How can a Christian learn to discern and approve the things that God considers excellent?

Sincerity

Scripture speaks of sincere faith and love often. Notice one of the examples of sincerity it gives us in 2 Timothy 1:2-5.

Not Pretend

What does it mean to have sincere, unfeigned, genuine faith?

Blameless

In the next chapter, Philippians 2:14-16, the Lord explains one of the ways His people can live so that they will not cause offense.

In Word

In James 3:2 we see the thing that is most likely to cause offense.

Without Offense

What are some things Christians should be careful about so that they don't give offense?

Salvation

1 Corinthians 10:31-32 tells us why Christians should be so careful not to give offense by their lives.

No Offense

According to the Bible, why should Christians be so careful not to give offense?

Offense of the Gospel

In Galatians 5:11 Paul says that preaching the gospel of salvation without works offends some people.

No Offense

If the gospel offends some people, why should Christians be so careful not to add offense through their lives?

Until He Comes

Jude 1:24-25 tells us who is able to keep Christians blameless until Christ's coming.

Fruitful

The Bible often uses the analogy of bearing fruit for the Christian life. This post explains what it means for a Christian to be filled with the fruits of righteousness.

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Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 lists some of the fruits of righteousness and tells us who works them in a Christian.

Fruits

What are some of the fruits of righteousness in a Christian's life?

Whose Work?

Who works this fruit into a Christian's life?

Christ's Part

Ephesians 2:8-10 explains the role of Jesus Christ in a fruitful Christian's life.

The Father's Glory

Notice how John 15:8 builds on the idea that God is glorified when His people are fruitful.

Glorify God

In Matthew 5:16 Jesus says people will glorify God when His people do the good works He plans for them.

Do All To God's Glory

1 Corinthians 10:31 turns Paul's final request into a command.

Living for God's Glory

Revelation 4:11 explains why God is worthy of the glory in His people's lives.

Why Be Fruitful?

Why should God's people be filled with the fruits of righteousness?

God Is Glorified

How is God glorified when His people do what is right?

Working Together

How do all of these aspects of Paul's prayer work together to allow a Christian to live a sincere life - one that will glorify God and stand up to inspection?

In Your Words

Rewrite the prayer from today's passage in your own words.

Application

Love

In what areas of your life does God want your love to abound more and more in knowledge and discernment today?

Approve

Are there things God calls good that you struggle to also call good? Are there things God calls evil that you have been calling good? How are you going to begin agreeing with God about them today?

Discern

How are you going to spend more time in Scripture so that you can become a better discerner of what God calls excellent starting today?

Filled

What good works has the Lord planned for you today? How are you going to make sure you walk in them so that He will be glorified in you today?

Wrapup

Closing

We hope this study has challenged you to live a sincere Christian life full of love and good works that will bring glory to God and stand up to inspection.

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