Bible Study Lessons

Living in Anticipation of Christ’s Return

Introduction

Sheila was so excited she could hardly wait. Daddy had promised to take her and her brother Jack to ice cream over his lunch break. It was a special fifth birthday treat she had been anticipating all week. Now Mom had said Daddy could be home at any moment. It seemed Sheila couldn't walk anywhere - she could only skip. She was being extra kind to Jack, too. When she heard him say he couldn't find the shirt with the baseballs on it that he'd wanted to wear, she ran to help him find it so he'd be ready when Daddy got there. Not only that, she kept humming her favorite song, and set the table for lunch extra carefully. When lunch time came, even though her mom made mac and cheese - her favorite - Sheila didn't eat as much as usual, "because I want to save room for ice cream." Christians have a similar anticipation. They know that Jesus Christ could return at any moment, and they look forward to it by living to please Him. Study Philippians 4:1-5 to see how Christians live in anticipation of Christ's return.

Observation

Pray

Ask the Lord to open your heart and mind to understand what this passage says and how He wants it to change your life today.

Read Focus Verses

Read Philippians 4:1-5 and notice how all of it is explained at the end of verse 5.

Context

Read the verses that immediately precede today's passage, Philippians 3:20-21, and notice how the instructions you'll study today are sandwiched by references to Christ's return.

Address

What title does Paul use to address these believers in verse 1?

Description

How does Paul describe these Christians in verse 1?

Stand Fast

What command is given in verse 1?

Same Mind

What command is given in verse 2?

Who?

What does Paul call the person he addresses directly in verse 3?

Partner

What does Paul want this colleague of his to do according to verse 3?

Names

How does Paul define those he mentions in verse 3 at the end of that verse?

Rejoice

What command is given in verse 4?

Self Control

What command is given in verse 5?

At Hand

What reason is given for these commands at the end of verse 5?

How?

The commands in verses 1, 2, and 4 each say the command is to be done a certain way. What phrase is repeated in each of these verses to instruct Christians how to obey each of these commands?

Key Phrase - In the Lord

Marking the instruction to do these things in the Lord will help it stand out to you each time you reference these verses.

In the Lord

3 Times

Mark the phrase in the Lord each of the three times it appears in Philippians 4:1-5.

Key Phrase - The Lord's at Hand

Marking the phrase The Lord is at hand will help the reason for living as verses 1-5 instruct stand out to you.

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The Lord's At Hand

Nearly Here

Mark the phrase The Lord is at hand in verse 5.

Interpretation

Therefore

The therefore at the beginning of today's passage tells us that the instructions given in these verse are based on the truths that come before them. Read Philippians 3:20-21 again to see what truth gives us the right perspective and foundation for understanding today's verses.

Perspective

Summarize Philippians 3:20-21 in your own words and explain how they provide a foundation for understanding why Christians should live as commanded in today's passage.

Beloved

Notice how Paul also calls these believers beloved in Philippians 2:12.

Beloved of God

Romans 1:7 tells us that Christians are not only beloved of each other, but of God.

Joy and Crown

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 and see how similar it is to verse 1 of today's passage.

Consider

Why does Paul call the Christians He has led to the Lord His joy and crown?

In the Faith

1 Corinthians 16:13 speaks of standing fast like verse 1 in today's passage.

Because You Know

1 Corinthians 15:58 gives us one of the reasons Christians should stand fast.

The Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-20 tells us how a Christian prepares to stand fast.

Hold Fast

In Hebrews 10:23-25 we see how Christians are to help each other to stand fast.

Stand Fast

Considering these passages, what does it mean to stand fast in the Lord?

Christ in Me

Galatians 2:20 helps us understand why God's Word so frequently instructs Christians to do things "in the Lord."

In the Lord

What does it mean for a Christian to do something "in the Lord"?

One Mind

The theme of having unity of mind comes up several times in the book of Philippians. Read Philippians 1:27-2:4 and see what it says in this regard.

Lights in the World

Philippians 2:14-16 explains why this is so important.

Joined Together

Consider what 1 Corinthians 1:10 says about this unity.

Unity

1 Peter 3:8-9 groups this unity of mind with other similar commands.

Good and Pleasant

See how much God loves this unity in Psalm 133:1

Be of One Mind

What does it mean for Christians to be of one mind, and why is it so important?

Pleading

Notice the words Paul uses to state his request and how serious these things are to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:18-6:1 explains further.

Companion in Labor

Notice how Paul uses a similar term to the one he uses in verse 3 of today's passage back in Philippians 2:25.

Yoke

Matthew 11:28-30 explains why Paul refers to this one as a colleague sharing the same yoke.

Colleagues

In what way are Christians companions sharing the same yoke?

Working Together

Have you ever worked with someone toward a common goal for someone you loved? How did it impact your relationship with that person? How can that help you better understand the kind of relationship Christians should have as fellow workers in Christ?

Help

What might it look like to help two people come to a place of unity and peace?

Children of God

In Matthew 5:9 we see what God thinks of those who help make peace.

Significance

Revelation 20:12 explains the significance of having your name written in the book of life.

Not Written

Revelation 20:15 tells us the fearful end of those whose names are not written in the book of life.

Those Whose Names Are Written

Revelation 21:21-27 is speaking of the eternal city of God and tells us the end of those whose names are written in the book of life.

Book of Life

What does verse 3 of today's passage mean when it says these people who worked with Paul in the work of the gospel were people whose names were written in the book of life?

Of the Lamb

As you read Revelation 21:27, you probably noticed that it refers to this important record as the Lamb's book of life. That extra description helps us understand whose name is written in it. Check out this summary of why Christ is called the Lamb - because He died in our place to offer us salvation.

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Written in His Book

Considering that it is the Lamb who gave His life to save those who repent of their sins and trust in Him whose book it is, whose names are written in the book of life?

Evermore

1 Thessalonians 5:16 speaks of rejoicing.

Looking Forward

Christians are even called to rejoice through suffering as we see throughout Scripture. Notice what 1 Peter 4:12-13 says about this.

Rejoice

What are some of the reasons Christians rejoice based on these passages?

Known to All

Consider the word used to tell us what Christians should be known for.

Strong's G1933

Greek,epieikes [ep-ee-i-kace']

--Adjective

Origin: from (1909) and (1503)

Definition:

  1. seemingly, suitable
  2. equitable, fair, mild, gentle

Gentle

James 3:17-18 tells us that this kind of moderation or gentleness is part of true wisdom.

Defined

What does it mean that a Christian is to be defined by moderation, by a gentle and reasonable spirit?

Coming Quickly

In Revelation 22:20 the Lord Jesus promises to come quickly.

Established Hearts

Notice that James 5:8 also speaks of how knowing that the Lord could come at any moment should impact the way a Christian lives.

At Hand

1 Peter 4:7-8 also speaks of this theme.

As a Thief

Consider what 1 Thessalonians 5:2-11 says about it.

Impact

Why does the Lord's immanent return impact how a Christian lives?

Living Like He's Coming

Based on all of these passages, what does it look like for a Christian to live like Jesus Christ could return at any moment?

Application

The Book of Life

Is your name written in the book of life? Have you have repented of your sins, trusted Christ to save you, and believed that He is Lord? Consider what your answer means for your life.

The Lord is at Hand

If you are a Christian, are you living like the Lord is coming at any moment as described in today's passage by standing fast in the Lord, having unity of mind with other Christians, rejoicing, and living with a gentle spirit? How does the Lord want your life to change today to align more with the commands in today's passage?

Wrapup

Closing

We hope this study has helped you understand how Christ's soon return impacts a Christian's life and has challenged you to live to please Him in anticipation of His return.

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