September 17, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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In this study guide, we’ll discuss key thoughts and practical ideas from Philippians 3. Discover the value of knowing Jesus and how that changes the way we view everything else in life!
Ice Breaker: What is one thing we would never guess about you?
In this section, we’ll give a brief overview of the topic and some key talking points to consider and reflect on before you dive into the discussion.
Memory Verse: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 3:12–14 (NIV)
Have you ever had a goal? Maybe it’s buying a house, being debt free, owning a business, or starting a family. Goals are important; they help to give us purpose.
In Philippians 3:8–11, the apostle Paul shares his life’s goal: “to know Christ,” to “be found in Him,” and to experience “the power of His resurrection.” Here’s the thing, though, to know Jesus is not the same as knowing about Jesus or knowing the content of His teaching. The Greek word used in this passage for know (gnōnai) speaks of intimate, first-hand contact knowledge, similar to the language used to describe the intimacy between husbands and wives. It’s personal, deep, and experiential; the kind of knowing that can only come through devotion and relationship.
We can experience the power of Christ’s resurrection as we know Him. “That is . . . to experience the same power that raised Christ from the dead surging through [our] own being, overcoming sin in [our lives] and producing the Christian graces” (Kenneth Wuest). To know this resurrection power, though, we must first know the way of the cross and die to ourselves, forsaking our old life, self, and ways and surrendering to Christ and His will.
So, now that we understand the goal, how do we achieve the goal? Well, it’s a lifelong process. This goal cannot be reached until we get to heaven. No matter how mature we become, no matter how much fruit is produced in our lives or how intimate our relationship with Jesus becomes, there will never come a point in our earthly lives when we have ARRIVED. We’ll never reach the point of completion or exhaust all room for increasing intimacy and greater growth in our relationship with Him. As you enter into your group discussion, be thinking about your goals in life, your view of your faith, and how to avoid complacency when it comes to Jesus.
Discussion Question 1: What words or phrases of today’s Scripture stand out to you the most, and why?
Discussion Question 2: What does this passage teach you about Jesus? What does it teach you about yourself?
Discussion Question 3: What does it mean to have no confidence in the flesh?
Discussion Question 4: How would you describe your life before you put your faith in Christ?
Discussion Question 5: Why did Paul consider everything he once valued as loss and rubbish compared to knowing Jesus? What have you learned about the value of knowing Him?
Discussion Question 6: How can you avoid becoming complacent in your relationship with Jesus? What does it look like for you to press on daily “toward the goal”?
What should your goal be? What should you press on toward? Here’s a simple daily goal for you: Today, I will know Jesus better than I did yesterday. I will walk with Him a little closer than yesterday. I will look a little more like Him than I did yesterday. Repeat this until He calls you heavenward.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.