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Philippians

Lesson 6: Stand Firm


Lessons in this series: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Overview
Lesson Index

Lesson Workbook (PDF) Click here

LESSON OBJECTIVES

Goals

1. To present a healthy standard for Christian living
2. To familiarize students with the idea of a resurrected physical body
3. For students to establish or renew their commitment to stand firm until the day of the Lord

Topics

Endurance, Perseverance, Peer Pressure, Preparedness, Stand Firm, Resurrection, Worldliness

Scripture Memorization

Philippians 3:17-4:1


OPENING PRAYER (5 to 10 minutes)


GROUP BUILDING (10 minutes)

To begin with today, we’re going to see how well you know TV commercials. I'm going to mention a familar commercial slogan, and I want you to tell me the product or company associated with it. For example the slogan "I'm loving it!" belongs to McDonalds. Ready? (This brain teaser can also be found in the lesson workbook. Current company slogans may differ.)

 SLOGAN PRODUCT
 "Have it your way" Burger King
 "No rules, just right" Outback Steakhouse
 "We treat you right" Dairy Queen
 "Try it, you'll like it" Alka-seltzer
 "It's all within your reach" ATT
 "Because you're worth it" Loreal
 "Life is short, play hard" Reebok
 "Enjoy" Coke


It's amazing how these slogans stick with us. These are only a few examples, there are many more.
Did you notice what these slogans have in common? (Allow for responses.)

Do you think the marketing and advertising world has gotten into your life, into the church in general, and tainted our faith? How so?

They all relect the mindset of self indulgence, rebellion, and physical happiness. Sort of like the eat, drink and be merry attitude. We will explore this mindset in more detail as we continue on with our lesson today.  


GETTING STARTED (10 minutes)

Stand Firm
(Use this simple activity to introduce the concept of standing firm. You will demonstrate how easy it is to lose your balance when you do not have two feet firmly on the ground.)

I need one volunteer to come to the front of the class. 
Okay, now I want you to stand on one foot, Good, now hold it.
Now, I need another volunteer to come up here to the front
(Wait until volunteer #2 gets to the front of the room.)
Now, I want you to push volunteer #1 over. Go ahead, give a little push! (The person will easily lose their balance.)

Alright, now volunteer #1, I want you to stand on both feet, and spread them wide, at least shoulder-length apart. Now push again and notice the difference.
 
(You can repeat the two scenarios with other students, if desired) 
 
Okay, what’s the difference between the two times? How come the person usually loses his or her balance on the first try, but on the second attempt, it's much harder to push someone over? The answer is obvious. With two feet on the ground, you can stand firm.

Our lesson today is about standing firm. Last week we discussed how we cannot gain salvation from our own efforts, even good ones. But there is also a behavioral standard for Christians. 


DIGGING IN (30 minutes)

In our lesson today, Paul mentions another group of people to be aware of. He calls them the "Enemies of the Cross" and he warns the Philippians not to be anything like them. Scholars refer to this group as the "Antinomians," perhaps because they claimed to be Christians but did not live by any rules or laws. They lived with no standards. They were almost the oppostie of the Judiazers of Paul's time, and there were most likely some in the midst of the Philippian church. 

 Judaizers

 severe religious restriction

 requirements for conversion

 dietary regulations

 spiritual interest

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Antinomians

  hardly any moral restrictions
 
 loose, wild living, claimed faith

 gods were their stomachs
 
 purely physical interest


Read Philippians 3:17-4:1

Discussion Questions
1. Why do you think Paul says what he does in verse 17? (Meant to stimulate discussion.)
2. Do you think it is right for him to say that? (Meant to stimulate discussion.)
3. What emotions does Paul display in verse 18? (The NIV translates v. 18 poorly. The greek word for "tears" is much stronger. The New American standard does a good job and translates that word as “weeping”.)
4. Verse 19 describes further the "enemies of the cross," or the "Antinomians." How does this sound like our world today? (There are many selfish, indulgent, pre-occupied people in our world. most don't think of God.)
5. From where does Paul say we are citizens, and how should this affect our way of life? (Heaven...this should focus us, center us, and motivate us.)

Paul points out that we need to be different. Because of Christ and because of the joy we have, our behavior should not be like that of someone of this earth, but that of an “alien”. We cannot claim to be Christians and cling to self-induced rules. Neither can we claim to be Christians without being different from non-christians.


I Don't Belong Here (Optional)

Have you ever felt like you don't belong, like an alien? Perhaps after moving from a small town to the big city. Or maybe after going from the big city to a small town. For many students, going from grade school to junior high or high school can be an uneasy feeling. Nothing is familiar, everything is new, for a while. But things rub off on you. You adjust and before long, you become like everyone else, acting like they do, blending in. People even pick up accents, or lose them in order to blend in.

Does anyone have a story like this they would be willing to share? 
(If not, you may want to share a time when you felt that you didn't belong at first, but after a while ended up blending in.)  


 
MAKING IT REAL (15 minutes)

Workbook Activity (10 minutes)

In what ways does the world tend to rub off on you?

Take a few moments and answer the following questions. The intention is to get you thinking about how things of this world may affect your life. Your answers are personal, not to be shared, so be honest with yourself.


 Do you (1) use money and love people, or (2) use people and love money?  (1) ____  (2) ____

 Do you think you need more than food, clothing, and God’s love?  (Yes) ____  (No) ____

 When you have an extra fifty bucks to spend on anything you want, what do you do with it?
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________

 If aliens were to come to earth, knowing nothing about our planet, and they were asked who you looked or acted like, who would they choose?

_______
  like a pop star 
_______  like a movie star
_______  like a celebrity
_______  like Jesus 

     
This activity should at least start us thinking about how the world affects our lives. More often than not, we say one thing and do another. Very few of us really live out our faith in tangible ways.


Read again Philippians 3:20, 4:1
  

Discussion Questions:
1. What’s the "therefore" there for? (It connects the teaching from chapter 3 to chapter 4. in other words, what he's about to say is sitting on top of the foundational teaching of chapter 3.)
2. What is the end result of standing firm for the Christian? (We should stand firm because our citizenship is Heaven. We are not native to this earth. We belong elsewhere, and Paul says we should act like it. He says we should stand firm, so that someday we can go home. In fact, our bodies will be transformed to a glorified body. For people who stand firm in Christ, there’s a great reward awaiting us.)


CLOSING PRAYER (2 minutes)

Have students close their eyes and think upon an area where they need to stand firm. Perhaps they are spirituality propped up on only one foot, and satan is pushing them over again and again. Ask them to pray silently to stand firm. Then, close in an audible prayer for your students, that they may be able to stand firm this week.

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