Bible Class
Discussion Guide
by Edward Thomason

Philippians 2:9-13

warm up
[  ] Is there any value in fear? 
[  ] Discuss some positive things that fear does for us physically and spiritually.
[  ] Is fear a legitimate incentive to obey God? Ecc. 12:13
wise up

    In "lowliness," Jesus humbled himself and submitted to the cross for our sake. (Phil. 2:8-9.) As a result God "highly exalted" him. He is both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36.) He has all authority in heaven and earth. (Matthew 28:18.) He is King of kings and Lord of lords and sits in triumph at the right hand of God. We tend to think of Jesus as "the man from Galilee." We read and study so much about his physical humanity that we may think of him "only in the context of flesh and blood." But he is "exalted!" (Vs. 9.) He is glorious! He is too wonderful for words to describe! And some day... we will all see him in his awesome glory and splendor. Then what? 

I. Are we ready to face Jesus with trembling knees? Vs. 10

   1. The time will come when every knee will bend (or brake if necessary) to bow before Jesus in honor of who he is. Every creature of heaven (angelic beings), every creature of earth (mankind), and every creature under the earth (demonic beings) will bow in submission and humility before Him.  Men and demons may reject him and disobey him now but the day will come when every knee will bow in his presence. But it will be too late for some.
   2. Discuss what bowing before someone expresses. While we today may not literally bow before Christ, what are some ways that we can express that same honor?

II. Are we ready to face Jesus with trembling lips? Vs. 11

   1. Every tongue, regardless of the language or nation, will someday utter the confession that Jesus is Lord. But again, it will be too late for some.
   2. What did Jesus teach in Matthew 10:32-33? Even the most devout may tremble in the His presence at judgment but imagine the fear in the hearts of those who never acknowledged the authority of Jesus in this life. Discuss the regret and fear that will be present. How can we avoid that kind of fear?
Who does Paul say will be glorified on that day when all creation confesses Jesus? As parents, we know what it is to "glory" in our children when someone acknowledges our child's attributes and qualities. Compare that joy and pride to how God will feel when the world acknowledges His son as Lord. Discuss.

III. Are we ready to face Jesus with trembling hearts? 
      Vs. 12-13

   1. Discuss how more attentive we all might be when it comes to doing the will of God if we had only a sampling of the fear and awe that will be present on Judgment day in our hearts now. What positive things would such fear bring about in our homes, offices, schools, and communities? What suggestions do you have that might help us develop that kind of fear? 
   2. Paul wanted those who were already Christians to understand that there is an on-going aspect of their salvation that was dependant upon what they did or did not continue to do. (Compare Acts 2:40 for a similar exhortation.) Evidently, when Paul was with them it was easier for them to "tow the line," so to speak, and to do the right things. But he was aware that in his absence, they might become slack in their obedience.  What did he want them to do? Discuss some ways that we "work out our own salvation." Can anyone else do this for us or does the statement imply that this is each individual's responsibility? 
   3. In verse 13, Paul was in essence saying that although he was absent, they were in much better hands than his.... they were in God's hands. It never was Paul working in them. It was always God. He was saying, Don't obey only when I am around. It is His good pleasure that they should be concerned about not Paul's. Is it possible that people can become so afraid of their religious leaders that they would not dare say or do something wrong in their presence but as soon as they leave the room they act differently? Discuss why people often act like that? Sometimes men may apologize for cursing in front of a preacher but they never think to apologize to God. Discuss why people would do that? Who should we be the most concerned about pleasing?

wrap up

   1. With fear and trembling we should seek to obey God at all times so that there will not be fear and trembling in our hearts on judgment day.
Now, before it is too late, is the time to bow before Jesus in submissive obedience. Now is the time to confess Jesus as our Lord (Matthew 10:32). And now is the time to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling." 


 Please read Philippians 2:14-18 for next week   copyright 2001