Introduction: Most all employees get evaluated by their supervisors.
That happens to me, too. I am also evaluated by my students. My law
school teaching started late in life, after decades of litigating. As
a result, a consistent comment by my students is “He knows what he is
talking about.” When you explain your understanding of the Bible, do
people react, “That teacher knows what he is talking about?” “She
knows what she is talking about?” The people who listen to your view
of the Bible look at your life to determine your credibility. Do you
know what you are talking about? Let’s dive into our study of the
Bible to learn about living what we teach!

  1. Lighting the Path

    1. Read Philippians 2:12. The text starts out, “therefore.”
      That means we are about to read a conclusion to something.
      What is that “something?” (In Philippians 2:1-8 we are
      told to love others in the way we live, just as Jesus
      showed us when He lived on earth.)

    2. Read Philippians 2:9-11. How did living a life of love
      work out for Jesus? (He was exalted “above every name.”)

      1. What, “therefore,” should we expect is the message in
        Philippians 2:12 and the following verses? (Showing
        love to others blesses us.)

    3. Let’s find out. Read the rest of Philippians 2:12. Do you
      see a tension between “as you have always obeyed,” and
      “work out your own salvation?” If we obey, we are doing
      what someone else told us to do, right? If we work out
      our own salvation, we are doing what we tell ourselves to
      do, right? How do reconcile this conflict? (The Bible
      tells us that our obedience should reflect our personal
      understanding of the Bible, not simply what someone else
      told us was obedience.)

      1. Would we obey more completely when we are by our
        self, and not observed by others? (This is just the
        opposite of human nature. If no one will ever know,
        we feel free to do things that would otherwise get us
        in trouble.)

        1. What point is the Bible making here? (We should
          be constrained by our own opinion. If we obey
          only when others are looking at us, that shows
          our obedience does not arise from personal

        2. Why is “fear and trembling” involved? (These
          are important life decisions. They make a

      2. How would you summarize the points made in
        Philippians 2:12? (Our religious beliefs need to be
        our own. Not necessarily what others have taught us,
        and not how we want to be seen. Rather, they should
        be genuine, coming from our personal beliefs and
        expectations about how we should live.)

    4. Read Philippians 2:13. Who is working in us to help us
      make the right decisions about living? (God. It gives God
      pleasure when we do His will.)

    5. Read Philippians 2:14. Why does the Bible mention this
      first? (I don’t think it is an accident. Grumbling and
      disputing are not attractive traits. They do not give us
      joy – at least not a normal kind of joy.)

    6. Read Philippians 2:15. What does this say about the world?
      (It is “crooked and twisted.”)

      1. How do you explain the importance put upon not
        grumbling or disputing? How does this equal being
        “blameless and innocent” when all around are crooked?

      2. How does the reference to us being a “light” help us
        to understand the problem of grumbling and disputing?
        (A light is something positive. It helps us to see
        and avoid dangers. The Bible contrasts those who have
        the attitude of making things better with those who
        simply want to complain.)

      3. What does God have in mind for us in the phrase
        “blameless and innocent children … without
        blemish?” (God’s goal is that we live without sin.
        There was only one perfect man, that was Jesus. But,
        God wants “without blemish” to be our goal.)

      4. How should those of us who believe in righteousness
        by faith understand the “without blemish” goal? Does
        it mean our goal is to put on Jesus’ robe of
        righteousness? (There are two things going on that we
        must not confuse. We are saved, as sinners, because
        of Jesus righteousness alone. Our works do not save
        us. But, once we are saved by grace alone, Jesus has
        a greater goal for us – to live as unblemished lights
        in a “crooked and twisted generation.”)

    7. Read Philippians 2:16. What is the “word of life?” (The
      gospel, what the Bible teaches us about salvation and how
      we should live. This is what holds us in place when
      surrounded by a “crooked and twisted generation.”)

      1. What is the “day of Christ?” (The success of Paul’s
        teaching to the Philippians becomes clear at the
        Second Coming of Jesus.)

    8. Read Philippians 2:17 and Numbers 28:7. How does the
      writer (Paul) view his work for the Christians at
      Philippi? (He sacrifices himself so that they can learn
      about the gospel.)

      1. Normally, we do not like to give up ourselves in
        order to benefit others. How many times have you
        heard the question, “When do I get my way?” What
        emotion does Paul feel as a result of his self-sacrifice? (He says that he is glad and rejoicing,
        and he asks them to join him in that.)

      2. Are people attracted to those who rejoice and are

    9. Let’s take stock. We started out with the conclusion
      (therefore) that Jesus love for others resulted in His
      exaltation. Do the verses that follow (that we just
      studied) suggest that is also true for us?

  2. Having the Right Attitude

    1. Read Psalms 37:1-2. We just discussed that we are living
      in a crooked and twisted generation. Should we envy what
      they have? (No. The Bible tells us that they will not have
      it for long.)

      1. Is “long” your entire life?

    2. Read Psalms 37:3-4. The question I just asked was to make
      you think about whether your entire life here would be one
      of tolerating evil and waiting for vengeance. What do
      these additional verses tell us about our life here on
      earth? (If we delight in God, He will give us the desires
      of our heart.)

      1. What is the desire of your heart? Is it a Rolls
        Royce? Is it a life of peace and joy?

      2. Should your desire be consistent with delighting in

      3. If you are not certain, what should you do?

    3. Read Psalms 37:5. Is this the answer to the last question?
      (Notice that Psalms 37:3 also tells us to trust God.
      Trusting God is part of delighting in God. This combined
      attitude of trust and delight shapes what we desire in

      1. The last phrase of this verse says “and He will act.”
        How will God act? (We are told that God will do
        something. He is not sleeping, and He is not too big
        to notice our problems.)

    4. Read Psalms 37:6. When we considered Philippians 2, we
      learned that a goal of our life is to be a light to help
      others understand the gospel. How does this Psalm tell us
      that we can do that? (It says that God brings forth our
      righteousness and justice. This relationship (trusting and
      delighting) in God produces a positive, attractive,

    5. Let’s skip down and read Psalms 37:8. What attitudes
      should we avoid? (Anger and wrath. Sometimes when I see
      evildoing it makes me mad. This anger makes me consider
      taking “justice” into my own hands.)

      1. What does this text tell us about that kind of
        attitude? (It “tends only to evil.” The instruction
        is “fret not” – “don’t worry about it.”)

    6. Read Psalms 37:9-10. Who administers justice? (The great
      God of heaven will give us the land and will cut off the

    7. Friend, have you done an “audit” of your life? Are you
      living by the word of God? Are you light and not darkness?
      Is the attitude of your heart right? If not, why not ask
      the Holy Spirit, right now, to come into your heart and
      give you the attitude that results in delighting in life
      and rejoicing. If you live a life like that, people will
      think that you know what you are talking about when you
      teach the Bible!

  3. Next week: We start a new series on “Making Friends for God:
    The Joy of Sharing in God’s Mission.”