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Matthew 6:21 1
21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Background

If God is the treasure of our souls, our hearts, our affections and desires, we should find our lives focused on Godly things, things to come.  A focus on worldly things just prove that our treasure is here and now; a heavenly minded person shows that our treasure is lies somewhere in eternity. The principal concern of Jesus can be seen in verse.  “Where is thy heart?” The love of Christ and His kingdom is comprised of the constant choice of spiritual things rather than physical things of worldly values. This preference for eternal things as contrasted with things material and secular, mark the broad purposes of the new life in Christ. Possessions must be possessed; they must not possess their owners.

Items for Discussion

  • Where does the trap of possessions and worldly values come from?
  • How do worldly “things” ensnare our lives?
  • Leading a eternally focused life and a worldly life are both necessary. We must survive for today to exist tomorrow and for eternity – What is your secret to this balance?
  • What spiritual growth have you received from the possession of “things?”
  • What spiritual growth have you received from focusing on things eternal?
  • What are the warning signs of entrapment into worldly treasures?

 

Romans 6:23
23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our LORD.

Background

This verse in Romans is painfully sobering. Those whose “work” is sin will receive a payment of spiritual death, which is ultimately eternal separation from God. The verse, however,  immediately includes the solution on how to avoid this problem. Through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, the gift of eternal life is given. It is not earned through our effort (Ephesians 2:8-9), but is instead freely given through God’s grace because of what Jesus did on the cross, dying as a substitute for our sin.

2The wages of sin is death means death is as due to a sinner as wages are to a servants for their labor. This is true of every sin. There is no sin in its own nature small or large. The scope and judgment of what is sin is not ours to ever define. The definition of what is a sin belongs solely to God.

Items for Discussion

  • Where does society try to define what is sinful and what is not?
  • Why does is seem so foolish to try to define sin?
  • How do we discover what is sinful before God?
  • How do you think society is doing on discovering what God thinks is sinful?

 

Philippians 4:19
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Background

Luke described the city called Philippi as a Roman ‘colony’ (Acts 16:12). The emperor Augustus allowed retired soldiers to live there after they had supported him in a battle in 31 BC. As a Roman colony, its citizens possessed the same rights and laws as those who lived in Italy. Paul and Silas, with Timothy and Luke, established the church there after they crossed from Asia into Europe (Acts 16:12-40). Paul visited Philippi again on his third journey (Acts 20:1-6). It was a group of Christians of whom Paul was very fond. He called its members his ‘joy and crown’ (4:1). The Christians in Philippi were not rich, but they supported Paul with more than one gift of money. They also gave money for the poor Christians in Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).

Paul wanted to:

  • thank the Christians at Philippi for the gifts that they had sent him by Epaphroditus.
  • inform the Christians at Philippi about his own circumstances. He also wanted to tell them that Epaphroditus had recovered from his dangerous illness. He was returning to Philippi.
  • appeal for unity and for the end of quarrels in the church.
  • warn them about false doctrine, especially that of Jewish Christians who insisted on circumcision for Gentiles.
  • urge them to remain loyal to their faith and to stand firm against opponents.

Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter. He was not sure of the result of a trial. Some writers suggest that the prison was in Ephesus or Caesarea. But it is more likely that he was in Rome. He probably wrote this letter at the end of the two years that we read about in Acts 28:30.

Paul is thanking his supporters in Philippi.  This is not a promise of wealth, or even an easy life. Rather, the concept of “need” has to be considered according to God’s will. What we “need” and what we “want” are not always the same thing. That being said, God tends to bless those who will use the resources they have according to His purposes. This is something Paul observed specifically happening with the Philippians.

Their needs would be met through Christ, the one who made and controlled all things. They would never lack with Christ as their provider. From the earliest pages of Scripture, God has been known as the Lord who will provide (Genesis 22:14), affirmed by Peter as well (2 Peter 1:11). As Paul noted in 2 Corinthians 9:10, “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”

Items for Discussion

  • How does humor help us with our relationship with God?
  • What are the top three priorities you might list if you had to summarize what you have learned from God?

Discussion Challenge

  • If you were never to see someone you cared for again, what would you try to tell them before you left? (you cannot use “I love them” as  your only answer).

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=mh&b=45&c=6
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