IN A NUTSHELL: : “What do you imagine it feels like to be imprisoned when you have done nothing wrong? When you know you can stand before God not only innocent, but with His blessing for doing the right thing… how does it feel? It is a foreign experience to most of us, but it is real! Paul used his unjust imprisonment as a tool to magnify his purpose and clarify his message.”
ICEBREAKER: Describe the last time you looked back on a hard situation and thought, I’m better off because of that situation.
CONNECTING WITH THE TEXT:
- On whose behalf did Paul see himself as a prisoner?
- How did Paul seem to want the imprisonment to affect his message to the Saints in Ephesus?
- What did Paul see his role to be while "in chains"?
Phil 1:3-18 (Philippi History)
- Paul called the Saints in Philippi “partners” and “partakers.” What were they partners and partakers in and how did that make Paul feel?
- Of what was Paul confident?
- How would you feel if your preacher or one of our missionaries was put into prison for something that appeared to be a “trumped up charge?”
- What did Paul see resulting from his imprisonment?
- How did Paul deal with others doing things out of rivalry while he was incapable of stopping them?
Col 4:2,10-13 (Colossae History)
- Why did Paul ask for them to pray for him?
- Why might Paul mention that Justus & Jesus are the only members from the “circumcision” group there with him while he is in prison?
- And why would they be such an encouragement? (see also Rom. 16:17-18; Gal. 2:1-6)
- Who was Aristarchus?
- What ironic thing happened during Paul’s imprisonment?
- What generally speaking caused his imprisonment?
- How might this Psalm provide hope for someone that is unjustly imprisoned?
- Should it be taken literally? Did Jesus? (see Mt. 4:6)
REFLECTING ON YOUR LIFE:
- How might people living in America today feel unjustly imprisoned by life circumstances?
CONNECTING WITH YOUR CHURCH:
- How might you be an encouragement to other Christians that are being falsely imprisoned around the world? www.persecution.com;
- October 10, 2012 is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church - seek out a person, nation, situation to pray for at www.persecutedchurch.org or www.christiansincrisis.net