Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. Character refers to a person’s mental, moral, and ethical qualities. We are defined by it and our reputation is made from it. What does it mean to have blameless character?
2. Think about someone who is widely viewed as a role model (locally or internationally, good or bad, in politics, entertainment, sports, music, ministry, etc.). How effective are they in representing themselves or the organizations/nations/industries they serve?
Read Philippians 2:12, 13
1. Parents love to hear that their kids behave well in their absence. What do you think motivated Paul to write verse 12?
2. In what context is Paul writing about obedience here? (One clue is to look at the previous paragraph.) What do you think a perfect model of obedience would look like and how would it be applied?
3. Explore together what it means to “to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” and what roles you and God have “to act according to his good purpose.”
Read Philippians 2:14-18
4. What’s the difference between complaining and respectfully letting people know something isn’t working well? What types of complaints are beneficial or helpful and can move your church forward in a positive way?
5. As children of God, we “hold firmly to the word of life” every day. What does it mean to be blameless? Discuss what effect blamelessness and purity (in conduct, speech, life, and love) have on Christian character and testimony.
6. Paul didn’t want to run or labor in vain for the Philippians. He wanted to boast and rejoice about them one day! What do you think Paul meant by this statement (v. 16) and what kind of warning does it provide for us?
7. Read 1 John 3:1-3. We are children of God! Doesn’t that make you want to cheer? One day we will be like him when we see him as he is! How blessed are we to have hope. Discuss ways to be active in offering the hope of Jesus to people in your life this week.
Conclude your group time with prayer, using the following as a guide. Thank you, Jesus. You humbled yourself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross—so that we could be adopted into the family of God. Help us to purify ourselves and become more like you, to be blameless and pure and shine like stars in this crooked and depraved generation, and to faithfully hold out your Word to those around us.