“October 14–20. Philippians; Colossians: ‘I Can Do All Things through Christ Which Strengtheneth Me’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“October 14–20. Philippians; Colossians,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Invite class members to write on the board one word or phrase that summarizes what they learned from Philippians and Colossians and then explain their choice. Encourage them to share scripture verses as part of their explanation.
You may want to help your class members visualize what it means to “put off the old man” and “put on the new man” through Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:9–10). To do this, you might display something old and something new (such as overripe and fresh fruit or an old and new article of clothing). Class members could discuss how we become “new” through our faith in Jesus Christ and our willingness to live His gospel. As part of this discussion, you could ask half of the class to study Philippians 2:1–5, 14–18; 4:1–9 and the other half to study Colossians 3:1–17, identifying characteristics of the “old man” and the “new man.” You could also invite a few class members to share how having faith in Jesus Christ and living His gospel have helped them become new people. Other scriptures you could explore together include Romans 6:3–7; Mosiah 3:19; and Alma 5:14, 26.
Even though our circumstances are different from Paul’s, we can all learn from his willingness to be content and to rejoice in all the circumstances of his life. To begin a discussion on this topic, you could review some of the trials Paul experienced (see, for example, 2 Corinthians 11:23–28). You could then ask class members to review Philippians 4:1–13 to find counsel Paul gave that can help us rejoice, even in times of trial.
If you would like to explore this topic further, you might ask a class member to share some inspiring accounts or statements from President Russell M. Nelson’s talk “Joy and Spiritual Survival” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 81–84), or the class could watch the video “Trial of Adversity” (LDS.org). How did the people in President Nelson’s talk or the woman in the video find joy, despite their difficult circumstances?
Perhaps class members can find counsel in Philippians 4 that can help them when they experience trials. You might give each class member a note card so they can write what they find. Ask them to put it where they will see it when they need it.
Sometimes a hymn can enhance our understanding of the scriptures. For example, after reading Philippians 4:7, 13, you could sing together “Where Can I Turn for Peace?” or the first verse of “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” (Hymns, nos. 129, 220). What connections do class members see between the words of these hymns and Philippians 4:7, 13? Perhaps they could share experiences when they felt “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” or when they felt strengthened “through Christ” to accomplish something they could not have done otherwise. Elder Jay E. Jensen’s experience, found in “Additional Resources,” might help inspire discussion about these verses.
Because evil is increasing in today’s world, your class members will benefit from Paul’s counsel to “think on” things that are pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Perhaps you could assign each class member (or small groups of class members) one of the qualities listed in Philippians 4:8 or Articles of Faith 1:13. They could each use the Topical Guide to find scriptures about their assigned quality and share with the class what they find. They could also share examples of that quality in people’s lives. How do we “seek after these things”?
Paul’s testimony of the Savior found in Colossians 1:12–23; 2:3–8 provides a good opportunity for class members to ponder and strengthen their own faith. Class members could search these verses to find things that strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ. What does it mean to be “rooted and built up in [Jesus Christ]”? (Colossians 2:7). The picture of a tree in this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families and the video “Spiritual Whirlwinds” (LDS.org) can help class members discuss this verse. (See also Neil L. Andersen, “Spiritual Whirlwinds,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 18–21.) What can strengthen or weaken the roots of a tree? How does being “rooted and built up in [Jesus Christ]” strengthen us against worldly influences? (see Colossians 2:7–8; see also Helaman 5:12; Ether 12:4).
Your class members may be aware of philosophies and traditions of men that can “spoil” a person’s faith in Christ because they contradict gospel truths and make gospel living more difficult (Colossians 2:8). Perhaps class members could list some of these (the ideas suggested by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, found in “Additional Resources,” might help). Then you could discuss how being rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ helps us follow Paul’s counsel: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” (Colossians 2:6). How can we support each other in our efforts to follow the Savior and not false worldly traditions?
Have members of your class ever felt persecuted because they believe in the gospel? Tell them that 1 and 2 Thessalonians contain counsel that Paul gave to Saints who lived amid strong persecution and remained faithful.
While serving as a member of the Seventy, Elder Jay E. Jensen shared this experience:
“Our grandson Quinton was born with multiple birth defects and lived three weeks short of a year, during which time he was in and out of the hospital. Sister Jensen and I were living in Argentina at that time. We truly wanted to be there with our children to comfort them and be comforted by them. This was our grandchild whom we loved and wanted to be near. We could only pray, and we did so fervently!
“Sister Jensen and I were on a mission tour when we received word Quinton had died. We stood in the hallway of a meetinghouse and hugged and comforted each other. I witness to you that assurances came to us from the Holy Ghost, a peace which passes all understanding and continues to this day (see Philippians 4:7). We also witnessed the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost in the lives of our son and daughter-in-law and their children, who to this day speak of that time with such faith, peace, and comfort” (“The Holy Ghost and Revelation,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 78).
Elder Dallin H. Oaks identified several worldly traditions that contradict gospel truths (see “Repentance and Change,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2003, 37–40):
Disregard for the law of chastity
Irregular and passive church attendance
Violations of the Word of Wisdom
Aspiring for “promotions” in Church positions
A culture of dependency rather than individual responsibility