- Sermon Notes
Contentment, God’s Jewel For Us
February 6, 2022
One of the most impactful verses in my life is in Philippians chapter 4 and the main reason I chose this text. If you have had a born-again experience, most likely you had an impactful person and/or a verse or two attached to those memories.
Philippians 4 also contains probably the most misquoted verse in the world, v13. Most of you know this verse, ”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Ever noticed the misused context of this verse?
All walks of life have used it or quoted it to indicate they were going to get something or accomplish some-thing by claiming that verse gave them the power to expect personal success.
In my case, during a time of searching and wondering about challenges in my life, a college co-ed, named Sherri told me, “you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.”
Her intent, accurately, was to draw my attention to a relationship with the Lord, rather than lean on my own strength and understanding during the trials I was in.
What is the true context of this verse? God wants our relationship with Him to be rich, regardless of our circumstances. Not measured by material things but the depth of our personal relationship with Him.
Paul is telling us that we are rich already if we have a relationship with Christ! Paul himself doesn’t com-plain about Jail. He basically says, I’m fine, God’s given me the jewel of contentment.
More money has yet to bring contentment. Many will say, if only I get this or that, I’d be happy. But the end-goal keeps moving and it’s never enough.
I. Rejoice In The Lord Always
Have you learned Paul’s secret in Philippians 4?
How many of us have an attitude of contentment?
Many live under constant stress. Paul’s secret, rejoice in the Lord always.
The secret of contentment is certainly not money.
Is it in relationships? We are all sinful and fall short so it’s unreasonable to think a relationship is going to fulfill all of our needs. Two sinful people in a fallen world.
If you are not content, what is in the way?
I’ve known many wealthy individuals. I’ve only known one who was content in their circumstances no matter what they had to deal with.
It reminds me of the story of a boss who overhead his employee say, if I only had an extra $1000 I’d be happy…so the boss asked him about that and he said, yes, that was his opinion. So the boss handed him $1000. The employee, as he walked away said to himself, I should have asked for $2000. Isn’t that human nature?
1 Timothy 6:6-10, But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it, either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
A. A thankful heart provides contentment
If people shoot for a certain level of affluence, when they reach that level, they often shoot for more. It just seems to go on and on.
Nike Example – David Robinson – Has anything changed with pro athletes?
More stuff does not bring more contentment. It actually brings the opposite unless, as Philippians 4:6 says, “do not be anxious about anything.”
Proverbs 27:20, Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied. KJ
B. Train your mind to think biblically
Paul was faced with either an acquittal or beheading. He had nothing to be happy about. Yet he writes in Philippians, rejoice in the Lord always.
What was his secret?
References to “mind” or “think” or “remember,” used multiple times by Paul. He is exhorting us to learn how to use our minds to think biblically and not dwell on the things of this world.
Paul is speaking of God’s provision for us regardless of our situation to dwell on the things above and be content.
Philippians 4:19, And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
II. God’s word empowers our endurance
v13, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Paul is not talking about contentment in material things.
The grass is aways greener on the other side, right?
Real contentment is not a statement of your account, but a state of our heart. A Japanese Proverb says, “even if you sleep in a thousand mat room, you can only sleep on one mat!
Contentment can come not because we have conquered our circumstances, but because we have learned to live with them…
1 Thessalonians 5:18, Give thanks in all circum-stances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Testimony of Joni Eareckson Tata
A. Learn how to get along with little
What are your problems in life right now? Realize you can adapt to it and find a state of contentment.
Paul says in v12, I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
Paul wants us to learn that whatever state we’re in, to be content. This is not natural. What comes naturally is being selfish.
• Children with toys – then new toys – not sharing toys.
• Adults with cool toys – are we not often the same? It’s our human nature.
How did Paul learn this?
He found the balance between poverty and riches, whether little or much, he was content in the riches of his relationship with Christ.
I’ve had my own struggles in this area, but God knew that. Circumstances happened in our lives where we had nothing and borrowed from family to get by. We had 4 children at the time and learned to be content.
We repaid that loan and thanked God for taking us through that season only to bless us beyond anything we would have asked or expected.
Paul was not angry when he was poor nor was he uneasy with many blessings.
Proverbs 30:8, Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion,
I believe God knows just the right amount.
What was Paul’s secret of contentment? It is not in what you have, but who you know. Do you know, do you really know Jesus Christ, His character, His heart, His holiness, His expectations, His love?
Hebrews 13:5, Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever abandon you,”
If Christ is in your life and you have a close relationship with Him, you will find contentment if you trust the scriptures telling you He is with you always.
B. Contentment can only come from God
David said the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He meant what he said. The only person who can say, the Lord is my Shepherd can say, I shall not want. If you are a person who says you always want more, or you never seem to have enough, is the Lord really your shepherd?
Remember, contentment is the state of the heart, not a statement of account. God knows what you need. He is the only one who can provide you contentment.
Paul had found contentment in fellowship with God regardless of his problems or circumstances. Here’s a jewel about contentment.
• Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want but the realization of how much you already have.
• Understanding that, if I’m not satisfied with what I have, I’ll never be satisfied with what I want.
1 Timothy 6:6, But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.
Shelter, clothing, food, transportation? Are you con-tent with what you have?
C. Be a vine that produces fruit
I would have loved to visit my sister one last time be-fore she passed 10 days ago. To thank her firsthand in giving glory to the Lord in the midst of her pain. I’m reading tributes online from her friends and other cancer patients daily about how her life impacted theirs.
It’s been great therapy for me.
A couple of days after her death, her son, my nephew, texted me and said, she was a brilliant person and she will continue to make all the difference in people’s lives. What a testimony to leave your 18-year old son.
Paul is reminding us that we all have trials and challenges. But contentment comes from our relationship with God, not by the defined solutions we believe we need at any point in time. Certainly not from the world.
Not from what you have but who you know. How well do you know Him? Do you know Him? Is there fruit in your life?
v13 drew me close to Jesus personally at a time in my life that I was overwhelmed by challenges and my circumstances.
Take out the word Christ in this verse and fill any-thing in that you want. “I can do all things through” alcohol, drugs, education, money, success, friends, poli-tics?
Everything else fails – there are many who think these things will make everything fine.
People in Hollywood fill the news with broken lives, fractured marriages, drug and alcohol use and the poli-tics of the hypocritical. When are we going to get the memo that these folks have absolutely nothing to offer us? Yet they are influencers, admired and followed on social media, in the midst of destruction all around them.
But this one fits – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!
John 15:4-5, Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself but must remain in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
So on one side, apart from Christ we cannot do any-thing and the other side, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Philippians 2:12-13, So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.
Paul is urging the Philippians to be selflessly united, especially in his absence. In other words, watch your conduct.
Ephesians 4:1, Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
Working out your salvation according to His good pleasure. If you are not working on growing your faith and using what God has given you, you won’t accelerate. You won’t bear fruit.
Some things only God can do and others you can. I advise those in my counsel frequently, you need to do what you can and let God do the rest. But to be lukewarm and do nothing is not biblical. Why would God do it for you?
He guides us but He does not force us to go. He can convict me but only I can repent of my sin. He can show you your need for Him, but only you can choose to believe, follow Him and have eternal life.
1 Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, [a]whom I long to see, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to [b]live in harmony in the Lord. 3 Indeed, true [c]companion, I ask you also, help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement as well as the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is [d]near. 6 Do not [e]be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all [f]comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is [g]lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 As for the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked an opportunity to act. 11 Not that I speak [h]from need, for I have learned to be [i]content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things [j]through Him who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my difficulty.