Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

08/27/2017A.M.

 

In Pursuit Of Contentment

Philippians 4.10-19

 

The story is old… But it makes the point. A man owned very large farm with...Orchards... Grain fields... Gardens... Rivers... And forests. With such a place… He was a wealthy contented man.

 

One day a man told the farmer all about diamonds and how wealthy he would be if he owned a diamond mine.  The farmer went to bed a poor man... Poor because he was discontent. He was craving diamonds.

 

So... He sold his farm to search for the rare stones... Traveled the world over. In his pursuit... He became so... Poor... Broken... Delusional... And Defeated... That he committed suicide.

 

One day the man who purchased the farm led his camel into the river to drink.... As the camel put its nose into the water... The man saw a flash of light in the sands of the stream. He pulled out a stone that reflected all the hues of the rainbow. The man had discovered the World’s most famous diamond mine...

 

Had the farmer remained at home... Dug in his own garden... Along his own river... He would have had acres of diamonds.

 

Our subject this morning is Contentment.

There are two models... The Biblical Model...And the World Model.

Theworld model begs the question... When is enough enough?

• How much money is enough?

• How many... Cars... Boats... Fishing or golfing equipment is enough?

• Ladies... How many pairs of shoes are enough... How many Dresses... Blouses... Suit... Sport coats are enough?

• When is the latest... Newest technology... Enough?

• Where are we to be pleased on the ladder of... Success... Power... Prestige?

 

In the World Model... In Western World thinking... There’ll never come a time when enough is enough.

 

We live in a culture that nurtures discontent...That feeds our desire for more and more and more.

 

Consumerism...Materialism... Fuels discontent.

 

I gotta tell you this morning that Satan is in this kind of thinking... Because it is a lie... And he is the father of all lies.

 

Now...Let’s consider the other model... The Biblical one...

The one that... As Children of God... We should be striving for... Pursuing.

Access a Worship Bulletin... And let’s read some Scripture together...

 

First from Philippians... I am not saying this because I am in need… For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need… And I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry… Whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

 

1 Timothy 6...Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world… And we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing…we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people… Eager for money… Have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you… Man of God…Flee from all this… And pursue righteousness… Godliness… Faith… Love…Endurance… And gentleness… Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

 

And Hebrews 13.5... Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have… Because God has said… Never will I leave you… Never will I forsake you.

 

Church... With these scriptures... Is there any doubt that God desires... Even commands us to pursue contentment?

 

Well... Just what is this thing called contentment?…

 

Webster says contentment is... To be satisfied... To be pleased... To be at ease... To have peace of mind.

 

The Greek is auto-arks... Auto means SELF...  Arks speaks of a DISCIPLINED SUFFICIENCY.

 

So... Contentment literally means that... With God’shelp... Through His strengthening us... We have disciplined ourselves to be…

• At peace…

• Sufficient…

• Satisfied…

• Pleased…

With what we have... And that portion of life given us.

 

Vine in his Dictionary of the New Testament Greek says our word means Adequate for any and all occasions.

 

What does it mean to be adequate for any occasion?...

Let me rehearse four New Testament narratives which...

Demonstrate genuine contentment...

 

Go with me to the Garden... The night of Jesus’ betrayal.

We’re not looking at a man who is moaning in loneliness.

He says to His Apostles... I want you to share in My joy in My glory of this hour.

Then... In John 17...He prays for Himself... His Apostles... And for us future believers.

Here is a man who knows that He is going to die on the cross for the sins of the world… And He is thinking and praying for others.

That’s genuine contentment!

 

Let’s look beyond Jesus to Acts seven... And a man named Stephen.

He is lying on the ground... Large stones are hitting him in the face and on the head.

He is dying... Yet...He looks toward heaven saying... Father forgive these who’re stoning me.

 

That’s contentment!... A satisfying peace we would all like to have.

 

Now... Go with me to a... Cold... Damp... Dark... Jail cell in Phillipi.

Paul and Silas are there... Fastened in stocks… Hands and feet.

Every muscle and bone is racked with pain... Tomorrow is full of uncertainty.

 

What are Paul and Silas doing in this time of uncertainty and suffering?... SINGING!

Contentment!...Contentment!

 

The Apostle John is banished to an island sixty miles off the coast of Asia Minor.

A scrubby little rockpile in the Aegean Sea... Zip code 00000…

But his Christianity is red hot… As he writes the apocalypse that closes our New Testament.

 

The Book of Revelation vibrates with the excitement of living for Jesus in spite of grueling persecution.

   • I want to live like that!…

   • I want to live life above the ordinary…Above the common… Above the mediocre.

   • I want to have this kind of contentment… Amen?

 

OK... How can we do it?

How can we have such contentment... Such peace of mind?...

 

First... We must be willing to accept strength from other people.

Do you see this in verse 10?... I rejoice in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. You have been concerned… But you had no opportunity to show it.

 

Here it is church…Paul was not so proud that he would not accept financial aid... Strength... Encouragement…comfort… from others.

 

You see... God helps us through people.

• His hands are people hands...

• His feet are people feet...

• His spirit... His heart… Is found within His people... Or should be.

 

So... Are you sick...

Are you lonely?...

Are you frightened about tomorrow?... 

Is there uncertainty in your life?...

Are you hurting?...

Are you in financial trouble?...

Are you depressed...Down in the dumps?

Do you need some encouragement?

 

What does Scripture tell us?

• John says... We are to love oneanother... deeply... Fervently.

• Paul says... We are to bear one another’s burdens.

• James tells us to confess our faults one to another… And pray for one another.

 

Genuine contentment...Comes from leaning-on-one-another learning one anotherness!

 

Here it is church... The greatest inhibitor to contentment in this area is our own pride.

Let people help!!... It is the Biblical way to contentment.

 

Understand that Contentment is a learned discipline.

Note verses 11 and12... I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances... I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation… Whether well fed or hungry… Whether living in plenty or in want

 

Contentment is a learned trait!

We’re not born with it...

We didn’t get it as a gift at baptism.

It’s not something that is floating in the air like a virus or bacteria.

 

Listen to First John two... Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

 

John mentions three things that are a part of each of us...

Lust of the flesh...

Lust of the eye...

And the pride of life.

 

You see... We are built for discontent... Aren’t we??

The flesh says... I desire... I want... I need.... Feed me... Please me... Satisfy me.

The lust of the eye says... If I see it... I want it... I’ve got to have it.

And the pride of life loves to boast of the fact that we have obtained it.

 

Discontent is a tool of Satan... He uses our flesh nature to bring us to this sin....

 

• He used it on Adam and Eve saying... You two are missing out on some great things here.

 

• It was the tool he used on Jesus... All this can be yours if only you will worship me....

 

Church... Beware of discontent in your life... It’s a work of the Devil... It’s his lie. He tells us that we can be happy... Content with just one more of… Something... Anything.

 

Paul learned contentment in position.

He says... I know what it is to be in need... And I know what it is to have plenty.

 

Some of our English Bibles do a real poor job of translating here.

The Greek really says... I know how to be HUMBLE.

Our King James properly reflects this saying?... I know how to be... abased... Humbled.

 

Paul is talking about his POSITION.  He is saying... I can be a humble man... Or I can be an elevated man...  I have learned to deal with the two without losing perspective of who I am... And whose I am.

 

Paul learned contentment in PREVISION.

I have learned the secret of contentment... Whether hungry or fed.

Paul knew how to be...warm... Full... Fed... And… healthy.

At the same time... He knew how to be without... Cold...Empty... Hungry... And… ill.

Question!!!...Do we have this kind of contentment?

 

Paul learned contentment in this matter of possessions.

Paul says... I can have it all... Or I can have nothing and still be content.

Contentment is not found in...

• A new house...

• A different car...

• A bass boat...

• Designer clothes...

• A younger face or body... Etc... Etc... Etc.

 

Contentment is NEVER... Never...  Based upon the seen... Things... Upon how many material blessings come our way. If it were the rich would all be content.

 

Paul tells us to pursue the unseen… Righteousness… Godliness…Faith… Love… endurance… And gentleness.

 

Remember what John Paul Getty… and John D. Rockefeller… said when asked when is enough really enough... They replied… NEVER!!... Just a little bit more

 

• Benjamin Franklin once said... Being content makes poor men rich... Discontent makes rich men poor.

 

• Jesus said…What does it profit a man…What good is it if a man… Gain the whole world and lose his own soul?

 

• Paul tells Timothy and us… A desire and push for this world’s riches will bring ruin and destruction upon us.

 

• John tells us… Do not love the things of this world… Because when you do… The love of God is drained from your life.

 

Church... We cannot love God and the world… They are mutually exclusive.

 

Contentment allows us to be can do people.

We must know that contentment is not Passivity... Contentment is not care-less-ness.

 

Contentment does not mean we are going to the porch of life and sit in our rocking chair.

 

Paul says... I can do... ALL THINGS... Everything... Through him who gives me strength.

 

In Second Corinthians 8.2... Paul speaks of the generosity of the Macedonian churches... And he says... Out of the most severe trial... Their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

 

Their contentment produced Joy...  Joy motivated them to give to the Lord... Even out of their severe trial... Their extreme poverty... Indeed...Contented People are can do people!!

 

Then in First Corinthians chapter seven... Paul indicated that if you are a slave... Be content!!... But if can gain your freedom... Take it... Don’t be passive.

 

I think we must be careful here... We need to understand that a change in circumstances will not automatically bring happiness... Contentment is found in seeing God at work in our circumstances…. Whatever they might be.

 

Contentment comes from knowing that God will meet all our needs.

Look at verse 19... God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

 

A lot of people today believe that... If they could just get rid of their troubles in life... They would be content... This is a MYTH!... It’s a lie from Satan.

 

Contentment is not found by our trying to avoid pain and problems.

 

Genuine contentment is realizing that God can use...

• Our pain and problems...

• Our situation and circumstance...

• The valleys we walk through

To... discipline us... Refine... Remold… remake…Us into the people and person He wants us to be.

 

Biblical contentment comes from our faith and trust in God to supply ALL our needs.

 

Biblical contentment comes from believing that He is & will work all things out... To our good... To our benefit.

 

Finally... Sin and contentment are mutually exclusive.

Church... There is no way we can be content... If we are having to contend with all the guilt from every sin in our life.

 

Satan has lied to us saying...

• You can be happy...

• You can have peace... 

• You can be content…

in your sin… We can’t... We can’t... It doesn’t work that way.

 

But here is the good news... We can rid ourselves of sin guilt.

We can be forgiven by the blood of Jesus.

 

If you are here and not a child of God... You can become one by faith... repentance... and New Testament baptism... for the remission of sin...

 

In baptism... All sins are...

• Forgiven...

• Forgotten...

• Covered...

By the blood of Christ.

 

As God’s children...We can rid ourselves of sin by...

• Repentance...

• Confession...

• And prayer.

 

John tells us that... If we will acknowledge our sins... That God is just and will forgive us all our unrighteousness.

 

Let’s accept God’s invitation to Genuine Contentment... As we stand and sing this invitation song together.