Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

05/12/2019 P.M.

 

Coveting VS. Biblical Contentment

Philippians 4.10-20 ­– 1 Timothy 6.6-12 – Hebrews 13.5

 

This morning we saw God... With His own hand... Write a Command in Stone... The last of the Ten Commandments... Thou Shall Not Covet!

 

Listen church... Covetousness is nothing more than

our personal attempt to improve upon what God has given us... What He has done for us.

 

• Improving upon how He has blessed us...

 

• and what He has called us to be.

 

We become dissatisfied with...

• The car we drive... The house we live in...

• Our job or the position we hold... 

• Our spouse...

• The stuff we’ve accumulated...

• The children or grandchildren God has given us...

• The church and ministry He has called us to...

So... We make our attempt to improve upon His blessings... It’s called covetousness.

 

Here’s tonight’s statement of truth that we need to hold on to... Ready?...

• Covetousness has itS beginning with... DISSATISFACTION... discontent!

• Discontentment breeds Covetousness.

 

Now... As Bible Students... We are all familiar with Coveting and itS consequences...

 

• Scripture begins with Satan convincing Eve that God was holding back from her some extraordinary blessings of knowledge... She becomes discontent.  The resulting covetousness changes her life completely... Resulted in their being expelled from the Garden… Expelled from a walking talking hand holdING relationship with God.

 

• Out of envy… Cain kills his brother because he was coveting Able’s correct relationship with God.

 

• Think of the consequences of Lot’s discontent with poor pasture land... He covets the best... Pitches his tent toward Sodom... And before long he is thrown deep into the sins of an evil culture… Sound familiar?  As a result… Lot loses his wife…We must know that… Sin... Covetousness... Always Have consequences.

 

• Achan coveted... A wedge of Gold... Some silver coins... A Babylonian Garment... So much so that it got him and his family destroyed.

What a terrible price to pay for discontent with God’s blessings.

 

• David was dissatisfied with the blessings God had given him... So he goes looking for an improvement and finds it in Bathsheba.

As it always does... Sin progresses... Lustful thinking leads to lustful searching... Lustful eyes lead to lustful behavior... Adultery... Murder.

All because David thought he could improve on God’s plan for his life.

 

• We come to the New Testament... And we see a new kind of coveting... Ananias & Sapphira want... popularity... Recognition... The prestige of being the ones who gave the most to the church.

They wanted their name in lights over the early church.

They seemingly were not satisfied with the ministry God had called them to.

How it is church... How we can rehearse these narratives and their consequences and still determine to be discontent covetous people?

 

Well... If discontent breeds covetousness... And It Does…

What can we learn about contentment?

 

Access a Worship Bulletin and let’s read from Philippians chapter four.... I wait on you at the verse numbered ten... I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 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. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and evenmore; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

1Timothy 6.6-12... 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... Flee from 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 wants... Even commands… That we strive toward contentment.

 

Do we have NewTestament examples of such contentment?...

I believe we do...

 

Steven in Acts seven... Lying on the ground... Stones are hitting him in the head. He’s dying... Yet... He looks toward heaven and says... Father forgive these who are stoning me... Lord... Receive my spirit...  Contentment!!

 

Now to a… Cold… Damp... Dark… Jail cell in Philippi.

Paul and Silas are there... Fastened in stocks… Both hands and feet... Every muscle and bone is racked with pain... Tomorrow is full of uncertainty.

• What is going to happen to them?...

• Will they be tortured...

• Will they die?

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

Contentment!... Contentment!

 

Then to an island in the Aegean Sea.

The Apostle John is banished to this lonely rock pile… Sixty miles off the coast of Asia Minor.  But his Christianity is red hot!!... As he writes the apocalypse that closes our NewTestament. The Book of Revelation vibrates with the excitement of living for Jesus in spite of grueling persecution.

 

OK... How?... How can we have such contentment...

Such peace of mind?

 

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

Note verse 10?... I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.

 

Epaphroditus had gone through Philippi... Told the saints there that Paul was in prison.

they wanted to help.

 

Here it is church… Paul was not too proud to accept financial aid... Strength... Encouragement... And comfort… From other people.

 

Are we in financial trouble?...

Are we depressed... Down in the dumps?...

Do we need some encouragement?

 

Tell the church... Tell the family... This is what church aisles and invitation songs are about.

This is Biblical... Read the first few chapters of Acts... See the church helping one another.

 

Genuine contentment... Comes from learning one anotherness!!

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

 

Secondly… Contentment is learned... It’s a discipline.

Verses 11 and 12... I am not saying this because I’m in need… For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances... I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.

 

Contentment doesn’t come easy.

• We’re not born with it.

• It doesn’t come automatically... At our conversion... At New Testament baptism.

• It is not something we can pass on to our children.

 

Contentment is learned...

• It’s something that we must will to have and do.

• Contentment is inner strength...

NO!!... Not self strength... But God supplied strength.

 

Now… Let’s note how Paul draws from this God supplied strength...

To deal with his problems and pressures brought to bear upon him...

 

First... Paul overcomes the pressure of 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 poor job of translating here.

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

What does the King James say?... I know how to be... abased... Humble… The King James translators got it right!

 

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 face or focus... Without losing perspective of… who I am... And whose I am.

• This is the same Paul who once said... I am not one whit behind the chief Apostle.

• This is the same Paul who once wrote... I am the least of all God’s people.

• This is the same Paul who tells us that... He was the chief of sinners.

 

Listen to me folk... Some of us are covetous... Because we’re too concerned about STATUS & POSITION.

• I’m too good to just be a Deacon... I should have been appointed an Elder.

• I should have had... That promotion...That position... Down at the office.

• I would be content if I were the president of the company.

• I’m above... Washing feet... Serving others.

• I’m willing to teach the older age...But not nursery or preschool... Or preach for a small church.

• I’m above driving the van...

• I have no intention of admitting... my faults... My sins… To the whole church.

• If someone is going to say they are sorry... Let it be him or her... Not me.

 

We must understand that humility and contentment are identical twins that are both born out of our own willingness to discipline ourselves and become what God wants us to become and be.

 

Secondly... There is the pressure of provision.

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

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

 

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

Think about it…

• Paul in prison...

• John exiled on Patmos...

• Jesus was content without a place to lay His head... A place to call home...

If…Paul… John… Jesus… Can be content in these circumstances… Why can’t we be content with our blessings today?... Why indeed??

 

There is the pressure of possessions.

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

 

Some of us are caught up in Satan’s lie that contentment is having... more... More... More. Contentment is not found in things... Possessions...

• A new house...

• A different car...

• A bass boat...

• Designer clothes...

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

 

There’s not enough riches in this world to satisfy our hearts.

• Jesus said… What does it profit a man though he gain the world and lose his own soul?

 

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

 

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

 

Contentment is knowing the real issues of life.

There’s not a particular verse... This point is not from the text... But from the context.

What does REALLY MATTER?

 

If somebody or something came along and took everything that belongs to us...

• Our Position...

• Provisions....

• Possessions...

• Our health...

• Everything!!!...

What would we come to understand?

That God created us for relationships... With Him and with one another...

This is the real issue.

 

I know it is the real issue for two reasons....

 

First... Because when people lose everything they have in a storm or a fire... What do we hear them say... Well... We are thankful that we have family... And that all are safe.

You see... We don’t have to be there to benefit from their knowledge.

 

Then secondly... Because of what the Bible says...

Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments… For this is the whole duty of man.

 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it… Love your neighbor as yourself.

 

If anyone loves me… He will obey my teaching. My Father will love him… And we will come to him… And make our home with him.

 

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

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

 

A lot of people today believe that... If they could just rid their life of trouble...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…

• He can and does use our own brokenness…

To discipline us... refine... and 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… And that He will work all things out...To our good... To our benefit… To our betterment.

 

Let me leave you with three quick thoughts as we close...

 

There’s a difference between contentment & satisfaction.

I’m not satisfied with my life.... And you know the reason... God is not finished with me yet. He’s still… Molding me… Refining me... Remaking me… Into the person He wants me to be... So… I can’t be satisfied...But I can still be content.

 

Contentment can prove to us… And those around us… That God is Sovereign.

Can our neighbors look at our life and say...

• That family is facing bankruptcy...

• That individual has cancer...

• That man or woman has lost a... child... spouse... or parent

And they’re working their way through it... Their God must be Sovereign...

I would like to know their God... Their Savior... I would like to have their contentment.

 

Thirdly... Sin and contentment are mutually exclusive.

Church... There is no way we can be content... If we’re having to deal with guilt from every sin in our life.

 

Satan has lied to us saying...

• You can be happy...

• You can have peace...

• You can live the good life…

• You can be content…

in 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… We can be forgiven by Faith... Repentance... and New Testament Baptism.

 

As God’s children... John says… If we will confess… acknowledge our sins... That God is just and will forgive us all our unrighteousness.

 

I hope we will all accept the challenge to... Resist covetousness And live in Genuine Biblical Contentment… As we stand and sing this song together.