This past Sunday at church, my pastor, Philip De Courcy, preached a message on the topic of finding contentment in Christ. It was a fitting subject matter for it being the first Sunday of the year. As I’ve written in my previous post, many of us come up with “New Year’s Resolutions”, or goals that we set out to accomplish throughout the year. John Piper wrote a very good article on how resolutions aren’t a good thing. If you’re interested in reading it, take a look here.
With the start of the new year, my pastor felt it was a great topic to dig into. We need to find contentment in Christ, otherwise we will never find contentment. The text we studied was Philippians 4:10-13 –
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philip started the message off by saying: “Let us have a greater hatred for sin, and a greater love for Jesus Christ.” — Amen!
Below, I’ve cleaned up my notes a little bit from the way I take them during the service, but I hope you find them both encouraging and challenging!
We make our plans for life in how we think it will go, but life has a way of messing up our game plan.
In reality, it’s more like 10% of life is what you make it, 90% is how you take it.
Life is more a matter of attitude rather and aptitude.
Paul wrote Philippians from a prison cell, yet he is up for anything that life brings his way because he is content in everything through the strength of Christ.
Colossians 1:27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
This is what life should find in us… the hope of glory: Sufficiency through Christ and being ready for anything… for we know God is good and it is all within His plan.
James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting… As John MacArthur put it, we can have a confident trust in a sovereign God. Life is like a “the mountaintop experience” — sometimes we’re standing on a mountaintop, where we’re on top of the world… while other times the mountain is on top of us.
We can have a confident trust in a sovereign God.
Philip broke this text was broken down into three points:
Christ does not want us to be content with who we are, but what we have and where we are.
3 things we should never be content with:
– Our natural state (in our sin, outside of Christ)
– To be in a situation that dishonors God, stop, repent, turn away from that, hate it.
– Little grace, don’t be content with where you are in your walk with God.
Philippians 3: be discontent with who you are.
Philippians 4: be content with where you are.
v1:3 & 4:10-20 – rejoice always, greatly, thankful for their care & concern… this is where celebration comes in.
Rejoiced in the Lord greatly, there was nothing fake about their care, friendship, and love towards Paul… it was a redemptive love.
– Luke 2:10; 24:52 | Acts 8:8 – the marvelous friendship that Paul had with this church in Philippi.
It was redemptive love, but I rejoiced in the Lord, a poor church would meet his needs, repeatedly. V18 – well pleasing to God. More than a human kindness.
V14 – that you sure in my distress. Greek: Koinonia
Paul says that their love for each other has withstood the test of time. We lack concern, not the ability. The secret to Paul’s contentment is v13 is God’s strength, but he is thankful. Do all things without complaining and disputing.
Be thankful for what I have, rather than missing what I don’t have.
Thankfulness undercuts the discontentment with what we don’t have.
Thankfulness gives us perspective.
He would have been content even if Epaphroditus didn’t come, but he’s happy that he did.
- v17 – Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. He’s more excited and content/happy with what the gift will do for them, rather than himself (selflessness).
Everywhere & in all things… not much room for Paul not to be happy.
A cloudy day should not rob us of our happiness/contentment, nor should a sunny day supply our happiness/contentment.
I would be content if…
Our happiness is not dependent upon our happenings, it’s dependent solely on our contentment in Christ.
We must be have a heart and mind that is satisfied in God. We have to have fixed faith on fixed things (God, His faithfulness, His Word, His Son, His Spirit), amidst changing things. This doesn’t come instantly, or even quickly.
Paul says twice in v11-12: I have learned… This is something we learn, not something we one day wake up with. Contentment must be found internally through the Holy Spirit, It is learned not natural.
There’s nothing more gross than a whiny old Christian. V12 – God has me in certain circumstances in certain times to teach me certain things in each place/time.
It’s not wrong to ask questions of God, He can handle… but can we handle His answers?
Sufficiency is through Christ and not ourselves. It is not found in the power of ourselves, but Christ alone.
2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
We have what we need, it is all in Christ. We should also have all of what we want and that is Christ.
Philippians 4:19 – And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. “According to…” How rich is God? (Example: if Bill Gates gave $100, that’s not according to his riches, but $1,000,000,000 would be, because it’s according to his riches, his wealth).
Our contentment lies in Christ and His sufficiency.
All things is the same in v12 & v13.
Always be in union and communion with Christ.
God has given us so much power through His Spirit that we can turn sorrows into joy… who else can do that?