Philippians 4 (Part 2) • Keys to Contentment



Philippians chapter 4 and we're going to begin at verse 10 and read through the end if you're ready here's what it says 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'm not saying this because I'm in need for I've 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'm looking for a gift but I'm looking for what may be credited to your account I have received full payment and even more I am amply supplied now that I've received from Epaphroditus the gift 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 greet all the saints in Christ Jesus the brothers who are with me send greetings all the Saints send you greetings especially those who belong to Caesars household the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit amen let's pray thank you Father for giving us this your your word thank you Lord for the book of Philippians it's been a wonderful study and we as we dig into this last section of this letter we just pray for your Holy Spirit to enliven our hearts to hear your voice to respond today to what you want to say to us and to apply to our lives we ask this in Jesus name Amen well in these final comments that Paul makes to the people of Philippi as he closes out this letter he begins to talk about giving and support those of you who have been attending Calvary Chapel for any length of time you know that we don't ever talk about money unless it comes up in the word it was it was a long time ago you know when we started the fellowship a little over 28 years ago when we kind of made the decision I say we I got together with the elders of our fellowship and and we just we talked about you know money and how we were gonna deal with money and money issues and money concerns and things like that and we kind of came to the conclusion that the body of Christ here's too much about it as far as from the pulpit when the church needs money or or whatever and we kind of made a determination as elders way back then to appeal to God instead of the body and so we never talk about money we don't take an offering you know it's just the Lord has to move on your heart for that to happen and let me say with the Apostle Paul we have been amply supplied God has honored that and and anyway I so I like Paul says I'm not saying this to let you know that we're in need God has been incredibly gracious however here we are you know with a part of the word that that deals with the issue of giving and support and that sort of thing so we're gonna cover it and Paul begins by saying in verse 10 I rejoice greatly that now at last you've reserved renewed your concern for me and and so he acknowledges the fact of their support that had come by the hand of the Pafford itis this man who had brought whatever the Philippians had put together to bring to Paul he wants to know and he even tells them like two times in this section about giving he says I want you to know that I'm not bringing this up to try to stir you to you know give a little more and he wants them to know I've been well taken care of so I'm not saying this for that reason and then he goes on in verse 11 if you look with me there again he says I'm not saying this because I'm in need I've learned to be content whatever the circumstances and with that single verse the Apostle Paul opens up that can of worms that we call contentment and I call it a can of worms because it's one of those things that we all kind of know that we need but very few of us actually have and I'm encouraged by the fact that pretty much the first thing Paul says about contentment is that he had to learn it did you catch that he says there in verse 11 I have learned to be content and that encourages me because that tells me that if you know hey if the Apostle Paul had to learn contentment I'm pretty sure I do too and and it also tells me that it doesn't just spring naturally from our flesh you don't I mean contentment doesn't just kind of ooze out of us it's something that has to be learned over time and so how does that happen how do you actually learn to be contented you know well there have been different attitudes about contentedness over the years I don't know how many of you have ever looked into stoic philosophy stoicism is the philosophical movement that kind of grabbed a lot of hearts at a particular time in the history of man and and the Stoics believed that it was stupid to get all worked up about things you couldn't change you know and and and and stoicism essentially taught that if you're facing a circumstance that you can do nothing about then that must be the will of God and since you can't change the will of God you might as well just buck up and learn to cope with the situation and that's to be honest with you kind of what I learned as a kid you know that whole idea of well you know I can't change my circumstances so I guess I'll just have to learn how to cope with it here's the problem with stoicism it basically depends on my ability to kind of wrestle my heart to the ground and pin it you know and and try to get it to obey by a force of my will you know I'm gonna be content if it's the last thing I do sort of a thing it's this exerting this force of will you know that's not how Paul achieved an attitude or a heart of contentment I want you to listen to his words here again in verse 12 look with me there in your Bible I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty I have learned the secret notice that word Paul calls it a secret of being content in any and every situation whether well fed or hungry whether living in plenty or in want he's dragging it out for us here what is it Paul verse 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength and that's the secret which by the way isn't a big secret for us because as Christians this is the theme of pretty much everything that we say I can't do it but Christ can do it in me but obviously it's a secret to the world the Stoics didn't understand it they thought that you know contentment was only going to come as they dredged it up inside of their their will and said I will be content and so forth Paul says you know what I don't have that kind of power I don't have that kind of strength I don't have that kind of inner fortitude to just be content on my own I don't like being content necessarily and like I said before my flesh usually longs for other things which just breeds a greater attitude of discontentment in my heart and in my life so what am I gonna do well as a believer as somebody who has come to Jesus Christ made him my Lord and Savior and received his Holy Spirit into my life I'm going to depend on his power to enable me to walk in an attitude of contentment now once again that means it's not just as easy as saying okay God do that work of contentment in me because here we cuz you got it I don't here we go boom now you know there's there's some dying to self that has to go on as well at the same time whenever we talk about releasing the power of God in our life there's this corresponding work that that of laying down my wants my wishes and the things that actually make me discontented you know in fact as I was going through the Word of God I was thinking to myself there's there's other things in the word that that that lend itself to helping us deal with contentment obviously again with contentment we know that it's a work of the Holy Spirit it's got to be the power of God that enables us but there are other insights and keys to contentedness and I'm gonna put them on the screen for you we're gonna do about five of them in fact well we'll title it here keys to contentment okay and the very first one we'll put up on here is learn to give thanks in all things right I think this is really important to have a thankful heart remember what Paul said to the Thessalonians let me put it up here for you give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you and that's challenging particularly when my life is full of need in some respect or another to give thanks in the midst of that circumstance we've talked about this in the last few studies there's always something to give thanks for but again when life is lean it's it's an act of obedience because you see I don't feel like given thanks I don't feel like giving thanks for my you know maybe maybe the relationship you're in isn't just meeting your needs or or your job isn't meeting your financial needs or you know whatever is going on in your life your body isn't cooperating you know with life these days or something like that and then along comes God's Word and says give thanks in all circumstances and we're kind of pressed by that you know and challenged give thanks in the midst of that yes you know what it's the mark of a child of God who's growing up to be able to give thanks in the midst of even the challenging times the lean times the times when my heart really wants more but then to give thanks it is a it's a it's a barrier against falling back into discontented nough secondly on our list learn to rest in God's ability to provide man sometimes we start to strive so much we struggle to get instead of resting with what God has given and and can I just tell you the reason we struggle to get more or to have things that we don't already have is because we doubt God's ability to provide in our lives we just doubt it we're not really sure always that he has our best interest in mind or that he's really thinking about all the things we really need and that's why we strive to try to you know get them on our own but you know the more we get to know the Lord the more we learn to trust that he's working these things out in our lives and we can and and sometimes he's just encouraging us to learn to wait I don't know about you but waiting is not easy for me I find waiting very difficult I'm a very impatient person and and when the Lord calls upon me to wait for something I get real fidgety and real frustrated and I can even you know tumble into anger but the more we learn to wait and to trust and to rest in his ability to provide the more it will settle into an attitude of contentedness remember what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 6 he says great question so which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life therefore do not be anxious saying what are we gonna eat what are we gonna drink what are we gonna wear where's that husband where's that wife I've been waiting for whatever whatever the need might be he says the Gentiles seek after all these things and by the word Gentiles he's his base he's talking to a Jewish audience at the time and so that's essentially the godless but then he says this your heavenly Father knows your needs do we forget your heavenly father knows your needs he knows he knows what you need question is are you gonna learn am I going to learn to trust him and rest in in in that third thing on our list to encourage contentment be satisfied with what you have been given you might remember that Paul wrote to Timothy in first Timothy chapter 6 and he said godliness with contentment is great gain for we brought nothing into the world and we can take we can't take anything out of the world but if we have food and clothing will be with these we will be content I read that and I kind of go seriously food and clothing that's it you know I mean it's like excuse me God I'm from America we are never satisfied with just food and clothing right do you know how many people in the world would be just thrilled to death to have food and clothing just food and clothing Wow and you know Paul had kind of made a determination when when when he said that to Timothy we've determined you know that if we have food and clothing you know we're gonna we're going to be satisfied with that because you see it's a choice we make a choice you know it's I'm gonna choose I'm gonna choose to be satisfied forth refuse to compare your situation with others comparison it's very interesting have you ever noticed that when we compare ourselves with other people we always compare ourselves with people who have more than us we never compare ourselves with people who have less if we did that all day long it would be a completely different thing but we're always comparing you know it's that keep up with the Joneses you don't care if the Joneses are poor you're not going to compare yourselves with them you know but if they're if they're wealthy or have more than you do then you're going to always be you know working to kind of get up another notch err or whatever I got to tell you something this last week or actually a couple of weeks I've been emailing back and forth with a guy in India who just reached out to me through email through the internet and he'd kind of found us online and he's a pastor of a little Baptist Church in the south of India and he started sending me pictures of his fellowship and his name is David and he's a wonderful man and and we've you know we've we've had some fellowship online and stuff and but I look at these pictures that he sends me and I mean there's not one single person who attends his church who owns a pair of shoes not one and he doesn't even wear him you know when he goes to minister and nobody wears shoes you know and because they don't have any and this is a really really poor part of India that he ministers to these people are very poverty-stricken and and uneducated and it's it's pretty struggle 'some he was writing to me here just this week and telling me that they actually have a little small building that they meet in which he purchased out of his own funds and he said you know but when it rains the our church building fills up with water and that's kind of a bummer and he said actually the worst part is when it rains the water also runs into the people's houses he said that's really hard on the children that kind of is what the Lord's been setting me up with this week on this study of contentment and you know as I was thinking about this and putting together my notes and walking around my own house I was thinking what if those people came to my house they would say you live in a palace pastor Paul you live in a palace and I'm considered middle class just like you here in America but we live in palaces compared to those people we don't deal with the things they deal with when's the last time you had you drove through a leper colony so you know the issues are just completely different and and yet I don't usually compare myself to those people if I did I think I'd be more thankful I mean I really do I think that thankfulness would probably rise up more in my heart than this kind of this feeling of envy for what I don't have remember what James said in James chapter three he said for where you have envy and selfish ambition there you find disorder in every evil practice yeah busted so comparing yourself with other people at least those who have more don't do that finally fifth thing learn to focus on the needs of others I personally think that a lot of our discontent is founded on the fact that we have a very unhealthy focus here in America on our own little world on our own little existence and I'm constantly thinking about me and myself and what I have and what I don't have and it's kind of my world and what's happening in my world and you know it's really funny about us Americans we not only think about ourselves we think everybody else is thinking about us too one thing I've learned about people who are going through a struggle sometime they will actually stay away from church because they're going through a struggle sometime and they because they they think that everybody at church knows they've been going through that kind of a time and they don't want to be confronted by it and they'll say well we're not going to come to church for a while until we kind of get our deals straightened out and stuff like that and because you know we I know they think everybody's thinking about them and I'm like sweetie I'm sorry I hate that pop pop your bubble but they're all thinking about themselves you know everybody's thinking about their own deal they all got their own issues to deal with and I'll be honest with you you probably haven't even shown up on their radar and and but yet people we because we think so much about ourselves we just naturally think other people are thinking about us do they're not but you know what we need to think about other people because it will be a guard in our hearts against discontented attitudes and that's why even when Paul was in prison he would talk about praying for people you know I'm praying for you guys if I were in prison I'd probably praying about getting out of prison you don't I mean but he's praying for the churches he's lifting up these Saints that are all over the place in these churches that he's planted he's in prison and he's praying for them and I'm just blown away by that but you see I believe that that lends itself it fosters a greater contentedness with my current situation because I'm praying for other people and thinking about the needs of other people you'll remember earlier in this very letter here in Philippians Paul talked about it what he said was if you go back to chapter 2 he says let each of you look not only to his own interest but also to the interests of others why it'll help you with your contented issues it'll help think about what's going on in other people's lives think about how you can help so these keys to contentment learn to give thanks in all things learn to rest in God's ability to provide be satisfied with what you've been given refuse to compare your situation with others unless they're they have less in that case it might have been help and then learn to focus on the needs of others verse 14 let's keep reading here as Paul finishes out this letter he says yet it was good of you to share in my troubles moreover as youth Philippians know in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel when I set out from Macedonia not one shirt shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you only for even when I was in Thessalonica you sent me eight again and again when I was in need stop there for a minute what Paul is saying to the Philippians here is I mean it's fairly self-explanatory he says you know when I left your area none of the other church has helped me out you guys did and in fact you helped me again and again and I don't know what you think about when you think about the Philippians sending aid to Paul support money whatever but you know in America of course I think of it as an American and I think well you know these churches growing and and prosperous and they're giving Paul out of their great abundance and they're saying here God has blessed us Apostle Paul and we're gonna send you this stuff to help you out and there you go god bless you but that's not what was going on because you see Paul actually talked about the Philippians when he wrote to the Corinthians and he talked about their giving do you guys remember we went through this in second Corinthians not that long ago here's a reminder from chapter 8 verses 1 through 4 he says to the Corinthians we want you to know brothers about the grace that God has been giving or given among the churches of Macedonia that's the Philippians for us in a severe test of affliction their abundance of joy and their extreme wealth that's not what it says and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part for they gave according to their means and as I can testify even beyond their means of their own accord begging us earnestly for the favour of taking part in the relief of the Saints that's what was going on in Philippi the people there were the only church when Paul left Macedonia and started heading elsewhere they were the only church that reached out to support him and they did it out of their extreme poverty so this wasn't just this overflowing abundance of goods that was coming into the coffers these were people who barely had enough to scrape by and yet what is it that motivated them did you take a look at that how what was overflowing in their lives they had an abundance of joy they had an abundance of joy and joy causes – cheerfully give and that's why Paul told us that about about that that that very thing so it's pretty amazing when you think about it verse seventeen again he repeats not that I'm looking for a gift but I'm looking for what may be credited to your account Paul didn't keep a ledger as to how much the churches gave when he talks about something being credited to the church's account he's talking about the records that God keeps in heaven and he says I'm not looking for a gift I'm looking for what may be credited to you as a church in the eyes of the Lord right and then he says I've received full payment and even more 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 in that interesting he uses the exact wording that's used in the Old Testament to scribe the animal sacrifices when they're offered with a heart a true heart to worship the Lord it's an acceptable fragrant offering pleasing to God and then from that comes verse 19 which is another one of the most powerful and probably most oft quoted verses by Christians 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 you hear a lot of Christians say that don't you God will meet all your needs according to his riches and glory don't worry brother God's going to meet all your needs according to his riches cool but you kind of remember what were the circumstances that generated Paul's repetition of that promise well we already looked at it we read about how he described their extreme poverty but they're overflowing abundant joy which caused them to give and be concerned first about the kingdom of God and as a result or as a as a consequence of that sacrificial giving Paul says and my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches you see so that's not one of those promises that you and I can just pull out of our pocket and throw out at any time you know Jo Jo Christian over here has has racked up all kinds of debt you know buying things that he really likes and wants and he's got five credit cards maxed out and he's really struggling over here so we're coming out we're going hey Jo don't worry man God's gonna supply he's gonna take care of all your needs according to his riches and glory and that was really dumb to be able to quote that to somebody who has not been a good steward frankly of the resources that God has given them this promise is given to a church that gave until it hurt and that's the kind of giving that God takes notice of remember when Jesus parked himself by the the place where people would drop their offerings in on the way into the temple and and all the people were coming along throwing in bags of money or whatever you know making big donations for everyone to see and then along comes this little old woman and she's got these two copper coins that are worth about half a penny and she tosses him in and Jesus begins to speak and he says do you see this woman she's given more than all the rest and the guys must have been incredulous like I don't know if you're seeing something different than what I'm seeing but she gave in like nothing all these other people gave huge get he says no no no here's the point she gave out of her poverty they gave out of their wealth and because she gave all she had to live on she has given more than all the rest and you know what I have no worry about how that woman lived her days in the future because I know that my God met all her needs according to his riches in glory because of her sacrificial giving never forget the fact that the promise of verse 19 is predicated upon sacrificial giving very very important that you and I understand that Paul ends with these words greet all the saints in Christ Jesus can come on up and we're gonna end with a little bit worship in a second but he says greet all the saints in Christ Jesus the brothers who are with me send greetings all the Saints and you greetings especially those who belong to Caesars household I read this and I'm kind of it almost is kind of funny because he says he says here at the end you don't need Paul usually does this you greet all the saints there in Christ Jesus all the brothers that are with me you know they say hi oh and by the way all the believers who are especially those who are in Caesars household send their greetings and we're all kind of like huh okay no do you remember who Caesar was at this time it was Nero do you guys know about Nero he was a monster he was literally out of his mind he would kill people at a whim he used to take his enemies including Christians and put them up on poles and light them on fire to light his garden at night he was a madman I mean he makes Hitler look like a boy scout and yet here what here's what Paul says hey especially all the believers to live in Caesars household they all send their greetings and we're all kind of like what but you know this is one of those incredible verses that speaks about the power of the gospel to invade the darkest places on earth and I think that's pretty cool God's Word can penetrate even the darkest and most challenging places and then he ends by saying in verse 23 the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit amen and with that we conclude our study of Philippians you

3 thoughts on “Philippians 4 (Part 2) • Keys to Contentment

  • Great teaching as always and so true.
    Many thanks Pastor …Philippians has been wonderful and very useful to me.
    Christian love to all and praise God.
    Gilly wife of Mark

  • When you have experienced God in all circumstance, see Him in person as Paul did in his life, you will have the same kind of contentment, It is not a mindset but actual experience of God. If we do not step out in faith, we will never know experientially.

  • Hi Pastor, I have an unusual question…Is there anywhere in the bible where it shows Gods sense of Humor? I ask this because I am a God fearing woman…as balanced in the Lord as I can be given my walk in Him at this time…I also have a Big sense of humor and love to laugh and make others laugh…Sinse all things come from the Lord am I to assume this comes from him and are there suttle examples of his humor anywhere in the bible…Or do you have another perspective of humor?Someone once said Humor is a coping mechanism from a demonic spirit…I had to really chew on that and I suppose that it could be if it were manic but I'm not convinced .Anyway it looks as though you dont recieve or answere questions on this format but I thought I would give it a try…God Bless!

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