Sharing God’s blessings; Being content with less.
Philippians 4:10-20 (NIV)
“A Russian woman lived with her husband and two children in a very small hut. Her husband’s parents lost their home and she had to take them in. Unbearable. In desperation, she went to the village wise man, whom she knew had solved many, many problems. "What should I do?" she begged. "Do you have a COW?" asked the wise man. "Yes," she replied. Then bring her into the hut too. And come back and see me in a week," said the wise man. A week later she was back. "This is utterly unbearable" she said. "Do you have any CHICKENS?" asked wise man. "Yes," she replied. "What about them?" ‘Bring them into the hut too, and come back and see me in another week." "Now you’re utterly out of your mind," she said. Nevertheless, still awed by his reputation, she did as he asked. A week later she returned. "This is absolutely impossible," she said. "Our home is a mess." "All right," said the wise man, "take out the chickens." The next week she reported that without the chickens it was definitely better, but still a miserable situation. "All right," said the wise man,
"now take out the cow. That will settle your problem." And it did. Without the chickens and cow, the woman, her husband, the children, and his two parents got along quite peacefully. Everything is relative! Sometimes we don’t know how well off we really are!”
Thanks for Their Gifts
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. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 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; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. 17 Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 18 I have 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. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Did you know that there is Discontent in America?
We are a discontented people.
There are things that will rob you of your contentment.
1. MATERIAL THINGS CAN BE A SNARE TO YOU
I heard James Dobson talking on the radio about this swing set that he and his wife, bought for their children. When he read the assembly instructions they said that every bolt needed to be checked for tightness at least once a month. That meant that he would have to take an hour out of every month to maintain this swing set or else it would eat his kids.
The more things we own, the more of our time they require of us.
Have you ever thought about commercials?
Their main reason for being is to create discontent in our life.
We were perfectly happy with our life
until we saw something on TV
and realized that we just had to have it.
Kids and commercials:
How many kids wanted an Air Hog for Christmas?
Or Something from Tinker Bell or Princess?
They didn’t even know that these things were available until they saw a commercial about them on TV.
Remember the feeling you get when you climb into the drivers seat of that new car in the show room,
And then you go back out and get into your old car that has more miles on it than you can count, and half the features don’t work anymore and there are crumbs on the seat and floor from your stop at Mc Donalds?
This is discontent.
I have a friend that used to work in the control tower of an airport in Prescott Arizona. He told me that he won’t subscribe to the airplane magazines because when he reads them he gets the wants for an airplane so bad that he can’t stand it.
Paul said that God would supply all our needs according to His riches in glory. And sometimes that includes giving us an airplane. But the key thing here is what is it that we really need. Many times we want but we don’t really need. Sometimes what we want will destroy us.
It is so important that we align our wants with God’s wants.
If we want what God wants then we can ask Him for what we want and He will provide it.
2. LIFES ADVERSITIES
Just this last week, I was driving to the store to do some Christmas shopping when this pickup came barreling out of an aisle in the parking lot. The snow was piled so high that he didn’t see me and I didn’t see him until the last minute. We both slammed on our brakes and stopped before we hit each other. The driver of the pickup began to shout and shake his finger at me. I couldn’t hear what he was saying. I’m pretty sure I didn’t want to hear what he was saying. I drove away, but I didn’t feel very contented. Sometimes other people can cause discontentment in you.
There are people who are facing cancer today,
or some other disease.
I’ve got to believe that this would be hard to handle.
There are people who are facing the New Year without a source of income.
Or at least they are going to be receiving a drastically reduced income and don’t know how they will pay their bills.
How do we as Christians deal with these kinds of circumstances?
1. We must realize that God is our source. He is the supplier of our needs.
2. We must realize that we may not need everything that we now have.
We must hold onto our things loosely.
Our wealth can leave so quickly.
3. It is important that we be ready and willing to part with what God has blessed us with by sharing with others who are in need.
THERE IS THE:
1. Discontentment of not Knowing Jesus
2. Discontentment of Material Things
3. Discontentment of Life’s Adversities.
4. And then there is the Discontentment of Selfishness
WE HAVE A SIN PROBLEM
II. Real Contentment begins by Knowing Jesus
A. If you’re looking for peace and contentment,
The first thing that needs to be done is to
Solve the Sin problem:
B. If you’re looking for answers in life.
Then you need to solve the sin problem.
C. If you’re looking for peace with God
then you need to solve the sin problem.
D. There is a God shaped hole in every man and only God can fill it"
What are you trying to fill that void with?
Work, Play, Things, Money.
Have you tried filling that void with Jesus?
Have you received Jesus as your savior?
Here’s what God’s Word says;
Romans 6:23 (NIV)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life ina Christ Jesus our Lord.
+ The "wages" of sin
+ is "death"
+ "free gift" of God
+ "eternal life"
+ "through Christ Jesus"
(the only way John 14:6)
John 14:6 (NIV)
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you have not yet received Christ as your personal Savior you can today. You must admit your sin, turn from it and receive Christ by placing your faith and trust in Him (believing in Him).
When we receive God’s forgiveness, there is a joy that comes in and fills that emptiness inside.
There is JOY IN GIVING
that goes way beyond other sources of joy in this life.
I’ve heard preachers on TV talk about Naming and Claiming what you want from God.
And if what you want from God is what God wants,
there is truth in this concept,
but I think that too many people see this as a way to make God do what they want.
This will not work. You can’t con God.
These preachers talk about giving so that God can give back to you.
Once again, there is some truth in this
but if the only reason you are giving is so that God will give you more,
then you’re not really giving, you’re trading.
And this will not work.
If God leads you to give sacrificially and you are obedient to His leading
then He will be faithful to supply for you
but it’s important that it’s God leading and not your selfishness initiating your “generosity”.
There are going to be a lot of people out of work in 2009
and we as a church are expected by God to help them out.
We should be involved in sharing what God has blessed us with.
GOD LIKES IT WHEN WE ARE GENEROUS WITH OTHERS.
THERE IS JOY IN GIVING
3. SIN WILL SHORT-CIRCUIT YOU FOR SURE.
O Christian, how important it is that we live pure and holy lives.
If we are going to live close to God, then there can’t be sin in us.
Sin breaks that connection with God.
Sin kills the desire in us to be close to God.
Sin is a trap that hurts our relationship with God.
O Christian, kill the sin.
Live with your heart filled with The Holy Spirit.
LIVE, REALLY LIVE AND DON’T DIE.
As a rule, man’s a fool
When it’s hot, he wants it cool.
And when it’s cool, he wants it hot,
Always wanting what is not.
If this is you, if you feel like your always chasing after stuff, then let me invite you to pray a simple prayer with me.
“Lord teach me the secret of contentment regarding; (You fill in the Blank)…
PRAY: Lord I need to learn the secret of contentment in my life. You know where I am today.
I confess the sin of materialism.
I confess the sin of discontent.
Cleanse my heart.
Teach me the secret of contentment regarding this _______ situation in my life…
a Or through