Preacher's Pulpit                Dr. Joe Tims

TEXT: Philippians 4:11-13

SUBJ: The Discipline of Learning to Be Content

Introduction:
Is frustration just an inevitable part of our lives?

Must we always have to struggle with discontent over our circumstances?

How could the Apostle Paul say::

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."(Phil 4:11)

First, he recognized that contentment (independent of external circumstances) is not a natural state.

Just as we cannot expect to get into an airplane the very first time and be able to pilot it.

Second, he recognized that we cannot expect to wake up one morning and be masters of contentment.

Third, he recognized that to be the kind of Christian one needs to  be he or she must learn how to be content.

Let's try to learn the lesson of Contentment as the Apostle Paul learned.

I. CONTENTMENT IS INTERNAL

(Phil 4:11)  "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

A. Paul was content even in chains!

B. How can this be; You ask?

C. Paul came to understand that outward circumstances clearly need not threaten our ease of mind.

D. His Victory was: "Acceptance"

E. An internal conclusion that the way things are is the way things are.

(Rom 8:28) "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

F. This is not the same as:

1. Condoning or

2. Even likening a situation, but it is BELIEVING that God has allowed your present circumstances . . . according to His Purpose.

G. You will never learn contentment until like Paul you see that it is internal and not external!

II. CONTENTMENT IS SURRENDER

(Phil 4:12)  "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."

A. To really discover CONTENTMENT we must surrender our wills to the Lord.

B. We must move from:

1. My timing
2. My will
3. My outcome

C. To:

1. Your timing
2. Your way
3. Your will

D. Oh! Lord

E. We must learn to pray the same prayer that Jesus prayed in the garden:

(Luke 22:41-42)  "And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, {42}Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."

F. This is full surrender and nothing less will do!

III. CONTENTMENT IS CHRIST

(Phil 4:13) "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

A. As Christians we claim His grace is sufficient, but when:

1. Loss
2. Opposition
3. Tragedy

Come our way; we many times are defeated instead of encouraged in the faith of our Lord.

(Acts 5:40-41)  "And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. {41}And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name."

B. Contentment in Christ allows us to rise above our:

1. Loss
2. Opposition
3. Tragedy

C. It allows us to rise above our PAST, look for the PRESENT and hope for the PRIZE!

(Phil 3:13-14)  "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, {14}I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

D. As a Christian the real problem has been solved in our NEW BIRTH experience in Christ.

E. We have been saved, we are being saved and we shall be saved - Praise God to whom all glory and honor belongs!

F. We can say, "All is well with my soul."

(Mat 10:28)  "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

CONCLUSION: Our faith in Christ as Savior must also be a Faith in Christ as our Sovereign. He can Saved, but also He can Supply.

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