Summary: To establish we must learn: to be content in all life’s situations; to genuinely commend others for their communications (financial support); and, to be contingent (dependent) upon God’s supplying all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
1. Learning to be Content
1. This is the first lesson, in this sermon-series theme: "Learning to be Content.” The apostle Paul now in prison, in the city of Rome: imprisoned for his work in Christ among the Gentiles. We will consider the blessings of contentment, commending others, and our contingent (dependence) upon the Lord: in our time of trials, our needs, or in our daily substance. Paul expresses his deep love and thanks to these saints. He declared that they were his beloved, brethren, Philippians 4:1
2. In this lesson, we will consider the blessing of just being content. Paul wrote: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need," Philippians 4:11-13. He learned to be content, while hungry or full while abounding or suffering needs. In every situation, he learned to be content. This we all must come to know during the COVID-19 pandemic. With this brief introduction, let’s consider lesson one in this sermon-series: “learning to be content.”
BODY OF LESSON
I LEARNING TO BE CONTENT
A. Learning contentment. The apostle wrote: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” Philippians 4:11. He is now in a Roman prison, having received support from the church at Philippi. He is writing unto them with joy and thanksgiving for their gift. That had arrived by the hands of Epaphroditus. Historians believed Paul was housed sufficient to receive visitors, openly and freely, from brethren and Jewish leaders in Rome. He was set on instructing “all in the way of God more perfectly,” Acts 18:26; Acts 28:30-31.
1. Luke wrote: “And when they (Jewish leaders) had appointed a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the Law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not...And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house and received all that came in unto him. Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man was forbidding him,” Acts 28:23-31. I have collapsed this text for brevity. Observe--
2. It would be appropriate first to define some words that will enable us to understand how to be content in all things. The term "content" in Gr., is autarkes or au-tä'r-kas, which means, i.e., complacent, contented:—to be content.
a. Learning to be content with one's lot or means, though it might be little, meager, or in great abundance: comes through spiritual growth in thankfulness, love, faith, and trust in the Lord's blessings, and His ability to provide for our daily needs in every situation of life.
b. What did he mean? “Not that I speak in respect of want.” The apostle Paul had just received support from these saints while being imprisoned in Rome. It appears he was not in need, for they communicated (assisted) Paul, for the furtherance of the gospel of Christ several times.
c. There was a constant pilgrimage from Philippi to Rome by their ministers, bearing gifts unto him. That he might live openly and freely among the people, preaching Christ and the kingdom of God unto all visiting him. He continues--
3. In whatsoever state. Whatever the state or condition I find myself in, I have learned to find contentment. His contentment had nothing to do with his needs but entirely upon his relationship with the Lord. Prison, abuse, and hardships were always a part of Paul's life and labor in Christ. He had learned to live with them; he knew to be content in them. Observe, he wrote--
a. First, to Corinth: “Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; And labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it," 1 Corinthians 4:11-12; Acts 20:34-35.
1) In all these conditions, Paul learned how to be content. He understood that God was able: “To work all things out to his good,” Romans 8:28. Remember now; he is under guard in the city of Rome. Chained to a Roman soldier, yet, still trusting in the Lord that brought him safely even unto this place, Philippians 2:19; Philippians 2:24.
a) You may read of his perilous journey in Acts, Chapters 27-28.
b) It was arduous and dangerous; however, the Lord made the journey with him, Acts 27:21-26.