Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: 1. God wants to give us a contented life (vs. 11-13). 2. God wants to give us a charitable life (vs. 10 & 13-18). 4. God wants to give us a confident life (vs. 13, 19 & 23).

The Divine Difference in Life

Philippians 4:10-23

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Oct. 14, 2012

*One of the most famous trials in American history was the Scopes Monkey trial in 1925. A teacher in Tennessee was charged with the crime of teaching evolution. And the trial drew national attention, in part because the teacher was defended by famous attorney, Clarence Darrow. (1)

*Years later Dr. John Herman met the famous lawyer. Both men were in their later years as they talked together. And during their conversation, Dr. Herman asked Clarence Darrow this question: “Now that you’ve come this far in life and you’re not doing much lecturing or writing any more, how would you sum up your life?”

*Clarence Darrow immediately picked up a Bible. This surprised Dr. Herman, because Darrow spent most of his life publicly ridiculing the Word of God.

*The lawyer opened the Bible to Luke 5. It was the place where Jesus preached from Peter’s boat, then told Peter, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon Peter answered the Lord in Luke 5:5, saying: “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”

*This was the verse Darrow had found, and he said, “This verse in the Bible describes my life: ‘I have toiled all the night and have caught nothing.’”

*Clarence Darrow replaced the Bible, and sadly said, “I have lived a life without purpose, without meaning, without direction. I don’t know where I came from. And I don’t know what I’m doing here. And worst of all, I don’t know what’s going to happen to me when I punch out of here.” (2)

*How sad to get to the end of your life and find yourself in that shape.

-What a difference it makes when we know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord!

-And here in God’s Word, Paul helps us see the difference.

1. First Christians: God wants to give us a contented life.

*God wants us to have the contented life Paul described in vs. 11&12. There the Apostle said this to the Christians of Philippi:

11. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:

12. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

*“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” That was a remarkable thing to hear from an innocent man who had been in Roman chains for several years. And it’s not like that was the first of Paul’s troubles.

*Listen to part of Paul’s earlier testimony to the Corinthian Christians. In 2 Cor 1:8, Paul said: “We do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.”

*Then in 2 Cor 11:24-28, Paul gave this report:

24. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.

25. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;

26. in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

27. in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness

28. besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

*Paul knew more trouble than most people, -- but he was content. Again, as he said in vs. 11: “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”

[1] Notice that Paul said he learned to be content.

*I’ve got to tell you that I’m still working on that. God’s contentment doesn’t come by instinct. So if you’re still working on it, don’t beat yourself up too much, because even a great Christian like Paul had to learn how to be content.

*But he did learn, and so can we.

[2] We don’t get contentment by instinct; we get it by instruction.

*Jesus Christ taught Paul to be content. And the same Lord who instructed Paul will instruct us too.

*When John Killinger was preaching in New York City, one of his hosts led him on a walk through a park that overlooked Manhattan. As they walked, she talked about her life when she got to New York several years before. Her husband had left her and she was having trouble with her only child.

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