Summary: Part 10 in a series on Philippians, focusing on contentment in Christ
The Joy of Contentment
A. Learning Contentment
1. Russian couple lived in a very small hut with their two children.
a) The husband’s parents lost their home and moved in with the couple.
b) The conditions were crowded and unbearable.
c) She went to the village wise man to seek advice.
2. The wise man’s solution to the problem.
a) Bring the dog into the house and come back in a week.
b) A week later the situation was worse.
c) Then bring the chickens into your house and come back in a week.
d) Now the situation was desperate.
e) Then bring the cow into the house and come back in a week.
3. The wise man then offered the following advice.
a) Take the cow outside and come back in a week.
b) The situation was better, but still miserable.
c) Take the chickens out and come back in a week.
d) The situation improved.
e) Take the dog outside and come back in a week.
f) By this time 4 adults and two children shared the small hut, just fine.
B. The Elusiveness of Contentment
1. It seem the world, including many New Testament Christians cannot find it.
a) The desire for more money.
b) The desire for more prestige.
c) The desire for more free time.
d) The desire for a different church home.
2. In stark contrast to our world, Paul found contentment.
a) While chained to a Roman guard.
b) With limited personal freedom.
c) In Philippians 4:10-20. Paul teaches us Five Keys to contentment.
II. Five Keys to Contentment
A. By Caring for Others (10)
1. “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again, though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.”
2. Care for others involved three components
b) Opportunities – Prayed for and recognized (Colossians 4:3)
B. Allowing Circumstances to Teach (11-12)
1. In verses 11 and 12 Paul talks about learning from his circumstances.
a) The word, learned, in verse 11 means, “to acquire knowledge by use and practice, to acquire the habit of something, and to become accustom to.
b) The word, learned or instructed, (KJV) in verse 12 means, “to initiate into the mysteries or to know the secret of.”
c) Contentment was not an overnight virtue for Paul.
2. Areas of Contentment
a) Abased – To live humbly or lowly
b) 1 Corinthians 4:11-13 – “To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted we endure; being defamed we entreat…”
c) Abound – To live in prosperity
d) All aspects of life.
3. Attitude Needed for Contentment
a) 1 Timothy 6:6 – “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
b) 1 Timothy 6:7 – “For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
c) 1Timothy 6:8 – “And having food and clothing with these we shall be content.”
d) Godliness, understanding of material possessions, appreciation for the necessities of life (See Matthew 6:25-24)
C. Christ Empowering Us (13)
1. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
2. The Source of Strength
a) John 15:5 – “…for without Me you can do nothing.”
b) Matthew 19:26 – “…with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
c) 2 Corinthians 3:5 – “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.”
3. The Scope of All Things
a) Paul is not saying that overnight he could overtake the guards and escape from Nero or overthrow the Roman government.
b) What he is saying that all things pale in comparison to the knowledge of Christ – Philippians 3:10
d) Hebrews 13:5 – “Let your conduct be without covetousness, be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never you nor forsake you.”
e) When we live in Him and for Him nothing happens that will take you away from Him – John 10:29-30
D. Cooperation and Appreciation (14-18)
1. Philippian Generosity
a) Paul compared their generosity to three familiar things.
b) A Budding tree (10) – Flourished as a flower or tree blossoming.
c) A Spiritual Investment (17) – Fruit would abound from their giving.
d) A Sweet-smelling Sacrifice (18) – A free-will offering motivated by love.