Summary: The secret of contentment isn’t found in something, but in someone. This message reveals what is involved.




Text: Phil.4: 10-13

Intro: Contentment is a very illusive condition for most people in society today. More often than not, the world tends to believe that contentment is something that comes from outside themselves—something that usually seems to be just beyond their grasp. Contentment tends to be viewed in the context of possessions or power, or perhaps prestige.

But according to the Apostle Paul, contentment cannot be defined by any of these things. Paul found the real meaning of contentment not in something, but in someone. Real contentment is found in the person of Jesus Christ. However, knowing that fact doesn’t mean that the child of God automatically knows how to be content in his or her life. Contentment must be learned.

Philippians chapters 3 and 4 give us some principles for contentment. You can learn the secret. God, through His Word, has revealed the secret of contentment for all His children to profit by. The secret simply must be applied. Let’s learn from what Paul had learned.

Theme: Paul reveals that:


A. Knowing The Secret Results In Not Relying Upon One’s Substance.

Phil.3: 8 “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.

B. Knowing The Secret Causes One To Be Self-Sufficient.

Phil.4: 10 “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

NOTE: [1] The word “content” (v. 11) means “…self-sufficiency, independence of all external resources.”(1)

[1a] There is a self-sufficiency that is nothing more than sinful pride. For instance, one might say, “I don’t need anybody. I choose to live my life on my own terms.” However, this is not the kind of self-sufficiency that Paul is speaking of here.

[1b] The idea of the word contentment is that of a city that comes under siege and is cut off from all outside resources, yet has sufficient supplies within its walls to survive.

[1c] Paul is saying that he had learned that he did not need things to make him happy. He had found within himself an inexhaustible resource for every circumstance and situation.

[2] Knowing the secret of contentment is vitally important because the moment we become dependent upon the world to give our life meaning, happiness and joy, we place ourselves in a compromising position.

[3] The Christian is something of a wealthy bankrupt. That’s the idea in Paul’s statement that he had “suffered the loss of all things,” that he might win Christ (Phil.3: 8b).

[4] Satan can’t tempt one who lives by this principle.

[4a] If Satan should tempt them saying, “If you do what I want you to do I will give you this, this, and this,” the Christian says, “You can’t give me anything. I already have everything (II Cor.9: 8).”

[4b] If Satan should tempt them saying, “If you don’t do what I want you to do, I will take this, this, and this away from you,” the Christian responds by saying, “You can’t threaten me with that, because I don’t have anything.”


NOTE: [1] Paul stated that he had “learned…to be content” (v. 11). The word “learned” means “learned by experience.”(2)

[2] In verse 12 Paul says that he had been “instructed” how to be content in both abounding and abasement. The word used there means “initiated into the secret.”(3) Paul was basically saying, “Through experience, I have learned the secret of contentment.”

[3] Contentment is not acquired by some holy “zap.” Paul said that he had learned the secret of contentment by those things that happened in his daily life.

A. Contentment Is Learned In The School Of Circumstances.

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.”

Rom.8: 28a “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…”

NOTE: Paul stated that everywhere he went, God taught him things about the secret of contentment. He said that in everything that he endured, God taught him the secret of contentment.

B. Contentment Is Learned By A Certain Curriculum.

1. Paul said, “I know how to abound” (Phil.4: 12a).

NOTE: [1] The word translated “abound” means “to overflow.”(4) The idea here is that of having more than enough.

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