Summary: Materialism is a terrible trap to get caught in. Avoid it!
• We are closing in on Christmas, are your credit cards smoking from all the use they are getting?
• Do you ever look around your with amazement at all the stuff we have?
• It is funny to see all the television ads trying to get us to see that we need something else to add to the pile of stuff we already have.
• The Christmas season unfortunately can bring a lot of stress on people as they charge up what they cannot afford so they can buy more stuff for people.
• This is not gong to be one of those sermons designed to make you feel like dirt if you have things.
• During the busy and for some expensive Christmas season, I would like for us to ponder something for a moment.
• SLIDE #1
• Do you realize we cannot take it with us when our time on earth is finished?
• I was going to wow you with all kinds of statistics concerning the amount Americans spend each year for Christmas and the amount of debt we have and how little we all save.
• I figured out that you do not need to hear a bunch of numbers because most of us are living it out I our lives.
• There are so many things out there that we want and would like to have. There are bigger houses, nicer cars, faster computers (opps), and nicer clothes, among other things. SLIDE #2
• It is so hard not to get caught up in the trap of materialism. The dictionary defines materialism as follows: devotion to material wealth and possessions at the expense of spiritual or intellectual values.
• There is so much out there that it can be hard to keep from focusing our life on having it all.
• I believe that Satan uses the trap of materialism to catch many unsuspecting people. If you get caught in this trap, you will sacrifice your family and your faith as you pursue the goal of getting more and more.
• The thing we need to understand is that when it is all said and done, we can’t take it with us.
• We need to realize there are things more important in life than just accumulating things. Our relationship with Jesus is important as is the relationships we have with our families.
• Is wanting things bad, no, but when it gets out of hand, it is a problem. The one thing we need to be able to do is to determine IF it is out of hand for us.
• Today, I want to try to help you overcome the trap of materialism in your life. We are going to turn to Philippians 4:11-14.
• SLIDE # 3,4
We can learn how to overcome the trap of materialism if we:
I. LEARN THE ART OF CONTENTMENT. (11)
Before we learn the art of contentment we need to know what contentment is.
1. What does it mean to be content?
• The dictionary tells us that contentment means to be: quietly satisfied and happy.
• The Greek word translated content in verse 11 appears only here in the New Testament. In extra-biblical Greek it was used to speak of being self-sufficient, having enough, or not being dependent on others. One ancient writer used the word in reference to a country that supplied itself and had no need of imports. True contentment comes only from God, and enables believers to be satisfied and at ease in the midst of any problem. (MacArthur NT Commentary)
• During Paul’s day the word “content” was used by philosophers o describe the independence that wisdom gave a person.
• Paul changed the idea into the independence that dependence on Christ give us.
• I verse 11 Paul tells is that he content no matter what the circumstances. For Paul, his satisfaction and happiness in life was not dependant on what was happening around him. Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter to one of his favorite churches!
• Can you imagine being happy while being in prison, much less being there for Jesus?
• There are a lot of forces out there standing in the way of our contentment.
• We are told to never be satisfied with what we have, never satisfied with where we live.
• Being content does not mean that we do not try to do things that will cause us to grow, but it means that we have all we need to do what God ants us to do. We do not worry about having more and more or having what other people have.
• I used to really struggle with this issue when it came to material things. Cars were a particular weakness for me. It used to drive my wife crazy when I would get in one of those moods.