By Pastor Greg Byman
February 4, 2018, 10:00 a.m.
A search for the word “content” reveals that Scripture has much to say about the matter. In Philippians 4:11, the apostle Paul famously exhorts millennia of fellow Christ-followers, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
But how do we become and remain content? Today’s message is called “Practice Being Content” and is the second in a series called “Keys to Contentment.” The sermon was preached on February 4, 2018.
And in this city and they're trying to figure out where do I belong What's God's purpose for my life others are have found that they fit in or into that relationship with Jesus Christ and they're saying but how do I grow and go and how do I become more what God wants me to become we say a sense of community church every every person who is a follower of Christ that's not in a church family they're an orphan because we all need to belong to a family somewhere we all need to be related to and an active with a family you know I remember growing up going and many of you been here for years you know that my story of of that I used to get perfect attendance little things in you know little button that said I've been in church every Sunday and you get a little chevrons they go on top of that they jingle when you walk down the aisle as a little kid and he's like a big deal that you're perfect attendance but you know perfect attendance isn't isn't isn't. Isn't about just I'm while I'm here every single Sunday we come every single Sunday because we need to be a part of one another's lives we need to be able to know that we're not alone in this journey we're not alone in this world but that we have to have that encouragement from other people and there are three basic things that we ask people to be a part of not because we say well this is legal listlessly what you must do in order get into heaven and we get to heaven by putting our faith in Jesus Christ but we don't start growing unless we are actually going to start belonging and be a part of the family of God through coming together on a regular basis on Sunday that was the pattern of the church when it first started in fact they couldn't help but get together every day of the week. We just get together all together one day of the week now the thing that we talk about is being a part of a small group being a part of connection groups we call them and there's a yellow of flyer that's got some current ones out there and you can put on your card I'd like to know more about connection groups they've are and they've kind of gotten started but you know what you can jump right in so many of our groups that we're going through the books of the Bible just what is the big Bible stories is what we're doing in our small group and you're always able to just jump in and get in part of somewhere because we discuss you know and I know that you don't make friends in rows you make friends in circles we can't guarantee you're going to make friends with somebody in your group but I can guarantee you you probably not make a very good friend if you never get a part of our connection group so you don't go to somewhere other than on Sunday morning and so we encourage you to do that the third thing that we say that helps us grow is to start serving somewhere get involved be a part of something that's going on put your shoulder in and be a part of what God's up to and enjoy the practice of giving yourself a way beyond just serving yourself and your own needs. And so it's a good thing for a family to say well how my going to be involved and get involved and how do I do as an individual. Come in a group coming to Sunday worship being a part of a connection group serving somewhere where I can be used my gifts my talents my abilities to the honor and glory of God something beyond myself there's this ways in which we grow these are ways in which we become and we become fuller in our lives and we and God is able to work in our lives in fresher ways than if we just. Don't do those things and so that's why we believe in that you know last night how many were here some of you were here for Friday night we had a concert here it was kind of an unusual. Throw in on the on the schedule the rescue is a band that plays. Benefit concerts for the rescue mission and I got a call like late couple just a couple of Monday nights ago from Pastor Donovan and he said hey it was a text message and he's at nine thirty at night and like what are you doing in your office at nine thirty at night and then I realized I was sitting in my office at nine thirty at night. Oh well and so I say can we in a we had a venue schedule conflict can we come to the building here and they they came Friday night and blessed us and it's just a privilege to have that partnership with them by the way we are looking for more drivers for the van for Sunday mornings because we want to be actively pursuing and encouraging relationships with men and women who are moving forward in their lives to the programs at the rescue mission and so many of them do not have transportation but if you just show up with a vandal get in and come and be a part of and they'll start actively participating in the life of our church family but we need more drivers and so Jamie has been doing that Jack's done it once and and we've got some we just have a need there every Sunday morning and so. You need to have insurance let's see that be good not a you know. Let's see you need a license that's a good idea. Know how to drive that's another thing so so but really it's pretty simple but it is a commitment and our red van is available to to use on Sundays to do to do that and so put on your card van ministry put that van driver on your connection card put it in the offering box when you leave if you're interested in doing that those are some things that I was thinking about this week as we gods let us use this building for his honor and his glory in it just sometimes it's scheduled and sometimes it's just a throw away and we're very grateful for how the Lord has blessed us with a tool to be a blessing to other people in our city and in our community well last week we began a series called the keys to contentment and we're going to continue on in this and if you're I hear some of you are already going to your Bibles I didn't hear you turn your phone on some of you but anyway I'm sure you go in there and you're getting to Philippians chapter four because we're going to use that as the base text for the small things message last week we talked about keys to content and a couple of quotes that I wanted to highlight from last Sunday's message my wife said there's a couple times when I talk so fast it is a great quote I took about two minutes to figure out what you said but what you said was great but I'm sure nobody else noticed because you said it so fast I did it again didn't I I'm sorry All right so let me just kind of recap a couple of things that I said last week that maybe you remember there are some actually slides that have been put up Chris man's been so good at helping us make sure that we're on line with our with our podcast but also a. It's not a perfect textual rendition of this but it's as good as possible with an automatic text automatic transcription of the message but then my slides that you see on the back are put up on the Sunday on the website as well and you can go back and review those but I want to say a couple of things here one thing I said was I will say to you that there is no money there is no education there is no power there was no position in this world and there is no more time that you and I can be given that will solve the problem of discontentment. We can't get anything else in this life. That will solve our discontentment our discontent temperament is that we're not content with what we already have that's the problem contentment is not about what you don't have contentment is about being OK and working within and operating on the basis of what we already have that's contentment. And I'm in a moment I'm going to give the difference between being contentment in being content in your circumstances versus being content with your circumstances there is a difference and I'll share that with you in a moment in our first point this morning and then I went on to say the three points God owns it all he owns everything he has a patent on this place called Earth called universe called whatever you can think of that exists that we can throw out fly a rocket to that we can see with a telescope even beyond what we cannot see God owns it all and so being the owner of it he has certain rights that he has that you and I know are true because we know those rights exist for those of us that if we have been a an inventor of something we have the right to hold a patent over that particular item that we have we have intellectual property we have actual tangible property of what that is and we have the right. To tell people how they're going to handle what we've given them and if we know that's true among human breeding relationships then that is ultimately true with God And so that's why we are accountable to him for how we handle this thing called life and what he's given us with this life that we have we also went on to say that not only does God own and all but I belong to God All of Me Me myself and I all three of us belong to God and I am accountable number three two for what God for how I handle what he gave me I'm accountable to God for for how I handle what he gave me all these are online you don't have to look right those down right now so so I'm the owner or God's the owner and I'm the manager God is the owner I'm the manager we want to get it turned around and say I'm the owner and I'm going to manage God and I know I've watched these movies movies and there's this power that they try to put in a box and they try to hold it in so that it will actually stay there and they can control this unearthly weird power whatever it is are you with me on this side thing OK And what happens you can't control it it explodes out and becomes this uncontrollable force that is either good or evil whatever it is usually evil and the good people have to come in and save it and put it back in its box and that's how we feel God is that somehow use this but that will a creator that somehow we can now manage like a puppy. And train it to do what we wanted to do and let it out when we wanted to be let it out and put it back in the cage and we want to put it in a cage and we take it with us when we go we want God to have influence on our situation especially when things aren't going so good but when things are going great let's leave him at home and let's go do what we want to do. And that's not how it is he's the owner on the manager and you don't tell the owner what to do manage tells the owner tells the manager went. So I don't like that well. When you create a world. And the universe spin a moon around it put a sun in the middle of everything. And you say Let It Be and it is by the way God have your own material to do that get use a material currently got fact you don't even exist because you don't even OWN YOU NEVER OK that's not going to work but as soon as you do that then you can be God but until then. He is. You're not I'm not and your problem with discontentment is you're trying to be God and you're not OK let me go my problem isn't your problems our problem is we're trying to be God or trying to replace the roles of God in our life with ourselves still letting him be God in our lives and I'm working on that just as much as you are and begins of course when we talked about the end that ultimately we say you know what you bought the price you paid the price for me to come into relationship with you through faith in your Son Jesus Christ when you died on the cross for me you paid the debt that I owed you and now I can enter into that relationship with you and I begin that relationship and you come into my life. And you start changing me and giving me a contentment that I could not manufacture on my own. And so that leads us right to a letter that Paul the Apostle wrote to the Philippians as he began to talk about contentment in his own life I want to read for us the full passage and then we're going to focus on the eleven through thirteen let stand one more time as I read this aloud. From the home and person standard bible version. I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have renewed your care for me you were in fact concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it I don't say this out of need but I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am I know both how to have a little and I know how to have a lot and any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content whether well fed or hungry whether in abundance or in need I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me still you did well by sharing with me in my hardship and you Philippians you know that in the early days of the Gospel when I left Macedonia no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you alone for even in Thessalonica you sent gifts for my need in several times not that I seek the gift but I seek the fruit that is increasing to your account but I have received everything in full and I have an abundance I am fully supplied having received from a pastor died is what you provided a fragrant offering a welcome sacrifice pleasing to God and My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever amen and Lord hear our prayer that we want to obey what you tell us this morning so may my words be clear and under the authority. And filled by the Spirit of Jesus Christ and may I say nothing that would be out of line and May when people leave today they'll say not what a great preacher but what a great message and over what a great God you are guide and direct us to be more content teach us this morning in Jesus name I pray Amen may be seated So how do we practice contentment this morning I want to talk about practicing contentment what I mean practice contentment practicing contentment because contentment isn't a natural thing. So as you get saved as soon as you become a follower of Christ I'm content now this key passage here says that Paul learned to be content Paul I mean that giant hero of the faith the apostle Paul who wrote most of the New Testament Apostle Paul that was left for dead when he was beaten several times up stoned and they then he got back up out of the stones and walked away was the last on his back put in prison he started singing praises to God You and I have been going to. Beat me then and he soon are praising God an earthquake comes and he doesn't misc a pew and I would have said this is God's Son for me to get out of here he didn't do that this Paul that endured all kinds of afflictions was on a shipwreck and he says don't kill any body. God's got this everybody will survive and they did this giant of the faces I've learned to be content he learned it looks like he already got it down. Reality is he's as human as you and I and you're as human as he and it takes a lifetime to learn contentment and sometimes as he says here I've been I've learned it he learned it when he had good things and he learned it when he had bad times yes you learn contentment in all the circumstances of your life so how do we do that first of all we trust God alone we trust in him alone he says I rejoice in Lord greatly. In verse eleven I don't say this out of need for I have learned to be content whatever circumstances I'm in he basically says I thank you for the gift here's the story only go backwards Here's the story Paul had definite needs he's writing from a prison in those days they didn't have the I mean prisons are bad I would want to go there wouldn't risk my worst enemy on and I don't yet can imagine meal I can imagine at. But you can just take the prison life in America and just let's just go down about five hundred steps. In any kind of amenities and then you are actually dependent on people on the outside to even give you food there are all kinds of ways in which I mean. I've had some of you have traveled overseas in third world countries countries that are that are not westernized like Europe and America. And some I just shutter to think what if what if I got thrown into prison in Mexico what if I got thrown in prison in in Ecuador you know we've been Ecuador four times I don't really want to think about I don't want to think about if I was in Iran and I was at a god called me to go there and I got thrown in prison. Or North Korea. Where you don't know you don't even get a trial the way I mean all these places they're horrible places and might may not even be scratching the surface of how bad it was in the first century in a prison being an enemy of the state because you were proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ that's the only reason Paul was in prison. And he says you know what he says I'm glad that the gift came I'm grateful that you did it but I just want you to know that I've been trusting God through all this he was being boastful he wasn't trying to be arrogant he wasn't being pridefully just said but my trust was in the Lord you don't need to feel bad that you didn't get the gift to me sooner because I've learned that God think Jeremy I got this God's got this and I'm trusting him for my well being. We trust God in all things in Matthew chapter six we see this passage we know with some of you if you've read this before but let me read it to us again. In Matthew chapter six verse thirty three But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things were provided for us well therefore don't worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will worry about itself each day has enough trouble of its own. Jesus is saying to his listeners you guys are worried about clothing and food and shelter and all these things those are important things to be concerned about but tomorrow is not something we can solve we've got to live in the now and we've got to trust God before we think about the future we trust the God of the future to take care of our future to handle what we can't handle because today has enough troubles of its own. We've got to put our trust in God alone no other words we need to be content in our circumstances which is different than being content with our circumstances. The Bible also in many other places talks about being ambitious hard work a good ethic of getting better at what you do maximizing what you have to make a profit to do more better. We were not going to get to this passage during our series but there was the that the parable of the talents where one was given several one was given a few and one was given just one and the ones that were given a lot in a few They took them and they multiplied them and they said Master Look we've increased what we've had because of what you gave us and the one with the one talent went and buried it and didn't do anything with it and he didn't expand it he didn't make it better he didn't improve his circumstances with the with what he had been given to work with and he was scolded and it was taken away from him he was cast aside he says you are a worthless servant so God expects us to do well with what we have and to do better with what we have and to make it better and to have ambition to move forward and grow that's being discontent with your circumstances but you can never do that until you understand and learn how to be content in your circumstances because you'll never maximise what you already have if you're waiting for what you don't have to do something well as soon as I get my education I'll do X. Y. And Z. And yet we know in the college world today that employers are looking for some kind of experience that you've had not just book learning they want you to be applying what you're doing right now. Even whether you agree or disagree there is a movement in the education system in Indiana right now that you need to have an internship before you graduate from high school my daughter is the first class that is now going to be saddled with that responsibility right or wrong I got opinions about it I'll give you forty five minutes of my time later but but but but the reality is there is a movement that says we believe that our high school students need to have some sort of practical experience that employers can see and know that you actually know how to do something when you graduate so that we know that you're employable that's that's it's just what are you doing with what you've got Don't wait til you're out of high school to do something do something now so I want to be a leader someday great how are you leading what you already have. How are you leading the people that are already around you how are you maximizing the influence that you already have around the people around the people that God has put you you've got to trust God in your circumstances before you ever think about being ambitious. To improve your circumstances. For a Better Tomorrow Paul was grateful for their gift but he made it clear that I'm content. And I was content even before the gift came that improved my number to practice where I am how do you practice contentment I've already done were alluded to this practice right where you are. Where you are is where God wants to teach you that's the school of learning to be content classes in session right now. In First Timothy Chapter six verse six but godliness with contentment is great again for we brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing out of it but if we have food and clothing we will be content with these in other words what God has given you the basics the basic necessities those are there enjoy them. Take care of them. Don't be wishing for what you don't have read a story about a pilot and he and his copilot were flying over a little Tennessee pond and said Look at that little pond down there he said yeah I says you know when I was a little boy I would be row in a rowboat fishing looking up at the sky at airplanes wishing that I could be a pilot now a pilot in the sky flying over that little boat wishing I was in the little boat fishing. Now there's a little story of a lady this little girl that's crying and her tears are mixed in a river and the river is talking about the tears and says I've got the tears of a girl that lost a boyfriend. And the river said I've got the tears of the girl found him I know I could have done that with the guys but I figured that would be better for me to. Put men under the bus instead practice where I am. Now wait for a better opportunity there is no better opportunity than right now to practice being content and last week and these are on the slides from last week and you can get this on line you're going to line for the slides two this week are the five different areas the four different areas that I highlighted that god own own he has given us everything that we have he has given us our selves he has given us our possessions he's given us our time and he's given us our abilities he's given us all these things and he's saying How are you practicing contentment with what I've already given you how are you being content in your circumstances you've It's a learning process and then happen overnight. You've got to practice where you are how are you enjoying what you already have. With Thanksgiving give your petitions to God and if your petition is known to God when you have a prayer request are you following are you starting it with Thanksgiving her of you not even learned to be thankful another story that I read this week this man said I have. Ten children and my wife and I were in this little tiny house and we're really cramped and we don't know how to handle this and the spiritual leader said I want you to you have a goat he says I have a goat he says I want you take to go to bring it in the house with you for a week he goes no I can't just go do that so he put the go to the house. And he live at the goat and ten kids and a husband and wife at the end of that week he came back says how's it going it's awful to go to Mass is eat everything is got group everywhere it's everywhere it's horrible I want to sleep anyway he said he said all these things it's awful he says well take to go put it back out and yard and come back and we came back Mrs man's wonderful no go in the house we love our house same house. Matter perspective. It's a matter of perspective. Practice where you are. Where are you discontent let me ask you this in your mind think of the area maybe one of these areas where you are discontent. Now let me help you with your discontentment Is there an area in your life where you're wanting to break a commitment that you've made a good commitment I don't mean a bad one that you need to get out of I mean a commitment that you've made at work commitment a relationship commitment a friendship commitment of some kind of marriage commitment where you discontent is there an area where you're tempted to sin by breaking a commitment is there an area we're tempted to send by feeding your selfish desires and flesh in a way that God says you're not allowed to is there an error in your life where you keep saying I have to have this or else side die and yet it's killing you because you keep feeding that which you should never feed and your problem is growing and growing and growing that's a sign of discontentment. You know what are you buying what you cannot afford. Finding one more line of credit so you can do a little bit more. Than you already have doing refusing to budget your life your time your money. How much of time let's talk about time are you spending your time in a foolish way that's getting you into trouble getting you late to appointments getting you to a place where you really are so you're it's becoming a hog in your life where it's hogging out everything else and you're not and are you missing appointments special dates of people that you love in your life because you're spending too much time on a habit or a hobby it might not even be a disrespectful hobby it may not be a hobby that people say well that's not should you know the wrong with doing that. But is it controlling you instead of you controlling it are you ignoring good advice from friends and family are you ignoring the counsel of God's word in any area of your life if so that's an area of discontentment and union to acknowledge that before God this morning and say Got I'm not practicing contentment because right here I've not learned to be content in that circumstance that's where God wants to start with your line. There may be an easier one than a harder one. But wherever it is that God's pricking your heart to say I've got to work on that. And that's where you need to start this morning practice right where you are and finally this morning let God work through you let God do it. It he says I have learned to be content when he say I can do all things through him who strengthens me but everybody says this This is a verse that's on all kinds of banners this is this is Facebook banner stuff I mean this is Facebook quote one zero one I mean if you want to look religious and spiritual This is what I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me the problem is with that passage for many people is I can do all things through Christ as I command him to get me to do it through him who strengthens me the way I want him to strengthen me not submitting to his authority to strengthen me where I don't want to be strengthened or at said a moment of desperation and as soon as everything goes well we forget that he is the one strength in us even in the good times. And we ignore him when things get better you see a power line he's the power source we are these power towers and we're connected to the source Jesus Christ. And the moment these lines are not electrified. It's because they've been cut off from the source they're not depending on the power and when you and I are struggling to have power in our lives in a particular area it's because we've ignored God's counsel with ignored his way of doing things we've ignored being a part of the family of God that helps us to move forward and to think about these things we've decided to take matters into our own hands and that's when we get cut off from the power that God wants to naturally give us to learn how to be content in the moment that we're living. Let God work through me. God is the owner I'm the manager. And I stay connected by staying submitted to his will and His way we start the empowerment by putting our faith in him the very first time we realize that we have sinned against a holy God The made master of the universe the maker of the universe and we must realize that we must ask his forgiveness. And when we come to the end of ourselves and realize we don't have enough to give a holy god that demands perfection we have to surrender to realize that he has sent his son to come into this earth. And to make a way for us to know him we just admit our son and say I'm a sinner we believe that Jesus died and rose again on the cross rose again and paid the price for a sins and he has power over sin death and hell and all we need to do is say Lord I believe that Jesus died for me and I ask you now to forgive me for everything I've ever done that's offended you offended others around me and I realized that that sin has cost you your son's life and that debt that he paid was my debt not his own because he was perfect. And so I now come and I submit my life to you and I give you my life to do with as a means to start following Christ and receive the power that he wants to give us to live our lives and to honor and to and to and to obey Him to and to be the kind of person that got his intended for us to be all along he's waiting to empower us but then we as Christians we don't get disconnected from the power but but we just ignore the power and try to put our own generator on the system and that always messes everything up you know that when you put a generator on the system you have to have this generator button by and code. And what it does is that you put your generator on and then you have this then you have this switch and you flip the switch so that the power comes from your generator to your house. And it's cut off from where it's not a part of the grid because if somebody is working outside on the power line in your generators running power in your house it does go back to the grid enough that you could shock the guy working on the power it's a it's a safety thing. The analogy I want to get out of that is when you try to create your own power it messes up the grid and it messes up what God wants to do in your life in fact sometimes we manufacture some kind of power that we think is our own way of doing things and God is trying to discipline us and trying to get us to understand that he wants to give us even greater things than we can ever imagine. And we're damaging people all around us not realizing that we're not surrendered to the source that God has given us in the first place we don't need a generator we got one it's God and all we need to do is day by day say God I'm open reporting for duty sir. And you told me that if you give me marching orders of whatever I'm supposed to do You said you give me the power to do whatever it is you've asked me to do would be a cruel God if he said go do this and he didn't give you the power to do it they'd fire that General God has everything you need to do with what he's asked to do and we just need to trust him to work through us to make it happen contentment. Grows. As we let God empower us to use our time talents and treasures that he gave us in the first place for His glory and his honor and it grows when I practice surrendering myself to God so that he will empower me to wisely use my time my talents and my treasures so where do I stand start practicing contentment WHERE IS IT team start coming up here where is it that I need to to do that where my miserable Where am I in a dead end where do I keep disobeying God and hurting other people in my life where is it. That I keep overextending myself beyond my current means to satisfy something that I have discovered to light bulbs going off it is still not being satisfied. You know. And second empty bucket gods filling up the holes with his grace His power His strength and we're trying to use bondo that doesn't fit our bucket. Was bondo we're trying to plug holes. With masking tape that God wants to weld a permanent fix on so that it won't leak air duct tape is good for what things that are loose that should be tight now but you and I know that duct tape life doesn't really work in the end we finally have to breakdown pay the price and fix the problem. Stop trying to use duct tape it may work in your mind for a little while the first of all are by sees the duct tape looks pretty shabby and you know but the stickiness to try to fix or bandaid your problem is about to wear off and your problem's going to get even worse than it was instead of going off and finding your own solutions my encourage me is to start practicing by trusting in the last stand your feet use that card as you leave today I want you to take that card out right now and yellow card and it's it's a meant for all of us so that even if somebody is thinking they might put it in if you put it in front of them then they'll put it into. Put on the back Lord help me to be content and put that spot whatever it is that God's working on your heart let our protein pray for you and encourage you this week follow up with you if you have a prayer need. To say you know you talked about belonging to the church family in a couple weeks will have that membership classers minute information in the bulletin it's not it it teaches you what it means to belong to a church family what are the commitments what's our covenant relationship what does it mean to have a covenant friendship relationship with the body of Christ we talk about our covenant what are our beliefs what do we believe about the Bible you know what we believe the whole thing by the way we don't cut any of it out but what do we practice what are those non-negotiable Ziv St Joe Community Church what are those idiosyncrasies of a church family every every church has a flavor has a way of doing things but kind of got a way of doing things some of them are we've come along and God has led us and guided us and some of those may evolve over time but here's where we are right now and hey here's how you get on board and be calling to what God's up to we have a meal that will give you that day and we'll just hang out and it's going to be a little bit it's a lengthy little seminar but it's a great way and one day to figure out what it means to belong to a church family one of the scariest things people do but we want to remove the scariness of it give you full information and I believe when people are given good information and they want to follow God then make the right decision so that's why we have that class so that you can kind of figure that out we also talk about baptism talk about Lord's Supper all those kinds of things that the church practices will be talking about those things and I hope that if you haven't yet been a part of our church family that you'll just stick your toe in the water and see what god's up to and as I leave us.
B: Bible book