By Pastor Greg Byman
February 25, 2018, 10:00 a.m.
St Joe Community Church
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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 “Give Thanks” and is the fifth in a series called “Keys to Contentment.” The sermon was preached on February 25, 2018.
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We are in our final last message sermon in the series of what we called Keys to contentment and I would want to say that as we looked at last week's message on giving and being generous and talking about tithing and giving ten percent of our income not because it's a way for us to earn God's favor but to trust his trust his strength in our lives that if we are not giving to God at least ten percent and that's just the beginning the blessing comes beyond the ten percent the obedience is in the ten percent and to say I trust God with my resources you know let's just repeat this again after me God is the owner I'm his manager we've got to get that right because if we don't have that right then then we're going to try to be the owner and make God the manager and when God doesn't come through for us the way we want him to we want to fire the manager and God says I need to fire the owner you're thinking you're the owner you're not you're the manager on the owner got owns it all there in a single thing on this earth that you created by yourself he gave it to you he said the owner you're the manager and last week we talked about giving because giving is an act of obedience to him but it's also the only place in the Bible where the Bible says to us test me and see if I won't come through for you see if I will not open the gates of heaven and the floodgates and give you a blessing that only you can receive and so I implore you for your own spiritual well being and so that you will not face the judgment of God that you start giving to the Lord at least ten percent of the first fruits of whatever the increase of your of your life I just can't say it strongly enough I could say it more strongly probably if Bill Wallace some of you know him were get up here he'd say I need to be a little stronger on this every Sunday but that's.
That's a giver that has satisfied customer and convinced follower of Christ and I've watched him and Lynette and their material lives and how they have lived for him all the years that I've known them and they are clear testimonies of how God has blessed and faithfully worked in their lives to give God not just ten percent well beyond that I don't know that for a fact I know that just because I know them that they give beyond and above what what is required of us but I wanted to give you that little caveat from last week because in your bulletin is a work for you to take home as a devotional called the living giving principles and it's using the passage of First Corinthians Chapter eight to talk about a very very very very poor church that gave abundantly of themselves. And the steps that they did that is first they gave themselves they gave materially if necessarily out of my own poorness to help people be rich spiritually and to find the strength in a way this is your work sheet and I want you to go through this this week as a part of your devotional life is just a tool for you told chest I'm a guy I like tools I don't I love to have another even if I don't know what to do with it it's cool to have in my tool box. I just kind of my thing and so spiritually in the same way you need tools and some tools you use all the time and some tools you set aside to use later some unity right now you might not need later. But I always see any kind of spiritual I have I was like to provide that to other people another spiritual tool is if you're not investing personally for the future if you're not looking ahead to future blessing and needs in your own Now that's just talking about your own household right now if you don't have a a a a vehicle to invest in to help move forward your finances for a future day we actually have a partnership with Southern Baptist churches all over the United States and especially here in the state of Indiana and the Indiana Baptist foundation is committed to raising resources for the Kingdom of God here in the state of Indiana and they give loans out to churches for building projects they help church planting they help all kinds of things spiritually speaking and one way that they do that is to is to basically like any other bank they use people's money and they they they get an interest return for them but then they also receive some interest to turn and then they have enough capital to they are able to give out loans to other people to churches particularly and to ministries and so one vehicle if you don't have a way to do that they have a new this is another thing in your bulletin if you're interested I'm not here I'm not paid to tell you that I'm not on the there's no no kick back be nice if I got a percentage of that back but I don't but seriously if you're looking for a good Christian ministry foundation to invest some money in for a short period of time and just check them out and you can go online and do all that. And I know that that would be a blessing to other people your money would go beyond just your own financial gain it would be supporting kingdom work but I want to finish up the message series on the and we've talked about giving thanks in previous messages in this series but I want to really focus on an entire message on giving thanks that giving thinks is an incredibly important part of being content with what we have see contentment is not about getting more contentment grows when we want less contentment It's not about getting more contentment grows when we want less let that sink in a minute so many times I think I'll be content when I get X. Y. And Z. Do not mistake ambition for greedy discontent ambition is when you say I want to better my cause I want to improve my lot I want to actually educate myself stronger I want to become more effective for the Kingdom of God I want to do more of my work I want to and I want to advise more people I want to take on more responsibility I want to handle more things that ambition is great. Making money is a great ambition if you have a goal for why you're making the money OK make all you can save all you can and give all you can was the montra of Charles Wesley or John Wesley He's like get it go after it save it give it be ready to be a vessel of God too for God. To use to bless other people with your resources and with your influence and with your way I want prosperous Christians why because prosperous Christians have influence and opportunity to make a difference in this world I don't mean just prosperous financially but I mean prosperous in your jobs you may not you may be in a position where you'll never make a whole lot of money because that's that where you work I mean teachers that they make decent but they're not going to make what what they're with their same educational level they're never going to make what somebody with their same education will make in the business world and they make a decision that that's what they're going to do and they invest themselves in such a way that there's this amazing gift to the community through serving students and serving school corporations so so so go after it but as you're going after it make sure that your contentment is not about your ambition doesn't bleed into I'm not content with what I've already got I'm I'm already satisfied that if God said no I'm going to you stay right where you are you never are not going to increase your I'm not going to extend your tent stakes out to another group of things and one of the thing if he says I want you to stay right where you are and maybe he just wants you to say there for a season maybe seasons longer than you expect Are you still going to be content with where you are and the way you grow your contentment in the moment of where you are as you give thanks with where you are you know the enemies of contentment I've already shared this is greed envy selfishness that we are we get envious of what somebody else has we get greedy we want more more more more more and then we've just become super selfish and we don't give anything away we just hoard it and hoard it and hoard it and as we shared last Sunday that the rich fool that said oh man I got all this stuff I'm going to build another born and and then the announcement came down you fool tonight your life is required of you what good is a barn full of stuff if you didn't use it and leverage for things that matter for eternity which is why practicing generosity is a cure for that and we talked about last week you see. The enemy of contentment is a lack of thankfulness for where we currently are stop looking at what you don't or can't have and start looking at what God has already given to you stop looking at what you can have right now and be appreciative of what you already have now many of you saw these signs all over the place recently go to the next one road close to high water and how many of you heard the stories of people who decided to ignore the road close to high water I had three text messages in a row of cars underwater that we that our officers are responding to one there was nobody in the vehicle that was fine the second one the guy was on the side of the road watching his car go under the water and the other guy was on the hood literally within two hours we had three different calls of guys to go rescue these people and of course I think locally which Sheriff it was in one county nearby said get. That's kind of what he said in the words he said Stop ignoring highwater road closed he said your route your wasting our resources because of you he didn't say it this way because of your stupidity you're taking your car into places it ought not go and then we have to divert our resources to rescue you from your dumb act action he said it much more nicely I. Don't go through high water why is it they look at us as i mean OK let's be honest how many of you looked at water and go I could probably do that yeah how many of you left hand you did do that yeah I mean OK we've all but but when it says High Water Road closed I would think that the sign speaks for don't do that if anything I don't really want to get a new car today all the way up to I don't want to die which I hope die is more important than car but at that's beside the point. Why is it that when we see something we can't do we keep wanting to do it that's the problem and it highlights the fact that that's exactly what got us in this problem in the first place in this world and Genesis Chapter three where the. Effect then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom so she took some of its fruit and ate it and she also gave some to husband who was with her and he ate it too he just watch and see if she died first you think you know it was her fault did he get a knock that out of her hand any time he wanted to he wanted to eat as bad as she did but he just want to make sure they eat it because he got the command from God You will die and he's thinking well you know he made one girl make me another one I don't know I don't know what he was thinking it's wrong but he did it and he set there and watched three that says oh she didn't die so he took some and he ate it too and suddenly their eyes were opened and they realize they had sinned suddenly their water was in the middle of a stream that was rushing and their car was moving sideways and suddenly they go I'm in trouble I need some help I'm in trouble nine one one and they ran and hid themselves because they realized for the first time they were naked and they weren't just naked Physically yes they were but they were naked spiritually before a holy God That said what have you done. Oh we're in trouble you see we become discontent when we look at things we don't need in our lives or God has not yet given to us and we look at and say That looks kind of good I coul like that over there and then we start gazing at it we gaze at it we go back to the store and we go back to the car lot we go back to the we start looking at our coworker. And say Man she's pretty fine or he's pretty good look and he cleans up pretty nice mind and clean up that nice anymore I don't know what you do but you start looking at other things in other ways and other places and you start getting discontent with where you are and then you start justifying it well you know I've got just wants me to be happy I had someone pull that on me right after a funeral I mean really you know right after that will God just wants me to be happy and I thought whoa you just lost your loved one but I need to smack you in the face with the Word of God that's wrong that was. Again I don't do public service announcements but seriously God just wants me to be happy yet he wants to be happy by doing what's right not doing what just feels good Adam and Eve God just wants us to be happy I don't know why he doesn't want us to eat this tree that he told us not to eat well he just doesn't know any better why he doesn't God realize how wonderful that fruit looks all I think we have to try that just to see if maybe God's wrong and then we justify it and then we act on it and then we're in sin suddenly we go into debt financially and we're upside down suddenly we start really having struggles in our relationships suddenly we've got we've hit a rough spot in the road to say it lightly and we're in trouble and we're super discontent we're depressed because we can't have what we want we think God's just a killjoy and he didn't give it to us and we ought to have it with God and I thought God wanted me to be here and now he's not blessing me the way he wants I want him to bless me and I'm not getting what I ought to get and I'm in this situation and and sides all that on the. Miles will go eat worms I mean it was I'm just sad and we stop because we have not looked at what he's already given us to be thankful for I mean I mean have you ever looked at you have gone to a family reunion say how in the world that I ever turned out the way I did or whine you know now I know why it turned out the way I did I mean you ever done that I mean you go woo. And you ever talk to somebody else asked on smiles or that and I start saying well this happened This them so well my family is sort of my family all really we're all crazy and we all go through there and we but you know what that we what we stop and we don't give thanks for what did happen in our lives we stop to get we won't give thanks for what did go right we start laughing at what went wrong. And just like in the news if when it if it bleeds it leads you know I thought I thought our current situation between the mayor and his the Kansas City Clerk very humorous. I don't know either one of them personally but I thought that was quite humorous what I think is interesting probably a lot of good things happened in that building but what did we hear about the conflict and I thought you know that's just the way it is a lot of good things happen in your home but what we what do we usually talk about when we get to work the things that went wrong what my spouse did this or that name Me Me Me Me I hope you don't do that but that tends to be what rises to the top man this happened and man it was a it was a home run in our house this week some good things happened white white workplace what happened man I'm just busy they're working me like of like crazy I go to the store a lot of times when I go to a lot of times and but I'll go through the cashier and I say has a man and quit in time I'm just waiting for quitting time how many of you had a cashier tell you that I say you know the problem with quitting time is they don't pay you for that time we have to done work and and they look at you I said in that nice they pay you to stay here and work. I don't get paid to go home I get paid to stay at work you know I mean they're in there. And I want to yeah you're right about that or I'll go to Lowe's and I'll see in the end it in there and you go all the way back and it's all dark and gloomy Not always but you know and then I go to the front and there I said nice window view you got a window office right here at the last years and the look I guess I do. Have a windows of the of the only office in here has a window you got to work oh the winner but other. Window. Are you looking at what's Well let's get to the points because you want to go home so number one how to give thanks obey just obey first as fully as five eighty I'm going to run through these you can look at the notes later if you want to but I want to read these to you and usually I like using one chunk of passage and leave us in one spot this sermon series kind of put us all over the map and and it's a little harder by the way to preach a message because you got to make sure that each verse you use is appropriate for each for each point but in first first lines five eighteen it says Give thanks and everything for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus it's the will of God that you're thankful I give thanks because I just need to obey God well that's when go home now right let's obey God just obey God Be thankful go home really I mean that I stop right there point number one is point number one is point number one is point number two three four five and six but let's we'll build on this but obeying is the motivation I want do the right thing how many don't want to do the right thing don't and don't raise your hand I mean. We do want it inside we want to do the right thing so the right thing is to give thanks thank you Lord start build the list I want you while I'm talking if you think of something that God has given you that you've stopped and forgotten to be thankful for I want you to write that on your bulletin family mom dad siblings when they're nice to me I don't so something the job I currently have even if you don't like your job at least you got a job and you get paid the education I received the experience I received even in a difficult circumstance what are you learning in the trenches rarely are mountaintop experiences places of learning the Valley is where the grass grows grass grows grass does not grow on the mountaintop it grows in the valley your growth most likely occurs during times of difficulty not during times of plenty and thank God for the lessons you learn in the difficulty just obey Him Second we need to do it as a way of surrendering to God You see this thanking God doesn't just come by human effort in for an infusion chapter five it highlights the fact that we're to be filled with the Holy Spirit if he says Chapter five it says and don't get the look don't get drunk with wine which leads to reckless actions but be filled with the spirit. Let me read that again in verse eighteen of chapter five and don't get drunk with wine which leads to reckless actions but be filled with the Spirit see you can be the big controlled by the world or be controlled by God your choice he's not he's not he's bringing up that there's a way to control your mind in your heart and your actions and the world has one way to soothe your pain sorrow and just go after it even in Proverbs that says beer is for the weary in the sorrowful In other words if you want I mean there's not that that was right but he said that's what people turn to when they're in struggles and sadness but God says don't go after that go after me lead in on me surrender to me let me fill you let me come in do you know this isn't a brand new experience of someone becoming a Christian this is a Christian saying I am surrendering today to the Lord Jesus Christ in my life I'm letting you take care of my mouth my actions my eyes my ears I'm going to just let you be in control of all of it and what is the result of that in verse nineteen speaking to one another in Psalms him spiritual songs singing making music to the Lord in your heart verse twenty giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ submitting to one another in the fear of Christ verse twenty giving thanks always for everything I don't just start thanking God on my own power I need God's power to help me and be thankful what I'm saying is God I choose to number one I'll obey you but even as I step my foot forward I need the power to keep moving forward obedience and surrender our partners in the journey of finding contentment or in the journey of everything that we do spiritually that's effective and as we're doing so we focus on the Lord Jesus Christ in Colossians chapter three we're just saying that song On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground. Is sinking sand I grew up you know I have grown up yet I grew up during a time in which quicksand was I mean remember quicksand being a big deal and I remember being a kid golem and I hope because I used to go through all kinds of woods how many used to travel through different properties and woods and you just go I mean your parents didn't know where you were for hours and it was OK because older you get in trouble with is what you really couldn't just came back dirty physically dirty and you had to you know take a bath and all that but I was so I thought well if I ever find quicksand I'm going to die. And you know and there's all these rumors going around the school you know if you get quicksand you've got to go flat or stop struggling because the more you struggle the more you go down in. I mean my the only wonder how these OK I mean it was like a scary thing I saw a man I don't go if I see a patch of ground on know if I'm going to want to go through there and we had farmland everywhere but no tractors had ever gone down so I figured OK to walk across the farm with all other ground is sinking sand Have you put your feet on the ground that's not grounded in Christ you're on sinking sand and you're in trouble and you may be up to your neck but you're going to be up to the top and you're going to suffocate and dying go to hell if you've not hurt your faith in Jesus Christ I mean it's as simple as that and we've got to remember and focus on Christ Colossians chapter three verse sixteen let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you teaching in a Mohnish in one another in all wisdom and singing psalms him spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God similar to what we just read in a feature but it's but it's always it's always seems to be dovetailed with or surrounded by a attitude of gratitude thankfulness to God. You know I may not have a whole lot to my name but I've got Jesus to proclaim he is my Savior and when all else fails he's all I got and guess what when all else is gone well he's still got we got to focus on Christ and if you've never put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord if you've never said Jesus I believe that you died you came on this earth you died from a you rose again on the third day and you gave me the power of a death sentence hell that you actually come into my life that if you've never surrendered your life to Christ then you're on sinking sand and this whole conversation about contentment is absolutely not for you if you're not put your faith in Christ then I guarantee you you will never be content because when we don't have Christ in our heart in our life we are trying to fill that heart and that hole in our soul with everything else and everything else is nothing but silly putty that fades or disappears as soon as something else comes in you're going to keep leaking your contentment is just going to get worse you're discontent is going to get worse and worse and worse and you're never going to be content without putting your hope in Jesus Christ alone. There is no physical satisfaction in this world there is no relationship there is no all truism there is no good generosity to build buildings and put your name on it that is satisfying enough as much as putting your faith in Jesus Christ what I'm saying is contentment so many times in our world system is to add more things or to do more things or to get more money and I want to say that focusing on anything other than Jesus Christ is dangerous let me say that again focusing on anything other than Jesus Christ is dangerous a couple years ago a movie came out called God's Not Dead there's a clip let me set it up for you there was a man who was a Mr Power Broker had it all when his girlfriend got cancer he dumped her because he didn't want to deal with that kind of mess. And he had it all his sister kept saying you need to go visit mom in the nursing home she's got to mention this but she still needs someone to visit her and she I think you need to go see her and he decides to begrudgingly go and see his ailing dying godly in her lifetime mother and he just set there and Mr I know it all and I got it all figured out and it's going to be a little dark to see but we're going to try to show it I want you to least listen I thought was one of those powerful clips in this entire movie to illustrate what I'm talking about. Was it in easy worship already there we go maybe now is the volume up on the was it working earlier. And everything already well. You go backwards again. I don't even know what I'm doing there. Unless I like even know who I am. You. Great and delete. Your whole life. Never done anything wrong. And here you are. In the nicest person I know I am the meanest. You have dimension. In my life is perfect explain that to me. Sometimes the never allows people to live a life free of trouble. As he doesn't want them turning to God. Then if I could Gail sound accepted. Nice and concrete and seem to be any need to leave. While And. Then one day. Runs out. The sound or slam shut. And suddenly. It's too late. To say what. My final point this morning is to remember God's warning and in First Timothy Chapter six starting in verse six and says but godliness with contentment is great again for we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it but if we have food and clothing we'll be content with these but those who want to be rich fall into temptation a trap and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge people into ruin and destruction for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil and by craving it some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains focusing on anything other than Crisis dangerous because when we start thinking that we have to have something in order for our contentment it is the someone who we must have in our life not something in the Bible says this in Jesus Himself said it is harder for a rich man to enter in the kingdom of heaven it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven Well it was humorous to the people around him is the dumbest thing to think about putting this Bill Campbell through a little tiny. Needle and there's some conversational maybe there was a gate somewhere or some This is Jesus was making he was making a joke and he was trying to make say how absurd it is to think that somebody put a camel through a needle I was also absurd to think that a rich man isn't distracted so much that they totally miss God. The person that needs God the least usually are the people that I meet that are successful in business they just don't need him a lot of their comfort needs their are their met by their money they just go buy another whatever it is to fix their problem and they don't realize how desperate their soul is for the One True God that made them they drowned out by those things and I before you start thinking about all the rich people you know do you know that we handle the majority of the wealth in the world in America and that we have the richest per capita average income as any other nation and that we are by standards of most other nations incredibly rich people and we wonder why America has a problem with God because we're drowning God out with our wealth and our materialism remember his warning we're born and we die with nothing we're born naked would die naked undertaker put their clothes on us you ever wondered if they had their pants on OK sorry just me now you're going to wonder. David you've never thought that. He's too reverent to think about things like that I don't know if he's reverent but he's too proper There was an undertaker got in trouble for selling suit pants I'm just saying down Cincinnati I read the story. I need to keep moving. Yeah move along yeah going to take anything with you you didn't come in here with anything what are you doing with what you got if you're already screwing up what you already have why you ask him for more to screw up with if you're already discontent with what you've already been given and what makes you think getting anything else is going to make you more is going to get you out of your discontent and the moment you think riches is going to solve your problems here are the warning that the more you get the less you'll think about God if you're not careful had a gift had a good thanks. How you get content you obey the Lord you surrender to His power to do it you focus on the Lord Jesus Christ as your one and only hope and you forget about thinking about riches as the key to being content with your life knowing that there's a trap and that that trap is like a cell door that you go into and it looks all comfy like she said and then suddenly when it's too late the door slam shut and you've missed out on every opportunity that God gave you to trust him and to bless others with your life what are you thankful for this morning are you enjoying what God already gave you have you found your hope in Jesus Christ what are you thankful for today have you started your list how you've been putting people on your list have you been putting all the things on your list I watched a college student get thankful for a bicycle and then God gave her a car and now she's thankful for the car and bicycle never broke down like the car did once in a while by the way when you thankful for are you restless this morning because you've stopped looking at what you already have one what somebody else has that you can't get yet are you wanting that promotion so bad that you're not willing to be the person that you want to lead someday is your me on that one sometimes we want to position so badly as a as a boss that we don't we don't act anything like the kind of person we did when we would want to be the boss of God It's got something in store for everyone in this room to be a blessing to be to be blessed and to find true contentment I am telling you this morning that contentment is available to every single person in this room bar none not a single person here is excluded from that promise God wants you to be content but he wants you to find contentment in knowing him personally and in managing what he's given you to His glory and to his honor I pray that you'll look back on the sermons online if you've missed a few that you are here but you start asking questions go to your small group and say you know I was a little put out by what Pastor said today and I need you to pray for me about that. I want you to lean on me and send me an email or text or call me up and say let's have coffee I don't agree with you point a B. Or C. I'd love to talk with you about it because I'm not here to try to talk you into anything I'm just trying to explain carefully what God's word says and if I have not done that well then I pray that God to forgive me and he'll show me so that I'll do better next time our nation is grieving our nation is at war with one another our nation is in pain our nation is greedy our nation is struggling and the children are watching the adults act like children and it's time for the adults in the body of Christ to step up it's time for young people in the body of Christ to step up it's time for St Joe Community Church to take responsibility for our community and step up and be a different kind of people yes ambitious for greater things but content where we are a whistle while we work attitude that we're in this forgot and we'll be a comfortable with the doors he's opened even as we look forward to whatever doors if they should ever open that he opens later living for Him nothing else we serve an audience of one Jesus Christ make him happy you'll be happy I just look forward to how God's going to grow the contentment in this body of Christ and how that will be the inoculation of discontentment in our community I look forward to people wanting to be a part of St Joe because they want what we have but they want the kind of life that you're living that they'll hunger for something more and that our children will say we want what our mom and dad has we want what grandma and grandpa all have we want what they have because they've got something that other kids around us their parents don't have I pray that you will find the peace that only Christ can give you in His name. Let's stand by our feet this morning this altar is open for you to just come and nail and say God I give it all to you this morning if there's any part of your life that you've refused to give him this morning I pray that this morning of be the day that you do that maybe you need take that. Card and put on there I want to give my life to Christ I want to be baptized to tell the world I'm a Christian I need to start getting right with God into this they are that area there are Ministry needs all over our church where people need to step up and serve that they're not serving right now our youth ministry could use two or three men and women to just start infusing life and encouragement into their lives right now we don't have any any ladies of faith to that are coming forward and mentoring and decide pulling our young ladies and this isn't just a youth problem this is all age problem older women are to be speaking into the younger women's lives older men into the younger women younger men's lives and to come into their lives in a way that helps them to gross spiritually and to move forward I don't think we have a problem with people to do it we just have a problem of obedience that it's not going down the right way and so why don't know how to do that well come on let's talk about it let's grow you and encourage you in that way God has got something in store for each of you this morning to deal with your discontentment where you hear what God is saying your heart where you respond John and Jean are here and praise God John your back is well enough to be with us today but they're going to be here to receive you and to pray with you if you need prayer this morning do what God's asked you to do this morning try him see if he doesn't do something that he's never that you've never experienced before by surrendering and letting him give you the contentment that only he can.
B: Bible book