Be Content

I. I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11)

A. The English word “content” has lost much of its force.

1. It brings up thoughts of indifference and mild temperament. 

2. It has a negative connotation, as though such an attitude has little ambition or drive.

B. The Greek term is much stronger.

1. It is composed of the pronoun for “self” and the noun for “sufficiency.”

2. It demands an ability to conquer whatever circumstances that may oppose one’s purpose or goal, and continue through in spite of difficulties.

C. The context of our text demonstrates “self-sufficiency.” 

1. Paul had experienced hunger as well as complete satisfaction. 

2. Paul knew what it meant to be obscure and to be a celebrity. 

3. Paul had times of enough resources and other times when resources were very scarce.

4. Paul had learned that in “whatever state” he found himself, to be “self-sufficient.”

D. The problem often sees only at the physical and circumstantial issues.

1. We have not “learned” that our Lord Jesus provides sufficient grace.

a. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 -- My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
b. Hebrews 13:5 -- Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

2. We must remember that “self-sufficiency” of the Twice-born rests on the eternal fact that God “worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

II. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)

A. This verse is often applied without regard to context. 

1. It is used to justify bizarre plans and dreams.

2. It is used to suggest that all Christians should be rich and healthy.

3. It builds, in context, on Paul’s immediate experiences

a. He has faced everything from poverty to wealth.
b. He has learned to be “content” in each of these developments
c. He then he notes that he “can do all things” (conflicting circumstances) through the strength that the Lord provides during those circumstances.

B. This ability to “do all things” is the “prevailing” power of God.

1. 2 Corinthians 3:5 -- Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament

2. The early church experienced a stunning growth in converts as they preached and testified of the resurrected Christ. 

3. The credit, however, is that “the word of God” grew “mightily” and prevailed (Acts 19:20).

C. The fight we must wage is not a physical one. 

1. We “wrestle” against the great spiritual powers of wickedness that has its source in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12)

2. Our history is replete with the battle that was begun in the Garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve “lost” because they sought to deal with the issue on their own. (Genesis 3)

3. We ““prevail” only when we are “armed” with God’s armor and made “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10)  

III. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. (Philippians 4:14)

A. The English word “communicate” of the KJV needs clarification. 

1. The term today is normally connected to speaking, understanding one another, or simply passing on instructions. 

2. The Greek word is the term, sugkoinoneo, a compound of the preposition “with” and the primary word for “participation.”

3. The basic term is often translated “partner” or “partake” and frequently is connected with the act of financial sharing in the ministry of others. 

a. The Philippian church is commended for their “partnering” with Paul during his journeys
b. They recognize the “needs” that were necessary for the success of the ministry.

B. The modern charity-based organizations vie for our help.

1. There are large hospitals and universities as well as local food and clothing distribution efforts. 

a. Most were started by Christian groups as a way to “communicate” to the “affliction” of many.
b. How do we determine which among the many, or at what ratio to the many as we attempt to distribute “to the necessity of saints?” (Romans 12:13)

2. There are two main principles must guide our “communication.”

a. First, it is clear that our New Testament responsibility is first to the church in which our Lord has placed us. 
b. Then there is opportunity to follow the specific leading of God among those ministries with which we are familiar and of whom we are confident that they “seek first the Kingdom of God.”

IV. I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. (Philippians 4:18)

A. Noah offered sacrifice after disembarking from the year-long Flood. God smelled a “sweet savour.”

1. That offering triggered a promise from God that He would never again “curse” the earth or destroy “every living thing” with water as had been done. 

2. The Lord also promised to maintain the seasons and function of Earth until the end (Genesis 8:20-21).

B. Moses would later bring the Lord’s instructions for the laws of Israel.

1. The Laws would separate Israel from the rest of the world

2. The Laws would constantly remind them of the relationship that the Creator was establishing with them.

3. The Laws contained some sacrifices of “sweet smell.”

4. Numbers 15:3 -- “an offering by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savour unto the LORD.”

C. Christians are “unto God a sweet savour of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15). 

1. Our very existence as His children “smells good” to our Heavenly Father!

2. We are also compared to living “stones” that are being built into a spiritual “house” which is “to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”  (1 Peter 2:5)

3. Our bodies are to be “living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1) that render “sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15) while God Himself is making us “perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:21).

IV. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

A. The key to this promise is the definition of the “need.”

1. It will met by the “riches” of the Great King while serving His Kingdom.

2. It requires both vast and a different supply!

a. Millions of Israelites needed food in the wilderness.  The “mana” came fresh from heaven each day for 40 years! (Exodus 16:35).
b. Gideon needed victory over the innumerable Mideanites and God supplied confusion to the enemies. (Judges 7:22
c. Elijah needed a powerful demonstration of God’s authority and fire was sent from heaven (1 Kings 18:38). 

B. The “need” can be big – and the resources are more than sufficient.

1. Sometimes the need is for a physical miracle.

a. A crippled man needed a new hand (Mark 3:5)
b. A blind man needed new eyes (John 9:6-5)
c. A dead man needed life (John 11:43-44). 

2. Sometimes the need is just for rest, rescue or enjoyment. 

a. Jesus made the best wine ever had when the party needed supply (John 2:10-22).
b. Jesus calmed the sea when the disciples needed release from their fear (Mark 4:38-39)
c. Jesus pulled Peter up from the sea when Peter needed rescue (Mark 14:30-31).

3. Most times the need is spiritual. 

a. We all need God’s forgiveness from the “sickness” of sin (Mark 2:17). 
b. We need the “milk” of the Word (Hebrews 5:12). 
c. We need the wisdom to “walk honestly” (1 Thessalonians 4:12). 

VI. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Philippians 4:23)

A. God’s grace is very personal. 

1. Everything that He has done is because He loved you and me beyond any grasp of our earthly imagination.

2. No one is beyond the touch of God’s grace.

a. Titus 2:11 -- For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men
b. 1 John 4:19 -- We love him, because he first loved us.

B. God has intimate knowledge of our innermost thoughts (Romans 8:26). 

1. God’s grace is “exceeding abundant with faith and love” (1 Timothy 1:14)

2. God’s grace is designed to be “glorified in you” (2 Thessalonians 1:12). 

C. Most of the prayers for us end in “Amen.”  Just so.  That’s the way it should be.

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