Hey Baptist Bible Hour listeners. The Baptist Bible Hour podcast has now been divided into two separate podcast feeds.
One for the Sunday edition and one for the daily edition. Search Baptist Bible Hour on your favorite podcast platform and sign up for both programs today. The Baptist Bible Hour now comes to you under the direction of Elder Lacerre Bradley Jr. This is Lacerre Bradley Jr. inviting you to stay tuned for another message of God's sovereign grace. He is Lord of heaven, Lord of earth, and Lord of all things. He is Lord of heaven, Lord of earth, He is Lord of all who live, He is Lord above the universe, all praise to Him we give. We glorify the Name.
Amen. I'm glad you've joined us for the broadcast today and if the message is a blessing to you, tell others that they can hear messages from God's Word each week at this time on this station. I would appreciate hearing from you. You can write us at Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. And I do encourage you to visit our website at BaptistBibleHour.org. There are messages and articles that I believe will be a blessing to you. This is our new website. If you haven't been there, please make it a visit and you will also find our publication, The Baptist Witness, now in its new home.
You can make a donation at the website and so I certainly will appreciate any help that you can give us to keep the broadcast on the air. In spite of the fact that the Lord is gracious and blesses us from day to day and supplying our needs, we find that many people are basically discontented. A lot of people are given to constant complaint and murmuring. Certainly for the Lord's people, there ought always to be a spirit of thanksgiving and we need to learn, as did the Apostle Paul, to be content. So today we're going to go back to our series from the book of Philippians and bring the first part of a message on the subject of contentment.
If you would like to get this message or others in the series, be sure to request information when writing us this week. I want to look again at the fourth chapter of the book of Philippians. We'll read once again the segment beginning with the tenth verse. We noted last time that there are several subjects in this portion of scripture and we dealt with only one of them previously. We saw here a church with a giving spirit.
Now we read it again. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again, wherein ye were all so careful but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I'm instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye have well done that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity, not because I desire a gift but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all and abound, I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. The next subject we look at here is that of contentment.
All of the subjects that we see in these verses are obviously connected. Paul was thankful that the interest in this church was manifest once more, not that they had ever lost interest in him but they had lacked opportunity to minister to his needs. And like a plant that had been dormant through the winter months, it now is flourishing, it now is blooming, that is representative of the care and interest that they had for him. He was particularly thankful that he could see fruit being born and that their sacrifice was one that was acceptable unto God. But as Princeton pointed out, he takes several verses here to tactfully and carefully express his appreciation to the church for what they've done but also make the point of the fact that he is not complaining. He is not dependent upon them for inner peace and satisfaction, that he has learned to be content.
And that's what we want to look at now. If I say, well, Paul keeps bringing up a variety of subjects here that pose a challenge for me, for he has said back in the fourth verse of this chapter to rejoice in the Lord all the way and again I say rejoice, that was a challenge. And in the process of telling us how to rejoice, he says don't worry, and you say that's difficult, and then he gives us the think list, the things we ought to be thinking about and meditating on, say I have a hard time pulling in my thoughts and controlling my meditations, and now he goes on to tell us that we ought to be content in whatever state we find ourselves therewith to be content. First of all, we'd observe the fact that he says contentment is learned.
I have learned to be content. We're not born with a contented spirit. Little fellows display that early on in life, that they frequently are not happy with the way things are going and they're vocalizing it and letting everybody know they are not content. And in the world in which we're living today, time of prosperity for many, particularly here in this country, you find people in all stations of life expressing discontentment. Discontentment is not limited to those who are poor.
Often the rich are extremely discontented. So contentment is something that must be learned. There are several things that get in the way of being contented.
One is a covetous, greedy spirit. In our human nature, we tend to be self-seeking. We want always to get a little more than what we have. Has it sometimes been said, what would it take to make a millionaire happy? One more million is the answer. A person is striving to be rich.
Whatever they get, they feel like they got to get a little more, got to have something that I don't have, never content with what I have. We see a vivid example of that in the book of 1 Kings chapter 21. Here's a man who is the king.
A man of power and prominence, a man of wealth. We would expect that he should find contentment in his position. But King Ahab had a next door neighbor named Naboth. And when Ahab looked out his window and saw Naboth's vineyard, he wanted it.
He was not satisfied with what he had. 1 Kings chapter 21 began with the first verse. It says that it came to pass after these things that Naboth, the Jezreelite, had a vineyard which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab, king of Samaria. And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house. King's attitude is, it's right here next to my property. Seems only right that I should have it.
I want to add it to my properties and want to increase in wealth. He says he's willing to pay for it. I will give it thee for a better vineyard than that, or if it seemed good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money. And Naboth said to Ahab, The Lord forbid it me that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. Naboth has some attachment to it because it hasn't been in the family for a while.
I want to give you the inheritance of my fathers. He's satisfied with where he's living. He likes his vineyard. But the king desires it. And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth, the Jezreelite, had spoken to him. For he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed and turned away his face and would eat no bread.
The king is now going into a major pout. If I can't have my way, if I can't have Naboth's vineyard, I'm signing off. I'm taking down my antenna. I'm not talking to anybody. I'm not going to communicate. I'm not going to eat. But Jezreel, his wife, came to him and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad that thou eateth no bread?
Jezebel is just as wicked as Ahab and she comes in and says, Now, honey, we're not going to put up with this. If you want that vineyard, you leave it up to me. I'll get it for you. We're not going to have you cast down and feeling sorry here around the house. I'm going to straighten everything out.
I'm going to fix it for you. So she goes out and hires some men to carry the news that Naboth has been disloyal to the king and has blasphemed God and says he needs to be put to death and her plan is enacted. And the people that are hired come back and bring the news. Naboth's dead.
She goes in, tells her husband, everything's fine. Go get his vineyard because he's out of the picture. I took care of him. See, everything to worry about with me around. You got a problem? Just tell me.
I'll cure it for you. You know, this is that same wicked woman that said she was going to kill Elijah, but God spared him and of course he never did die. But the lesson we want to draw from this is that here was a man who was not content. He was a man who saw what somebody else had and he couldn't be satisfied unless he got it.
And here was his wicked wife that was willing to plot the murder of this innocent man in order to make her husband happy. You see, when discontentment reaches its peak, it leads to terrible, sinful, corrupt actions. Not only a covetous, greedy spirit can prevent one from being content, but an envious spirit. Not just desiring what somebody has, but maybe desiring their position, their influence. They're in a place of prestige or power and somebody else says, that's what I want.
That's where I want to be. Proverbs chapter 14, verse 30. A sound heart is the life of the flesh, but envy the rottenness of the bones. Envy is as the rottenness of the bones. Something that eats away deep inside. Envy is described as being as cruel as the grave. When a person just cannot be content because they want what somebody else has, what they possess, their position, the recognition that they have, it often leads to terrible, sinful actions. Let's look at an example, turning to the book of Esther. Esther chapter 5, verse 9. Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart.
But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up nor move for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai. And everything had been going pretty well for Haman. And he's coming along happy as he can be. It's a day of joy.
It's got a glad heart. But there's one thing that interrupts it. He finds Mordecai this Jew, whom he despised, and he doesn't give him the proper recognition and it just goes all over him.
It ruins his day. Nevertheless, Haman refrained himself and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends and Zirash his wife. And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him and how he had advanced him above the princes and the servants of the king. Now he's reviewing what all has happened to him. He's been rightly favored. He's prospered in many ways. He has riches. He has a big family. The king has promoted him.
He's advanced him among many of the princes and servants of the king. Haman said, moreover, yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself. And tomorrow am I invited unto her also with the king.
Now get this. Yet all this availeth me nothing so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate. In spite of the fact that I have been prospered, in spite of the fact that everything is going my way, this one thing gnaws at me.
As long as this Jew is failing to give me the respect that I think I'm entitled to have, as long as I'm not able to remove these people, which was his ultimate desire, then everything that I have means nothing to me. Then said Zireh's wife and all of his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and tomorrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon. Then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet, and the thing please Haman, and he caused the gallows to be made.
Now without giving all the details of the story, you know what the conclusion was that Haman was hanged on the gallows that he had made. And you know sometimes an envious spirit can lead to that kind of destruction. A person who is envious, self-seeking, will go to great ends to accomplish their purpose, and sometimes they're entangled in their own net, or they're hanged on their own gallows. An envious spirit makes it impossible to be content.
A complaining spirit. We've talked a lot about what it means to have a thankful heart, to be grateful for the blessings and mercies of God. But a person that's inclined to complain and to murmur, the person whose attitude is, I deserve better than what's happening to me, I deserve more than what I have.
Not thankful for what they do have, but constantly complaining because of the difficulty of their circumstances, because they just feel like they are entitled to something better. Obviously a person with that spirit, a person who is not thankful as they ought to be for what they have, will not be content. But, in spite of the fact that our human nature may interfere and make it difficult for us to be content, and it's something that must be learned, yet contentment is commanded. Paul is describing his experience here, saying that he had learned to be content, but not one of us tonight can say, well that was Paul, that's just not me. I'm not able to learn that lesson.
No, you're commanded to. Hebrews chapter 13 verse 5. Let your conversation be without covetousness and be content with such things as you have.
Here's a specific command. Do not give way to a covetous, greedy spirit. Be content with such things as you have.
And isn't it interesting that in that same verse, here is the oft quoted promise, for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. We're able to be content with such as we have because if the Lord is with us, then all is well. We have valid reason for being content. We're not just trying to condition ourselves through some positive way of thinking.
This is reality. The Lord says, be content with such things as you have. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. And then we turn to the book of 1 Timothy chapter 6. The 6th verse says, but godliness with contentment is great gain. What's looked on by the world today as being great gain? Having stocks and bonds that are rising in value. Having money in the bank.
Having investments that are secure. Gaining prestige in the eyes of others. But what does the scripture say? Godliness. A holy life with contentment is great gain. That's something of tremendous value and is to be pursued by God's people. So contentment must be learned.
It's learned through the trials that we experience. Paul uses two different words here regarding his experience in coming to the place of contentment. In verse 11 he says, I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content.
And in verse 12 he says, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry. The word that's translated instructed has the thought of learning the secret. There were certain secret religions among the pagans in that time. There was an initiation by which the person gained access to the secrets. Paul says, I have learned the secret. The secret of life. The secret of contentment. I have learned it and therefore I am content in the Lord.
How did he learn it? Well, let's look at the book of 2 Corinthians chapter 11. Verse 24.
Here he's describing his experience. We would expect perhaps that to read about a man of such stature, a man who was used so mightily of God, that he would have been protected and shielded from many of the things that came his way. Somebody might say, well, if God had purpose and plan to use him, why did he not prevent some of these terrible disasters from touching the apostles' life? But it is obviously through his great sufferings that he learned contentment. Of the Jews, five times received I forty stripes save one. Just one of those beatings would probably have devastated any one of us.
We wonder if we could ever recover from it. He had suffered it five times. Thrice was I beaten with rods. Once was I stoned. Thrice I suffered shipwreck a night and a day.
Have I been in the deep? In journeyings, often in perils of water, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the heathen, in perils of the city, in perils of the wilderness, in perils of the sea, in perils among false brethren. In weariness and painfulness, in watchings, often in hunger and thirst, and in fastings, often in cold and nakedness, decide those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. And I can sense as I read those words that as difficult as all of those other sufferings were, as painful as the beatings were, as uncomfortable as it was to be in the storm on the sea, and to suffer cold and various perils, yet there was no burden that he carried any heavier than the care of all the churches.
The apostle obviously had a deep love for each church to which he wrote. Deeply concerned about their spiritual welfare, longing and praying for their growth, and grieved when he saw sometimes the weaknesses and departures that disrupted their testimony and their zeal. Who is weak and I am not weak?
Who is offended and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory in the things which concern mine infirmities. Goes on to talk about being let down through a window in a basket, that he might escape the hands of those that were seeking his life. Just one event after the other of this man being persecuted, being sought after continually, people wanting to take his life, and then the burden he carried all the time for the churches, and if that wasn't enough to know that there were false teachers within those churches that were constantly trying to disrupt his efforts, and those who were even challenging the validity of his apostleship. First we may be surprised that the man suffered so much, and then we would be further surprised that a man who suffered all of this, but did not develop a complaining spirit.
He was not saying all of this because he was seeking self-pity, but not feeling sorry for himself, not at all. He has learned through all of this suffering to become detached as far as connection with worldly things are concerned, and to find his strength in Jesus Christ. Therefore he has learned contentment in the midst of his sufferings.
It may be in the valley where countless dangers hide. It may be in the sunshine that high in peace abide. But this one thing I know, if it be our warfare, if Jesus is with me, I'll go anywhere. If Jesus is with me, I'll go anywhere. We see that the apostle Paul, in spite of his close walk with the Lord, had to learn, like we all must learn, what contentment is about.
It doesn't come naturally. This contentment is received only because of true faith and confidence in Jesus Christ, finding him to be our strength and our help from day to day. If you would like to get the complete message on contentment, or would like information about others in the series from the book of Philippians, just request that when you write us.
Till next week at this same time, may the Lord richly bless you all. Yes, sir, to those in sinful strife, And though it be my law to bear my colors there, If Jesus goes with me, I'll go anywhere. The Baptist Bible Hour has come to you under the direction of Elder LeSaire Bradley, Jr. Address all mail to the Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. That's the Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. I counted our privilege here, it's cross to bear, If Jesus goes with me, I'll go anywhere. But if it be my portion to bear my cross at home, While others bear their burdens beyond the billows foam, Approve my faith in Him, confess my judgment's death.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-28 07:38:18 / 2022-11-28 07:47:40 / 9