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July 15, 2020 8:00 am
Today on the Fellowship in the Word poster Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ difficulty can be suffering upon losses you read your completely content telling people when asked how do you have that content and I know I would never have joining us today on this additional Fellowship in the Word. Pastor Bill Gebhardt Fellowship in the Words the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible church located in Metairie, Louisiana. Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now is once again he shows us how God's word meets our world this past week I was putting together what the apostle Paul. Life was like and in just seven chapters of the New Testament.
Paul speaks about what his life is like, he says we have been on display like men condemned to die in the arena spectacle to the whole universe of full week dishonored hungry and thirsty in rags brutally treated homeless cursed persecuted slandered scum of the earth, refuge of the world hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, struck down always being given over to death death at work in us outwardly wasting away in prison more frequently flog more severely exposed to death again and again five times received 40 lashes -13 times beaten with rods, once stoned and left for dead three times shipwrecked. Spent a night in a day in the open sea constantly on the move in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from countrymen in danger at sea in danger from false brothers gone without sleep known hunger and thirst gone without food it been cold and naked stoned drag outside the city stripped and beaten severely flawed thrown into prison. Drag from the temple arrested, bound with two chains taken into the barracks flog him troubles, hardships and distresses, beatings, imprisonments, riots, sleepless nights regarded as imposters beaten sorrowful for having nothing that's his life. How was yours compared to that.
That's Paul's life and yet in second trillion chapter 4, the apostle Paul wrote this he said for my momentary light troubles are achieving for me eternal glory that far outweighs them all. The apostle Paul is content in spite of what I just read. He is completely content and one because of what I just read you know what he has with me when it comes to contentment. Credibility is the of the apostle Paul says I'm content, and now I want to teach you how to be content.
I'm going to listen, see, Bill Gates said to me, Bill. I know the secret to contentment. I might be a little bit suspicious, not the apostle Paul C. Here is a person went through all that he did and he wants to teach us how to be content. And I'm listening. And I hope you are to open your Bibles to Philippians chapter 4 and verse 10. Philippians 4 we are in a series on contentment and the reason I'm doing this series is because so few of you are there are very few people you meet in your life that are truly content must sometimes only people that are content because the circumstances are happy in their life) but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about contentment, void of the circumstances, it doesn't really matter. The first week I said Jesus Christ was content. He didn't need anything. He was content with life the way it was and is our shepherd. He said I said that he wanted us to be content as well. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
And I said that we should thank our shepherd because his provision is enough to meet all of our physical and material needs is present. His presence is enough to meet all of our emotional and spiritual needs in his providence is enough to meet all of our future needs and the last time I said envy is one of the great enemies of contentment, but now I want to talk about how do we become content in the apostle Paul was the perfect person and he is writing in the book of Philippians. The background just a little bit because it's so wonderful in the context the apostle Paul when he writes this about contentment is chained to a Roman guard so want to know where he sat.
He is and probably a very small apartment in Rome. He is chained and the guards keep changing each one is chained up all he is awaiting to find out if Nero is going to spare his life, or take his life. If you know anything about Nero you can imagine how precarious that is. And yet he writes this letter to the Philippians and the theme of the whole letter is joy.
Paul was so joyful that he wants to share it with the Philippians, 14 times in this book Paul talks about either joy or rejoicing.
Chuck Swindoll says this I know of no greater need today than the need for joy, unexplainable, contagious joy, outrageous joy when that kind of joy comes aboard our ship of life. It brings good things with it like enthusiasm for life, and determination to hang in there and a strong desire to be an encouragement to others. Such qualities make our voyage bearable. When we hit the open season encounter the high waves of hardship that tend to demoralize us and paralyze us. There is nothing better than a joyful attitude when we face the challenges of life and that we are content a joyful man in prison wants to tell you how to be content. And it's basically an easy lesson to learn. There's only two steps to it. That is contentment is to be learned and secondly contentment is a secret.
That's what Paul tells us so.
Look at the background of this verse 10, Paul says, but I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have received revived your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. They actually sent Paul an offering. They gave him some things that help on is very limiting the supply of food. He probably had no money. The church at Philippi in Greece is sending someone to Rome to give Paul an offering is that I'm just rejoicing over that by the way they haven't sent Paul anything for 10 years. Nothing 10 years earlier. Paul was in Philippi and he left Philippi and went to Thessalonica and so he says, look, I know you've always thought about me but you never really had an opportunity now that I'm chained to a garden Rome.
Apparently you have an opportunity to send me something, and I'm very appreciative of that. But I wanted to see something about Paul. He then says in verse 11.
Not that I speak from want, while I mean normally, when you go to prison.
There's a whole list of things that the prisoners would like to have because they are doing with out so many things Paul said, I really appreciate your gift but I really don't need anything while who says that contented men somebody who is contentment in life. Then he gives us the first step, he says, for I have learned. He says to be content in whatever circumstances I am I have learned to be content.
Note what you think about this for a minute.
Is there anything in life you would rather have the net we just imagine the matter what is going on your life no matter what's going on, relationally, economically, physically, no matter what's going on your completely content want one that I think we all strive for that fact we strive for so much. We always look for the wrong places, and I know we never find it. But Paul says I have learned to be content. It is interesting at targets is the word content. It's sort of impregnated were typical Greek language, but it means to be self sufficient.
It means to have enough from outside sources in classical Greek it sometimes mean self-supporting. He said I I have enough I'm content you see Paul you have enough what Paul would say everything I have enough everything nothing to what he's been through what I read in the beginning all the things that happened to him because content he said something else so he said I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances. Contentment is something that you will learn how the how many learned what to place and go with me to second Timothy chapter 3, second Timothy chapter 3 will gain some insight here. How do you learn things.
By the way, we told our boys us as we raise them that there's two ways you learn in life. One is called education.
The others called experience when I would say to him when your mother and I tell you things that we know to be true and you take it as truth, and then you lacked a part of this truth you will have learned through education, but by the way, knowing anybody's kids, not just my end being one myself once, especially as a teenager, you have the right to completely reject what I'm telling you, you have the right given to do it. You don't have to accept it. You don't have to learn through education, but if you don't own learn through education, you will learn through experience. That's life.
If you don't listen you will learn, but you learn through experience and normally it's quite painful to learn that way now in second Timothy three you know the chapter it's famous Paul says the Timothy realize this, that in the last days is going to get really tough. He views the last days from time of these writing this all the way to the day and he says the characteristics that are going to mark the last days of this, men will be lovers of themselves, they will be narcissist.
They will be lovers of money. He said they will be materialists and then he goes through a whole bunch of adjectives but at the end of verse four. He says they will also be lovers of pleasure there be hedonists rather than lovers of God. They will be atheists. He said that's can all happen and all these other things and it the problems are not going to be just inside the church. Timothy made outside the church. It's also good to be inside the church. So what is Timothy to do so when you get the verse 10, Paul writes this now. You followed my teaching. He says my conduct, my purpose, my faith, my patience, my love, my perseverance, my persecutions in my sufferings such as happened to me at Antioch and I Coni him and Mr. what persecutions I endured, and then he says this and out of them all the Lord rescued me see what Paul says, Timothy I learned that through all the painful things I went through that the Lord would rescue me. I learned to be content through experience, Timothy I love you to learn to be content through education. You see, I would love that. Unfortunately for most of us, we really don't learn contentment through education, we learn contentment through experience. You have to go through it. You have to experience it to some level and so that's what he says now Paul is really learn this lesson through experience and again I want to turn with me to the book of acts chapter 16 the book of acts chapter 16 and were in Philippi in 16 right what he's writing to the Philippians.
Again this is when Paul was in Philippi. By the way when he showed up he was popular. Not all of verse 22 reeling around what happened to him before then, but in verse 22.
Luke writes the crowd rose up together against them, he says, and the chief magistrates toward the robes off of them and they proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. Now you normally metal normally about 4 feet long. Normally about that round and usually two-handed in images with the daylight study with rods so he gets beaten with rods and what's so interesting about this considering the apostle Paul and what he is like inside of us who was with him. He gets beaten with rods and this is when they have struck them many blows they threw them into prison commanding the jailer to guard them securely and he, having received such a command through the many enter prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. Now I don't know what you call that but I call that a bad day. I want to think about something like that happen in your life. The falsely accused there beaten with rods and are printed in a prison in the feeder in stocks. I want you to see how he reacts and think about how you would react.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God what CU would be you would be complaining.
You want to see your lawyer, you would be seeing if you were sitting in is woe is me wool was me.
Their singing praise the God the prisoners were listening to them. How could he do that he's been beaten with rods before the Lord delivered a model see his contentment is I've been here before courts can be fine. I maybe fine the Lord is going to do something here. You see, I'm fine. The Lord is always there policies, it always as if you viewed as being in the dark whenever something terrible is happening to him. He always fuses though the Lord is in the shadows just whispering to Paul, this is what I want to do. Paul, this is what I wanted to say Paul, this is how I want you to feel the same. He does to us. You see he wants. That's what he's experiencing and Paul notice is completely content as well as Silas Nissen will how this all turn out well. If you look down to verse 29 there was an earthquake and the jailer of course is panicking because it could cost him his life and he called for lights and rushed in and trembling. He fell in with fear. He fell down before Paul and Silas in and after he brought them out.
He said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved. By the way, contentment is a really strong evangelistic tool.
When people see your life in a sea of difficulty can be the suffering of gone through the losses you had in your completely content I'm telling people when asked how do you have that how do you have contentment when I know I would never have contentment in those circumstances.
Well that's what he did. They said, believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved you and your household. And they spoke the word of the Lord to him, together with all who were in the house and he took them that very hour that night and wash their wounds and immediately he was baptized.
He and all his household and he brought them into the house and set food before them and rejoice greatly. Having believed in God with his whole household. While no how do you think Paul felt after the experience that I'm ready for the next meeting Sam content. I learned how to do this.
I've learned to be content is good. Explain even more to us. It is go back to web Philippians 4 look the text.
Jailer Miller talks about what we learn to this contentment, and he says this one step toward contentment is patient submission to the unavoidable. The ills and the hardships.
There are trials which we cannot change in the pleasures burdens which we cannot lay down crosses which we have to continue to carry thorns in the flesh, which must remain with the wrinkling pain, and when we have such trials. Why should we not sweetly accept them as part of God's best way with us. Discontent never made a rough path smoother a heavy burden lighter, a bitter cup less bitter. A darkly brighter eyesore sorrow lessor, it only makes matters worse, one who accepts with patients that which you cannot change has learned one of the secrets of victorious living and contentment. Paul goes on with this now notice it's intentional. He's learning, it's through the experiences and now Paul says this I know how to get along with humble means. I also want to live in prosperity in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, but of having abundance and suffering need is Apollo saying contentment is the secret by weight as human beings were not naturally content number all content when every thing is going great okay but in any other circumstances were normally not content. So if your favorite team won a championship that day you find out also that day that your great aunt who you didn't know, left you a couple million dollars and that very day you run into an old classmate in high school. They say you haven't changed one bit. That's a content day for most people but that doesn't mean to be content tomorrow. That's not fallen beings live in the cursed world. You see those Kennedy hardships they dissolve us this contentment has nothing to do with circumstances. Notice that Paul says he uses the physical things he said I've learned to get along with humble means and I've also learned how to live in prosperity positive been rich, probably as a Jew he was, but also whenever he was around some of the people like: Priscilla know people like that. Lydia people that had money.
I'm sure that they get depot all kinds of stuff is not had that I don't how to be content with a lot or with little in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret that so interesting. I have learned the secret JI Packer does a lot of good work in this and he says it's a pagan word not a typical word used by Paul. The idea of the secret means in the pagan religions you would be initiated into the pagan religion by secret rights, so you may have secret motions you go through her secret handshakes, we may say secret words. Your initiated what Paul would be saying that as I have been initiated in the secret of contentment. You see, I have been initiated into that you think will Paul, what is that while several years ago I did a series of sermons and I called at the fabric of contentment can remember that I made all of you have a little piece of fabric that I handed out to everybody and have them put in their Bibles and were not doing that today. By the way, but I can remember the idea of seeing it as a piece of fabric. The way I would do it now is there are four strands in this fabric would give you what I would call biblical or Pauline contentment. That's what Paul had ended it soon reveals itself in these verses the first strand of the secret you see the first strand of the secret of contentment is. Paul had confidence in God's providence. Paul had confidence in God's providence providence. By the way, is tied to the word provide it's done from a sovereign point of view, but Paul said I have confidence in God's providence. You see that in verse 10 he says, but I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned before you lacked opportunity. He said, but not that I speak from what book I am confident God's providence. God happened to use you to send me something but it was God who sent it to me. He moved to a new Senate but am confident with God.
If God send something to me. I'm confident he Senate if God doesn't send something to me. I'm confident why he withheld it.
You see, he's confident in the providence of God, and I'm not really sure that that really is the way we are. See we see it a little bit differently than that we've sort of let God know what we want in any no every circumstance and then we tell God what we want to we don't get what we want. We think where is God he doesn't care for me lies neither got a sovereign is prominent member with the first week the talked about the Lord's words. I will never leave you nor forsake you know the whole idea sconces I will be there all things are going to work together for your good. This is all the providence of God, pastoral ministry or fellowship Lord you ever miss one of our broadcasting or maybe you just like listening to the message one more time. Remember, you can Google a great website called one place.com that's one place.com and you can listen to Fellowship in the Word online event website you will find on with today's broadcast but also many of her previous audio program at Fellowship in the Word. We are thankful for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible. We ask all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help his radio ministry continuous broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly with just the 100 support for ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word. 4600 Clearview Pkwy., Metairie, LA 7006 if you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format that is is a sermon, the pastor will deliver during a Sunday morning service at fellowship monitored visit our website FVC Nola.org that FVC and oh LA.O RG at our website you will find hundreds pastor Bill sermons, you can browse through our sermon archives to find some surgery looking for. You can search by title. Once you find the messenger looking for. You can listen online or if you prefer, you can download the sermon and listen at your own. And remember, you can do all this absolutely free of charge. Once again our website is FVC Nola.org forecaster Bill Gebhardt and Jason Denhardt. Thank you for listening to fellowship in order