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Life of Paul Part 34-The Principle of Contentment-Handling Money God's Way

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
June 28, 2020 8:00 am

Life of Paul Part 34-The Principle of Contentment-Handling Money God's Way

So What? / Lon Solomon

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June 28, 2020 8:00 am

Handling Money God's Way

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Good morning everybody.

It's wonderful to see all you guys here want you to take a Bible. Let's open it together in the New Testament to the letter that Paul wrote the church of Philippi. We know what is the book of Philippians chapter 4 were to come in there just a couple of moments. Philippians chapter 4, but did you ever wonder why people don't go to church me, why is it when you get up on Sunday morning and you drive out of your neighborhood that there are very few other people driving out of the neighborhood. I mean there watching TV, reading the paper. Drinking a cup of coffee, walking the dog, jogging or sleeping in.

Why is it they want on their way to to some church like you are well thought through survey after survey has found that the number one reason why people say they don't like going to church is because the church is always asking for you God and money.

We all know that the most sensitive issue between people and church is the issue of money. So today I want to start a short series all about money is it what are you nuts. Why would you do that, we just agree that controversy looks sensitive.

I know, but you see friends. I am committed to making every single one of us here into a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ and one of the most distinctive features of a fully devoted follower of Christ is that that person has a biblical worldview. In terms of how they see money and in terms of how they handle money. In fact, it may come as a surprise to many of us here to learn that God says more about money in the Bible that he does any other single subjects. God says more in the Bible about money that he does have an held eternal life salvation, faith, prayer, anything.

And the reason for that is that God knows that how a person handles money is one of the most pivotal issues in a person's life more people's lives have been destroyed by the mishandling of money than by all the armies that have ever marched more marriages have been blown apart more careers have been ruin more reputations have been wrecked and more families. Extended families have been ripped up because of money than any other single reason. So friends that's what this series is all about. It's not about asking for you to give more money to McLean Bible church that has nothing to do with this series. This series is about educating us with what God teaches in the Bible about handling money so that we can do two things. Number one, we can insulate our own lives from unnecessary pain and heartache by mishandling money and so that number two we can mature into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. So here's the deal.

I want to make for the next several weeks were going to talk about money, but I promise you I'm not going to ask you for a single time for McLean Bible church that they are not a deal we okay well even if were not. This is the only message I brought.

So where is that gangways will redo it today on now is that Woodlawn islands them. Why is it that what I thought we were doing the life of the apostle Paul. Where did this come from what we are doing like the apostle Paul and actually this fits right in. Remember, where Paul Paul has crossed over from Asia for modern-day Turkey. He sailed across the Aegean Sea to the town of Philippi in northern Greece in the province of Macedonia and here in Philippi. The apostle Paul for several months now is been preaching Jesus to the people and a thriving church has started to develop. Is it will lose in this church. Well Lydia the first believer in Europe, a very wealthy merchant lady dealing in purple. She was in this church horribly possessed demonized young girl whom the apostle Paul and healed. She was in this church. Lots of other people in this church.

The Philippian jailer.

These in this church in the New Testament tells us that this church community here in Philippi became the most generous, the most liberal, the most bighearted church of all the churches in the New Testament in terms of giving financially to the work of God. This church understood God's principles of handling money better than any other church. Paul ever established them so before we move on in the book of acts to the next city to Thessalonica. I thought this is a good time for us to stop and to talk about these principles at the church at Philippi knew so well and that you and I need to know if were going to handle money successfully like they did so that's why were stopping here spelling to remind you the church at Philippi gave numerous times to support the apostle Paul's missionary work.

Philippians 4 where we are.

Verse 15 moreover, as you Philippians no.

Paul writes in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel message when I set out for Macedonia.

When I left Philippi, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving. Except you only for even when I was in Thessalonica you sent me a money again and again when I was in the second of all this church took the lead when Paul was taking up a collection for the poor believers in Jerusalem. It was this church at Philippi was an example to every other church in terms of how they gave second Corinthians 81 I want you to know Paul writes about the church in Philippi that their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity, for I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. In fact, Paul says they begged us for the privilege of giving to help the poor believers in Jerusalem, and finally the whole letter of Philippians was written from jail. Paul was in jail in Rome and the whole reason that he wrote was because once again these Philippians that sent money to help support him when he was in jail and row and look what it says, verse 18.

Philippians 4. He says I have received from a copper guide us the gifts. The money that you sent me by way of him.

This was the only church to send money to the apostle Paul when he was in jail and so in responding to this Paul writes them back. The book of Philippians. The letter to the Philippians, which is really nothing more than a big thank you note for the money that they sent him and in chapter 4, the apostle Paul lays out all four principles we want to look at, about how to handle money, God's ways are all in this little chapter, and these were principles that not only did the Philippians. No, but they had all demonstrated excellent stop and I want to look at these before we move on to the next city and/or into the first principle of the day, and that principle is found in verses 10 and 12 through 12 let's look first in Paul says I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, I know you been concerned but you had no opportunity to show it now is talking about the money they sent you so a lot of them say what is he mean that no opportunity so we talk about well remember the apostle Paul on the way to Rome got shipwrecked in the middle of the Mediterranean floated out in the ocean for a while. Finally, was a castaway on a couple islands for a while what he saying is I know you guys wanted to send it help me before, but you know it's a little tough to send money when you float around in the Mediterranean city. There was no way you could get any money to me. I know that now that I'm in jail in Rome and thereby knows my address. Now you guys are simply something that's what he said but he says I want you to know where my heart is I want you to know in writing you this letter and saying thank you. I'm not trying to manipulate you into giving me more money what he says. Verse 11 I am not writing this because I'm in the four I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances, I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every circumstance whether well forever hungry, whether living in plenty or living in want.

Principle number one of handling money. God's way, Paul mentions the word twice in these verses is the principal of contentment, contentment, and it's very interesting to me that God mentions his principal first he does it on purpose because God wants us to understand that the foundation stone of handling money. God's way. The foundation stone of a biblical system of money management is this principle of being content with what ever it is the Lord is given us at any given moment in time or to put it another way, it is impossible to build a system of biblical money management on the foundation of greed that we repeat that it is impossible to build a system of biblical money management on the foundation of greed and the reason why is because handling money. God's way in the Bible is centered around the word generosity generosity. Listen to these verses. Matthew 10 verse eight. Freely you have received Jesus said freely give.

Proverbs 22 verse nine.

A generous person will themselves be blessed by God. Second Corinthians chapter 9 verse 74 God loves. Paul says a cheerful giver.

Acts chapter 20 verse 35 the Lord Jesus himself said it is more blessed to give than to receive. First Timothy chapter 6 verse 18 command followers of Jesus Christ. Paul writes to Timothy to be generous and willing to share. Psalm 112 verse five good will come to the person who is generous and friends we could go all morning with verse after verse after verse. But I think the point is clear biblical money management is built on the base of generosity biblical money management is built on the base of generosity that here's the problem. Greed is the mortal enemy of generosity, generosity, says give generosity session where generosity says be open handed with what God is giving greed, says Florida greed says get it all and keep it for yourself. Greed says be closed instead with what you got is impossible for greedy person to be generous, which means it is impossible for greedy person to have a biblical system of money management and what is the opposite of greed is contentment, which means only a person who is truly content with what God is given them only that person can truly get more joy from giving than receiving only that person can really embrace the other principles that were going to layer on top of this principle number one only a person who is truly content with where God is put them only that person can really put together a biblical system of managing money they save a lot. I hear what you're saying but here's my problem. I got a whirl screaming at me to be greedy.

I mean every TV program I watch every radio program I listen to every newspaper and magazine are read every body screaming at me.

The message of greed, hoarding, stockpiling, getting keep it for myself. How does a follower of Christ, get to be content. Like Paul says he was well that's a great question. We want to answer that as we conclude today but before we answer that, let's at least 1st° what contentment is justified if the world talking about the same thing most of us would probably define contentment as having no money you know of somebody once asked John the Rockefeller senior Mr. Rockefeller how much money is enough, he thought, permitted, and then he said just a little more than you have now there is an important point in there for us to think about. And the point is this as long as we try to define contentment in terms of how much we have, or how much we don't have that is John the Rockefeller said we will never be content because nobody ever has enough you always want just a little bit more. That's not what contentment is in the Bible.

The Bible defines contentment completely differently than what you have or what you don't have. It's right here. Look with verse 12 Paul says Paul says I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty and I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or living in want. Would you notice what Paul says. He says I've had a lot, and I've had a little I know what it's like to be in the market in 1999 and I know what it's like to watch the NASDAQ go through the floor I did on both sides of this and you know what Paul says I know how to be content. Either way, because my contentment is not based on the size of my bank account is not based on what I have or what I don't have. You see friends true godly contentment is not about the size of your portfolio. True godly contentment is an attitude. It is a perspective on life.

It's a way of seeing the material things that we have true godly contentment is an outlook on life and material things that comes out of believing three biblical truths three things God tells us in the Bible. Dominic tell you what they are. But let me say this as we begin. If you really as a follower of Christ can believe in. Embrace all three of these truths in your spirit authentically genuinely you can go in any situation where you got a lot or a little and be completely content, and if you're not completely content where you are, let me tell you why. It's because one of these or more of these biblical truths. You really don't believe I mean it may be in the Bible that you really really believe. So let's see what they are and let me tell you if you believe all three of you can be a content person because Paul believed all three of that's why he could be content with out a little with a lot here we go number one biblical truth number one contentment is like a stool with three legs on it. A biblical truth.

Here's leg number one is that as followers of Jesus Christ. We need to believe that God is in absolute control of every detail of our lives, including how much money you and I have at any given moment in time, don't you know the story.

The book of Job at the beginning of the book Satan and God have a conversation about Joe and here's what Satan says to God, he says, does Job fear God for no good reason. Of course he loves you.

You put a fence of protection around them and you bless the work of his hands so that his flocks and his herds are spread throughout all the wealthy man.

Of course he fears you and he loves you what is Satan really saying here. He said you know it's no accident that Job has the money that he has God, it's no accident that he has the material wealth that he has.

It's a direct result of you God deciding to give all of that to hear that your sovereign choice that's responsible for why you got what you got a this is the message of the Bible that every human being has what they have. As a direct result of God's sovereign choice. Look at Psalm 75 or six, not from the ease nor from the west, north from the desert comes exultation. God is the one who raises one person and lowers another person down now.

This truth applies to power.

This truth applies to fame. This truth applies to position and influence. And this truth applies to financial well to as followers of Jesus Christ. Do we really believe that whatever material wealth and money. We have a we don't have that it is the result of God's direct sovereign an individual choice that he made for you and for me. Do we really believe, see friends. This is why two people working at the very same company that both come in at the same time in the morning. They both go home the same time in the afternoon they can both have the same educational degrees, they can have the same access to company resources. They can both be just as dedicated and they can be just as committed and they can both work just as hard and yet one of them goes up the ladder and all the window had he explained that this is why the military you can have two officers for both. Just as capable just as dedicated just as hard working. One of them makes flag rank and all the window had he explained that it's true in the world of athletics. It's true in the world of politics. How do you explain that friends the way the Bible explains it is that success doesn't come from the East or the West or the desert or just from hard work or just from commitment or just from ability and capacity.

God is part of this he himself makes the call who goes where directly personally and sovereignly not here today. You have a lot of success in your life.

This is an easy truth for you to digest or sit not there going well yeah of course I believe that yeah but if you're sitting out there and you know what you watched other people in your company or in the military that you don't think are nearly as qualified or nearly as hard working right past you up the ladder. You have a little trouble swallowing this right now you have a little trouble accepting this right now, which means it's time for us to go on the truth number two that we all need and may I say that even if you sit here and you had a lot of success in life, you need to come with us to truth number two because friends things can change also quicken our world as every partner at Arthur Anderson understands if you know what I mean. Okay now truth number two is this, as followers of Jesus Christ when it comes to material well. God always gives us what he knows is best for us at any given moment in time. Look at Psalm 84 verse 11. No good thing. The Bible says we repeat that no good thing does God withhold from those who walk with him that we really believe this. Do we really believe that if God felt it were best for you or me to have more wealth or more money than we have right now that God would give it to us because if it were really good for snow good thing to see with all do we really believe that we really believe that God would give us a raise. Give us a promotion, give us a new job.

Give us an inheritance, give us a windfall profit from some investment we make.

Let us win the lottery, but somehow, some way if it was good and best for us to have more money, God would give it to you really believe that, and that the only reason you and I don't have more right now is not that God is incapable of giving it to us, but that God has surveyed your life surveyed my life. Look at our spiritual condition examined our hearts and said you know what this is as much right now as I feel I can trust you with this is as much right now as I feel I can safely give you without you harming yourself or harming other people, you have the amount that's best for you right now we really believe we don't you and are never going to learn to be content so long. Here's my question. Why doesn't God let me make that decision. Well I'll tell you why, because he knows we all make it wrong. That's why we all make it wrong guy. My office not too long ago really disguise a lot of money. I mean cuckoo shackles junk that what I'm saying any cottages recently from a lot of great business deals in business investment and I was fascinated with what he said to me said you don't want 10 years ago. I wanted to be a rich man. I prayed to be rich, man.

I want all the money I got today and ask God to give me all the money I got today and do you know no matter how hard I worked, how hard I tried to matter how many hours I put in I couldn't get dogs would let me get there. He said I'll tell you what, 10 years later, looking back now I realize if God given me all the wealth I have today. 10 years ago it would've been the worst thing that could ever happen to me, it would've gone to my head would've made the arrogant snotty party I would've misused it I would've squandered it to hurt myself how to read other people and then he said I'm glad God didn't give this to me 10 years ago. Is it will always be women but you really saying here are are you really saying it's wrong for people to work hard. Are you really saying it's wrong for people to go out and try to be a success for you saying it's wrong for people to go out and try to improve their economics situation like for me what is that what you're saying no no no not at all friends. I think we should work hard. I think we should aspire to be successful. I think we should aspire to be the best that we can possibly be. So long as she said I was afraid I was in there yet, so long as you and I are willing to be content with whatever level of success God chooses to give so long as you and I don't go out and compromise our ethics are integrity, or step on people try to go somewhere that God is saying is not good for you to go there and I want you to go there right now. Let me say one other thing if you really want more wealth. If you really want more money. As a follower of Christ. I can tell you how to get it to you Ken. I can and is not by going out and selling your soul. Let me tell you how you get it go deeper in your relationship with Jesus Christ become more mature in your walk with Jesus Christ.

Develop a greater godly character that you presently have today, and friends. What is the bursae no good thing will God withhold from you. If God gets to the place that he feels because of your spiritual growth and your godly character development that you can handle more money and be safe with it.

To give you more time to hold out on you. The only way you can get God to give you more though, is to get to the place where he feels he can safely trust you with it. So forget going out and trying to earn it and then bring it out of the world system you growing your walk with Christ in you. Watch what happened. As long as God feels he can trust you with it, give it to you but summarize what we learned so far.

We learn when are quite normal. Almost that what we learn we learn that contentment is an attitude some attitudes and outlook that says number one. I believe with all my heart that God is in total control of how much money I've got right now.

I believe in second. I believe with all my heart that God personally decides how much money is good for me at any given point in life, and therefore, here comes contentment. Therefore, I will cheerfully accept God's decision on this matter I will chafe under it, but I will embrace wherever God is put me is the will of God for my life. Friends, that's contentment can get there.

Unless you believe those two truth with all your heart can get there.

That is one more leg to the stool and that this is a follower of Jesus Christ. The way to become really content is to realize that real security in life is found in our relationship with Jesus Christ. It's not found in money anyway we can we really be honest with each other here. The student why is it that you and I love money is much as we do. We all love money must be honest. Why is it that we love money so much, why is it that we want money well I'll tell you. The main reason it's because when we got money in the bank. We feel secure when we got money in the bank and we feel like were little insulated were little protected from the uncertainties of life. If you got $50,000 in the bank okay if the dishwasher breaks big deal okay if your car gets banged up a little bit. You can fix the fender okay if the air conditioner goes okay whatever, I got little protection. I got a little ahead makes us feel a little secure. Now here's the question is having money in the bank really make a secure, I mean hey listen if that were true. Elvis would've been the most secure person on the go. He was if that were true, Princess Di would've been the most secure woman on the earth. She was back doesn't really produce security in our life. Look what Paul says here in verse 12 he says I have learned the secret of being content will Paul what's the secret. Please tell us the secret. Will he will verse 13 I can do anything through him. Jesus Christ who gives me strength. The secret to Paul's contentment was he wasn't dependent on money for security. He wasn't depending on his bank account for his contentment. He said as long as I'm God, Jesus Christ. I can do anything. I never called upon to do my security is rooted in Jesus.

My relationship with Jesus.

The fact that Jesus Christ goes with me everywhere I go it's not rooted and how much money I have.

And you know that's what he wrote and told Timothy first Timothy 617.

He said commandos who are rich in this present world not to put their trust in wealth but to put their trust in God, that's for security is my son, John XVII. He was driving home on the on the Beltway coming home from school on the inner loop of the Beltway, towards Wilson Bridge and he was looking over his shoulder, trying to locate where the state trooper dog got behind them and it disappeared from the mirror and he was trying to figure out where he was. I don't ask me why care was a trooper was but anyway he was trying to find them.

Well what happened is the people in his lady was in the far left lane came to a complete stop.

And when he turned around. The problem was he was still going 65 miles an hour. He had virtually no time to break and just hit the brakes and slammed into this guy in front of them completely totaled our car knocked the star across all three lanes on the right shoulder of the Beltway and the state trooper. When I got there was still waiting to talk to me said and I quote Mr. Solomon is there when I got the report on the radio. The kind of accident this was. He said I totally expected to find deal ways.

When I got here dead on arrival. You, my son John got out of the automobile walked away. No broken bones not caught not even a bruise on his body. Now that's the grace of God presently tell you something when you're about to plow into a stopped car on the Beltway at 60 miles an hour. There is no amount of money in the world is going to provide you any security you want Jesus Christ next to you when you're about to get that car back any time you drive on the Beltway.

You want Jesus Christ next to you and not automobile that when you're facing injury and you get wheeled into the operating room. It got matter how much money you have in the bank. You don't want that bank account book laying on the stretcher with you.

You want Jesus Christ walking next to you in the operating room. When we send our children and our grandchildren out of this uncertain world, not matter how much money we got in the bank. That's not going to provide any security for that we want Jesus to walk with them and let me tell you when you get ready to face the grave and eternity. My dear friend Michael make a bit of difference. How much money you got you not even going to tear you want Jesus Christ next to you if you're here today and you never trusted Christ as your real and personal savior. I'm here to tell you Madison Avenue has sold you a bag alive. You will never find security in how much you have, you will never find security in material wealth. It's not there. Security comes from knowing Hebrews 13 five but Jesus said I will never leave you nor will I ever forsake you. Even if you're about to plow into a car going 60 on the Beltway, you can count on and I'm going to be there for you not. That's real security.

Let's summarize what we learned today is what we learn friends we have learned that in order to be content.

It means that we have got to see the world through the lens of biblical truth. We can see the world through the lens of Madison Avenue will never get there and if we're going to handle money God's way. We got a start from the foundation of being content because being content is the only way we can be generous and being generous lies at the heart of handling money the way God tells and how is it that we get real contentment. What we gotta believe three things number one, we gotta believe the God is in total control of how much I have or don't have number two, we gotta believe that what ever wealth God's chosen to give me at this moment in time. It's because he knows that's what's best for me.

And number three. We gotta believe that our security lies in our relationship with Jesus.

Anyway, not in how much money we got that, here's my challenge to you.

Do you really believe these three things I'm not as to whether in the Bible. I know there in the Bible that the matter do you really believe this is this how you see your money. Is this how you see your material wealth. Is this how you see your life because friends unless we see our life this way, we will never be truly content people we will never be able to build a system of biblical money management so want to challenge you to ask yourself is this really how I see my money how I see my material wealth and if it isn't, so I got a suggestion, ask God to help you change the spring for Jesus. Thanks for talking to us today about money. You know that's a subject we all deal with and you know that Madison Avenue screams at us a message that is completely contradictory to the truths of the Bible.

Father my prayer today is that you would remind us what you say about the subject and that you will challenge us that you will challenge us God to look at our material wealth and the whole issue of money through the lens of biblical truth make us people who really believe the things we talked about today so that we can be content wherever we are, so that we can be generous and build a real system of biblical money management in our lives. So God change our hearts change ivory perspectives because we were here today and use this series to really be a huge blessing in our lives and in our families and we pray this in Jesus name, amen

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