Saturday, January 3, 2009

Maturing in Christ - "How to find contentment"

The Great Commission
MATURING IN CHRIST
Part 8: HOW-TO Find Contentment
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith – www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


ANNOUNCEMENTS

6:00PM Evening Service at the church –
“Seminary Students will be preaching”

January 4th – Grace Steadman
January 11th – Deacon Kurt Ulman
January 18th – Walker Spriggs
January 25th – Lynnette Higgins
February 1st – Lori Ulman



WHERE WE ARE AT
† Growing in the Lord : HOW-TO Be Christ Centered
† Growing in the Lord : HOW-TO Praise the Lord
† Growing in the Lord : HOW-TO Have the Joy of the Lord

† Maturing in Christ: Spiritual Trials
† Maturing in Christ: Facing Serious Illness
† Maturing in Christ: Facing Financial Problems

† Maturing in Christ: HOW-TO Handle Stress
† Maturing in Christ: HOW-TO Overcome Despair
† Maturing in Christ: HOW-TO Maintain Hope
† Maturing in Christ: HOW-TO Have God’s Divine Protection



Today: How to Find Contentment







INTRODUCTION



The Gallup Polls

Contentment in the USA



Family, friends health, religion, romance all rank high on the contentment scale.

But as far as careers, having fun, recreation and money…low contentment.

No surprise contentment with how much money one has is the lowest of all of them, with only 14% content.

1957 69% of the people thought religion was an important influence in an Americans life.

Today, it’s 27%

Contentment over the years has dropped, right along with the people’s belief that religion is an important part of an Americans life.

Since the 50’s, we have been slowly removing God from everything as a country, and our social, financial and moral decay is evidence that America is on a downward spiral.

I believe that this is directly related to our belief in God and how many there are serving Him in this country.

The Gallup polls also show that church attendance across the US has not gone up since all of the problems hit the US, loss of jobs, lay offs, lack of finances, oil prices, generally this would have gone up during this time…instead, there was no change.

The people are saying, “We do not need God”.

Right now, contentment is the lowest it has been in this country since ’92.


I. YOU MUST BELIEVE GOD’S WORD ABOUT CONTENTMENT

Philippians 4:4 – 7. 11 – 13

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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 situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.


† Contentment is not feeling great because you have or are getting everything you want, but feeling great regardless of your outward circumstances.

† Verse 4 – Rejoice ALWAYS tells us this.

† Do not be Anxious about anything – If it is God’s will, it will happen…when He says it will happen.

† If we pray to God about our concerns, WITH THANKSGIVING…this means we are thankful to God for what we DO have, and where we are at, not praying to Him complaining about what we don’t have and what we want.

† God is not our personal Jeanie who grants our every whim and request simply because we think we should have something we don’t.

In Matthew 7:8-9 when Jesus was telling the disciples how to pray, He said this about asking from God our Father in heaven…

8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?

The point Jesus is making here is, God’s children will receive what they ask for…BUT

Only what is good for them!

God will only do good to us, His children.

If you ask for bread, He will not give a stone.

Jesus says, everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and whoever knocks the door will be opened…

What is He talking about? SALVATION!

If you ask for bread, you will not receive a stone…

Bread symbolized Christ and the Word of God…stone represents the false gods and idols who are not alive and cannot save.

The fish (ichthus) - Iota Chi Theta Upsilon Sigma
Stands for Iesous Christos, Theou Uios, Soter
Or Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.

And what does the snake represent? The serpent…Satan.

This scripture is used so many times to give the impression we get everything we want if we pray…

But what Jesus is saying here, is anyone who comes to the Lord for salvation, will not be denied.

Anyone who seeks the Lord will find him.

Anyone looking for the bread of life will find a LIVING GOD…not a false stone idol.

Anyone looking for the ichthus, will not find Satan.


It’s not about God granting our every wish…it’s about praising Him for making a way for our salvation, which is the most important thing to have in this life!

When Jesus was tempted in the desert, and had fasted for 40 days, the scriptures say He was hungry…

Why didn’t He pray for bread for God to give to Him?

As Jesus was reminded…’If you are the Son of God, turn this stone into bread…’

And Jesus, reminded Satan about what the Word REALLY says…

Not that we get everything we want just by praying…but that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Jesus was focused on heavenly things, walking in the Spirit…not the things of this world…as the devil was trying to move Jesus’ focus from heaven back down to His flesh.

You see, as long as we stay focused on our flesh, our selves, our so called needs…which are really nothing more than wants…

We are walking in our flesh, not the Spirit…and as long as we are walking in the flesh…we are weak.

That is right where the devil wanted Jesus…self centered, focused on Himself and His flesh being hungry, and to take His focus off heaven, and that is also right where the devil wants us as well.

You may ask yourself…what about the earthly needs of God’s people?

Those in need of food and clothing, those who have bills or are orphans and widows…and what about the church, and the Pastor and the needs there?

Won’t God supply those needs???

He does, and the Word of God tells us that God works through His people.

Jesus instructs His people…

‘Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesars, and to God what is Gods…’

2 Corinthians 9:12
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.


God works through His people, and if His people are not obedient, then others will suffer.

I will do another sermon on our part within the Kingdom and listening to God’s call for us to be obedient, not just in giving of money, but of time and love and services to others.

So what is the secret to contentment???

Isaiah 26:3-4

3 You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.
4 Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.


Romans 8:28

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Remember…Love doesn’t mean you have feelings towards the Lord, Jesus tells us, “If you love me, you will obey my commands.”

So when the scripture says for those who “love the Lord”, it is talking about those who are obedient to the Word of God.

So, if you are obedient, all things will work to good…


I Timothy 6:6-10

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.



CLOSING

Genesis 18:25 – Abraham poses this rhetorical question…

Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

Trust in Him, focusing on heaven, walking in the Spirit, being thankful in all situations and God will supply your needs.

If it would be for your good.