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Contentment

Philippians   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Philippians 4:10–20 ESV
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
We are entering the most consumeristic season of our year.
Ads are already bombarding us with all the problems we have and the solutions they have for them.
Not only that, they are telling us that our problems are so many that we will need to buy early so that we can save more money on solving one problem so that we can purchase another solution for another problem we hadn’t thought we’d be able to buy.
Brenda White wrote in one of her songs: “Give me this, I want that! Help me Lord I pray, give me what I think I need to make it through today.”
The Philippian church has sent a gift to Paul to provide for him.
He is thankful for their support. But he is also quick to point he is content.
The Philippian church has sent a gift to Paul to provide for him.
Philippians 4:11 ESV
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Phil 4:
Our culture is not good at being content. We need the newest thing. The newest gadget. I will admit, I like gadgets. I like to play with toys.
We forget in our western culture that having a roof over our head, a car in the driveway, and enjoy more than one meal per day, you are richer than 2/3’s of the world’s population. Let that sink in.
We have two car garages that we don’t park in because we have so much junk there that we can’t get a car in. And so we continue to accumulate stuff that is supposed to make us happy. In the end it doesn’t.
Paul then says in v 12
Philippians 4:12 ESV
12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
Most of us think we know how to abound. How many of us have thought about what we might do if we won the lottery? I confess, I too buy the occasional ticket. But I do something odd, I always wait until the jackpot is really high as if that somehow makes it worth it. When did 1 million dollars cease to be a lot of money?
But what about being brought low?
We fear that. We don’t want to be hungry - least of all with Thanksgiving coming up. We’ve become gluttons not only of food, but of gas, of electricity, electronics, toys, homes, you name it.
Listen to just a bit about our homes:
In 1900, for instance, a typical American new home contained 700 to 1,200 square feet of living space, including two or three bedrooms and one or (just about as likely) no bathrooms. It was probably a two-story floor plan.
At the turn of the 20th Century, more than 20 percent of the U.S. population lived in crowded units, with entire families often sharing one or two rooms. Most homes were small, rural farmhouses and lacked many basic amenities, complete plumbing and central heating chief among them.
By 1950, the typical new home had not grown at all, averaging about 1,000 square feet. It still had just two bedrooms and one bath, but was much more likely to be a single-story ranch plan best represented by the Levittown houses bought by scores of returning World War II veterans.
But even 50 years ago, more than 35 percent of American homes still lacked complete plumbing facilities (hot and cold piped water, a bathtub or shower and a flush toilet), according to the Census Bureau.
Ah, but Americans learned how to live in the last half of the century. By 2000, a typical new home had 2,000 or more square feet, three or more bedrooms and at least 2 1/2 baths. We added the garage as standard, and expanded it to make room for at least 2 1/2 cars. Fireplaces and central air conditioning were built into almost every new house. And we went back to a two-story design.
The NAHB estimates that 1.54 million new housing units will be built in 2000, 80 percent of those single-family homes. In 1950, we built 1.95 million residential units, and 85 percent of them were single-family. In 1900, just 189,000 new units went up, 65 percent of them single-family.
But bigger homes haven't meant fewer homeowners. While only 46.5 percent of the U.S. population owned its own house in 1900 and 53 percent in 1950, it is estimated that at the end of this year more than 67 percent of American households will own.
Why? Because we can afford it. Median family incomes in 1900 were $490 per year and in 1950 had grown only to $3,319. Today, a typical American family has a household income in excess of $45,000. Those rising incomes have more than kept pace with average housing prices, which, for new homes, have risen from $11,000 in 1950 to more than $195,000 today.
Electronics - according to Nielsen ( the television ratings people) more than half american homes have 3 televisions in them. This doesn’t include other screens: smart phones, smart pads, and computers.
Most families have a gaming system. Wii, Play station, etc.
VCR’s, gave way to DVD players, and now DVR’s and Netflix, Hulu.
Technology - phones, at one time there might be one phone in the house. Then maybe one per floor. Then one in the main rooms (living room, kitchen, masterbedroom. Now they’re an appendage that we carry with us everywhere. Heck, we can even watch our favorite television shows on our phones if we want to.
Is it any wonder we have such a difficult time relating to those that don’t have? The homeless? People in other countries?
Is it any wonder why we consider it so tragic when people lose “everything” to a natural disaster?
Perhaps the most misquoted verse in Scripture...
Philippians 4:13 ESV
13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
This is not about personal accomplishment or triumph. It is more like remembering God’s promise, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
Let’s put it in context:
Philippians 4:12–13 ESV
12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
It is not the trials of a calculus test, or some sports event that this verse refers to. It is the facing of plenty and want, abundance and need. I prefer this translation from J.B. Phillips:
“I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me.”
Paul is thankful and lets the Philippians know so in the following verses. Verses 14-16, but he is also very cautious as to not let them think that this is required.
The context of the day was that there many charlatan philosophers who would work to get a group of people to submit to them and then give them their financial support. According to the second-century satirist Lucian, “they collect tribute, going from house to house, or, as they themselves express it, they ‘shear the sheep’: and they expect many to give, either out of respect for their cloth or for fear of their abusive language.”
Paul did not want his work to be confused with these charlatans that were doing their word to fleece the people. He also took care to be sure that no scandal developed.

In Philippians 4:10–20, therefore, Paul faces the difficult task of showing the Philippians his genuine appreciation for their financial support, both past and present, but of also showing that his work is neither dependent on nor motivated by this support. He does this through combining expressions of gratitude with qualifications designed to prevent misunderstanding.

Paul’s confidence in and dependence on God are summed up in his encouraging words in verse 19:
Philippians 4:19 ESV
19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Paul’s hope throughout is the growth of the Philippians in their faith and that “the one who began a good work would carry it to completion.”
He recognizes that the opportunity for the growth for the PHilippians was their giving.
He mentions this previously in verse 17
Philippians 4:17 ESV
17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.
Our commitment to giving vs. our commitment to getting.
Compare vs. 18 to
Philippians 4:18 ESV
18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.
Phil 4:18
Romans 12:1 ESV
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Romans 12:
sacrifice…acceptable to God.
It’s all about our worship.
It’s all about our service.
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