Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sermon Notes: Contentment & Godliness

Contentment & Godliness----M. Kelly
1 Timothy 6:3-10

"It's not abundance that we need but contentment."

The Apostle Paul is writing to Timothy at Ephesus. He is writing about those who teach different doctrines than that which they have been taught by God. Some advocated godliness as a means of profit. The health and wealth doctrines have been around since 1 Timothy at least! Godliness is a means of great gain when accompanied by is spiritual gain, not temporal riches. Paul isn't writing against the rich but those who make being rich their goal.

Contentment is purely a Christian grace that Paul is talking about. He doesn't talk about "contentment" as the world does. Contentment makes one to be able to maintain equilibrium in the midst of both good and bad circumstances.

verse 6 the word contentment means a soul sufficiency or sufficient with the resources at hand. This word is used only one other time...2 Cor. 9:8. The word sufficiency is translated contented in 1 Timothy.

Observations: 1. True riches lie in godliness with contentment.

We are to pursue godliness and find our contentment in God and what is ours in Jesus Christ. If we are doing so, then we will be content with having only food and covering. We are to find our contentment in God alone. When we do, all the rest will mean very little to us. True godliness will show itself to be true godliness when we are content with food and covering alone and not seeking our satisfaction in all the stuff of the world. When we seek God with our heart, mind and soul then nothing else will really matter and we will be content with what we have.

Verse 9, the word plunge means to drown. Seeking contentment in the world's goods is a trap. It will drown you.

Many trip over this passage because they focus on the food and covering. Paul is writing about Christians...we are not to be content with food and covering alone. Food and covering is to be viewed in light of our relationship with God. Godliness is to be our concern. When godliness is our focus we will be more and more content with less and less. If you need more and more of the worlds goods, that is the opposite of what we should seek. When we seek godliness we will not fall into the trap of wanting to be rich. We come into this world naked and we leave with nothing. True godliness will be content in God alone.

We aren't to pursue a stoic happiness. That misses the point all together. We are supposed to be happy with everything because with God we have everything. This is quite the opposite of being happy with little. The relationship with God brings new meaning to everything.

How far do we miss the mark of godliness, seeing we are not content though we have so much more than food and covering?
(Eccl. 5) We come into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing. Why should we expect our attachment to the things of the world to bring us contentment?

2. Contentment includes being free from the love of money.

Paul doesn't speak against those who are rich but those who seek riches for their contentment. Having and saving money is not a root of all evil. It is the love of money that is a root of all sorts of evil. Hebrews 13 makes sure you are free from the love money.

There is no sin in pursuing jobs and careers and making money. But the sin lies in hoarding it, worrying about it, finding our identity in it, etc. seeking our contentment in money. Neglecting our duties in the pursuit of money is a sin. There is no sin in having nice things. The sin is in seeking our contentment and identity in it. The sin is in loving these things more than God. They must not take our focus off godliness. They must not put us in a tizzy when we lose them or are threatened with their loss. Remember God is the giver of these things and we must be content if God chooses to take them away from us. We will certainly be taken away from our things at some point, we need to be content if our things are taken away from us.

Job, when he lost all his things said, "Naked came I into the world and naked shall I leave. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."

3. Contentment is reasonable.

Being content is reasonable considering who God is and what he has done for us. To the degree that we are lacking in godliness, we will be discontent.

We are exposed to the mindset of the world & the discontent that is there all the time. But we are to be content with what God is pleased to give us.

Verse 7 starts with the word "for". Look and see what it is there for! Verse 7-8 notice the "we". Whose the "we"...Christians. It's because we are to find our contentment in God alone.

The folly is looking for contentment in a world that can give you none. It's foolish and it's a trap. It will drown you. It will lead to apostasy from the Christian faith.

God is our only source of true contentment. Everything else is passing away. Identify the stuff of the world as dust before you set your love on it! Christian contentment is reasonable. It has a reason behind it~God. Where in we are content with Him we will be content with food and covering.

12 Thoughts to Meditate on:

1. We all have plenty more than that with which we are to be content with. Therefore our murmurings are all that more grievous to God. Our discontentment shows how ungodly we are!

2. Discontent is its own punishment. We punish ourselves with our own wild desires. The discontented have what they deserve. No joy, no comfort...they reap what they sow. They are unhappy with what they have or what they don't have. Pay attention to your's our own punishment for looking for contentment outside of God alone.

3. Realize that God is sovereign. He dispenses to us as He sees fit and shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? I say the Judge of all the earth has not done right by me when I am discontented.

4. God's promises are true. Psalm 117. Faith is necessary to Christian contentment. It is a purely Christian grace. God's promises are sure and all will come to pass. Is there not great comfort in that? Hebrews 13..."I will never forsake you...God is my helper...what can man do to me?" Luke 12:32-36 "Do not be afraid..."

5. Realize that worry is wrong. Matthew 6 (?) Worry is not pleasing to God. God will give us what we need. Doesn't mean life will move along easily for us and we won't get all that we want, but He will give us what we NEED. We already have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places waiting for us. He has given us the down payment of the Holy Spirit. We are to be content with God.

6. Do not set your minds on the things of this world. Worldliness is a sin. "Do not love the world or the things in the world....lust of the flesh, the pride of life etc." Our hope is not in those things. Where your treasure is that is where your heart will be.

7. Realize that this is not our home. We brought nothing into the world and we can't take anything out either. We are going somewhere. You put up with things on a journey because you realize it is not your home. When you go camping you live with conditions that are not what you would have at home. So it is for us in this life as Christians. We must deal with conditions that are less than desirable because this is not our home. We are on a journey.

8. Realize that a middle condition is most desirable to godliness. Not too little and not too much. Let us be content with what we have. Prov. 30:8-9

9. Realize what we have in light of what we deserve. Gen. 32:10 We that are deserving of the heaviest judgment should be content with the smallest mercy. We have grace upon grace. Realize what you have over and above food and covering is mercy from God. This cultivates thankfulness. See how far from Christian contentment we are!

10. Let us live with our dying day in mind. "Teach us to number our days that we may have a heart of wisdom." Be content with what God has given us and keep your dying day in mind. What comfort will these things bring us on our death bed? Remember the rich young fool who gathered his riches into his barns and God said, "Thou fool, this night thy soul will be required of thee."

11. The Christian is not to wander. Verse 10 Many have wandered away from the faith as a result of discontentment. Stay on focus. Be steadfast. Run the race to win the prize of the high calling of Christ Jesus.

12. Let us seek God. Godliness is the answer to our discontentment. Discontentment is ungodliness. If we are finding our everything in God what desire will there be for these other things. Seeking satisfaction in the things of this world is irrational and futile. We are to enjoy them in their proper place with the realization that they are from God. Contentment is active. Our minds are to be occupied with God. To the degree that our minds are occupied with God we will be content.

No comments: