Newsletter #256 - February 2000 - By Shepherds Chapel - http://www.shepherdschapel.com/
Every Christian should be content. We might think of the word content as meaning happy for the moment. As usual, much meaning is lost in the translation of the Bible from the original languages. The Greek word from which the English word content is translated is "autarkes" (ow-tar'-kace). It means to be complacent; however, one of the primes means to fortify oneself. If you don't fortify yourself with God's Word, any happiness you experience will be momentary. The other prime of "autarkes" means a backward breath. The spirit of a Christian is able to move anything negative back away from them. That is why when a true Christian enters a room, the presence of that spirit and contentment can be actually felt by others. This contentment isn't momentary, or temporary. Those who regularly fortify themselves with God's Word are content no matter what happens. They know that their Father is in control. Let's begin our study of contentment in Phillippians. Paul suffered adversity on many occasions. Was he able to find contentment?
Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. 2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
Euodias and Syntyche were both women that worked with Paul in the ministry. Obviously, Paul thought highly of them both.
Philippians 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
The book of life is where church records are kept. Man does not keep those records.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Why would Paul say, "The Lord is at hand."? This was written almost 2,000 years ago. Paul would pass away not too long after this and be with the Lord.
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Careful should be translate anxious. In other words, don't worry. God wants you to be content. Remember, this requires action on your part by fortifying yourself in the word.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
If you fortify yourself in God's Word, you find true peace of mind. Adversity doesn't shake you up.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Look for these things in your brethren. That isn't to say you should overlook negative things, but we should always look for the good in others.
Philippians 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
In this case, careful means mindful. They lacked opportunity to show how much they thought of Paul.
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Paul was fortified in the Word. Paul had a spirit that was capable of driving negative back.
Philippians 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
It didn't matter what this flesh life brought Paul's way. He knew that God was in control. If you are fortified in the Word, you know how to be wiser than the serpent. You know Satan's plans and the limitations God has placed him under. You know that Christ gave you power over all your enemies, including Satan. We are going to continue our study in 1 Timothy.
1 Timothy 6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and His doctrine be not blasphemed.
Christians should work hard for their employers, regardless of their employers religious affiliation. If you dig ditches for a living, be the best ditch digger, and you won't be digging ditches for long.
1 Timothy 6:2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. 3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
A description of those that don't follow this doctrine follows.
1 Timothy 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
There is nothing wrong with a person enjoying the fruits of their labor. The problem arises when making money becomes more important than God.
1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Fortifying yourself in God's Word gives you contentment. The Spirit of He that is in you gives you the strength to blow anything evil back away from you and your family.
1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
You can't take any material gain with you. Only your works (Rev. 14:13) follow you. Actually, your works precede you. They are already written in the book, when you arrive.
1 Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
The word content in this verse means sufficient. Plan ahead, and you will always have sufficient.
1 Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Don't allow greed for money get in the way of your faith. God knows your needs.
1 Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
Greed for money and material things that receives priority over ones faith can be very expensive. It can cost them their very soul. Fight the good fight of faith. Eternal life is worth the fight. In conclusion, let's turn to Hebrews. How do we find contentment and peace of mind?
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
It is important that you fully absorb this verse. You should be able to find contentment and peace of mind in this promise from God. Fortify yourself in His Word.
Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
When you find tourself in a tough spot surround by unbelievers, remember this verse. The Lord is your Helper, and if He be for you, who can stand against you?
Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
Follow the faith of Paul, Jeremiah, Isaiah and the other prophets, and you will do well.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Our Father, Jesus Christ, and the Word never change. Take strength in this fact. Fortify yourself in Them, and you are standing on sure ground.
Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
Place emphasis on spiritual things, not on physical or health things.
Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
The altar is the cross. Those who do not believe Christ paid the price for one and all on that cross have no right to eat at His table, which is to say Holy Communion.
Hebrews 13:11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. 12 Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate.
He became the Sacrifice for all who believe. Hebrews 13:13 Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
There has never been and there never will be a perfect city in this earth age. Why? There are evil people in this age. We are here to help these people find their way out of darkness. There will be a perfect city in the eternity.
Hebrews 13:15 By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.
Life isn't a rose garden. Many of you have suffered adversity in one form or another. Have you ever thought that perhaps that God allowed you to suffer that adversity to strengthen you to the point that He can utilize you to accomplish His plan? Stand ready to serve God at every opportunity. If you will fortify yourself in God's Word, He will see that you are content. After all, you are His child, and Father loves you.
In His service,