Richvale Church
June 21, 2020
  • You Are God Alone (Not A God)
  • The Lion And The Lamb
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  • What A Beautiful Name
  • Good morning, Happy Fathers day to all our dads… welcome to our service…
    We are thankful that some of us can meet in person and appreciate those at home that are watching on our YouTube channel....
    As we go forward through the year we are going to be keep close watch on what is happening with Covid 19
    Our Overseers team met this past week and we are together cautiously moving forward with services… and our desire is do not only what is best for us as a local church, but to keep everyone’s safely a priority.
    Well I’m excited about to days message..
    This mornings message is entitled - Learning the short cuts to Contentment.
    Most of us have various levels of computers skills all the way from novice users to Power users...
    One of the major differences between a power user and novice user is the use of short cut keys on the keyboard...
    These shorts cuts keys are the easiest and the most efficient way to perform an action on a computer.. Once you have memorized the short cuts it can significantly increases your productivity through out the day...
    There was study that discovered that the average analyst using an excel spreadsheet can save close to 11  minutes a day  by using a keyboard shortcut keys instead of manually using a mouse…
    This may not sound like a lot, but over the course of a year, this translates into 47 hours of fiddling around with the mouse.
    That is a whole work week a year… By using keyboard shortcuts it can make you up to 4.5X more productive
    As Paul closes out his letter to the Philippines — He gives us the secret to Contentment… these are short cut keys that to help us thrive when life gets difficult or unpredictable...
    The reason we need to learn Contentment… is the simple fact that life if unpredictable.. and there are different every season in life… sometimes we are in winter and fall months and it may seems everything seems to be falling apart.. Sometimes it’s a financial challenge, a health issue, a relationship issue, personal growth issue..
    sometimes we are in the spring and summer…where we are experiencing growth and blessings and things are going well...
    Paul Challenges us to learn the secret of Contentment - regardless of what season you are in.
    I was reflecting on one of several Challenging times in my life...
    ONE of the most challenging times for us as a family was our move from Maine to Charlotte… in 2008....We felt that we were being led to leave the pastorate in order for me to pursue Seminary degree.... Here we were in our late 30's a family of 5 -- moving from a secure position…to really many unknowns....
    During those three years we learned so many lessons… We leaned how to simplify our lives out of necessity... We didn't have much and we learned to appreciate every blessing that came our way… for example… some of the blessing were...
    --- School lunches for the kids..
    --- School uniforms were a blessing — All the schools in Charlotte required School uniforms… so we didn’t have to buy clothes so that our kids could keep up with the neighbors..
    We had access to --- Angel Food - discounted food service
    WE had -Spiritual Support and encouragement. From our local church and seminary.
    We experienced kindness from our community.…
    It was humbling to be honest… but, I am not sure how we would have made it without the generosity of others..
    But what seemed like the most difficult time, was the most impactful time in my life and ministry.... Not only Having the opportunity to sit under some of the best teachers and theologians in this country..but also seeing How God can provide for us… we saw the sufficiency of Christ..
    This is what Paul often is teaching us in the closing verses Philippians --
    When we talk about the Sufficiency of Christ --- - what we are saying that — is that Christ is enough…that He will not only meet your needs… but he will supply a way for your life to be a blessing to others.
    YOU
    We are living in uncertain times… right now… and we really don't know what tomorrow holds..
    The economists tell us that we started in a recession in February... and we still haven't felt the effects of what all that means… We know that the Unemployment numbers are up and Covid 19 cases are up.... On top of that we have this social movement s..dealing with justice and inequalities in our nation..
    As we look forward… There are many unknowns about the future…
    What we need to do is to hold onto the sufficiency of the scripture and the sufficiency of Christ..
    T/s What are the Short Cuts to Contentment?
    As Paul closes out the book of Philippians, he gives ... these short cuts to contentment…the first is to.

    1. Develop the Skill of being thankful

    We probably don’t think about being thankful as a skill that needs to be developed… We might think it is more natural part of our temperament or personality…
    Thanks giving is a skill that take effort..… Martin Luther called thanksgiving the work of the Holy Spirit in the believers life...
    Henri Nouwen…wrote this.
    “To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives—the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as
    well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections—that requires hard spiritual work.”Henri Nouwen
    Paul writing from prison ....tells us that He rejoiced greatly…at the gifts he had received.. Paul frequently gives thanks in his letters.
    Philippians 4:10–11 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.
    Paul has specific goals in mind…at the close of this letter...
    He wants to encourage the church to continue to persevere during a difficult season that they are all facing.. Paul wants to give them guidance in how to hold onto their peace, joy and contentment…
    He wants to thank the church for their generous giving and continued support of his ministry.
    How do you adequately say thank you for gifts that can hardly afford it? We are told that these churches in Macedonia were extremely generous....especially in taking up an offering for the church in Jerusalem that had suffered from a famine… the churches gave out of sacrificially out of their need…
    Paul’s struggle on how to say thank you reminded of an experience that Pam I had when we were first married.. I had been invited to speak at gathering in one our township… At the end of the service they want to bless us as couple and took up a special offering…… I never forget their generosity… to be honest, I didn’t want to take the gift — but to refuse the gift would be offensive…
    What Paul is wrestling with is...
    How do you say thank you to someone that gives to you sacrificially?
    Here is where it gets a little tricky...
    Paul acknowledges the blessing of the gift… but at the same time ... He wanted to be clear and certain that he was not asking them for more money… He wanted to be grateful… but let them know that God was using their gifts and it was a blessing… In their giving he was experiencing the sufficiency of Christ.. God was meeting all his needs.
    What is interesting is that Paul accepts the gifts from the church in Philippi but he refuses gifts from the Corinthian church…Part of it is that he didn’t ever want money to taint the ministry… A necessity to life… but he never wanted to be accused of preaching only to get money… Many of the Philosophers of the day would come to town give some sort of wisdom and then pass the plate… Paul didn’t want any association with that he was in the ministry for personal gain..
    One of the Ways we show our thankfulness is through demonstration… WE show our thankfulness…by expressing it verbally… We might say to someone, how much we appreciate them… We appreciate someone through our actions, We might give them a thank you card, we might do something for them… We express thankfulness through our gifts...
    --- Paul points out that the church has been Renewed in their Giving...
    Apparently sometime had lapsed when he didn't hear from the church… we don’t know exactly why.. Perhaps they were going through extreme trial or poverty themselves.. or perhaps Paul’s imprisonment made him temporarily inaccessible for a time… we can only spect
    but an opportunity arose and the church were able to send Epaphroditus with a gift.
    The verb you renewed paints a botanical image of a plant blooming again after a period of dormancy. Like a fruit tree blossoming again, the Philippians caused their concern to grow and blossom again
    Paul says until that time they didn’t have the opportunity to give....
    Opportunities are windows of time... You see this in sports where there is a gap in the field where time and space meet... these moments can be huge... They can make the difference between a win and loss...
    What about an opportunity to share your faith... opportunity to show kindness, and opportunity to invite some one to church... Opportunities are future potential...
    Paul tells us that opportunities are not always available..they are windows of time.. .
    There are times we are going to drop the ball… we are going to miss the opportunity… Paul greatly rejoices that God has renewed this passion within the church...
    They are stepping up.. What we learn is may have missed an opportunity, but there are many opportunities ahead of us as we partner in the Gospel...
    Like that desert plant that has been dormant and now it blossoms again..
    T/s What are the Short Cuts to Contentment?
    1. . Develop the Skill of being thankful.

    2. Learn the secret of Contentment.

    The concept of contentment was central to Greco world and philosophical thinking — and especially among the Cynic and stoic Philosophers of the day…
    The goal of stoicism was that a person become self sufficient — by his own will power have the ability to resist succumbing to ones circumstances..
    “the Stoic ideal, which was to be independent of external circumstances.”
    The way that they handled difficult situations was through emotional detachment in order to be content…The way to contentment was to exercise reason over emotion..Mind over matter...
    Paul was not teaching Stoicism…or pop Phycology..
    Rather Paul takes a familiar ideal and he expands the idea… you could say he...Christianized the term ---
    Instead of using it to refer to an attitude of mind independent of externals --- Rather it is dependent only on God.
    Instead of advocating self-sufficiency as a source of contentment. Paul believed that true sufficiency is Christ-sufficiency
    Paul tells us that he has learned to be content…
    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.
    Paul tells us that he has learned to be content..
    He did not learn this lesson in a day but throughout a lifetime of ups and downs. The laboratory of his life experience provided continuous opportunities for him to learn the attitude of contentment.
    There are times when he has been brought low -- to be abased, to just have the basic necessities in life... He has learned to handle the little... How to mentally, emotionally and spiritually...make do with the little and live on almost nothing...
    On the other hand he has also experienced blessings and knows what it is to have abundance to enjoy prosperity… We need to remember that Pauls idea of prosperity is different from what we hear today… Paul is not living it up in a five star hotel…
    Paul is in prison…
    When he says he is well fed he is not gorging himself with food…Rather, Paul is simply saying he has enough… He has enough provision for that day..
    Paul has stumbled upon this great Secret of contentment - This Short Cut… and He is going to share this is his secret...
    Most of us live with some tension of discontentment.. We can discontent with our health, with our jobs, with our looks, with our marriage our relationships…with our finances..
    Studies show that most people live with tension of discontentment… Most people regardless of income… feel that they need about 10% more to feel comfortable…
    Ten percent will make a difference, and whether we earn $30,000 per year or $60,000 or $250,000 or a cool million, just 10% more is what we want.
    Paul give us the Secret to Real contentment it is found in verse 13
    Philippians 4:13 ESV
    13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
    lets talk about the phrase , “I can do all things.”
    Now if we stop here… this is where we can easily take things out of context…
    To be honest… this can do attitude is prevalent in our culture… We tell our children you can be and do anything you want…or you have to do is apply yourself…
    … It is the same kind of Can do messages we often hear from motivational speakers:
    “You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.”
    Paul is not claiming to have omnipotence, he dosen’t claim to the ability to do all things without exception… rather Paul is referring to his ability to endure… through really tough situations… without loosing his joy and his peace…
    But this is not the whole verse.. the second part of this verse is what make it powerful..
    I can do all things..... Through Christ who gives Strength...
    Paul over and over prefaces everything with the phrase In Christ…
    In Chapter 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ;
    In 2:24 I am confident in the Lord
    3:10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings
    4:10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord.
    The word strength is the key to the interpretation of this verse… Strengthening speaks of of reinforcing our position.... giving us the advantage...
    When Paul looked at himself, he saw chains, weakness, and humiliation. But when he looked at Christ, he saw “the one who gives strength”
    Paul’s contentment in all circumstances was not a passive acceptance—a whatever-will-be-will-be attitude—but an active pursuit of the goal to know Christ and to preach Christ Instead of trusting our own strength and abilities, we must rely on Christ and his power.
    T/s What are the Short Cuts to Contentment?
    1. Develop the Skill of being thankful..
    2. Learn the secret of Contentment

    3. Practice being Faithful No matter What!

    When we talk about faithfulness we talking about reliability… something that is trusted… We talk about inanimate objects being faithful...
    Pam’s family nicknamed their car the Tank…it was old Mercedes benz that just kept on going… It could hold the whole family…all seven of them when they travelled on vacation… The tank never broke down..… kept on going… could always be trusted..
    We talk about nature being Faithful..
    In the Yellowstone National Park— they have the Gyser called Old Faithful…the reason it is named that is because it is highly predictable - It erupts every 44 minutes to two hours and it has been doing it since 2004…
    We talk about faithfulness in Key relationships.
    We talk about .. Faithfulness in marriage, Faithfulness in relationships, faithfulness in the work place..
    Faithfulness is also seen in the way that we live…
    Faithfulness to our agreements and Covenants, faithful in our speech, Faithfulness in our conduct - In our serving others, prayers, in our giving, in handling of finances
    Faithfulness and commitment has always been foundational to the life of God's people. Where there are faithful and loving people, you are going to find a Thriving community.
    Not only were the church at Philipi a generous church — they were a faithful church,.,.
    Philippians 4:14–16 ESV
    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.
    Up until this point the…the text is quite awkward because.. because is trying to say thank you while teaching on the sufficiency of Christ..
    There could have been been those in the church that have taken Paul’s assertion the wrong way...that he was content without their support to mean that he did not value their support..
    But Paul quickly deals with any of that kind of that wrong thinking ...
    Paul does this by reinforcing their relationship as partners in the Gospel...
    That they have been with him from the very first day... that they were partners in advancing the Gospel.. they had participated with him in the sufferings of Christ...
    The church of Philippi were a Faithful church... When Paul was chased out of Greece -- they were the only church still supporting Him… Paul mentions specifically when he left Macedonia… WE have this recorded in..
    In Acts 16 and 17, During Paul second missionary Journey…when Paul and Silas had been put in jail --
    One day they were on their way to prayer and were met by this slave girl who had a spirit of divination...She was a professional fortune teller... but, because she was a slave her slave owners were making a profit off her...
    This woman begins to follow Paul and Silas around and would cry out these are servants of the Most High God proclaiming the way of salvation...
    This slave girl did this for days and eventually, Paul became annoyed and cast out the spirit of divination out of her...
    Not that same hour she is delivered --- this made her owners pretty upset... they took a hold of Paul and Silas dragged them to the city square to be judged... the magistrate gave orders for them to beaten and thrown into prison..and put in stocks.. sever punishment...
    Then about midnight Paul and Silas... started praying, singing, hymns to God.., and the prisoners were listening to them.. then there was a great earthquake the doors were opened and everyone was released...
    When the Philippian Jailer saw all the prisioners escaping — He was about to fall on his sword.. Paul stops him and says we are not going anywhere... What must I do to be saved? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.. and you and your house hold is saved..
    Paul goes from there to Thessalonica and Paul goes into the synagogue as was his custom --
    - He began reasoning with the people and explaining the scriptures-- He is met with resistance a group of Jews became jealous and formed a mob... and attacked the owner of the house (jason) dragging and others to the authorities... Big disturbance in the city.. Acts 17:10 that the brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night...
    Paul telling us in our text that through all this drama the church at Philippi stood with them..
    What does it mean to be faithful? If we need to Go back to the Faithfulness of God Faithfulness is an attribute of God..
    Paul tells the church that be believed that there faithfulness will be rewarded.
    Philippians 4:17–20 ESV
    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.
    Paul looked at his ministry in terms of a gift and investment that was going flourish and pay dividends..
    John Newton said What he lays upon us He will support us under. -
    God would more than repay that generosity by supplying the need of the Philippian church.
    The same God who had taken care of Paul would also supply all their needs.
    The Philippian church was not wealthy.
    God had met Paul’s need through the generosity of the Philippian church. God would more than repay that generosity by supplying the need of the Philippian church.
    Not only would God supply all their needs, but he would do it from his glorious riches. Believers cannot begin to comprehend God’s riches in glory—his riches are limitless, infinite
    What is required is our faithfulness.
    Iain H. Murray
    It is not “well done, good, and successful servant” but “well done, good and faithful servant. -Iain H. Murray
    Conclusion
    Paul tells . contentment is not a state of being but rather state of mind.. We can learn contentment…Through memorizing the short cuts...
    1. Develop the Skill of being thankful..
    2. Learn the secret of Contentment

    3. Practice being Faithful

    If we learn the secret of contentment -
    WE will be able to say with the apostle Paul, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength..
    - We will be able to mentally and emotionally cope with the things that life throws at us..
    This morning Christ is enough.. WE have been given everything we need for life and godliness..
    Christ is enough… and where we lack we lean heavily on the sufficiecy of Christ..
    2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV
    8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
    We have a God who is able to make all grace abound to you...
    -- the word abound means to have plenty or to have more than enough…
    So that we will have all Sufficient in all things at all times, and Every good work...
    The idea is that those who receive God’s grace will have enough left over to spill over and to help others
    Let’s Pray…
      • Philippians 4:10–11ESV

      • Philippians 4:12–13ESV

      • Philippians 4:13ESV

      • Philippians 4:14–16ESV

      • Philippians 4:17–20ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 9:8ESV

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