I. Contentment Regarding Help From Others V. 10
A. The Philippians Had Forgotten Paul For A Time
1. V. 10- your care for me has flourished again.
a. Literally- “You caused your thoughts for me to bloom again”.
b. Like flowers that bloomed again after being dead for the winter.
2. That would indicate that Paul had not been cared for by them for a time.
a. He had needs but had gone without those needs being fulfilled by them.
B. He Was Not Resentful
1. As they are able to help again, he didn’t complain that they had not helped for a while.
2. He didn’t say negative things…
a. “You should have tried harder”
b. “Don’t you know how hard it has been for me”?
c. “Finally, some help has arrived”
d. “I was beginning to think that God had forgotten me”.
C. He Commended Them For Once Again Helping Him
1. has flourished again…
2. He simply says that he rejoiced that they were able to help again.
3. They had helped him before-Philippians 2:25
4. though you surely did care-“though you were thoughtful all along”
5. but you lacked opportunity-
a. He delicately acknowledges recent re-commitment towards him.
b. It was a long distance from Philippi to Rome. It was difficult to help Paul.
II. Learning To Be Content V. 11
A. Paul Had Suffered
- Not that I speak in regard to need- Paul was often in need.
a. He had suffered greatly in his ministry. See 2 Corinthians 11:23-29
2. V. 14- Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.
a. Though Paul had learned the truth of God’s sufficiency for him, he is thankful and admits that he was in distress.
b. Distress-a pressing together, under pressure
B. Paul Had Learned To Be Content
1. I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content-
a. Speaks of discovering a truth of God that bought him peace in all situations.
b. Implies that this was learned, probably through times of worry and concern.
c. Paul had gone from being one who worried about his material needs, to one who didn’t worry about his material needs.
d. He had learned by degrees, through many experiences, over time.
2. He had gone through the process that every Christian must go through.
a. He probably learned through times of being discontent, angry, disillusioned.
b. He may have wondered if he had done something wrong to be in such great need.
c. He may have wondered why less committed people were prospering financially.
d. Wondering why he, as a faithful servant, would have to suffer so much.
3. Proverbs 30:7-9 Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): 8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches—Feed me with the food allotted to me; 9 Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the LORD?” Or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.
4. Barnes- It requires as much grace to keep the heart right in prosperity, as it does in adversity, and perhaps more. Adversity, of itself, does something to keep the mind in a right state; prosperity does nothing.
5. NOTE- Paul had learned to be content. One of the results was that he did not have a bad attitude towards other people’s inability or unwillingness to help in time of need.
III. Thoroughly Learning Contentment V. 12
A. Paul Learned To Be Content With Much Or Little
- It is a lie to think that having everything we need will automatically bring contentment.
- It is human nature to desire more than we need.
- We desire more and different things, different people, different places.
- Proverbs 27:20 Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied.
- Abased-to be brought low, to be humbled. To be in a lower place.
- Abound-to have abundance, to overflow, to exceed.
- I have learned- I have been initiated, I have learned the secret. Thoroughly instructed.
B.How Do We Respond To Having Much Or Little?
- NOTE- How quickly many Christians panic or complain when they are in need.
- How slow we are to pray and believe. How quickly we start to plan to fulfill ourselves.
- Many Christians quickly lose their patience.
- This happens with legitimate needs. Even sadder when it’s about luxury items.
- It is better to learn how little you can live with, instead of being burdened with how much you think you need.
- Albert Barnes- Paul had learned that it is wrong to complain about the provision of God; that a spirit of impatience does no good, remedies no evil, and supplies no want; that God could provide for him in a way which he could not foresee, and that the Savior was able abundantly to sustain him. A contented mind is an invaluable blessing and is one of the fruits of religion in the soul. It arises from the belief that God is right in all his ways. Why should we be impatient, restless, discontented? What evil will be remedied by it? what want supplied? what calamity removed? “He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast” Proverbs 15:15; and one of the secrets of happiness is to have a mind satisfied with all the provision of God. The members of the Episcopal church beautifully pray, every day: “Give us minds always contented with our present condition.” No prayer can be offered which will enter more deeply into all our happiness on earth.
IV. Jesus Is The Important Thing V. 13
A. Jesus Was Paul’s Source Of Contentment
- Strengthens me-Infuses strength into me. Remember, Paul was in jail.
- The context of the passage is about being content with what God has provided.
- Wiersbe-Paul believed in the providence of God, that God was in control of events and that He was able to meet every need (Romans 8:28). When the child of God is in the will of God, all of the universe works for him; but when the child of God is out of the will of God, everything works against him. This is the providence of God.
B. What About Us?
- How confident are you about saying this? (verse 13)
- Are there certain circumstances that you imagine you are not equipped to go through?
- That you can never imagine God helping you get through.
- Paul’s ability to say this was the result of many years of growing into this confidence.