November 20, 2011

Contentment and the Riches of Christ

Giving is an act of worship; our monetary gifts are a spiritual investment in God's economy.

Scripture: Philippians 4:10-20

Sermon Notes:

  1. In this passage Paul instructs us on the spiritual significance of giving, and the spiritual secret of contentment.
  2. Giving is an act of worship; our monetary gifts are a spiritual investment in God's economy.
  3. Our giving is a pleasing aroma to God, just as our praise is (cf. Hebrews 13:15).
  4. Tithing is connected to worship in that it produces doxology, causing us to praise God's name (2 Corinthians 9:11-12).
  5. Paul writes that God will supply all our needs (Phil 4:19). The source of Paul's supply is the riches of glory in Christ Jesus. Therefore, not one need is overlooked.
  6. From the fullness of Christ we receive both spiritual and temporal gifts (John 1:14,16; cf. John 2:1-11, 6:1-14).
  7. God is a generous God; how we tithe says a lot about our view of God and whether or not we trust Him.
  8. The source of these riches are the riches of glory in Christ.
  9. The substance of the blessing is not only food and wine, but blessings of contentment and peace (Philippians 1:3; 4:6-7).
  10. Paul has learned contentment both in abundance and in need (Philippians 4:11-12).
  11. We must not resist the invitation of God to feast; in fact, there's a commandment to feast (Deuteronomy 14:22-27).
  12. The spiritual discipline of feasting involved eating a portion of the tithe together in the presence of God and rejoicing.
  13. Our God is a god of feasting; there are times both for feasting and for fasting.
  14. Through fasting we learn how to be content in times of need and hunger.
  15. Fasting teaches us God's sovereign provision in our lives.
  16. Paul has learned the secret of contentment, which is to be in Christ, to be joined to Christ (Philippians 4:12).
  17. Paul knew the Good Shepherd's care (cf. John 10:27-29).
  18. Sometimes God will test us, putting us in a situation of hunger and need for our spiritual good.
  19. Our lives are hidden with God in Christ, as is so well put in Heidelberg Catechism question #1: Question: What is your only comfort in life and death? Answer: That I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and in death– to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to Him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me whole-heartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him.
  20. The will of God is that He should not lose one soul (John 6:39).
  21. The disciplines of contentment and giving are not to be taken for granted. They are gained with maturity and we all struggle with trusting God's sovereign providence in our lives.
  22. Don't pretend you're not going through a difficult time.
  23. We're to call on the Lord with the Psalmist: Psalm 55:16.
  24. Paul seeks not the gift but the spiritual fruit of giving toward the Philippians' credit (Philippians 4:17).
  25. Paul's prayer in Philippians 1:9-11 is that they be filled with the fruits of righteousness.

Application Questions:

  1. How are singing praise and giving our tithes related?
  2. How are our tithes a spiritual investment in God's economy?
  3. Does my tithing reflect trust in God's total provision for my needs?
  4. What are the benefits of the spiritual discipline of fasting?
  5. How can situations of hunger and need be a blessing to us?
  6. What is the fruit Paul speaks of in Philippians 4:17?
  7. Are we seeking spiritual fruitfulness and blessing as outlined by Paul in Philippians 1:9-11?
  8. Do we live like we really believe the biblical truths expressed in Heidelberg Catechism answer #1?
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