THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 11-11-01
LESSON TITLE: SOCIALLY ACCEPTED SINS OF TODAY: "BEING DISCONTENT"
Welcome to the Living Word Program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. It is always an honor and privilege to have you with us. We are thankful you have chosen to be with us as we commit this time to the things of God.
It is our hope and prayer this morning that we may each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before Him and according to His Word. Now let's begin by talking to God through prayer!
This week we would like to mention another congregation which helps in making the Living Word Program possible. The Sunset Church of Christ here in Springfield, Missouri, is a congregation which has been with our work for many years. We are really happy to have them as a part of this effort and we appreciate this fine congregation for their desire to see God's Will carried Out.
Please take advantage of the opportunity to meet with this family of God - even this morning. This morning they will assemble for two worship services - one at 8:15 and the other at 10:30. Another period is set aside this morning Bible classes - these begin at 9:30 a.m. On Sunday evening these brethren again assemble for worship at 6:00. A mid-week Bible study is also offered at 7:00 every Wednesday evening.
If you have any questions or need further information about this congregation, please feel free to contact me or their minister brother Joe Bright. Or you might choose to call, their phone number is 417-883-2044. Again, we thank this congregation for their involvement.
This morning we want to begin our songs of praise by singing a song which reminds us of the great bond we share together as Christians. So, at this time, won't you join in with the congregation as we sing together, "Blest Be the Tie that Binds."
(SONG # 1)
It seems more and more in our society that we are forgetting those who have done so much to bring our country to where it is today. Who am I talking about - the older people in our nation. Consider why we have the freedoms we do today and think about the sacrifice that many have made in past years to see that we could life as we want in this country. Yes the fact is, many of these individuals are still alive and remember well the price paid to accomplish the joys and privileges that we all share in today in this great country the United States of America.
But why do I bring this up? Well today, many stand strong around this world to enforce our continued liberty. Many have step up and committed themselves to pay whatever price is necessary to see that our liberties remain intact. So when you think about all of those making this effort today, we can not forget the many who have made it time and time again in the past to see that this day was even possible. To defend such a great country that is established on the equality and freedom of all mankind.
If we go to God's Word we find it deals a lot with honoring and respecting those who are older in age and who have learned so much through the long and fruitful lives that they have lived. In fact, you might recall what Solomon said in Proverbs 20:29. There we read, "The glory of young men is their strength, And the splendor of old men is their gray head." Here we have addressed both realms of our decision this morning. The young who stand strong today to defend our nation. Also the older who are now wise, who have taught us so much about why to stand and what to stand for.
This concept of gray hair is used in an honorable way to confirm the wisdom of the one who has experience the many ups and downs of life. Notice what else Solomon said about this topic in the same book, chapter 16, and verse 16, where he states that wisdom is better than gold.
Let's all remember those around us who have such a vast experience to share with us to make us better people in the lives which we know live. Furthermore, let's show them the respect and the honor they deserve for being willing to stand during their prime of life for those things which are worthy before God.
Today we are happy to have brother Paul Fisher with us to lead us in our study of the morning. Brother Fisher is the minister for the Marshfield Church of Christ, in Marshfield, Missouri. We are glad he has agreed to be with us.
This morning, we will continue with our series called, "Socially Accepted Sins Of Today!" Our specific topic today concerns "Being Discontent!" So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together brother Fisher will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Paul Fisher
Good morning, and thank you for inviting me into your home this morning.
There are many things that can be sinful that our society overlooks or rejects as being sinful. Many of the moral issues of our day are really issues that deal with sin, but our society as a whole does not want to deal or look at these things and label them as what they truly are being sin in the eyes of God. But there are other things which can be just as sinful that even many Christians overlook.
Discontentment can be one of these things and this morning I would like to look at the sin of discontentment. But more importantly I would like for us to center upon what I consider the keys to contentment because if we understand what we should, or what should make us content, and pursue those things, we can avoid the pitfalls of the sin of discontentment.
But some may ask themselves, "Well, just what do you mean by the sin of discontentment?" First, let's understand that there is a great difference between ambition, the desire to have better things and want better things and discontentment. Discontentment becomes a sin when it is our soul driving force in life, when nothing brings us contentment.
One of the stark ways in which we can see discontentment as sin is to look at the number of people who attempt suicide in our country every year. They seem that they are never content and that death is the only way out of the way that they are, and so suicide becomes the only option to them.
Divorce is another area in which we can see the sin of discontentment. Often times, divorce is a result of one spouse or another becoming discontent with their marriage. Money problems, uncontrolled sexual desires, parent's interference, all can help push a person down the road of discontentment and divorce.
Drinking and drugs are often used by people who are not content with their lives. And so they turn to these things to try to find contentment.
Others try to find contentment by buying the goods of this world. Cars, houses, clothing, and even changing jobs all in the effort to find contentment. They continue to look to the outside for contentment where my friends, they will never find it. Just like the man in the television commercial who is driving home with a new computer in the seat beside him happy and content until he stopped at a stoplight and looks up at a billboard in which men were putting on a new sign and yes, you guessed it, the sign was for a newer, faster, better computer than the one the man had in the car right beside him. The happiness and contentment that this new computer brought him was short-lived, just as all happiness and contentment based upon physical things are short-lived.
How then can we keep from falling into the trap of the sin of discontentment? Well, the answer is found in God's word. Turn in your Bibles to Phillippians chapter 4 and read along with me verses 11 through 13. The words inspired by God, written by the apostle Paul to the Christians at Phillipi. There he said, "not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abase and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Now did you catch what the apostle Paul said about contentment in that verse? He said that he had to learn contentment. He learned to be content with much and he learned to be content with little. Contentment is mental. It is something within ourselves. It does not depend upon how much we have or how much we do not have of this world's goods.
In 1 Timothy chapter 6, verses 6 through 8, the apostle Paul again was the physical penman of the inspiration of God writing to the young evangelist Timothy. He said about contentment, "But Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world and it is certain we can carry nothing out and having food and raiment let us therewith be content." Contentment is something is something that we should desire because it coupled with Godliness gives us great gain. Paul reaffirms this fact that contentment is not gain by physical things in verse 7 by pointing out that "we had nothing when we were born into this world and when we die, we certainly cannot carry anything out with us." This is a fact and we all know that. So verse 8 makes perfect sense when he said, "Be content with food and clothing." Everything else we have is just gravy. But this is easier said than done. Plus, it goes against much of our society's idea of what brings contentment in a society in which we are bombarded to purchase more and more things.
So how can we learn contentment? I believe that the Christian can learn contentment by looking at four keys to the Christian's life. The first of these keys is contained in what the Christian knows. Jesus said in John chapter 8, verses 31 through 32 about the key of contentment which can unshackle us from worldliness. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, "If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." What is the truth that Christians know that can set a person free and give them contentment. The Christian knows the revealed will and righteousness of God for we read in Romans chapter 10, verses 1 through 3, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God but not according to knowledge for they being ignorant of God's righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness have not committed themselves unto the righteousness of God." Here the apostle Paul stated that many of his fellow countrymen though they were Jews, God's chosen people, they were not saved because they did not know God's righteousness.
The Christian can have contentment because he or she knows the righteousness of God as He has revealed it in His holy word, the Bible. But often there is a great deal of difference in knowing something and having knowledge of something and being able to adapt that into our lives. This we do as Christians by studying God's word.
In 2 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 15, the apostle Paul said, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Notice again that contentment is based upon our learning, learning about contentment and on our knowledge of God's righteousness which is also based upon our learning by studying His word and applying it to our lives. The first key to contentment comes with the realization that we need to know God's word which is the source and the only source I might add of long-lasting true contentment. Do you know God's word this morning? Knowledge of God's word is the key to contentment and all the other points of this lesson are built upon this first great key.
The second key that Christians can have that gives them contentment is because of whom the Christian knows. As a Christian, we know that God is our Father. The apostle in his travels in the first century came to the city of Athens, the city of great learning. In this city, there were many different altars to many different gods. The Athenians worshipped them all. In Acts 17, verses 23 through 24 we find Paul's observance of this and the fact that he wanted to speak to them about a God they did not know, the only true and living God. "For as I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription to the unknown God whom therefore you ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God who made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands." Paul caused them to know the real, true God, the God who created everything and who does not dwell in manmade temples. Christians know God because they are in Christ Jesus, the son of God.
In John 14, verse 6 we find Jesus sayeth unto him, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me." Jesus is the only way to the Father. There is no other way in which we can obtain or get to the Father.
The apostle Peter said in Acts 4, verse 12 that there is salvation in no other name unto heaven except the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, the only way to get to the Father. So how does one get into the way? The apostle Paul said in answer to this question in Galatians 3:27, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." My friends, baptism is important to one's salvation because it is the only way that we can have our sins remitted and it is also the only way in which we can get into Jesus Christ. So we might ask the question, "How can a person be saved without baptism, or before they are baptized?" Well the answer when one looks at the scripture is simple. They just cannot. Because if they could they could be saved without Jesus Christ, and we know that that is impossible.
Christians therefore are those who are obedient to God's will and because of this obedience, they are in Christ and in His kingdom. "When one is baptized into Jesus Christ for remission of sins (Acts 2:38) then God Himself adds or places that one into the church in the kingdom." Acts 2:47, Colossians 1:13, the apostle Paul wrote, "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear son." Speaking of course of the power of God.
Contentment comes by knowing and obeying God. When the Lord Jesus returns, He will find just two groups on this earth. In 2 Thessalonians chapter 1, verses 7 through 10 we find the description of those two groups. One of those groups will be those who will glorify Him. The other group will be those who receive His vengeance because they knew not God or were not obedient to all of the will of God. The Christian can have contentment not only because of what she or he knows or even by whom he or she knows but also by who knows them. Christians are known by God.
To the church at Galatia, Paul wrote, "And because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of His son into your hearts crying, 'Abba, Father, wherefore thou are no more a servant but a son and as a son, an heir of God through Christ.'" Just think as Christians you are a child of God and a fellow heir with your elder brother Jesus Christ. Christians therefore are the people of God. They are citizens of His holy nation no matter where on this earth they live.
Peter wrote concerning this fact in 1 Peter chapter 2 verses 9 through 10. He said, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you should show forth the praises of Him that have called you out of darkness into His marvelous life which in times past were not a people but are now the people of God which had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy." Because Christians have obtained mercy of God, they should be the most contented people on this earth. So this morning, ask yourselves just how content am I?
But just how does one or how does God know Christians? The answer can be found in Romans chapter 8, verses 16 through 17, "The spirit itself beareth witness with our spirits that we are the children of God and if children then heirs and heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ and so be that we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified together." God's spirit knows the Christians spirit because we are His children. Christians have contentment because God knows each and everyone personally. He is our Father as Jesus revealed to Mary Magdalene after His resurrection in John chapter 20 and verse 17. Jesus sayeth unto her, "Touch me not for I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren and say to them, 'I ascend unto my Father and your Father and unto my God and your God.'" What a comforting thought to realize that God is your Father and that He knows you.
But Christians can also have comfort because they know where they are going. The apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter chapter 1, verses 3 through 5, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled that fadeth not away reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith and salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
Contentment is knowing that there is a home reserved in heaven for the faithful Christian and that physical death is not the end but the beginning of a great eternal existence with God.
The apostle John revealed that we can know that we have this home and this my friends is a great source of contentment. In 1 John chapter 5 verse 13, we find "these things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the son of God that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may believe on the name of the son of God." But to have this contentment, we must remain obedient to God's will according to Jesus Christ who He said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (John 14:15)
Our elder brother, Jesus, has gone to prepare a place for us and He will return someday to take us to the place that He has prepared. Jesus said, "Let not your hearts be troubled. If you believe in God, believe also in me and in my Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself for where I am, that is where you may be also. And whether I go you know in the way you know." We know that Jesus has gone to heaven for the apostles saw Him ascend to heaven and Stephen saw Him standing at the right hand of the throne of God.
He is our only way of getting to heaven. These things should give us great contentment. These things cannot be taken from us even though all of our physical things are taken away and even death takes us. The Christian has the keys of contentment. The Christian knows that contentment is something that we can learn just to have, just as we can give up the sin of discontentment. Christians have contentment because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christians have contentment because they know and obey God. Christians have contentment because they are known by God and Christians have contentment because they know where they are going and that even physical death cannot keep them from heaven.
My friends, can you have this kind of contentment? You can if you are a Christian. In just a few moments brother Ray will be back to give you an idea where you can go and learn more about God. We appreciate you listening to us this morning and pray that you will tune in each and every week and listen to this program and study God's word. May God bless.
(SONG # 3 - "The Great Physician!")
Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
Now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a free cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or free Bible correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:
The Living Word
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Thanks be to God, that with His help we can all learn to accept who He has made us and what He has given us in this life.